SRM 1216 12 Gauge Semi-Automatic Fighting Shotgun

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

January 10th, 2013


Click pictures for a larger version.





The 1216 has plenty of rail for mounting optics and accessories.



Excellent folding sights.



Charging handle.



Four-tube, sixteen-shot magazine.





The first time I ever got to see, handle, and shoot the SRM 1216 auto loading shotgun was when visiting with some friends in New Hampshire several months ago. I had heard of the 12 gauge wonder-gun, but had never had the opportunity to play with one, so was anxious to give it a try. We were shooting skeet using some quality over/under shotguns, when the SRM was uncased, and everyone wanted a turn behind the unusual shotgun. I didn’t set any new world records shooting skeet with the SRM, but then, I usually fail to impress anyone with my clay-shooting abilities, regardless of which shotgun I am using. What I did manage to do was develop a new interest in semi-automatic shotguns for fighting, as this SRM 1216 is a game-changer.

The name 1216 refers to the shotgun having a magazine capacity of sixteen rounds of twelve gauge ammunition. The SRM is a roller-locking recoil-operated semi-automatic design with a unique four-tube magazine. Each of the four magazine tubes holds four rounds of either two and three-quarter or three inch shotshells. The SRM 1216 is very compact for a semi-auto fighting shotgun, with an overall length of only 33.5 inches, but still wearing a legal eighteen-inch barrel. The length of pull (distance from butt to trigger) on the test gun measures thirteen inches. The four-tube rotary magazine locks into place under the barrel. In operation, when one mag tube is empty, the bolt locks open. Pushing forward on the ambidextrous latch, the magazine is rotated to align the next tube with the action. A loaded magazine tube comes into alignment, the bolt closes, chambering another round. This process is repeated until the magazine is empty or the fight is over, whichever occurs first. If more ammunition is needed, the magazine quickly detaches for reloading, or another loaded magazine is snapped into place, and the festivities resume.

The 1216 is a very easy weapon to operate, and the design is totally ambidextrous. The charging handle and safety can be switched to either side, and the magazine release and rotation buttons are ambidextrous. The top of the receiver and about half the barrel length wears a Picatinny rail. There are also rails on each side of the barrel at ninety degrees to facilitate the easy mounting of a flashlight or laser sight, if desired. There is also a small section of rail atop the magazine hanger housing for the mounting of a front sight. My sample 1216 came with the optional folding sights, but the Picatinny rail works perfectly for mounting a variety of optical or mechanical sights, or even an AR-15 carry handle.

To load the 1216, the magazine is removed by pushing inward on the release at the front of the magazine hanger housing. For residents of California, there is a California-compliant version that requires the use of a tool to remove the magazine. Each tube can be loaded with up to four shotshells, and the magazine locked back into place. If the bolt is open when this is done, it will close upon insertion of the magazine, chambering a shotshell. If the bolt is closed when the loaded magazine is inserted, the charging handle can be pulled to the rear and released to chamber a shotshell. The video shows this much better than I can explain it. With a little practice, it is easy to quickly deliver seventeen shots into the target from the 1216. While on the subject of capacity, SRM has shorter-barreled models that fall under NFA regulation, with capacities of eight or twelve, depending upon their length. However, with this 1216 being short and handy already, I personally have no need for a shorter shotgun, and I really like the sixteen-round magazine capacity.

A distinct advantage of the rotating mag tubes would be to load different types of ammo into each tube, if desired. The tubes could be color-coded with tape to distinguish between slugs, buckshot, birdshot, or combination loads. Switching tubes is as simple as rotating the desired tube into alignment with the action.

I fired the 1216 using various types of twelve gauge ammunition including trap loads, field loads, slugs, and buckshot. The SRM functioned perfectly with everything tried that is recommended by SRM. SRM advises against the use of one-ounce skeet loads, as they do not have sufficient power to operate the action. However, the one and one-eight ounce target loads functioned perfectly, as did everything else. Recoil is not punishing, as the stock is straight, and the recoil impulse is straight back into the shooter’s shoulder.

Comparing the 1216 to other shotguns on the market, it is much shorter and offers over twice the available firepower of a standard-configuration semi-auto shotgun. Weighing in at about seven and three-quarters pounds with an empty magazine in place, it is about eight ounces heavier than the Kel-Tec KSG pump gun, and about seven inches longer. The 1216 holds two more rounds than does the KSG, and offers the advantages of an auto loading design.

There is and probably always will be an argument over which is better; a semi-auto or a pump shotgun. Both work very well, and I do not understand the resistance to the semi-auto from those who should know better. Some make the argument that the pump is more reliable, but a good semi-auto is just as reliable as a pump. We long ago accepted the use of a semiautomatic pistol, and just as with a pistol, if the correct ammunition is used, a semi-automatic shotgun will run perfectly. I like the fact that the autoloader can easily be operated one-handed, if needed. Many quote the old adage that “The sound of the pump will scare off the bad guy”. That just isn’t so. The sound of racking the pump before the shooting begins just gives away your position, and costs precious time in a gunfight. If someone needs to be shot, they need to be shot immediately, without trying to scare them away with mechanical sounds. They should hear nothing before feeling the impact of an ounce and a half of lead shot. The roller-delayed action of the SRM is very reliable, and at close range against multiple targets, with the 1216’s firepower and reliability, I can think of nothing that I would rather have in a fight that I can legally own.

For more information and a list of dealers in your area for the SRM 1216, go to

To purchase quality shotgun ammunition online, go to and

Jeff Quinn

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Click pictures for a larger version.



Fully-loaded, the 1216 holds 17 rounds of either 2-3/4 or 3 inch shotshells.



Left to right: Mossberg 930 SPX semi-auto, SRM 1216 semi-auto, Kel-Tec KSG pump.





Disassembly for cleaning is quick and easy.