WON Landing Page March 2022

Tips for choosing a competition shotgun

Mia Anstine shares tips for choosing a competition shotgun for a young shooter.


How do you go about choosing a new competition shotgun for your 100 pound, 15-year-old daughter?

My husband and I started by asking a trusted colleague for a shotgun recommendation when looking for a new one for our teenage competitor. From there we asked a few more friends for their thoughts. More than one person recommended the Beretta A400 Xcel. We were intrigued by the suggested shotgun and wanted to learn more about it.


Mia and LG competition shotgun


We learned that the Xcel is the “cream of the clay shooting crop”. With its brilliant blue finish, it would be the envy of all who lay their eyes on it at the range. That wasn’t enough for us. We needed to know that it would be a reliable gun our daughter. It needed to be one she could handle shooting now and suitable for her to use as she grows.

We began researching the Xcel, because not everyone knows our little gal like we do. After all, how would our friends know this gun could be good for her, right? Well, sometimes you should take your friend’s word, especially about this outstanding firearm. We learned that the Xcel isn’t just a pretty gun with a blue finish.

The A400 Xcel is a 12-gauge competition shotgun that Beretta says, “is faster-cycling, softer-shooting and better balanced than anything else on the market.” Our daughter was shooting a 20-gauge. We wondered how she would adapt to a 12-gauge?


Well Balanced

We contemplated if this gun would be too long or heavy for a petite shooter. We chatted with Beretta shooter, Diane Sorantino, who mentioned the Xcel is light and well balanced. She also mentioned a Balance Cap System is available in the event things needed to be equalized.


Low Profile Action

Sorantino declared that this shotgun is wonderful because it points right where you want it. Beretta boasts, “The A400 action has sleek lines and a low profile, meaning that the vertical distance between the dominant eye and the supporting hand is reduced to a minimum.” They say the result is “A gun that follows your swing like an extension of your body and eyesight–and many more broken clays.”

All of that was of course great news to us, but how would our daughter handle shooting a 12-gauge all day?



We asked Sorantino how she thought a young shooter would do with the recoil of the Xcel. She mentioned that she moved from the 391, which she loved, to the A400, which she loves even more.  She didn’t think she could get any less recoil than the 391, but was astounded that the A400 has virtually none. She highly recommended it for our daughter.


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    The Women's Outdoor News, aka The WON, features news, reviews and stories about women who are shooting, hunting, fishing and actively engaging in outdoor adventure. This publication is for women, by women.


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