“Use a shotgun… and you don’t kill your kids.”
– Joe Biden: Vice President of the United States of America –
- Shotgun Accessories Philosophy
- Dedicated Weapons Light
- Mounted Tactical Light
- Shotgun Pistol Grips
- Shotgun Stocks
- Rifled Sights
- Qualtiy Gear
- Shotgun Setup Examples
- Tactical Shotgun Recommended Setup
Shotgun Accessories Philosophy:
- AR15.com’s Setting Up Your Fighting Shotgun
- AR15.com’s Shotgun Picture Thread, part 1
- AR15.com’s Shotgun Picture Thread, part 2
Like with all firearms I am a minimalist and don’t believe in adding a bunch of heavy, bulky, complicated junk. Unless it is quality gear that is going to help me shoot faster and more accurately, then it doesn’t belong on my gun. Just because you have a piano and fancy candelabra or two doesn’t make you a concert pianist. Adding a bunch of “tactical” looking crap doesn’t make the firearm more effective.
Although I am a minimalist I feel that two items will make it more effective. The first is some type of high-quality tactical light mounted to the gun, and the second is some type of “Side-Saddle” shell holder that fits on the side of the shotgun receiver.
A Side-Saddle (shown right) or similar type of device is handy for holding six extra rounds on the shotgun. They are easy to install with no permanent alterations made to the firearm. With the Side-Saddle brand, I have found that if shells are loaded into it from the bottom, they are easier to remove and load into the gun, however rounds tend to vibrate out over time if you are shooting a lot. You will find yourself pushing the rounds back up into place. Loading them from the top solves that problem. Also, when installing the Side-Saddle, be sure to use Loctite on all the screws. Be sure to check the tightness of the screws after each shooting session as the screws like to vibrate out during prolonged shooting sessions.
Dedicated Weapons Light:
Most self-defense shootings happen in low light, and some type of tactical illumination tool is mandatory to properly identify whether or not you are shooting a “hostile”, or about to accidentally shoot a “friendly”. Adding a light to a shotgun will give you the capability to employ it at night or inside dark buildings. You are going to have to spend some money to do this right. Put a budget light and mount on a shotgun is going to result in disappointment. I can’t think of anything more abusive than being bolted to the side of shotgun firing full power rounds. If you go cheap, either the mount or the light is going to break. Surefire (shown right) makes dedicated shotgun forends that are built specifically to handle that shock and abuse.
Mounted Tactical Light:
Shotgun Pistol Grips:
- Savannah Arsenal’s Shotgun Pistol Grip Blog
- Guns America’s Pistol Grip Pitfalls (and How to Avoid Them)
There are many mixed feelings and emotions about pistol grip shotguns. Many argue that they are not effective defensive weapons because they are harder to aim and safely control than shotguns equipped with a shoulder stock. Others argue that a pistol grip shotgun provides the shooter a massive amount of close range firepower in a compact package that easy to transport in a vehicle, boat, or backpack. In my opinion everyone is correct. Yes they can be more challenging to learn to shoot effectively without socking yourself in the nose, but with the lots of practice and appropriate ammunition the pistol grip shotgun can give you significant firepower in you vehicle, boat, or at your campsite or bedside.
They work great with either Mossberg or Remington safety switches. With Mossberg shotguns it is easy to use your thumb to move the tang safety switch, and with Remington shotguns it is easy to manipulate the trigger guard safety.
Pistol Grip Stocks:
Pistol grips stocks (shown right) make shotguns very controllable. On a Mossberg shotgun a pistol grip stock may make accessing the tang safety switch on the top of Mossberg’s receivers a little more problematic, although not impossible. They work great with Remington safeties.
Magpul SGA Stocks:
- SA’s Review of Magpul’s SGA Stock For Shotguns
- Magpul SGA for Mossberg 500/590
- Magpul SGA for Remington 870
These are a hybrid between a standard stock and a pistol grip stock. Regardless of perceived aesthetics they are extremely comfortable and they are easy to use with Mossberg and Remington safeties. They are available in black, “stealth grey”, FDE, and “Less-Lethal Orange”.
