I am looking at getting a couple of 20 gauge youth pumps for our local Delta mentor hunts. Alberta this year has lowered the age to 10 from 12 to legally hunt waterfowl (and other game birds,,, so basically we are looking at a couple guns to fit 10 - 12 year olds. As my username suggests, I am a big fan of the 870, and I see the 870 express compact comes in 18 (junior) or 21 inch barrels. Short barrels scare me when I sit next to one in a blind,,, but most youth guns are pretty short... that said I am leaning towards the 21 inch barrel in the 870. Question,,, does 3 inches more or less make a big difference for 10 - 11 year olds of smaller stature? The Winchester SXP is another possibility, however at 6 1/2 lb and 26 inch barrel would that be too much weight and barrel for a preadolescent to hold comfortably? Then there are the Mossberg 500 Youth Super Bantam and the Maverick 88 (with 22") barrels. Both guns weigh in at 5.25 lbs,,,, at that weight does recoil start becoming an issue for young shooters? While I personally do not like the safety on top, I can see that as advantage for a "learning" gun in that I can easily check the gun for the safety on or off and the guns fit right or left shooters equally. Also I understand that barrels are interchangeable between the 500 and the maverick,,, why then the price difference? Anyways, I am open to thoughts, comments and suggestions from about these guns or any other youth shotguns that I should possibly consider. Thanks in advance for any and all replies.