In today’s urban battlefields, military and law enforcement professionals often have a scattergun as their breaching or structure-clearing partner. TACTICAL WEAPONS magazine doesn’t just review “stock” shotguns. We aim to give readers the latest, greatest, uber-enhanced and most multi-mission 12 gauges operators can field to see missions through!
The following shotguns are the highlights from recent issues of TACTICAL WEAPONS where our evaluators torture tested modified Remington 870s and Mossberg 590s—well worth the price of admission—and we even threw in a 16-shot SRM 1216 that has “modern marvel” written all over it (Video is included). Read on to learn more!
Aimpro Tactical Ultimate 590A1
By N.E. MacDougald
A base mil-spec Mossberg 590A1 platform is hardly recognizable after Aimpro Tactical’s transformation. Starting with a plain-Jane, 18.5-inch, heavy-walled-barrel model, Aimpro disassembles and strips the gun. Each component goes through a parts washer for degreasing. From there, a 3-inch length of mil-spec Picatinny rail—machined from solid bar stock with the proper elevation for the co-witness sight package—is brazed onto the barrel using a custom-made appliance to ensure precise alignment of the front and rear rails.
- More From Tactical-Life: Top 20 Next-Gen Piston-Driven ARs
After refinishing the receiver and barrel with Aimpro’s proprietary ExtremeCoat finish, the shotgun undergoes the signature Aimpro performance shop treatment: a hand-polished action job, forcing-cone reprofiling and a complete hone and polish of the chamber and the bore all the way to the muzzle. The shotgun is assembled, function checked and test-fired to assure its absolute reliability. The result is a smooth action and excellent downrange performance with slugs and buckshot—something Aimpro has developed a reputation for within tactical shotgun circles.
Each shotgun receives the best mission-specific accessories available: a Mesa Tactical Enidine recoil-reducing adjustable stock and a Falcon Industries Ergo tri-rail forend with low-profile rail covers. A SOG Graphite vertical foregrip, a Command Arms Accessories cheekpiece, an Aimpro heatshield and a LimbSaver M4 recoil pad round out the aftermarket gear. Magna-porting the barrel is also an Aimpro option. Valuable additions would be a white light mounted on the full-length rail forend, plus a sling.
To learn more, visit “Breaching Beast – Aimpro TAC 12 Ultimate | Mossberg 590A1 Shotgun Review” on Tactical-Life.com.
By Leroy Thompson
It takes a lot for a pump-action combat shotgun to compete with the Remington 870, but Mossberg’s 500 series has made real inroads in the law enforcement market and has been in use for years with the U.S. armed forces. Although the Models 500, 590 and 590A1 have seen service, the 590A1 is the model designed to meet the current 3443G materials requirements for shotguns. These include an aluminum triggerguard and safety as well as a heavy barrel. Reportedly, the heavy barrel was a U.S. Navy requirement to enhance durability.
- More From Tactical-Life: Today’s Top 12 Concealed Carry Pocket Pistols
A military-type 590 or 590A1 is also designed so that the muzzle cap and the spring and follower may be removed for thorough cleaning. Since Mossbergs have seen a lot of use in sand and dirt, this is very desirable. The presence of the bayonet lug on the 590A1 I tested is interesting because there is a 3443G requirement for Type I riot shotguns with heat shields and bayonet lugs. As I understand it, standard Mossberg heat shields won’t fit the heavier-barreled 590A1, but some heat shields have been produced for military 590A1s. If that is the case, I would speculate that the contract was most likely for the USMC, as the Marines have traditionally used shotguns with bayonets mounted.
To learn more, visit “Mossberg 590A1 12 Gauge Shotgun | Gun Review” on Tactical-Life.com.
Mossberg 590A1 Magpul
By Jon Weiler
Mossberg has partnered with Magpul to offer the 590A1 Magpul 12 gauge. The 590A1 has been typically Mossberg’s “tactical” offering, with both six- and nine-round capacities, adjustable buttstocks, railed forends, tactical light forends and Marinecote finishes as part of the different options, most of which are available to the end-user but not complete in directly factory sales. This partnership between the companies, blending their strengths to offer one complete package—one that doesn’t need to be modified by the end-user—is progressive in that it saves both time and money. This ends up being a big factor when purchasing any firearm—what further modifications are necessary? Realistically, with the 590A1 Magpul: none.
