View Full Version : Is your defensive shotgun "stock" or "dressed up"?

October 27, 2001, 03:39 PM
Since I am relatively new to defensive shotguns, I thought I would ask what everyone has done to their defensive shotguns, if anything. My 870 already came from the factory with a +2 extension. Just wondering if there is anything else it "needs".

October 27, 2001, 03:52 PM
Forget all the gadgets, you need shot shells and range time. If you have to start pulling shells out of a side saddle your in a world of hurt anyway.
I have a synthetic 870 with the factory +2 on it, and am totally satisfied with it the way it is...... For that matter I would be totally satisfied with my 870 Deer gun which holds only 4+1 for home defense.

October 27, 2001, 06:40 PM
1. Sights--yep, beads can work just fine, but contrary to what gun shop commandos and Hollywood tell you, shotguns do not spew a Boulder of Death from the muzzle. At "most" fighting ranges the shotgun must be aimed, not pointed. At greater ranges, the single projectile slug must be aimed. The sound does not kill. I prefer ghost rings, but I know that all the Selous Scout veterans at my gun club can all hit a pepper popper at 200 yards with a BB glued on the end. I have seen very good work with rifle sights with people with excellent vision.

2. Method of carrying additional ammo--one large negative of a shotgun (all firearms have positives and negatives; they are just tools) is a limited ammunition capacity. People who tell me that the ammo in the gun will be "all you need" are similar to the gun shop commandos who do not carry extra ammo for their pistol or a second gun. These people cannot tell you what your fight will look like. A method of carrying extra allows you a) further flexibility in ammunition selection, b) ability to tac reload, c) additional ammo for your weapon if you run dry and do not need to transition right now. I like the ammo mounted on the receiver as I am right handed but often switch because of either tactical situation requires it or shooting fast I am quicker using my dominant arm to work the slide and as a big sissy I do not like the brass digging in my face.

3. A light--yes, the weapon is heavy. So what? Work out with it and the exercise will do you good. Another reason against those GSCesque extended magazines. In order to shoot, one needs to identify your intended target. GSCs will tell you "well, I don't need a light (or I'll use the darkness to my advantage) it's my house and I'll just shoot." Good job, lucky! You've just shot the nieghbor's drunk 15 year old daughter who snuck into your house. If you get out of prison in time for the civil trial, maybe you can visit her grave and apologize for not seeing who you were shooting at. Yes, you can work a shotgun one-handed will holding your 6Z in your left hand. However, it is FAR easier to have the light on the weapon.

4. Sling--this is optional to me. I have one on mine. I like it for transition drills, but I understand the counterargument that the sling may snag on the bathroom door at the worst possible times.

Opie is correct. Range time is the biggest need. Go pattern your gun!!! I urge you to attend school. Education is power.

One last thing: buy 3 more just like you have it once you settle on your setup.

Good shooting,

October 27, 2001, 06:42 PM
I have two shotguns I am preparing for the home defense role. The first, a Winchester 1300 defender came with fiber optic sight. I replaced the buttstock with a Hogue Compstock - recoil now feels about the same as a Ruger mini 14.
I decided I wanted an additional shotgun, as the fiber optic sights are great during daytime or if lights are on, but not much use in the dark. The easiest way to get rifle sights was to buy a Remington 870 express deer gun, 20 inch barrel smoothbore. I then added a Hogue Compstock to it, and the matching Hogue short fore-end. This allowed installation of a 6 shot side saddle, which to me is a very useful accessory. You have not just more shots, you can pop in different kinds of shells and slugs into the gun if the situation warrants it. Balance does not seem to be hurt. I intend to order one for the Winchester.
For the 870, I added the Scattergun Technologies two shot mag extension, which seems to be very well engineered, and also provides means of attaching a sling if desired. Next, I am going to order tritium sights from Brownells. I am still studying the attachment of a flashlight - I have not made up my mind on this. However, it does offer an option to have light - this option does not have to be exercised - therefore, I am thinking a light is beneficial.

October 27, 2001, 07:04 PM
it's "uglified" with a wierd strange mossy colored substance, guess I need to stop storing it in my dirty clothes/underwear hamper?