There is a matching forend for the Magpul SGA Stock, as seen right. It is very comfortable and gives you a lot to hold on to. Unfortunately it is not designed for use with a heat shroud mounted to the barrel, although I have know someone to carefully sand off enough material that it did not interfere with the shroud. My recommendation would be to not modify the forend, but rather remove the heat shroud. When holding the forend you won’t have any problems with your booger pickers touching the hot barrel. The forend wraps high enough around the barrel that you probably can’t reach up far enough to accidentally touch the barrel.
Top-Folding Shotgun Stocks:
Top-Folding Shotgun Stock Philosophy: While super cool looking, these stocks are heavy, bulky, and they hurt your shoulder and your cheek when you shoot them. The benefit of having a more compact shotgun package is overshadowed by the diminished shootability of the shotgun. There are better shotgun stock options on the market. Rather than buying a top-folding stock, it would be better to spend the money on Magpul’s ergonomic SGA stock (discussed above), or simply use the fixed, factory stock that came with the shotgun and instead spend the money on ammunition and training. If you still can’t be persuaded from buying a top-folding shotgun stock, the following information will at least help guide your product selection.
Choate Brand Top-Folding Stocks have that great, classic “police stake-out” look. Choate has made solid, quality shotgun stocks for many years. These stocks are made for Remington 870, Winchester 1200/1300/1400, and Mossberg 500/590 shotguns. This brand and model will probably be the most solid and quality built top-folding shotgun stock. If you are absolutely fixated with the idea of top-folding shotgun stock, then this is the one to buy.
ATI brand accessories are sub-par and are cheaply made, except for their fixed pistol-grip stocks. Like all of their firearm accessories, the ATI top-folding stocks (shown right) are very cheesy, as are their barrel shrouds and receiver mounted shell holders. You won’t see any of their stuff running around Iraq or Afghanistan, or hopping out of the SWAT vans of American police departments.
Side-Folding Shotgun Stocks:
Side-Folding Shotgun Stock Philosophy: Like top-folding stocks, side-folders look really cool, however they too are uncomfortable to shoot. Most brands are cheesy and the hinges rattle. There are better shotgun stock options on the market. Rather than buying a side-folding stock, it would be better to spend the money on Magpul’s ergonomic SGA stock (discussed above), or simply use the fixed, factory stock that came with the shotgun and instead spend the money on ammunition and training. If you still can’t be persuaded from buying a side-folding shotgun stock, the following information will at least help guide your product selection.
Choate Brand Side-Folding Shotgun Stocks: Choate has made solid, quality shotgun stocks for many years. These stocks are made for Remington 870, Winchester 1200/1300/1400, and Mossberg 500/590 shotguns. This brand and model will probably be the most solid and quality built side-folding shotgun stock. If you are absolutely fixated with the idea of side-folding shotgun stock, then this is the one to buy.
ATI Side-Folding Shotgun Stocks: Like their top-folding stocks, their side-folding stock is as cheesy as it is ugly. It has a M-4 style stock so that you can adjust length of pull, however all of the ridges along the tube and cheek pad look as though they could play havoc with your face. This stock has an ugly folding hinge that upon close inspection does not appear that it could survive a high round count of full power high-brass buckshot.
Butler Creek folding stocks suck. Their hinge rattles with the stock closed or open. The wire stock is hard to get a good cheek weld, and it is painful on your cheek when you fire. Like ATI gear discussed above, you won’t find it kicking in doors in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Recoil Reducing Stocks:
Blackhawk’s Knox Spec Ops Recoil Reducing Stock: I had one. I shot it a few times, and then sold it. This may or may not work well on a Remington. It works horribly on a Mossberg. Recoil is reduced to the shoulder, but if you are using appropriate cheek weld, it feels like you are being punched in the cheek. After four or five rounds you will not want to shoot the shotgun anymore. Also, the recoil forces the shotgun’s slide to shoot back at least half way with each shot, sometimes partially ejecting the spent round. This is a pain if the shooter doesn’t plan on ejecting the spent round and cycling a new round into the chamber. After you fire you are past the point of no return with regards to cycling the action and you must load the next round into the chamber. It is almost impossible to keep it from happening. This product is nothing more than a gimmick. As a shooter you need to man-up and deal with the recoil. It’s a shotgun, for God’s sake! Avoid this product. You have been warned.
