Winchester SXP Defender 12 gauge Shotgun

By the Guns and Shooting Online Staff

Winchester SXP Defender 12 gauge Shotgun
Illustration courtesy of Winchester Repeating Arms.

The Super-X Pump Defender is Winchester's basic tactical shotgun and it is well suited for home defense. It is an all black 12 gauge with an injection-molded synthetic stock. The trigger guard is also molded from black plastic. "Winchester" is printed (not stamped or engraved) in red on the left side of the receiver and "SXP" is printed in red on the right side of the receiver. Red arcs decorate both sides of the receiver at the rear. There is a red "W" in the bottom of the pistol grip (which lacks a cap) and small white circles with a red "W" inlaid into both sides of the pistol grip. The barrel and receiver are given a matte black finish, while the magazine tube, shell carrier and bolt are a glossier black.

This shotgun is made by Istanbul Silah, Ltd. in Turkey. It is imported by BACO, Inc. of Morgan, Utah. Winchester is a trademark of the Olin Corporation.

The action features an aluminum alloy receiver, dual action bars and a rotating bolt head that locks directly into a barrel extension with four front locking lugs. (Shades of the old Model 1200.) Operation is smooth and tight with very little play. Most of the internal parts seem to be stamped from sheet steel.

The trigger group is removable. First, cycle the action to cock the hammer and put the crossbolt safety on "safe." Then, push out the trigger guard pin from the left side of the receiver. With the pin removed, lift the trigger group up and rearward to remove it from the receiver. The trigger group must be removed for normal lubrication and to allow removal of the bolt. The Owner's Manual states that the SXP must be kept clean and oiled regularly for reliable operation and best longevity. Apply a few drops of quality gun oil on the firing pin, bolt lugs, ejector and the external surface of the magazine tube and then reassemble.

The absurdly heavy trigger pull exceeded the eight pound maximum calibration of our RCBS trigger pull scale. We estimate it to be about 10 pounds with about 1/16" take-up and over travel. The pull weight is so heavy that we didn't notice any grit in the release.

The removable barrel is secured by a threaded magazine tube cap. To remove the barrel, simply open the action and unscrew the magazine cap. Reinstall the barrel the same way. The bore is hard chrome plated and chambered for 2-3/4" or 3" shells. Winchester claims that the no-choke barrel is accurate with Foster type (rifled) slugs and efficiently handles buckshot, which we confirmed at the range. The magazine holds five 2-3/4" shells. A single shell can be loaded directly into the chamber.

The matte black synthetic stock comes with an Inflex recoil pad that is adequately soft and incorporates a smooth insert at the heel to help prevent snagging on clothing when the gun is shouldered. A stippled panel is molded into each side of the moderately hooked pistol grip, which would be more comfortable with less curvature. The oval pistol grip is commendably slim in horizontal cross-section, but too thick in vertical cross-section. The comb is very slightly fluted. There are peculiar, non-functional lines molded into the buttstock that detract from its appearance.

The black plastic pump handle, round in cross-section, has a deeply grooved gripping surface. The grooves are so deep that we found them uncomfortable. We suggest, since the gripping surfaces are simply molded into the pump handle and pistol grip, both would be more functional and attractive with checkering molded in place of the current treatments.

The few operating controls are conventional in operation and placement. The cross-bolt safety is located in the front of the trigger guard and the slide release (disconnector) button is at the left rear of the trigger guard.

Extras include a gun lock, magazine tube plug, owners manual and the usual paper work. There is a steel detachable sling swivel stud in the end of the magazine cap and a loop for a detachable sling swivel molded into the bottom of the synthetic buttstock. (The latter is an incredibly cheap shortcut that we detest; a steel stud should have been supplied instead.) The receiver is drilled and tapped for scope bases.


