The Fasuti DEA SLX Side by Side is Your Go-To Upland Companion

For most of us, spending $6,000 on a bird gun is no trivial indulgence. You shoulder it, examine it, consider the possibility of owning it, shoulder it again, everything feels right, looks right, you can see yourself owning it, the seduction begins, this flirtatious dance in your mind taking place bounded by the hard financial calculous: is it really worth the money?

The 28-gauge Fasuti DEA SLX side by side certainly made a great first impression towards answering the question. Unboxing the Italian shotgun revealed an emerald-green Negrini hard case with the Fausti logo in gold complemented by three gold-washed combination locks. Popping it open reveals a deeper green plush padding holding in place beige suede guns socks with the Fausti coat of arms protecting the barrel/forend and stock. 

Fasuti DEA SLX Side by Side

Once assembled, the Fasuti DEA SLX looked as though it could easily belong in an elegant mahogany-paneled gunroom. Although the side by side is not a $90,000 gem, Fausti had presented a shotgun understated in demeanor evocative of a snifter of Courvoisier. 

A straight grip of AAA grade satin-finished walnut had the ripple figuring you would see from tossing a stone in a pond. The game-style recoil pad was black. Under the task lamp of my bench, the case coloring of the steel receiver highlighted a copper-hue. The laser engraving up through the fences was an artful vine genus that gently curled upon itself. The sideplate screw heads, also engraved, were almost invisible as they harmonized to a turn with the pattern. The bottom engraving relied on a traditional acanthus scroll surround of a gold game-bird on the wing and DEA SLX also in gold. Perfect inletting of the sideplates and long trigger tang enhanced one’s first impression of excellence.

Fausti calls it a hybrid beavertail forend, but its ample embrace of the barrels, while more practical than a splinter forend in protecting against the heat, contributed to the shotguns luxurious appearance, with the pragmatism of a mink-coat collar. 


Now at this point, would I spend $6,000 on a Fausti DEA SLX? So far, so good.

The DEA family is part of Fausti’s Core line of entry-level shotguns. There’s the basic DEA, next up the DEA SLX, and those models are topped off by the DEA Duetto two-barrel set. 

All of them are Anson & Deeley boxlocks. Although the DEAs are offered in highly ornate old silver and case-colored finishes, the SLX features sideplates with more detailed engraving. Fausti’s DEAs are presented on scaled frames in 12-, 16-, 20-, 28-gauge and .410. 

Is the Fasuti DEA SLX Side by Side Your Go-To Upland Companion

As characteristic in Italian upland guns in this price range, the straight grip is paired with a single trigger, which in this case was inertia and non-selective. Your gloss-black barrel-length choices are 26, 28 and 30 inches with solid ribs and a brass bead at the muzzle. You’ll find that the 12 gauge weighs about 6.8 pounds, the 16 gauge at 6.2 pounds, the 20 gauge is 6 pounds, the 28 gauge tips the scales at 4.9 pounds while the .410 is a tad heavier at 5.1 pounds. 

The shotgun ships with five flush chokes: cylinder, improved cylinder, modified, improved modified and full. As I would discover later, the choke patterns delivered effective payloads even at long distances for a 28 gauge.

Unfortunately, quail season here in South Georgia was over, but the 28-inch barrels on the side by side in my possession, would have been perfect come November. Instead, I took the Fausti DEA SLX to our local shooting facility, The Ranges at Oakfield in Shotgun Life’s hometown of Thomasville. In addition to state-of-the-art handgun and rifle ranges, there are skeet, trap and 5-stand. Although I’m not a fan of skeet (mostly because, despite years of lessons, I still suck at it), my two shooting buddies are in fact excellent skeet shots. I finally relented to join them because skeet does in fact make for great practice in shooting bobwhite quail. 

The 14½-inch length of pull fit quite well. Call “pull” and I immediately discovered that the Fausti DEA SLX, with its ideal grip ergonomics and balance, mounted quickly and with grace. Once in the shoulder pocket, the side by side showed a clear target picture and actually shot where I intended. Its 4½-pound trigger pull proved smooth, crisp and decisive. I can say unequivocally that if you ever get the chance to own a side by side with his hybrid beavertail forend, go for it. Its organic shape fit perfectly in my hand for comfort and control, and would make for a valuable contribution in the field.

After three rounds of skeet, we started packing up when one of my friends suddenly asked if I wanted to shoot 5-stand. The targets there are always challenging, and it would take a better shot than me to do them justice with a 28-gauge side by side. But then I figured “why not?”

As it turned out, the 5-stand showed an entirely different character of the Fausti DEA SLX. Although there were a few fast rabbits and overhead outgoer, most of the targets were long crossers and incomers. To me, the key to breaking those targets is patience. Don’t ride the target. Wait until the target almost reaches the breakpoint, then calmly mount the shotgun with measured confidence, sustaining the lead slightly under the flight path and then intercepting it. 

Shooting a shotgun slowly emphasizes its flaws and advantages, because each phase of the mount is an incremental flow that reveals the overall integration of balance, comfort, design and engineering. Frankly, I was surprised at the number of long targets I broke with the Fausti DEL SLX.

So is the Fausti DEA SLX actually worth $6,000? The shotgun did perform for the price. But casing it for the drive home I was reminded of an old wise-man saying: “Life is too short to shoot an ugly gun.”

Irwin Greenstein is the publisher of Shotgun Life. You can reach him at the Shotgun Life Facebook page at



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