I do like my gun about as stock as possible though, just additional slugs or buckshot to choose from if needed. I much prefer the front bead as opposed to ghost rings because I've used the original bead for hunting for so long that it what I am used to and feels most instinctual to me, I only wish I had a tritium bead for low light/no light situations.

Al Thompson
October 27, 2001, 08:12 PM
I've been down both roads with HD shotguns (3 roads?) and have settled back on the 870 system. I do think that for me, in my situation, the light and sidesaddle are the only two accessories needed.

I live in a suburb with cracker box houses waay too close. The standard 12 riot gun at one end of the house is box stock. The one by the bed (night-time) is light enhanced and has a sidesaddle. Ammo loads for both are a bit different, but tend towards limited penetration.

Best thing to do is (ala Dave McQ) is to get a bunch of ammo and shoot the stew out of the gun. Next, go to a school (Kirk's guidence) and modify accordingly. After that you will have a very (!) clear idea of what you need.

Things (situations) change - I started with an 870 with the folding stock, went to a scattergun tech rebuild for the 870, sold it, went through two Benelli's, sold'em, grabbed a police trade-in M37 Ithaca, then a bargin basement Winchester 1300. Somewhere in there was two pistol gripped SG's - one the 1300 mentioned, one a 1200 in 20 Ga that went to a wonderful lady friend. Today I added another 870 (can't have too many) and that's about it. Uh... For a while......... Anyway .... :D


Good Guy
October 27, 2001, 10:03 PM
Just an old, bone stock 4+1 shot 870 with a 18" riot barrel. It was a gift from a pal lots of years ago. I keep it with 4 in the tube and an empty chamber. It originally had a sling on it, but I found that a sling can be grabbed at the same time you grab the pump handle if you're in a big hurry to use it, especially waking from a dead sleep in the dark. Sling between hand and pump handle = no pump action. Needless to say, I removed the sling.

October 27, 2001, 10:12 PM
My first 870 is sporting stock furniture with a Pachmayr Decelerator Pad and a mag extension that gives me 7+1 rounds. I have a sling for it but I have removed it as I often find it gets in the way of a quick grab for the forestock.
I have a 20" rifle-sighted barrel (with forcing cone lengthened) and AO standard dot night sights. It is almost perfect for me.
My second 870 is on its way to a similar configuration with the exception of a longer barrel for some "sport". I will still have another 20" barrel for it though.

That's a really nice "ugly" SG. Do you shoot it much? I was wondering about those butt stock cuffs and whether they bother your cheek weld.

8200 rpm
October 28, 2001, 12:56 AM
Call me a purist...

Another reason you don't need a sling is that it really doesn't serve a purpose on a HOME DEFENSE shotgun. Slings are great if you have to CARRY your weapon around for extended periods of time doing Tom Clancy commando tasks.

But, come on, you engage your threat, and it's over. The cops/coroners come to take away the perp/body. If you need to transition to a sidearm (b/c you run dry or jam up) there really is no reason to attempt to retain your shotgun. Just put it on the floor and draw your hand cannon (sure, the magazine reading commando would have a "tactical" light mounted on his pistol, his pocket knife, his car keys, his slippers, his phone, his dog, his espresso maker, his DVD player, his pe%is, whatever.)

Instead of buying doohickies, I'd rather take a class and buy a lot of range time.

Dave McC
October 28, 2001, 08:31 AM
A straight from the box, short bbled 870 or other good shotgun is a close range weapon of terrible effectiveness in trained,cool hands.

Having said that, my two "Serious" shotguns are heavily accessorized. This is because....

A,I'm a gearhead.

B, starting in the late 70s, early 80s, my oldest 870 served as a test bed for various gadgets and gizmos. I kept what was worthy and trashed the rest.

C, my "Serious" shotguns double as deer guns, and the peep sights, mag extensions, clean triggers and so forth work well for both.

But, I shot a possible on our shotgun qualifier with a standard riot 870 and duty ammo. Good training and regular,REALISTIC practice make a bigger difference than addons and mods.

Here's the essentials.

A shotgun of proven reliability of at least two shot capacity.

