View Full Version : Combat Shotgun

June 4, 1999, 11:34 AM
I own a Mossberg 500 w/18" barrel (pump action, holds 6 2-3/4 inch shells). I see a lot of threads here about home defense shotguns, but I would like to know about your recommendations in terms of using this shotgun as a primary combat weapon in an urban environment.

1. Ghost ring sights/tritium sights. Right now all I have is the bead on the front and I could imagine that just about anything would make it easier to hit with. I really don't understand what these are though.

2. Type of ammunition - I was thinking #1 buck and also carrying slugs. Does #8 birdshot have any value or would it be practically useless to carry.

3. Vangcomp barrel. Is this worth the $ to have done to this gun? It does seem to fire a really wide pattern. I've heard of accu-choke tubes or something like this. Would this have a similar effect for less money? Would I still be able to fire slugs?

4. Sidesaddle slug carrier. Would this unbalance this gun? I'm right handed. Is it useful or should I stick solely to a bandolier/webbing.

5. Pistol grip. I have a really hard time hitting anything like this. However, I haven't really practiced that much. What is your recommendation - Practice more, there is a valid reason to have a short shotgun with a pistol grip, or this is not a worthwhile thing to have.

6. Is there anything else you would do to this particular gun?

I appreciate your responses. This is just for fun, although I may make these modifications. I don't plan on engaging in combat anytime soon, just like to hear what you all have to say.

June 4, 1999, 01:13 PM
1. Ghost ring sights are basically aperture rifle sights with a blade front and a large aperture rear sight. They really do allow you to fire slugs much more accurately. Tritium inserts are nice if you want to spend the money, but I don't think they're necessary.

2. The International Wound Ballistics Assoc recommends #1 buck, but I think Federal Tactical H132 or Winchester Low Recoil buck which comes in 00 is a better choice. The reduced loads kick much less so you have faster shot recovery, and the low recoil loads pattern much better than standard or magnum loads. This is because the reduced charge causes less pellet deformation when accelerating the shot charge and rounder pellets fly truer.

3. I have a Mossberg 590A1 with a Vangcomped barrel and it does make a huge difference in patterning. Using Federal Tactical 00 buck, the gun will pattern 7" at 25 yards. With a cylinder bore, normal patterns might be expected to be 20" or more. Installing choke tubes would tighten patterns, but I don't know how much. Vangcomped barrels shoot slugs very well.

4. I have a sidesaddle carrier, and find it doesn't unbalance the gun, but this is purely a personal preference thing.

5. My opinion is pistol grips are a complete waste. Why have a long gun with its ease of hitting targets at longer ranges than with a pistol and ruin it with a pistol grip?

If I were you, I would install some ghost ring sights (no tritium inserts), get some Federal Tactical H132 00 buck or Winchester Low Recoil 00 buck and pattern the gun. Then you can decide if you want to spend more money on Vangcomp or something else.


June 4, 1999, 03:53 PM
Just got a Winchester 1300 Defender. It came standard with front TruGlow sight. This sight will allow you to get on target pretty fast and they are a lot cheaper than a ghost ring set up. (They run around $30 or so.) Also you might want to check on a SureFire light system for your Shotgun, this will give you postive target identification at night and in darkness. I would stay with OO Buck if I was you, but check different brands to see whick patterns best for your shotgun. Also I would go with a sidesaddle carrier because that will give you ammo with the weapon at all times.

Stay Safe.

June 4, 1999, 04:22 PM
What about the rear sights? My 500 doesn't have any. The front sight being a stupid little bead.

June 4, 1999, 09:39 PM
Pete, I just went to there web page and they do make a sights front and back.They are used for Turkey Hunting so you should be able to find them in most Hunting stores.

Here is the address: www.truglosights.com

I hope this can help.
Stay Safe

June 4, 1999, 10:38 PM
With regard to sights I use a Hi-Viz on my 1300. It is much bigger than a Tru-Glow which makes it very easy to follow the sight during recoil. In very bright daylight, people several yards behind me can see the sight it is so bright. I also consider a sidesaddle to be a very useful accessory.

June 5, 1999, 12:11 AM
I know it is just a front sight, but just put the glowing bead on target. Check out TruGlow on a search and take a look at thier products they might have a rear sight also.

