Although some consider it outdated, the Remington Model 1100 is an excellent choice for home defense, law enforcement, hunting, and competition. The 1100 inspires confidence when I compete in 3-gun steel-shooting events. It is over 8 pounds of firepower and reliability in a soft-recoiling package. 

Table of Contents

History & Function
My Impressions
Range Time
Pros & Cons



Prior to 1963, shotgunners had to take punishing recoil from their pump and semi-automatic shotguns. That year, Remington released the new Remington Model 1100 to the public. Designed by Wayne Leek and Robert Kelley, it reduced felt recoil, saved weight, and was the most reliable semi-auto shotgun to date. 

Remington 1100
There is good reason the 1100 was a best seller for years. (Photos: Ben Philippi/

Gas operated, the 1100 bleeds gas from a small hole in the barrel, which moves an action sleeve located around the magazine tube. This idea tamed the heavy kick of the 12 gauge. By 1983, the 1100 was the best-selling shotgun in the country. It was in nearly every duck blind and was the upland bird hunter’s choice.



Remington 1100
When it comes to reliability, the 1100 is a champ. (Ben Philippi/

After leaving Remington Arms, Wayne Leek retired to the Tucson area, where I met him in the mid-1980s. When I questioned him about the 1100, he told me that he designed the 1100 to fire fully automatic. He reasoned that if it did not jam as such, it would not jam as a semi-automatic gun. He was right. The 1100 is very reliable. This is important for personal defense, law enforcement, and competition.

Remington 1100
Leek reckoned if the action could handle full-auto fire there would be no reason it couldn't stand up to semi-auto. (Photo: Ben Philippi/

My best test for reliability is competition. Shooting any gun a few times and putting it away is inadequate for real-life reliability testing. If anything can go wrong in a 3-gun match, it will. This 1100 has yet to let me down. After hundreds of rounds through my 1100, it still sends lead downrange.


My 1100 is customized for steel competition shooting. The short 21-inch cylinder-bore barrel is ideal for close work, making the gun lighter and easier to handle. I love the slim pistol grip in my hand. The safety is conveniently located at the rear of the trigger guard. My choice of Bell and Carlson black synthetic stock adds to control and pointability. 

Remington 1100
The Remington 1100 leaves me all smiles. (Photo: Ben Philippi/

The 1100 reloads quickly by dropping a round in the open chamber. Loading a shell through the underside magazine port trips the bolt release. This is a timesaving feature in competition reloading. Seven shells in the magazine and one in the chamber gives me eight rounds of firepower!

This barrel is equipped with a vented rib to dissipate heat and mirage. The front sight is a bright red bead, which allows me to pick up my target quickly. No problem in shooting rapid strings of fire. The 1100 cuts recoil and kick down to a manageable level. 

Remington 1100
The stock-mounted cheek pad helps with rapid reloads. (Photo: Ben Philippi/

I have added a stock-mounted cheek pad with five shell loops. This allows me to reload on the fly quickly during a match. It further cushions the blow during fast firing sequences. That is 13 rounds without reaching beyond the gun for a reload. I like that!



Remington 1100
The 1100 will deliver seven shells of 12-gauge power. (Photo: Ben Philippi/


  • Weight: 8 pounds     
  • Barrel: 21 inches, vent rib, cylinder bore
  • Overall Length: 41 inches
  • Length of Pull: 14 inches        
  • Trigger: 5.5-pound single stage
  • Magazine Capacity: 7 12-gauge 2.75-inch shells 


Weighing over 8 pounds loaded, this is a hefty gun. Yet, it handles well and points naturally from my shoulder. I feel confident in being able to hit my mark. For this video, we shot 12-gauge 00 buck shells with nine pellets per round. What immense firepower!

Downrange are 2-liter soda bottles, water bottles, and steel plates. My favorite targets are soda bottles. Unlike pistol and rifle bullets, the 12-gauge pellets completely vaporize these targets. I have shot Soda bottles with .22 rimfire rounds, 9mm rounds, and .45 Colt rounds, but nothing hits like a 12 gauge shooting buckshot. Unless you have a .50-caliber gun at home, the 12 gauge is king! 

Remington 1100
The bright orange front sight leads to easy target acquisition. (Photo: Ben Philippi/

If you watch the video, you’ll notice how fast I shoot after shot. The 1100 has little recoil, allowing for rapid target acquisition. Notice also how fast it is to fire eight well-aimed shots. It eats ammo. But no need to worry, because I can reload eight shots quickly. The 1100 reloads naturally from the open chamber and magazine, and I am back in action in a few seconds.

Steel plates ring and shudder violently as they are hit! These are heavy steel targets that require both hands to set in place. Yet when hit by the 1100, they move like they are made of cardboard. All nine pellets hit in an impressive close-knit pattern. 

Remington 1100
The 1100 does the job again! (Photo: Ben Philippi/

Rapid fire is a breeze for the 1100. Though I am a lightweight small-framed person, I can handle the mild recoil well. The red-dot sight helps me pick out targets quickly and hit accurately. Eight shots happen quickly, but I am confident in my reloading. No jams were encountered today. No bruised shoulder at the end of this session thanks to a well-designed recoil-absorbing action. What a piece of machinery!  

Pros and Cons


  • Reliable         
  • Points naturally       
  • Highly customizable       
  • Versatile
  • Easy and fast to reload      
  • Old design but still readily available


  • Somewhat heavy at over 8 pounds as configured  


This is my favorite steel-shooting shotgun. It speaks with authority due to its natural pointing design. It is highly reliable, and it handles with confidence. It is my choice for personal defense, hunting, and competition because it is versatile and wieldy. Older is sometimes better. The Remington 1100 is a good choice for a reliable go-to shotgun. I love it!