  • SYNTHETIC STOCK WITH TEXTURED GRIPPING SURFACES gives your hands a sure, non-slip grip and the non-glare matte black finish won’t give you away
  • TACTICAL RIBBED FOREARM for better control when you need it most
  • HARD CHROMED CHAMBER AND BORE make these surfaces highly resistant to wear and corrosion
  • ALLOY RECEIVER; starting with 2013 production, drilled and tapped for scope bases
  • TRADITIONAL BRASS BEAD FRONT SIGHT offers a fast, natural sight picture
  • ROTARY BOLT with four massive lugs provides strength and solid lockup
  • DROP-OUT TRIGGER GROUP allows easy cleaning
  • CROSSBOLT SAFETY is easily operated, even with gloves
  • BLACK CHROME PROTECTION on bolt and other components lasts longer than traditional bluing
  • INFLEX TECHNOLOGY RECOIL PAD directs felt recoil down and away from your cheek to reduce flinch and fatigue


  • Item number: 512252395
  • Gauge: 12
  • Magazine capacity: 5 (2-3/4") or 4 (3") shells
  • Chamber: 3"
  • Barrel length: 18"
  • Choke: cylinder
  • Sights: brass front bead; drilled and tapped for scope bases
  • Stock: black synthetic
  • Length of pull: 13-3/4"
  • Drop at comb: 1-3/8"
  • Drop at heel: 1-5/8"
  • Overall length: 38-1/2"
  • Weight: 6 lbs. 4 oz.
  • Country of origin: Turkey
  • 2013 MSRP: $349.99

Guns and Shooting Online staff members Chuck Hawks, Bob Fleck, Rocky Hays and Jim Fleck participated in this review. Chuck found the stock's comb excessively high, rather like a trap stock, which prevented him from looking directly down the barrel. However, Rocky, Bob and Jim had no complaints about stock fit. With a steel barrel, steel magazine tube, aluminum receiver and hollow plastic buttstock, the gun has a noticeably weight forward balance.

Our test shooting was accomplished at the Izaak Walton rifle range south of Eugene, Oregon. We fired Remington Slugger 2-3/4" shells with 1 ounce lead rifled slugs from a shooting bench using a Caldwell Lead Sled rest. We produced 4" five shot groups at 25 yards, which we regard as typical performance from a cylinder bore barrel. The average point of impact was 5.25" high at 25 yards. Certainly no criminal would want to be in the path of one of these .72 caliber slugs.

Rifled slugs can be used to extend the effective range of the SXP or to maximize penetration, but we prefer buckshot loads for home defense, where the ranges are usually short. We normally use #0, #1 or #4 buckshot in our home defense shotguns, depending on the specific situation. Don't forget that, even in a cylinder bore barrel, a buckshot load disperses very little at across the room indoor distances and the gun must be aimed (pointed) like a rifle to hit the target.

There were no malfunctions in the course of our limited range time. The SXP reliably fired, extracted and ejected shells.

To remove unfired shells from the magazine, we found it easiest to simply cycle them through the action. To do this, first put the crossbolt safety in the "Safe" position. Depress the slide disconnector button at the rear of the trigger guard and repeatedly cycle the pump action to chamber and eject all the shells from the magazine. Cycle the action a couple of times after all shells have been ejected to make sure the chamber is empty. With the action open and the shotgun turned upside down, depress the shell elevator and inspect the magazine tube to ensure that it is indeed empty. (You should see only the black magazine follower.)

Its light weight makes the SXP fast handling and easy to carry, but increases recoil. (Recoil energy is directly proportional to gun weight.) To moderate recoil, we suggest you avoid shooting 2-3/4" Magnum shells and all 3" shells in this shotgun. In any case, standard velocity 2-3/4" buckshot or rifled slug loads are all you need for home defense.

The Winchester ( Super-X Pump Defender is a viable tactical shotgun at a very reasonable price. It competes in the marketplace with the American made Remington Model 870 Express and Mossberg 500 tactical shotguns and, being imported from a Third World country, is able to undersell both. Turkish shotguns have a checkered reputation, but the SXP Defender works well.

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