David Schmidbauer
June 5, 1999, 08:35 AM
I have a Beretta 1201 modified Gunsite Police Shotgun (minimum legal length bbl, Tritium Front Sight, MMC Ghostring Rear, Reduced LOP Stock, etc).

In my opinion the Ghostring sights can not be beat for a shotfun. They are quick to pick up and very accruate. Add the Tritium front and you are set for low light engagements.

I keep the shotfun stoked with Federal Tactical 00 Buck. Still trying to find a slug that hits correctly (in relation to sight picture) out to 75-100 yards. Only got a few left to check out. If none of these do the 1201 will be going back to Gunsite and it will be regulated for use with Quik-Shok slugs.

Schmit, GySgt, USMC(Ret)
NRA Life, Lodge 1201-UOSSS
"Si vis Pacem Para Bellum"

June 5, 1999, 08:48 AM
David, have you tried the Rottweil Brenneke Slug? it's a rifled slug(which you probably already know). If so, I'd be interested in what you thought of them. Also, which slug have you liked the best so far?.....

fiat justitia

David Schmidbauer
June 5, 1999, 10:03 PM

Nope haven't tried them but have tried other rifled slugs. So far I don't like ANY of them... rifled or not. This is not a reflection of the slugs but of the sights. I think they regulated that sights @ 25 yards. They are dead on there. As I move out ALL slugs impact start to move up and left.

When I get out to 75 yards I'm hitting just above and to the left of a FBI "Q" targets right shoulder.

I'm seriously considering sending it back to Ted and have it regulated for Quik-Shok Slugs @ 75 or 100 yards. I've seen what a regular slug and a QS Slug does to a block of ballistic Gel. Regular slugs puts a HUGE hole into the gel block. QS Splits the block into 4 pieces. NASTY!

Schmit, GySgt, USMC(Ret)
NRA Life, Lodge 1201-UOSSS
"Si vis Pacem Para Bellum"

June 6, 1999, 04:04 AM
While I agree 100% with Ted about a pistol grip being worthless on a shotgun, I love the pistol grip stock I bought from Choate for my Rem 870. I feel it's the best of both worlds. Its a full length synthetic stock with a pistol grip added to it. I've had mine for about 2 years. It costs about $65. You can look at it on Choate or Brownells websites.


June 6, 1999, 09:34 AM
thanks David. i'm just starting the search for slugs for my S&W 916a w/ rifle sights on it(again! did it once years ago, then slacked off my shooting, now i forgot which one i settled on. duh!!). So i was just wondering what your search had uncovered so far.. thanks again, and good luck!!!!

fiat justitia

June 7, 1999, 09:35 AM
This weekend I again successfully defended myself against a marauding army of cardboard boxes with my Mossberg 500. A few more questions:

1. I was using Federal 00 magnum buck. This was all I could find in the local sporting good store. Will using Federal Tactical or Winchester Low Recoil or #1 buck reduce recoil significantly? Where can I find this type of ammo online?

2. Does having the gun modified by Vang Comp reduce recoil as well?

3. I live in an apartment building with very thin walls and friends all around. For home defense, would #7 1/2 or #8 birdshot be effective at all or would it have virtually no stopping power?

4. Putting the pistol grip on the gun obviously reduces the length to a little bit over 18". In a combat situation, would it be wise to carry the shotgun as a backup gun, since I don't have a pistol? Or would this be ridiculously cumbersome/unnecessary? Assume my primary weapon to be the AR!5.
Is there any suggested way to carry the gun like this assuming that I would not be using a sling of any type for the AR.

Thank you. I appreciate everybody's responses. They are very interesting to read/learn from.

June 7, 1999, 11:07 AM

Your statement that "4. Putting the pistol grip on the gun obviously reduces the length to a little bit over 18"" worries me a bit. Is that a registered short barrel shotgun or were you mistaken? BATF regs say that the minimum Barrel length is 18",not Overall length. I'm not nit picking, I just don't want a type-o to get someone an unexpected visit from the BATF.


June 7, 1999, 11:25 AM
You can get Federal Tactical 00, 000, and slugs at www.ammoman.com

June 7, 1999, 11:40 AM
Chucko - sorry, I didn't make myself clear... It's just a shotgun with an 18 inch barrel - and a pistol grip at times. Completely legal. And I guess what I meant by a "little bit" is 8 inches or whatever the rest of the gun measures.

