Shotgun Handguns

  1. christophereger
    Shotguns have been a favorite for both hunting and defense for centuries. The handgun, with an even longer lineage, is likewise here to stay. With the two above-mentioned facts in mind, naturally there have been several efforts over the years to blend the two concepts.

    Ithaca Auto Burglar

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    One of the classic shotgun builders, Ithaca firearms of New York, produced what many felt was the best purpose-designed shotgun-pistol. The "Auto & Burglar Gun" (meant to keep in one of the first and use against one of the second) was a two-barreled 20-gauge pistol with a beautifully contoured pistol grip. With 10-inch barrels, the handy little whippit gun was but 16-inches overall. These guns were popular on both sides of the law in the 20s but were a victim of the 1934 NFA. If not for that, they would probably still be in production.

    AOW builds

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    Speaking of the NFA, for most of the last century the only way you could get a shotgun-caliber pistol was to build one. Unlike sawn-off or short-barreled shotguns, which are born with a shoulder stock, some manufacturers like Serbu make their own from scratch. As the weapon is originally manufactured without a shoulder stock, it is considered a smoothbore handgun, and thus classified as Any Other Weapon (AOW), under NFA. These are transferable with a $5 tax stamp but the guns themselves usually run pricey. For instance the Serbu Super-Shorty, a 16-inch long three shot 12-gauge will set you back about $800.

    The Judge

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    The Brazilian handgun firm Taurus has long been a player in the revolver market so when they
    introduced a new series of them in 2005 it was not a big surprise. The surprise came later when it was pointed out that these 5-shot DA revolvers fired not only the classic .45LC round, but also .410 shotgun shells. The series, known as "The Judge" does not qualify as a "short-barreled shotgun" under the National Firearms Act of 1934 as has a rifled barrel. This rifling and the fact that it cannot be made to take a shoulder stock makes it a regular handgun. No stamps required.

    However in California the Judge is illegal due to state laws that still label it as a sawed off shotgun.

    Therefore, whether it's a highly collectible (and legally registered) Ithaca AB, an expensive (and legally registered) Super-Shorty, or a $500 Judge, there are a number of options to scratch that itch. Unless you live in California, in which case you can always buy a knife.

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