A stock that fits.

A clean, safe trigger between 3-5 lbs.

Sights YOU can see under a variety of conditions.

That's it.Buy ammo, use it up, repeat until the weapon feels like a body part. THEN, add anything you think will help and try it out.

October 28, 2001, 09:41 AM
Right now, my HD gun is an 870 turkey gun with a 23 inch barrel. You know though, I've considered both roads as well.

On the sporty side, I'd just like to have a project gun and outfit it with extension, side saddle, tac light, peep sights, and a sling. Mainly, this is just because I like to fiddle, and I think it would be fun to build my own HD gun. More than likely though, it would be a range gun that I wouldn't pick up in an emergency. Why? Public perception.

I think about what would happen if (God forbid) I did have to shoot someone in my home. Would you rather have a DA hold up a tactical weapon or a hunting shotgun in court? For me, it's the latter. So for now, I'm just staying stock. If it takes more than four shots (I keep the chamber empty), I'll have the 9mm tucked nearby.

There's also the fact that if you do have to shoot someone, your weapon is going away for a while--perhaps never to return. I rather it be a $250 stock 870 getting banged around in the evidence room than the project gun I sank $600 into. Easier to replace. Much less worry.

October 28, 2001, 04:04 PM
9mmMike, yeah I shoot it a fair bit. I put a Brownell's Teflon/Moly OD Green finish on right over the factory fresh parkarizing to give it a bit more resistance to the environment, gonna see how well it holds up over time.

The buttcuff on the stock doesn't bother me much either, it's low profile enough that I shoot with it just fine and the shells are on the off side of the gun.

October 28, 2001, 10:00 PM
I think Rob96 needs to get all the accessories that hold ammo for the way he shoots:) It is a really sweet shotgun. I was there when he bought and fired it with him. I think I maybe getting one soon!!:D

October 29, 2001, 12:33 AM
Also wanted to add this.

Rob stated he was interested in defensive shotguns. OK here is my .02..........A lot of the advice given here is more applicable to an offensive shotgun. The best way to use a shotgun in a defensive way, in my opinion, is to get into the safest location of the house, and try to position yourself behind a dresser, or at least the bed, and aim the shotgun at the closed bedroom door. I dont see a need for all kinds of tactical accessories for a DEFENSIVE gun. I would MUCH rather have a safe position with a box full of shells beside me, than running around in my house with a Tac'd out shotgun pulling shells out of a sidesaddle, and flashing lights around. If you have access to additional training beyond that of the normal Joe, you might get more benefit out of those accessories. I'd just rather have more ammo.
As far as slugs go, ghost rings or rifle sights are much more accurate, but who has a house large enough inside that you really need to be shooting slugs for defensive purposes?

October 29, 2001, 05:18 AM
I don't shoot that much now Smitty. But, I do try to get to the range at least once a week. If I went anymore than that, my truck would serve as the best spare ammo carrier. Thanks everybody for the advice. Right now I have one of them slip on shell carriers on the butt stock, like the one on UglyGuns. Had one on a Mossy 500 I used to have and it always worked fine. I probably will add a side saddle, the rest will just be eye candy.

Dave McC
October 29, 2001, 06:43 AM
A coupla things here....

First off, the key words are Home DEFENSE. Unless a family member is cut off in the basement, all of us will be in the upper areas of the Casa. SO, no S&D, just take up a safe position where I can see the top of the stairs and prepare to use up some ammo if a perp gets that far.Other family menbers provide backup and fire support, while one's 911ing on the cell phones or standard one. Homeowner's insurance will cover any losses downstairs.If a family member is cut off in the lower areas, chances are that member is armed anyway. Sorry, I won't go into specifics in a public BB.

As for court liability, a tricked/tweaked 870 with all the addons may or may not be as defensible as Grandpappy's old doublegun.
An excellent defense gambit would be to mention that an increase in accuracy and performance is also an increase in safety.

Since the 870 was my duty shotgun, and many of the procedures and policies of the Dept were in part written by me after testing with this very shotgun, I've an out. My testimony would run something like this.