- More From Tactical-Life: COMBAT HANDGUN’s 25 ‘Can’t Miss’ List For 2014
You should have a consistent, efficient and safe interaction with every firearm. How the firearm physically fits your body plays an extremely large role in achieving this goal of creating a path of least resistance for the muzzle while still retaining a consistent, efficient and safe posture. This relates directly to the orientation of the firearm on the body, which is attributed to the design of the stock, forearm and/or sling swivel. The sling is an additional item to the firearm itself, but it plays a huge role in the weapon’s use and can help users achieve greater control.
Utilizing the firearm’s center of gravity, a sling can increase the speed of presentation along with control, but only if the firearm is centered on the body. Many stock options either do not have a sling attachment point or the attachment point is on the bottom of the buttstock. This creates a pivot point that forces the user into more physical interaction with the firearm. This can create inconsistencies in presentation, as shooters will need to situate the buttstock in their shoulder pocket every time. Ideally, the buttstock’s positioning on the shoulder should help create a hinge point for consistent, linear movement of the muzzle.
The Magpul SGA stock’s sling attachment point does sit towards the rear of the stock, assisting in the consistent placement on the user’s body, with the firearm sitting mostly flat against the against the body and the buttstock sitting near the shoulder area. The main difference between the Magpul SGA stock and an adjustable AR-style buttstock offered in the Mossberg 590A1 series is this rear sling attachment point. The adjustable buttstock allows for the hinge point of the rifle to consistently stay in the pocket of the shoulder. The SGA stock does not do that to an extent. The butt of the shotgun does sit near the shoulder, but there is still some space that requires movement.
The SGA stock offers a spacer option to adjust the length of pull to accommodate a variety of shooters physically. This, coupled with a rubber recoil pad on the end of the buttstock, makes the design fitting, albeit different than most AR-style stocks.
To learn more, visit “Magpul, Mossberg Create ‘Complete Package’ with 590A1 Shotgun” on Tactical-Life.com.
Remington 870 Special Purpose Marine Magnum
By Phillip Null
The weapon of choice for marine patrols to end high-speed boat pursuits is the Remington Model 870 Special Purpose Marine Magnum, a 12-gauge pump-action shotgun that delivers the firepower needed to stop suspect vessels from reaching U.S. shores. Operating at ports throughout the nation, law enforcement officers and agents patrol oceans, lakes and rivers to prevent the illegal entry of weapons, narcotics and undocumented aliens into the United States. Trained by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) or similar organizations, these officers and agents are professionals at intercepting and boarding suspect vessels so their hulls and contraband can be seized and the criminals on board arrested. Not surprisingly, the crews of most vessels involved in criminal activity fail to stop when ordered, and often their engines must be disabled with gunfire to allow the agents on board. It’s in these scenarios where the Remington 870 Marine Magnum shotgun is put into action.
- More From Tactical-Life: Best of the Bullpups: Top 12 Compact Rifles and Shotguns
Designed specifically for maritime operations, Remington’s pump-action Marine Magnum is purpose-built to resist even aggressive saltwater corrosion, and with a receiver milled from a solid billet of steel, it’s durable enough for harsh duty in dynamic ocean environments. An electroless nickel plating covers its every metal surface, including inside the receiver and the 18-inch barrel, providing a permanent protective finish intended to prevent rust and pitting from exposure. The finish gives the weapon a brilliant and unique silver color that’s sure to make an immediate psychological impact on anyone who staring down the receiving end of the barrel.
The weapon’s basic design is identical to other Remington 870 pump-action shotguns, with a single barrel above the magazine tube, where the shells are carried. A factory magazine extension in a matching finish replaces the usual magazine cap and is fitted underneath the barrel, bringing the shotgun’s capacity to six shells plus one in the chamber. To chamber each shell, the action, or forend, attached to the magazine tube is pulled toward the shooter and then pushed back into place. To ensure this remains a smooth, non-binding action, Remington utilizes twin action bars in its 870 series shotguns, including the Marine Magnum.