June 8, 1999, 02:40 AM
I've found that at home defense distances, birdshot (#7 1/2, #8) will go through lots of things that are tougher than drywall. Of course, buckshot will go through a lot more of those things. It comes down to "How many rooms do I want a missed shot to go through?" I couldn't say how effective (or ineffective) birdshot would be against an intruder, but personally, I want more penetration with bigger pellets. What if you have to shoot through several inches of fat to get to vital organs? In any event, it'll probably knock the guy down, but might not stop him from shooting you once he got to the floor.

I favor standard loads of #1 buck (16 pellets) for In-The-Home defense. The diameter difference from 00 is negligible, and you get 7 more pellets per shot . That is to say, 7 more chances of hitting a vital structure in an attacker with a good-sized pellet.

If recoil is a problem, the low recoil loads mentioned above are a good idea. I've shot some of the Federal Tactical 00, and it is more manageable. Another route to take, if you like the full power potential of the shotgun, is to practice a lot with heavier loads. I got pretty used to the full house stuff, to the point where the low recoil loads didn't seem to make much difference in terms of re-aquiring the target for follow up shots. It made some difference, just not all that much. But these days, for economy, I usually practice with 3 dram target shot (16 bucks for 100 rounds!), with a few "refresher" shots of the heavy stuff.

I like the Side Saddle shell carrier, although I've never used a buttcuff or bandolier. More ammo is GOOD, and it's right where you need it, when you need it. Like, in the middle of the night, in your underwear and slippers. Who needs to be bothered with remembering to grab the bandolier? I tried some quick reloads this weekend, and even with the Side Saddle, it's a bitch. Like everything else, it takes practice!

My Mossberg 500 was pistol grip only when I bought it, but I prefer a regular field stock, Tactical Black Synthetic, of course. The shortened overall length can be handy in confined areas, but even with practice it's hell to hit the target with.

The field stock is quick and easy to get a shooting grip on. Even shooting from the hip is easier for me than with a pistol grip. The length of the stock along the inside of my forearm gives me added feedback as to where the gun is pointing, as well as extra support. Holding up a shotgun one-handed, to open a door or something, is also much easier with the field stock rather than the pistol grip only, or the pistol gripped shoulder stock. I think it's because of the angle of your hand and the leverage you get with the different stocks. BTW, I don't recommend hip shooting or one handed shooting, the last most especially with a pump gun! But sometimes, well, you have to do what you have to do.

Finally (finally!), I think a dedicated light is essential for a pump shotgun. The big drawback of a weapon mounted light is that you tend to point the muzzle at things in order to identify them. Your friends might take exception to this. I know I would. Do a search on this board for "Weapon Lights and the Cardinal Rule" (or something like that) for a pretty good discussion of gun light pros and cons.

Disclaimer: Naturally, all of the above is just my personal opinion, based on my experience and preferences, informed and otherwise. As always, do what works best for you.


June 8, 1999, 09:53 AM

I have the same scattergun as you: Mossy 500, 18" barrel. It's set up as follows:

Synthetic stock and forend (both with pistol grips) from Choate Tool. Contrary to the experience of others here (that's just me, contrary as a hog on ice skates), I find accuracy is no problem. I shoot clay with my rig, and average 84%.

An additional benefit of the PG stuff is the final appearance of the gun. If I were a bad guy, I'd likely die of fright just looking at it.

At home, I load it with 6 Sellier & Bellot #00 shells in the chamber and magazine. The sidesaddle has 4 #00 and 2 Winchester rifled slugs. I figger if I hit a goblin with 10 charges of #00 and he's still coming, the slugs should finish him. If not, I'll throw the gun at him and run the other way.
Overpenetration from #00 and slugs isn't a (big) concern for me, and I don't have a problem with recoil from max dr loads, having gotten used to it on the range.

Regarding lights: y'ever tried to use the Harries technique with a long gun? Doesn't work real well. I have a Surefire light mounted on the magazine. Covering friendlies with the muzzle isn't a factor as I live alone.

As always, YMMV.

"America is at that awkward stage.
It's too late to work within the system,
but too early to start shooting the bastards."
--Claire Wolfe