Concealed Carry & Home Defense

Gun Test: Winchester SXP Marine Defender 12-Gauge

Guns and Gear Contributor
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By John Taffin, GUNS Magazine

Self-defense means, well, defense of self. It does not mean self-offense nor does it mean lawnmower-defense. Self-defense is protecting self and family against death and/or serious injury. As much as we may be angered at someone stealing a lawnmower from our property, shooting in such a case is not self-defense. You could buy 1,000 lawnmowers for the cost of a defense attorney for shooting when self-defense is not involved. Keep the shotgun loaded, stay in the house and call 9-1-1. Self-defense begins if home intrusion takes place, and the noise of a pump shotgun being activated is not something intruders want to hear.

I always have a handgun close at hand, however, there is also a shotgun or two handy and my latest choice is the new Winchester 12-gauge pump shotgun, the SXP Marine Defender. The “SXP” stands for Super-X Pump. This latest Winchester pump shotgun is produced in Istanbul and imported by Browning.

The name does not refer to it being used by the United States Marines but rather being able to be carried on a boat without worrying about rust. The main components are chosen for this with the buttstock and forearm being a black synthetic, the receiver a black coated alloy and the barrel and magazine tube finished in a matte hard chrome as is the interior of the barrel.

I have a better chance of winning the lottery without buying a ticket than finding myself on a boat of any size. However, my use of this excellent new shotgun will be confined to home defense and occasional carrying in my pickup. There are a lot of things right about the shotgun and only one thing wrong, which is highly subjective. The latter is the same thing that bothers me about most rifles and shotguns, which is the fact the buttstock is too long for my too-short arms and I have to make a concentrated effort to really push it forward as I bring it up to my shoulder and tuck it in.


The Winchester SXP Marine Defender has been weatherproofed with a synthetic stock and a hard-chrome finish on the barrel and magazine tube.


Diamond Dot and home defense with the Marine Defender. Loaded with birdshot, the 12-gauge pump is lethal at the close range of the home.

As with every pump shotgun—which this is—there is the extra added bonus of the “Ka-chunk” which is that ominous sound heard in a quiet room as the homeowner works the slide to chamber a round. It is a sound no bad guy and/or home intruder wants to hear. It is often effective enough that no other action is necessary. My hearing has paid a deep price over the years with the right ear now being totally dead and the left ear at only 25 percent hearing, however, even I can hear this “Ka-chunk” quite loudly.

To activate this sound and chamber a round, the Winchester Marine Defender has a large, rounded synthetic forearm with over a dozen deep ribbed grooves for a very solid handhold. It works very easily, and in fact the whole action of feeding rounds is also quite smooth. This is aided by the twin bars, one on each side of the forearm and Winchester also calls this an inertia-assisted action. Once a round is fired the action almost works itself backwards making it very easy to eject the fired round and insert the next round; if needed this shotgun can be emptied quite quickly. The synthetic buttstock also provides a secure non-slip grip with a textured area found on each side of the pistol grip. Both the buttstock and forearm, as well as receiver with their dull matte black finish will not glare or reflect light.

OB1-1214-3A OB1-1214-3B OB1-1214-3C

No. 8 birdshot fired from the 5-shot Marine Defender gives a fairly open pattern at 20 feet (top), however, 00 Buckshot shot delivers all nine pellets on the target (middle) and slugs shot from the Marine Defender deliver plenty of “Oomph” on the target (bottom).

The SXP loads through the gate at the bottom of the alloy receiver in front of the trigger guard and has a magazine capacity of five 2-3/4-inch shells or four 3-inch shells. The trigger assembly drops out for ease of cleaning. The cross bolt safety is on the front part of the triggerguard and easily operated. When the SXP is fired the action is unlocked, allowing the pumping action to move the spent cartridge and insert the next one. Should you wish to unload without firing a round, pressing a button on the left side behind the triggerguard allows safe operation of the slide to unload. Although the Marine Defender is capable of accepting different chokes; however it comes only with an Invector-Plus cylinder choke installed, with others available separately. Winchester considers this a good choice for both buckshot and slugs.

Sights consist of a brass bead on the barrel and the receiver is drilled and tapped in four places for the use of optional sights or optics. One very excellent option is the fact a front sight comes already snapped on the front of the barrel right behind the bead sight and is a green TruGlo fiber-optic. For home defense, this is the next best thing to a laser or red-dot sight as in a lowlight condition that little green dot picks up any light available. Since it is snapped onto the barrel, it is easily removable should you want to do so.

We all know how hard it has been to find anything related to firearms not in a backorder situation. This was brought home to me when I tried to order two simple things: an elastic buttstock carrier and a web sling. Even though the magazine holds five rounds I wanted the ability to carry extra rounds easily and also a sling in case I needed to carry this 12-gauge pump very far.
My self-defense plan is to have the Marine Defender at the ready with an empty chamber and four rounds in the magazine tube. Those four rounds would all be birdshot and the reason for being one under capacity is the fact I could easily insert a round of buckshot or a slug into the magazine then quickly pump it into the chamber if I felt it was needed first. For home defense birdshot should be all we need, however there is always that possibility I want to be prepared for.


Ka-chunk! Racking the slide on a 12-gauge pump shotgun (below) has been known to deter aggressors. Just in case the “Ka-chunk” doesn’t work (above), the
12-gauge shotshell has been known to permanently deter aggressors.


Testing time found me recovering from a minor physical problem, however I did not want to take the chance of making a minor situation worse. My friend Denis helped with the initial shooting using birdshot, buckshot and slugs. All rounds were fired at a self-defense typical room distance of around 20 to 25 feet. Using a half-size silhouette target the No. 8 birdshot provided an excellent pattern, the buckshot put all nine pellets on target and very slightly left, while the two slugs printed dead center with the holes touching each other.

Recoil with the birdshot was very mild and this is made possible not only by the relatively light shells themselves, but also by the very generous Inflex Technology recoil pad, which is part of the buttstock. Felt recoil, of course, was a little more with the buckshot and slugs, however, nothing of any great concern. With its 18-inch barrel, 38-1/2-inch overall length, and weight of just over 7 pounds, the Marine Defender is quite compact and easy to handle. With a suggested retail price of one penny under $400, it is also quite easy on the checkbook.

As mentioned earlier, my only highly personal and subjective complaint is the length of the buttstock. I would definitely like to see the Marine Defender offered with a Compact Model buttstock and also in a Compact Model version for those who are also averse to the recoil of a 12-gauge. Diamond Dot would especially prefer the latter. Her current shotgun is an old 20-gauge double-barreled Stevens and I would certainly like to see this replaced with a higher capacity pump shotgun.
By John Taffin

SXP Marine Defender
Maker: Istanbul Silah Turkey
Importer: Winchester Repeating Arms
275 Winchester Avenue
Morgan UT 84050
(800) 945-5237

Action Type: Pump
Gauge: 12
Choke: Cylinder; others available
Capacity: 5+1 (2-3/4-inch), 4+1 (3-inch)
Barrel Length: 18 inches
Overall Length: 38-1/2 inches
Weight: 7 pounds, 5 ounces
Finish: Hard Chrome
Sights: Bead front and removable TruGlo green fiber optic front
Stock: Black synthetic
Price: $399.99

Source: GUNS Magazine

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