"Sir, all my training(Documented,of course) and research indicated that these modifications would aid in rapid and effective neutralization of any threat,while lowering the threat level to others, thus giving any non participants in the area better chances of survival, as well as myself".

And, my defense shotguns are indistingushable from good deer guns, and there's a few dozen knowledgeable folks I know willing to testify to same.One's a forensics expert, others are cops, COs and Training Officers.

I would avoid bayonets, duckbills, grenade launchers, belt feeds and any symbols. Example, I saw a O/U recently with a skull and crossbones on its painted, custom stock.

And consider this.....

If you are among those of us who are less than tolerant when it comes to matters of race, creed,etc,and you are involved in an incident with a member of a group you're on record as not liking, you're up the creek. And, having a burning cross, Big X, Confederate flag, or portait of General Nathan Bedford Forrest on your weapons will not help you even if your actions are 100% correct. Being a bigot has a lot of downside.

And I have no prob with that.

Jody Hudson
October 29, 2001, 07:01 AM
It IS good to consider the after effects of court after the shooting. Of course the first importance is to be the winner if there is a break in. I don't have a light problem as there is enough light coming in the windows from the outside lights.

I've had all the guns mentioned here and have chosen the Mossburg as the top tang safety is the most natural to me. I used to have an empty chamber and be ready for the Kerchunk sound of loading the first round -- but as a result of the thought processes brought about by conversations here... I've now loaded the chamber as well.

I used to have a side saddle on my 870 but on my Moss I have just the long tube full and the chamber. After that it's just the two Makarovs. By that time, as I am one of those that cool under stress instead of getting cranked up (at least so far) if I've not handled the situation with the Moss and the Mak, I've been hit by an army and I'm down to my last 3 seconds anyway. At least that's the system and philosophy I've had for the last year or so. It will change, perhaps as this thread continues.

Thought and discussion are the first form of practice as we contemplate optimum survival under the stress of contra-survival situations and consequences.

Dave McC
October 29, 2001, 08:02 AM
Jody, good points but....

One reason police keep an empty chamber in a cruiser gun is to make it harder for the wrong people to use it, and to cut down on accidents.

An 870 or Mossie kept action locked shut, safety on, mag full, chamber empty has several things needing to be done to make it fire that are easy to the trained hand, and very difficult to someone raised on TV and movies.Any trained hand can make ready and fire in about one second, a short time frame even in a crisis.

October 29, 2001, 08:03 AM
Dave McC, I wholeheartedly concur with the point defense strategum; however, no one can tell you what your fight will be. You may have to move--to avoid being shot if BG Iraqi offhands through walls or to go get someone "Mommy, Daddy, save me."

That's why I want a weapon that can max the effectiveness of my training IF I have to move. Thus, I have "stuff" (no laser/phaser) of my shotgun. Layered defense and all that.

Dave McC
October 29, 2001, 08:22 AM
Agreed, and I've done walkthroughs here with an empty weapon to see if there's glitches. There was, going from the upper story to the main floor works best RH, from the main to the basement LH.

And life has taught me that having Plan B in place may help, but C, D, E,etc, is even better.

We should plan for all eventualities, the most likely first.

October 29, 2001, 05:18 PM
I like a white light system on HD shotguns. Having a light attached to your shotgun will help identify BG v GGs. Shotguns are already a 2-hand weapon, with separate flashlight, how will you handle operating the slide, reloading, opening doors, dialing 911?

Cavè Canem
October 30, 2001, 12:31 AM
MB500A with Heat Shield, Pistol Gripped Full stock, 7+1, Side Saddle and sling.

October 30, 2001, 09:48 AM
Only mods: (1) light; and (2) sling. Still working on testing (3), a Patternmaster choke tube for better buckshot patterns.

Here's a buddy shooting my gun:



Dave McC
October 30, 2001, 12:39 PM
Good to see you, Justin. Nice shotgun. When you get done testing that choke tube, how about posting a T&E about it? Thanks...

October 30, 2001, 09:16 PM
Justin, omigosh, thought you'd died or moved to the Sonora or something! I was abusing you on-line recently...if I can remember where, I'll send you instructions on how to knock me back!;)