To learn more, visit “Remington 870 Special Purpose Marine Magnum: 12-Gauge Shotgun for Maritime Patrol” on Tactical-Life.com.
SRM ARMS 1216 Gen 2
By D.K. Pridgen
The SRM 1216 and its shorter brothers, the 1212 and 1208, correct the problems of most other smoothbores handily. As its name implies, the 1216 can hold 16 rounds of either 2¾- or 3-inch 12-gauge shotshells, which should make the capacities for the other two versions obvious. Yes, 16 rounds. For reference, the overall length of the 1216 is 32.5 to 34 inches depending on the buttplate choice. The overall length for most M4s with their stocks collapsed is about the same, putting the 1216 in the same desirable size range. Finally, the speed of reloading an SRM 1216 is infinitely faster than a traditional shotgun—you can add 16 rounds at a time!
- More From Tactical-Life: Best New Tactical Pistols For Fall 2014
The rotary magazine is the secret to many of the 1216’s abilities. Made of reinforced Zytel polymer, the rotary magazine is approximately 13 inches long and consists of four tubes that hold four rounds each, eliminating the long tubular magazines (and equally long barrels) used in traditional shotguns. Four deep grooves between the magazine tubes provide traction for gripping and manipulation. Each chamber has a spring-loaded polymer follower that moves smoothly.
The SRM 1216 features an 18-inch, hammer-forged, chrome-moly-vanadium steel barrel. About 4.5 inches back from the muzzle is SRM’s magazine hanger, which secures one end of the magazine and incorporates the magazine release and index levers. This component also features a sling mount on the left side as well as a 2-inch strip of Picatinny rail on top for adding a front sight. Move back another 4.5 inches and you’ll find a very slim handguard with a tri-rail design that leaves only the bottom of the barrel bare. The two side rails are 6 inches long, while the handguard’s top rail mates with the receiver’s for 12 inches of optics-mounting real estate.
Vang Comp Remington 870
By David Bahde
Hans Vang has been building combat shotguns for close to 40 years now. By lengthening the forcing cone, back-boring the barrel and adding compensating ports, his company improves patterning and felt recoil. Even prior to the advent of tactical buckshot, Vang Comp guns tightened patterns considerably. The VCS treatment reduces felt recoil and muzzle rise, allowing for impressive accuracy.
- More From Tactical-Life: 25 New AR Rifles and Carbines For 2014
Vang Comp Systems has also worked out some of the best accessories for a combat shotgun. The company’s ghost-ring sights are well built and easy to pick up in a fight. Many of its innovations for Remington and Mossberg shotguns epitomize simplicity and proven reliability. VCS-modified shotguns have been riding next to officers for a couple of decades now, making them about as proven as it gets.
My 14-inch-barreled Remington 870 Police Magnum has been dedicated to breaching duties. A department trade-in, the previous owner went crazy with a drill trying to attach Picatinny rails. Luckily, Remington’s 870 Police Magnum is built like a tank. It’s pretty well used and has seen several reconfigurations over the years, so it was the perfect donor for this project.
Vang Comp welded up the unused holes and installed a ghost-ring rear sight and a Picatinny top rail. The company also outfitted three barrels for the 870. A 14-inch, ported barrel is the primary tube. Registered as a short-barreled shotgun (SBS), it will stay in this configuration most of the time. An 18-inch, ported barrel was supplied for training schools or long-range slug shooting, and the third barrel is an un-ported, 18-inch tube built for the Heavy Metal division of 3-Gun matches. Each barrel was given VCS front sights with tritium inserts as well as the company’s back-boring and accuracy enhancements. I chose to keep the shotgun’s Mesa Tactical Urbino pistol-grip stock, and SureFire provided a DSF-870 lighted forend. Vang Comp installed its extended safety, magazine tube extension and stainless steel follower. Finally, I added a new GG&G sidesaddle as well as a Blue Force Gear sling.
To learn more, visit “Gun Review: Vang Comp Remington 870 Police Magnum” on Tactical-Life.com.