Dominion Arms Backpacker 12 Gauge Review

Dominion Arms Backpacker

I thought it’d be funny to use a red velvet background for a $99 shotgun

I want to make this review real quick: this is an inexpensive, very packable shotgun of limited, unique, uses. This is not a general application shotgun for deer, grouse, goose, etc. It’s also not a premium shotgun: fit and finish are on-par with a shotgun that I’d pay $100-$150 for, but locking surfaces are strong and the stock is wood instead of a crappy plastic stock that you’d normally get in a firearm of this pricerange.

I think it’s a ridiculously great buy as a fun gun, as a really basic bear defense shotgun where you’re not likely to be attacked by bear, or as a quick and dirty quad gun where a longer shotgun might get in the way. Canada Ammo has these on sale for $99, but they can get up to $149 at times. If you need more firepower than 1 barrel can allow, the double barrel outlaw is only $249.

Dominion Arms Backpacker Video Review


It actually has more features than it needs. There’s a passive safety between the hammer and firing pin called a transfer bar that keeps the firing pin from riding on a loaded shell when the hammer is down. That means that the shotgun can be loaded with a live round and the hammer down and be safe if you trust the action. Some people might not trust these mechanisms on a $99 shotgun. Your other option might be to keep the hammer back and use the cross bolt safety, which blocks the trigger from being pulled. Personally, I trust the transfer bar more than I trust a basic trigger-blocking safety and would just cock the hammer when ready to fire.

The 13″ factory barrel chambered for 2 3/4 or 3″ 12 gauge shotgun shells and is cylinder bore, which means that this shotgun is only really going to do the job very close in. It comes with a mechanical extractor that extracts spent shells when you break open the action. That short barrel doesn’t make for a mean kick, but it does increase how loud the shotgun is and make for a bit of flame with some shells. You can actually feel the heat from the muzzle blast on your left hand upon firing. If you’re letting someone else shoot your backpacker, make sure they keep their hand well back of the muzzle and that they don’t pinch their hand when opening or closing the action.

There is rough, but functional checkering on the stock as well as a stiff, but usable buttpad. That’s more than you get on most budget rifles these days, so I can’t complain too much given the price point.


  • Rough fit and finish.
  • Some people have issues with the forends shooting loose. Mine got a bit loose, but I was able to re-tighten down the forend screws and it hasn’t gone loose on me again.
  • Forend fit against the barrel got loose on me, so I stuck some foam tape inside the forend to stop rattling.
  • The front bead on mine, and many others, shot loose and was never seen again.
Very compact when slung

Very compact when slung


At 5.5 lbs with an assembled OAL of under 29″, it’s very easy to carry all day on your back. Disassembled, the max length is 19″, easily fitting into a backpack or able to squeeze into a little bit of spare room in a rifle case. I’ll be adding sling studs to mine so it’s easily slung, and I have a feeling it’ll be accompanying me on more walks through the woods than many of my other long guns, simply because it’s very compact and easy to carry and I don’t mind beating it to heck. For the price, I think it’s well worth it. I also love cheap guns 🙂

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