FN Herstal may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of shotgun brands, but they’ve actually been making shotguns for over 100 years; so needless to say, they have plenty of experience in that area. Their latest shotgun model is the FN P-12, which was introduced in mid-2012.
The P-12 is a pump-action design, in contrast to the semi-automatic SLP, so it complements FN’s shotgun lineup nicely. Like the popular FN SLP, the P-12 is a 12-gauge design (as its name implies), and it’s manufactured at the same factory in Viana, Portugal.
My experience with the P-12 has shown it to be a reliable, high quality design. I’ve fired a variety of different 12-gauge loads (both 2.75-inch and 3-inch) through the P-12, with good results. The gun is very ergonomic and comfortable to fire with either 2.75-inch or 3-inch shells, thanks to a nice rubber recoil pad on the buttstock, as well as a highly checkered pump.
Speaking of the pump action, it’s easy to cycle and very smooth. The safety on the P-12 is a crossbolt-style button located on the front side of the trigger guard, where it’s easy to reach (the red position means the gun is ready to fire). There’s also a release lever at the rear of the trigger guard.
The P-12 has an 18-inch barrel, which is chrome-lined (like FN’s other designs) for corrosion resistance and longevity. It comes with a pre-installed Improved Cylinder choke tube, and other Standard Invector choke tubes can be used as well, depending on your intended use. The gun’s overall length comes out to about 39 inches, which is pretty manageable.
Shotguns are great close range weapons, and a good 12-gauge buckshot load has a lot of power, so it goes without saying that the P-12 is well suited for home defense use or hunting. For sights, the P-12 has a flip-up rear iron sight and a red fiber-optic front sight (which you can see in the picture below).
The P-12 can accept a variety of attachments, making it a pretty versatile shotgun. It has sling attachment points at each end of the gun (one on the underside of the stock, and one at the end of the magazine tube). It also has a Weaver cantilever rail on top for mounting a red dot sight (although it’s not compatible with Picatinny M1913 attachments). I’m pretty happy with the standard sights on the P-12, but if you don’t care for them, you can always add a red dot sight to the Weaver rail.
The P-12’s magazine tube holds 5+1 shells (2.75-inch) or 4+1 shells (3-inch). That’s not quite on par with the FN SLP, which holds 6+1 in its extended tube, but it’s still pretty respectable. You’ll have a total of 5 or 6 shells with the P-12, depending on the shell size.
Retail price for the P-12 is about $650, which is pretty good when you consider how FN’s other shotgun, the SLP, typically runs around $1,000 (and that’s already pretty cheap by FN’s standards!). Since the P-12 uses 12-gauge shells, it’s also a relatively cheap gun to shoot, which is another big positive in the long run.
The FN P-12 seems like a great option for home defense, hunting, or target shooting. If you’re wanting a quality FN shotgun but you’d rather not shell out $1,000+ for FN’s SLP, then you might want to consider the P-12. It’s a more affordable option and it comes from the same factory.
All in all, the P-12 is a great pump shotgun, and a great addition to FN’s lineup.
Manufacturer: FN Herstal (Portugal)
Cartridge: 12-gauge (2.75 inch and 3 inch)
Overall Length: 39 in
Barrel Length: 18 in
Weight: 7.4 lb
Sight Radius: 14 in
Trigger Pull: 6.2 to 7.3 lbs
Magazine Capacity: 5+1 (2.75 inch shells) or 4+1 (3 inch shells)
For more information on the FN P-12, visit FNH USA’s official website at www.fnhusa.com.
For more photos of the P-12, visit our photo gallery.
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