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Reviews : Arsenal

The FN Police Shotgun

Smooth, user-friendly, and deadly accurate, the FN Police Shotgun benefits from its Winchester heritage.

November 01, 2002  |  by Roy Huntington

The FN Police Shotgun makes a versatile addition to any law enforcement agency’s arsenal.

FN's heritage speaks for itself. From the classic Browing Hi-Power pistol, to today's current crop of high-tech firearms, FN's reputation is that of a Cadillac of police and military firearms. Quality and workmanship is always first-rate and design innovation is an integral part of the process.

Since 1988, FN Manufacturing Inc. in Columbia, S.C., has been manufacturing the M16A2 rifle for the U.S. military. In order to hold this prestigious contract, the FN plant holds an ISO9002 certification and has consistently delivered the goods on time and with top quality.

The list of firearms available to law enforcement from FN is extensive. The P90 full-auto sub-gun is kind of a "mini-assault" rifle, configured in a bull-pup format. The proprietary 5.7mm round raised quite a few eyebrows when introduced and has since seen sales to law enforcement and military.

The P90's sister, the Five-seveN pistol, shoots the same 5.7mm round (looks like an abbreviated .223) and offers almost 2,300 fps from a handgun. The applications for such a weapon are obvious to anyone who carries a badge.

More conventional is FN's Forty Nine Pistol, which is a semiauto duty handgun, with a faint resemblance to the S&W Sigma series. However, the striker-fired performance of the FN has the benefit of allowing you to use the striker in a double-action mode.

FN's precision rifles, like the .338 Lapua Sniper, have established solid places in the arsenals of police agencies and military units due to their high quality and superb performance.

Winchester Connection

Very few firearms can match the reliability and versatility of a high-quality pump shotgun.

With all this technology and heritage behind it, FN realized there was a hole in its law enforcement product line. It needed a shotgun.

The police shotgun is a tried-and-true tool, even in today's increasingly high-tech police arsenal. There are times when stun guns, OC spray, and verbal compliance techniques fall short and a reliable load of "00" buck is called for.

At that moment, the delivery system is vital and has to be the most reliable possible. Over the past 75 years or so, the pump shotgun has proven, and re-proven, itself in the field. Dirt, snow, rain, filth, neglect, and worse are no stranger to the police shotgun and the pump action has established its credentials solidly.

When a really nasty job needs to be done, cops reach for their pump shotguns. Historically, that shotgun has been the Remington 870 and/or the Ithaca in various guises. With the introduction of Mossberg, there was a third contender. These days, Winchester also markets a police or "Defender" shotgun.

Basically mirroring one another, these various manufacturers all offer slight differences in features, but all are basic, pump-action shotguns, and the choice is more subjective than factual.

Now FN is entering the market. But rather than starting from scratch, it sought out an existing design that it could modify.

This is a wise decision. Not only does it make little sense to re-invent the wheel, having another manufacturer make a product allows FN to take full advantage of the other's experience in the arena. It even makes more sense when all of that expertise is in the family. This is why FN's Police Shotgun was manufactured by U.S. Repeating Arms (Winchester). U.S. Repeating Arms, like FN and Browning, is a member of the Herstal Group, a conglomerate of firearms companies.


Dual action bars on the FN Police Shotgun ensure smooth, reliable operation.

Having said all that, why would FN attempt to enter a market already well-stocked with good choices? One answer is the fact that many agencies and the military like to bid "one contract" for firearms. If they can get handguns, rifles, and shotguns from one maker, it helps to make life easier all around. This way, agencies only have to deal with one rep, one factory training program, one billing process, and other conveniences.

So just how well did the FN Police Shotgun come out? Very well. The FN Police Shotgun is essentially a U.S. Repeating Arms Model 1300 Defender shotgun, with some modifications. The FN model has adjustable rifle-like sights from Winchester's "Camp Defender Model."

This gives the user the option of using the rifle sights when shooting slugs. Additionally, the inclusion of two screw-in chokes allows users to tune the choke for the best performance with slugs and/or buckshot.

If you read the spec sheet for the Winchester Defender and the FN Police Shotgun, they are identical, and that's not a bad thing. The Winchester Model 1300 has established a reputation for affordability and reliability.

The Defender's action has become famous for its smooth operation. The rotating bolt opens cleanly, allowing the slide to be worked easily and quickly. Upon closing, the face of the bolt rotates slightly, bringing the locking bolts into contact with those in the barrel. It's solid and secure and works like a champ.

The removable choke can be changed easily and the FN is supplied with two. The front sight is a rifle-like post and bead.

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