What Is the Difference Between a $2K and $200 Shotgun?
This question is not asked to ruffle feathers or even attempt to say a $200 GForce shotgun can be truly comparable to a $2,000 Benelli M4. Rather, it is meant to address the questions often asked by people who are new to shotguns:
How can a shotgun cost $2,000?
What does $200 get you?
What's the difference?
About the only things these shotguns truly have in common are that they are both designed and marketed for defensive shotgun shooting and are chambered in 12 gauge. When looking at a shotgun for home defense, there are several things to factor into your decision, so let’s dig into it.
GForce is a Nevada-based company that sources its shotguns from Radikal Arms in Turkey. Turkey is actually one of the largest shotgun exporters in the world, so this comes at very little surprise for those who have been watching the Turkish gun market. They make an array of inexpensive defensive and hunting shotguns that are newer to the market. To be honest, there is not a lot of information about GForce out there right now, so it seemed best to just shoot this gun and see for ourselves how it performs.
The GF3T is a pump-action shotgun chambered in 12 gauge with a pistol grip. It will shoot up to 3-inch shells, but it is not rated for slugs. It also does not have a removable choke, meaning all shots have cylinder-bore patterning. It is widely believed that cylinder-bore chokes are the best size for defensive shotguns, offering a wider pattern that has a better likelihood of getting your hits on target. A removable choke, however, would allow the shooter to gain a tighter pattern and perhaps a more deadly hit. Not being able to shoot slugs is also a drawback, though why GForce does not recommend slugs is unclear.
This pump-action shotty does come with a front optic and ghost rings. However, right out of the box, the rear sight was quite out of whack. Both sights were a little wobbly and obviously inexpensive. But with a shotgun, the point of aim to point of impact is all we need. With the receiver-mounted Picatinny rail, adding a red dot would easily and quickly remedy the factory sights. But, determined to shoot it out of the box like most new shotgun owners likely would, I overlooked the rear sight and used just the front. First, we patterned the shotgun to see exactly where it was hitting and what kind of spread we were working with. At 10 yards, on paper, it wanted a 6-o'clock hold and left a fairly decent pattern size. Most of the BBs impacted within a 10-inch spread.
Loading up the magazine tube to its full capacity of four rounds, the next test was cycling every shell through the gun. Even after multiple boxes, the GF3T never hiccuped and proved plenty reliable. However, there was a noticeable discomfort when shooting because of the fore-end. The plastic is smooth. Couple that with a long length of pull, and this made the gun harder to grab for pumping the action. With even slightly sweaty hands, it was easy to slip off the fore-end. Stippling the plastic would easily cure this, and a really nice feature on the fore-end is the Picatinny rail, which would be perfect for adding any accessories.
Style: Pump Weight: 7 pounds Barrel: 19.5 inches Overall length: 40.5 inches Choke: Cylinder (non-threaded) Sights: Ghost ring with fiber optic Rails: Top and bottom Picatinny rails Grip: Pistol
The things to think about with a gun in this price range is what it lacks for the purpose it is given. Drawbacks are the lack of ability to shoot slugs and interchange chokes. It also has a low capacity and the sighting system needs to be upgraded. The GF3T is a defensive shotgun and, most likely, the target audience is someone who is perhaps looking for their first one.
For the person who simply needs an inexpensive defensive shotgun, this is a great option. At $200, you really can’t beat the price. The GF3T is a working and (seemingly) reliable shotgun. I’d be very interested in putting it through some long-term testing to see how it holds up. But during our testing, there were no malfunctions or issues.
It’s important to have firearms in all price ranges. Afterall, not everyone has a large and expendable gun budget. If budget and reliability are the goal, the GF3T will certainly get the job done. It offers some good features, such as the Picatinny rails, pistol grip, and its overall reasonable length for defensive use. It will easily accept upgrades, but out of the box for the price, GForce offers a good deal. Next, let's look at what adding an extra “0” to the price tag gets you. Your basic defensive shotgun doesn't need thrills, but what is the benefit of the M4’s features? What makes a shotgun worth $2,000?
To be honest, a lot of the Benelli’s price is in its name and reputation. This shotgun is steeped in history and has proven itself through the decades. An Italian-based company, Benelli designed the M4 in 1998 specifically for the U.S. Marine Corps. This was their first piston-driven shotgun, and the dual-piston design meant less recoil and less cleaning. In fact, the M4 can be field stripped completely toolless.
Upon holding the M4, the most notable thing is that it’s heavier than the GF3T, coming in at about 8 pounds compared to the 7-pound GF3T. With a shotgun, weight greatly helps to reduce recoil and also improves its swing and balance when mounting. Instantly, even if you were to know nothing about shotguns, the Benelli feels more well made. The components, fit, and finish all reflect its higher price.
The M4 comes standard with a modified choke and patterning this shotty showed a very accurate, tighter shot pattern. Right out of the box, after lining up the tritium front sight and ghost-ring rear sights, they perfectly blew out the paper target where I aimed and left behind approximately a 6-inch pattern. We will save the debate about the best tactical shotgun chokes for later, but the M4 proved accurate.
It easily landed slugs at 75 yards and also took on aerial clays. Loading up the six-round magazine tube and letting off multiple rounds quickly was a treat. Semi-auto makes things easy, and the M4 will perform as hard as you push it. For now, let’s just compare it to the GF3T. Recoil is greatly reduced over the GF3T due to its piston-driven system and weight, meaning follow-up shots are guaranteed to be much quicker. It is hard to compare a pump-action gun versus a semi-auto one, but that is the difference between a $200 and $2,000 shotgun.
Style: Semi-auto, piston-driven gun Weight: 8.42 pounds Barrel: 18.5 inches Overall length: 40 inches Mount: Picatinny rail Sight: Ghost ring with Tritium front optic Choke: Modified, removable
The Benelli also offers some incredible features, such as a resistant finish and sling mounts. A fun fact about the piston-driven system is you can actually shoot it under water, though we aren’t necessarily recommending this. Trust us when we say the M4 is worth the money. But, as the GForce shows, sometimes the basics are all you need and offer plenty of options in between.
Though both the GForce and Benelli are defensive shotguns, it is hard to truly compare one to the other. If you are new to the defensive shotgun scene, hopefully this review helps to show you how defensive shotguns can be different and why there is such a large price variation. Both can work, just put your money where it matters the most for you.