Don’t use a sling that carries ammo on it. While they look cool and can carry ten extra rounds on the gun, you will find that the weight of the sling with ten shotgun shells swinging back and forth and cause you trouble when taking carefully aimed shots, especially with rifled slugs. Carry ammunition in belt or chest pouches. There are quality bandoliers made by Blackhawk and Eagle Industries that carry 55 rounds of ammo. Carrying all that ammo is as easy as throwing the bandoliers over you head and shoulders.
They will give you the ability to engage targets out to 100 yards with rifled slugs. When you are buying a shotgun, spend a little extra money and buy a shotgun with rifled sights. It will be cheaper than having them installed later.
Ghost Ring Sights:
Tactical Shotgun Setup Examples:
Mossberg 500 with factory 7-round tubular magazine, factory pistol grip, barrel shroud, and Side-Saddle shell carrier. Some people hate pistol grips on shotguns. They make them compact and easy to store and transport. They are fine to shoot buckshot at close quarters range, but it will be difficult to accurately shoot rifled slugs at greater distances.
Mossberg 590 with Marine-cote finish, factory 8-shot tubular magazine, Sure-Fire forend lighting system, Side-Saddle shell carrier, and ATI pistol grip. These grips are larger and more comfortable to shoot than the smaller factory pistol grips, however the design could be improved by adding a more textured finish to help the shooting hold onto the shotgun, especially when wet. The shotgun shells are shown inserted into the Side-Saddle from the bottom. Load your from the top so that they do not vibrate out during long strings of continuous firing.
Mossberg 500 with ATI fixed stock and Side-Saddle shell carrier. This stock is very comfortable to shoot on the Mossberg platform. I have not fired one mounted on a Remington 870. On a Mossberg shotgun a pistol grip stock may make accessing the safety switch on the top of Mossberg’s receivers a little more problematic, as you will have to bring your thumb back around the grip and up onto the top of the rear of the receiver to use the safety button. On Remington shotguns this will not be a problem as the safety button is located near the trigger on the trigger guard. A solution might be to carry the Mossberg with the chamber empty and the safety off. Do not rack the slide and chamber a round until you are ready to shoot.
Mossberg 590A1 with factory 8-round tubular magazine, Parkerized finish, factory ghost-ring rifled sights and Side-Saddle shell carrier. The rifled sights will allow you to hit man-size targets with rifled slugs out to 100 yards. I have witnessed FBI HRT members hit man size steel poppers well past 100 yards. Most Mossberg receivers built within the past 10 years will be tapped so that you can add a scope rail. If your shotgun does not have rifled sights, another option might be to mount a high quality non-magnified red-dot optic. It will aid you in getting quick and accurate shots with buckshot, and like rifled sights, allow you to engage targets out to 100 yards. Photos of that configuration will be posted soon.
Tactical Shotgun Recommended Setup:
The combat shotgun is usually going to be smoothbore with a 18” to 20” barrel (shorter than 18” requires BATFE approval) It needs to have an extended magazine tube to allow more than the maximum three rounds allowed for hunting. Shotguns with 20” barrels may hold as many as eight rounds in the magazine tube plus one in the chamber. You should have some type of sites for shooting slugs (ghost-ring, rifle, or red-dot). A Parkerized or Duracoat finish will resist rust and corrosion better than a blued finish.
- Remington 870 or Mossberg 590 with high-capacity ( 7 or 8-shot) tubular magazine)
- Rifled sights or quality red-dot.
- Parkerized finish (stainless or Marinecote if you live in a corrosive marine environment).
- High quality light system.
- 00 buck and 1 oz. slugs.
- Quality ammo bandolier.
- Practice, Practice, Practice!