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Winchester SXP | 12 Gauge Pump Shotgun Review

shotgun review Feb 03, 2022


Today we're taking a detailed and in-depth look at the tried and trusted Winchester SXP Pump action shotgun in 12 gauge! This is a gun that I've had for a very long time, and have used in almost every Gould Brothers Exhibition. We use it in a fan favorite trick, where we eject our empty shells out in front of us and shoot them away. This gun has almost never failed me - Lets dive in! 

The full in depth review is on my YouTube Channel (Target Focused Life) but if you prefer to read, here's a quick breakdown on paper.


  • This SXP is going for about $389

 Quick Specs

  • 12 gauge - Pump Action (Available in 20 gauge as well)
  • This is the Black Shadow default variation (38 Alternate Variations: Camo, hybrid hunter, personal defense, upland, trap, turkey, deer... THE LIST GOES ON) 
  • 3" chamber 
  • 28"  Barrell 
  • 6lbs 14oz 
  • Length of Pull 13 3/4" Out of the Box
  • Drop at comb 1 5/8"
  • Drop at Heel  2"
  • Comes with 3 chokes 

Ergonomics/Look & Feel

  • Forearm and pistol grip fit nicely with contours - impressive addition at this price point 
  • With that said, the grip texture can be slippery - nice with gloves, but harder if you're really rippin' on it 
  • I like to go fast - I've added my own grip tape to do so in shows
  • Cross bolt safety is front-mounted 
  • Charging handle and other controls are not oversized but manageable
  • Easy-to-use side load/eject
  • Balance is frontward - also note that I have a mag extension on for shows
  • Love the slightly raised rib
  • Trigger gap could be larger - very easy and accessible slide release
  • Comes with brass bead


  • 7lbs 0.6oz (Average) 
  • A bit heavier than I'd prefer. This gun is old - pretravel was definitely noticeable
  • This trigger has a nice solid break all things considered

Quality of Build

  • I always look at the quality of the build relative to the price. With that said, products can always be better per say, but this SXP has treated me too well over the years to complain
  • I have beat this gun up time and time again for 10 plus years and it's still holding up. That's all you should need to know about the quality of this firearm!

Ease of Breakdown

  • I prompted to skip breakdown in this video - reason being I did not have the wrench necessary to fully take off my magazine tube extension. We were also rushed for time in between shoots. What I can tell you is that It doesn't come apart as easy as other guns, but there are many great videos out there on how to do so. 
  • Also consider that you're not going to have to clean this gun as much being that it is a pump shotgun and doesn't use a gas system (As a gas gun tends to get dirtier quicker)


  • Recoil is pretty much what you' expect from an older 12 gauge
  • I appreciate that it pulls straight back rather than into my face
  • Uses the Inflex 1 system


  • This category is kind of invalid being that we are pumping that action ourselves to cycle
  • With that said, the SXP is unique in that fact that once you shoot, the slide automatically slides rearward to eject assuming you have minimal pressure on the slide. This takes a lot of work off of the shooter as you only have to slide it forward. 

Speed Shooting

I find this evaluation valuable because it tests how all the moving parts really come together. From getting on target, having an appropriate trigger pull, recovering from the recoil, and cycling good enough to get back on target. 

  • The fastest time I could accomplish with the SXP today was a 1.95
  • I'm frustrated with how much I struggled with this gun - I had a couple of repeating issues
  • The first problem - While running it at this faster pace, I kept ejecting full shells mid-shot as I was pumping a bit to early
  • The second problem - In conjunction with pumping maybe too quick, this caused the gun to to lodge full shells between the mag tube and the chamber. If my pump wasn't consistent, shells would get lodged rather quickly resulting in a no-shot
  • With that said, I believe these issues are equally gun issue, and human issue. At this price point it's simply not meant to be shot at this pace. Lets not forget its about 10 years old

In conclusion, I'm still impressed with how this gun has held up over the years. Issues aside, It's an absolute workhorse! Check it out at REEDS!

 Whether our targets in the field or our targets in life, we will only hit what we are focused on so live the #targetfocusedlife


Stay Target Focused,


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