Wilson Combat 12 GA Firepower

Though I might be one of a dying breed, I…

Though I might be one of a dying breed, I am an officer that carries and deploys a shotgun for both street and entry work. As police departments move to the rifle, shotgun-carrying police officers have become less prevalent. But if given the ultimatum of carrying just one long gun, it would be my first choice in most police situations. It does most things inside 50 yards better than any other long gun and out to 100 yards is no slouch with the right ammunition and operator. Since most of what we do falls inside that 50-yard mark, it is a viable, versatile, and highly effective tool.

wilson2.jpgI have certainly spent a ton of time with M16-type rifles, submachineguns, and everything else that can be deployed in a SWAT environment, but I still run a shotgun. To this day, I recall hounding my department armorer for a shotgun. Working the street as a patrol officer, I wanted something other than my revolver. As is the case today, our city had some pretty serious criminals and the shotgun just seemed to even the playing field. In those days, as was common for small departments, it took him awhile but he finally raided the evidence locker and issued a Remington Model 870 with a metal folding stock. Apparently taken in a drug raid, it was hammered, had no stock pad and a short magazine tube, but it was a shotgun and it worked.

From that day forward I have had a shotgun in my car, whether in a rack or in the trunk. It was always the long gun I would have to go around to get to something else. Even to this day, my shotgun is the easiest long gun for me to get to in my car. I can get to an M16, even an M14, but I have to go around the shotgun to get to them.

Rifles and subguns are very effective, but a shotgun is very versatile. It is almost like a 1911, they are simple and can be used effectively in almost any tactical situation a police officer could face. They also have one critical advantage, stopping power. There are very few people that will argue about the fight-stopping capabilities of a shotgun. As the conversation turns to the rifle-versus-pistol caliber argument, the big bullet/little bullet question, and the penetration or non-penetration issue, there is little argument as to how effective buckshot or slugs are at stopping the threat. With the changes in modern shotgun ammunition none of that stopping power has been affected, they are just more accurate and the patterns get tighter and tighter. That has added to the versatility of the venerable 12 gauge shotgun.

Gun Details
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I tested a Wilson Combat Standard Model shotgun that had two upgrades, a Knoxx stock and Mesa Tactical SureShell shotshell carrier. As I removed it from the bag all I could think was “man, whoever put this together as a package did everything right.” This is truly a take it out of the bag and go to work shotgun. It has all the options you would need and use, with no fluff attached. I put the Standard Model to work, right out of the bag.

The Standard Model is based on Remington Model 870 and has an 18-inch cylinder bore barrel with a full magazine extension. The 12 gauge shotgun is coated in Armor-Tuff. It has a Trak-Lock adjustable rear sight with an easy-to-see front sight containing a tritium insert. The package also includes a high-visibility follower, an extra-power magazine tube spring, and a tactical sling.

The Standard Model comes with a SureFire fore-end equipped with a 6-volt tactical light. This setup is the best bet for a slide-action shotgun. While I will use other set-ups on my semi-automatics, the integrated light mount, although expensive, is the most versatile for the pump guns. It is always there, won’t fall off and the added weight on the fore-end can actually make operation smoother.

At an additional $155, the upgraded stock is a Knoxx SpecOps that is length-of-pull adjustable and has a pistol grip. The pistol grip is a point of discussion with many shotgunners, but I prefer it on all my tactical long guns since it allows me to run them all pretty much the same way. One of the most critical and irritating issues is length of pull. Running a shotgun can be cumbersome and down right hard work if the stock is too long. This becomes an even greater issue in tactical gear. This stock allows for both and worked perfectly for me during the testing phase.

The Mesa Tactical SureShell shotshell carrier is aluminum and mounts solidly to the receiver. I am not a huge shotshell carrier fan to begin with, especially models made from plastic. During our department shotgun shoot, we had to hunt down screws that came loose on two guns equipped with plastic shotshell carriers. The Mesa Tactical does not seem to suffer from that problem. All in all, this was a solid package ready for police work and I was looking forward to putting it through its paces.

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