For many years, when the name Weather-by was mentioned in the context of firearms, the image that came to mind was a custom bolt-action rifle, its stock having a diamond-shaped inlay, and chambered for a proprietary Magnum cartridge. Weatherby and big game hunting—especially dangerous game—were almost synonymous. Today, things have changed somewhat, as you can still get the Mark V rifle with an action that has been legendary since 1958, plus there’s the newer Vanguard rifle series, and an even newer selection of semi-automatic and slide-action shotguns, all in sporting or Threat Response (TR) variations. Of course, you can still count on Weatherby quality and reliability, even if the danger comes from a two-legged instead of a four-legged source.
New for 2011 under the Threat Response line is the Weatherby SA-459 TR, a semi-automatic shotgun available in 12 or 20 gauge with a 3-inch chamber. As stated in the title, this shotgun was configured especially for defensive use. It’s even named after the California Penal Code section for burglary: 459. It was designed as an affordable yet formidable and dependable source of protection. Being a longtime practitioner of law enforcement, I can certainly see where it would have applications for the uniformed officer or plainclothes investigator. Its relatively compact overall length of 39 inches with an 18.5-inch barrel and 13.5-inch length of pull makes the SA-459 TR easier to handle within the confines of a vehicle and enhances its effectiveness in up-close, threat-response situations.
The Weatherby SA-459 TR has many of the features that have become popular in today’s “black gun” and tactical markets. From the muzzle to the buttstock pad, it has a matte black, non-reflective finish. The short, defensive-length barrel is chrome-lined for easier maintenance and durability. The muzzle of the SA-459 TR has a screw-on muzzle brake with two rows of round ports on its circumference. Up front is a red fiber-optic sight mounted in a skeletonized steel housing with protective wings to ward off damage.