The PA-459 from Weatherby offers LE operators a fully tricked-out tactical shotgun for a very reasonable price. It is shown fitted out with a Viking Tactical SPARC red dot sight and a SureFire X400 light/laser WeaponLight.
Although the patrol rifle has been gaining significant ground in law enforcement circles in recent years, the tried-and-true pump-action 12 gauge shotgun is still an important police weapon. This is due in no small part to its many strengths, including staggering stopping power and the good old-fashioned intimidation factor of that roughly .70 caliber gaping maw of a muzzle pointing in someone’s direction.
Another element that makes the pump-action shotgun such a highly capable LE tool is its ability to fire specialty loadings such as beanbag, rubber buckshot, OC tear gas, and marking rounds, to name just a few. As a result, with a simple ammo change, the LE operator has access to one gun capable of performing both lethal and less-lethal roles.
That being said, the plain-jane pump-action shotgun regularly seen in cruisers for the past five or more decades is arguably getting a bit long in the tooth, in many cases sporting traditional wooden stocks, polished blue finishes and simple bead sights.
However, the modern tactical shotgun has been receiving a bit of a makeover in recent years. With the widespread use of synthetic stocks, ghost ring sighting systems and radically enhanced ergonomics, the modern LE scattergun bears little resemblance to its older siblings.
An excellent example of this new style of tactical shotgun is from a somewhat surprising source—Weatherby. Although this name is undoubtedly familiar to many, it is most likely associated with the company’s history of producing ultra-high-powered hunting rifles. However, the company has recently been making moves into the tactical market with a line of precision tactical rifles and now the subject of this article, the PA-459 12 gauge shotgun.
Weatherby makes it clear from the get-go that this shotgun means business. The PA-459 model designation of the shotgun refers to California’s Penal Code 459, which covers “burglarly in progress.” And the shotgun has more than simply its name going for it, featuring an ultra-modern all-black look, a full set of tactical enhancements and cutting-edge design cues.
I recently had an opportunity to test one of the new 12 gauge PA-459 shotguns for myself. Although it is the company’s first tactical-style shotgun, it shares some ties with the company’s more traditional sporting line. In fact, the same company that produces its popular SA-08 semi-automatic sporting shotgun manufactures the PA-459 in Turkey for Weatherby.
As is often the case with Turkish-made firearms, the PA-459 exhibits robust construction and obvious attention to quality control. It also shares another common characteristics with Turkish arms—an extremely reasonable price point. Despite its full complement of enhancements and features, the PA-459 is priced at $469.
The PA-459 is a handy shotgun with excellent ergonomics. It is chambered for 3-inch 12 gauge shells and has a capacity of 5+1 with 2¾-inch shells or 4+1 with 3-inch shells in its tubular magazine. Controls of the shotgun are simple, made up of a crossbolt-style safety located behind the trigger and a large, crosshatched slide lock lever located on the forward face the triggerguard.
The author fitted out a SureFire X400 combo light/laser unit on the forend’s integral accessory rail.
The fit and finish of the gun is excellent. The shotgun features a polymer stock set that has a matte black tone and exhibits very clean seams and molding marks, as well as a cleanly fit rubber recoil pad. The matte-black finish of the metal parts was equally attractive and well done.
The receiver of the shotgun is anodized aluminum alloy, contributing to the shotgun’s light weight of 6.5 pounds. The steel barrel of the shotgun is chrome lined, and the triggerguard is of lightweight polymer. The overall length of the shotgun is 40 inches.
To reduce the risk of the action binding, the PA-459 employs twin action bars. Both of the robust bars, each of which measure 0.25 of an inch tall and 0.13 of an inch thick, are combined into a rectangular-shaped single plate unit roughly 9.5 inches long that is mounted directly into the forend.
The PA-459’s barrel is 18 inches long and topped off with an extended choke tube that protrudes roughly 1-inch, bringing the overall barrel length to 19 inches. Sharing the Beretta/Benelili thread pattern, the choke tube included with the gun features a cylinder bore choke (no constriction) and two rows of circumferential cylindrical ports. Interestingly, the choke also features “birdcage-style” recesses in it that are not machined through.
The stock of the PA-459 is a well-designed pistol-gripped unit with a 1-inch-thick non-ventilated recoil pad and a very comfortable rubberized pistol grip sleeve. The sleeve sports a generous beavertail grip extension where it meets the body of the stock and horizontal grooves on its rear face. A slight “bump” of the front of the sleeve acts as a very broad fingergroove. To accommodate smaller-statured LE officers or those wearing body armor, the PA-459’s stock has a short 13.5-inch length of pull.
Matching the buttstock of the PA-459 is an equally impressive forend of black polymer. Although it is a pump action, the forend of the shotgun extends fully back to the forward portion of the receiver and measures 11.5 inches in length, giving it the appearance of a semi-automatic forend. This offers the advantage of increased purchase area for the shooter’s support hand and added protection for the steel magazine tube. The forend features deep grasping grooves its whole length.
A particularly interesting feature of the forend is an integral strip of Picatinny rail molded directly in to the bottom forward face of the forend. In this day of accessorizing weapon systems with lights and lasers, this is an extremely welcome feature. The strip measures roughly 2.75 inches long.
To enhance the shooting characteristics of the PA-459, the shotgun comes equipped from the factory with both a set of excellent ghost ring sights as well as a strip of Picatinny rail for equipping an optic. The Picatinny rail is manufactured from aluminum with a matte gray anodized finish and measures roughly 5.75 inches long.
Attached to the rail is a heavy-duty ghost ring rear sight assembly also of aluminum. The sight features thick protective wings that are 0.13 of an inch thick each, and the unit is fully adjustable for windage and elevation. Elevation adjustments are made with a Phillips head screw located on the top face of the sight. Windage adjustments are made with a small slotted screw accessible through a slot cut in the right wing of the sight. The sight assembly is affixed to the rail through a large knurled screw on the left side of the sight.