FNH-USA has been in the shotgun market for a
few years now with their excellent FNP fighting shotguns. These
auto-loading shotguns are both powerful and reliable, but there
are many who prefer the simplicity, safety, and lower cost of a
pump-action shotgun for use as a defensive and offensive weapon,
so FNH has entered the quality fighting pump gun market with
their new P-12. The P-12 is, if you haven’t guessed by now,
chambered for the 12 gauge shotshell, which is by far the most
popular gauge for this type of weapon. Like most shotguns in
this class, the P-12 is relatively short, and wears a synthetic
stock and a black matte finish. However, the P-12 has a couple
of worthwhile features which set it apart from its competition.
As should any fighting shotgun, the P-12 has
a good, sturdy set of sling studs for the attachment of a carry
strap. The magazine tube holds five shotshells, for a
fully-loaded capacity of six. That is when using 2-¾ inch
shells. Three-inch shells reduce the capacity by one shell. The
safety is of the crossbolt type. I personally prefer a tang
safety on a fighting shotgun, but the crossbolt is more popular,
and works very well, blocking both the hammer and trigger on the
The barrel of the P-12 is fully chrome-lined,
including the chamber. This serves to impede corrosion, enhance
bolt lock-up, and aid extraction, as the chrome plating is
slicker than bare steel. The barrel measures eighteen inches in
length, has an integral Weaver-compatible cantilevered base for
the attachment of a scope or other optical sight. This makes the
mounting of an illuminated dot or other type of sight quick and
easy. The rail is not 1913 Picatinny compatible. The barrel also
has a fiber-optic front sight, and a fully-adjustable folding
rear sight, to use when an optical sight is not. One feature
that I really appreciate, and one tat is most often not found on
a fighting shotgun, is the use of screw-in choke tubes. The P-12
comes with a cylinder-bore tube, but can use any standard
Invector or Win-Choke compatible choke tube. This allows the
P-12 to be much more versatile than a fixed-choke shotgun. Using
a rifled tube, as offered by Trulock chokes, the P-12 makes for
a handy and accurate slug gun for hunting game. The P-12 is even
better-suited for duty as a turkey gun simply by screwing in a
tightly-choked extra full tube. The P-12 is short enough and
light enough to be handy, and can fire any 2-¾ or 3-inch
shotshell, from light target loads, to buckshot, slugs, and
heavy turkey loads.
The stock on the P-12 is a durable checkered
black synthetic, and thankfully, it wears a soft synthetic
rubber recoil pad, which was much appreciated while firing
magnum two-ounce turkey loads through this shotgun. The finish
on the stock closely matches that of the steel barrel and
aluminum receiver. The rotating bolt locks securely into the
The overall length of the P-12 measures 39
inches, and the shotgun has a 13.75 inch length-of-pull. The
trigger guard is plenty long enough to accommodate a gloved
finger, and the crossbolt safety is easy to reach with the
trigger finger of a right-handed shooter. The trigger group
removes easily for maintenance and cleaning by driving out one
cross-pin and pulling down on the trigger guard. The pump stroke
measures four inches, and with its twin-rail action, is very
smooth and slick. The P-12 has one of the easiest and fastest
pump actions that I have ever cycled. The trigger pull released
crisply, with just over seven pounds of resistance. The P-12
weighed in on my scale at seven pounds, two ounces unloaded.
While the sights on the P-12 are very easy to
use and highly visible, I prefer an optical sight on a fighting
shotgun, so I mounted a Leupold DeltaPoint electronic dot sight
atop the cantilevered rail. The DeltaPoint weighs almost
nothing, and comes on and turns off automatically, greatly
preserving battery life. With the DeltaPoint, both eyes are wide
open, as they should be when using a shotgun for social work. If
someone has just kicked in your door, you want a sight that is
quick and easy to use, and with the DeltaPoint, simply optically
placing the illuminated chevron dot on target is all that is
necessary to assure a good hit.
For close range defense or offense, a 12
gauge shotgun is a formidable weapon. Loaded with buckshot or a
combo load such as the Winchester PDX1, the shotgun is very
effective out to sixty yards or so, and a slug extends the range
to one hundred yards or more. Across a typical bedroom, birdshot
is very effective, and if the target is missed, after
penetrating a residential wall, the shot pellets lose velocity
quickly. I like number four buckshot for a good all-around
fighting load, and the P-12 is a great delivery system for
sending the lead into the target. Contrary to myth, the shotgun
does have to be aimed properly. At typical across-the-room
distances, the shot load can be covered with your hand. The
pattern will typically spread about one inch per yard. Using
either the open sights or an optical sight, the P-12 is easy to
Screwing in a good turkey choke and using a
good turkey load, the P-12 is just as effective as any dedicated
turkey shotgun. The weapon does not have to have the word “turkey”
inscribed upon it, nor does it have to wear the latest designer
camo pattern to be effective. The P-12 is non-reflective, so the
weapon is just as useful for hunting as a camouflaged shotgun.
The P-12 proved reliable with all ammo
tested, including slugs, buckshot, birdshot, and combo shells.
The two-ounce magnum turkey loads delivered the most recoil, but
the soft recoil pad handled the blow very well. Using an
extended turkey choke tube from Trulock Chokes, the turkey loads
patterned extremely well at twenty-five yards, and also when
tested at forty yards.
The FNH P-12 is an excellent choice for a
fighting pump gun. It is powerful and reliable, and with its
ability to switch choke tubes, makes the weapon useful for much
more than just a dedicated defensive/offensive shotgun. As of
the date of this review, the suggested retail price is $655 US.
While there are less-expensive pump guns on the market, the
versatility and quality features of the P-12 make it a good
value. The rotating bolt, twin rails, chrome-lined bore, and
optics rail make the P-12 one of the most durable and reliable
shotguns on the market.
Check out the P-12 and other FNH products at www.fnhusa.com.
For details on the Leupold DeltaPoint sight,
go to www.leupold.com.
For the location of an FNH dealer near you,
click on the DEALER FINDER at www.lipseys.com.
To order the P-12 online, go to www.galleryofguns.com.
To order quality shotgun ammo, go to www.luckygunner.com.
To order some of the best shotgun choke tubes
on the market, go to www.trulockchokes.com.