In a world of high-tech, semi-automatic rifles in a variety of calibers, it’s easy to ignore the pump-action shotgun, which is a serious mistake. Yes, the 5.56-caliber carbine is easier to shoot due to its lack of felt recoil, but this also translates to less of an impact being felt by the evildoer who is being shot. In fact, I have seen people take the impact of a 12-gauge shotgun and fall to the ground—nothing could be more definitive in the world of small arms. This has led me to be a big fan of the 12 gauge.
Pump over semi-auto you ask? Yep! While I have no problems with using an autoloader (they are much more reliable than they were in years past), the pump action is about as simple a weapon as one could ask for. Everyone knows that during conflict a person’s ability to see, hear, use dexterity and process information (among other things) diminishes and that simple things work best. There are few things as simple as pumping the action and depressing the trigger. If the shotgun malfunctions, it’s usually due to the shooter “short-stroking” the pump action. Pump shotguns may not be as fast as semi-autos, but they’ll get the job done and have done so for well over a century.
The gun I was asked to review, Harrington & Richardson’s Pardner Pump Protector, is a bit of a new kid on the block. H&R was acquired by Marlin Firearms in 2000 and became part of the large firearms conglomerate known as Freedom Group, which also owns such well known companies as Remington, DPMS and Bushmaster. As I worked with the Pardner Pump Protector, it became apparent that it was clearly inspired by the classic Remington 870 pump gun. While the parts are not interchangeable, they look similar and this is a good thing, as the Pardner Pump Protector turned out to be a solid performer.