View Full Version : Un-pimping my 870

Mike U.
December 15, 2008, 05:43 AM
I had an interesting experience recently with my 870.
I was patterning some 3" 00 buck and the vertical fore-grip broke off in my hand. :eek: :(
It's withstood these shells before so I'm guessing the mount might have been fatigued. Whatever the reason, having your chosen equipment/tools fail you is sooo not good.
Now, what would have happened had this occurred during an emergency of the life and death kind? :eek: Bad juju...
It got me to thinking about what the shotgun gurus state time and again about keeping your "tactical" shotgun as basic as possible. Well, it's past time to heed their advice.
Since the Piccatiny Rail on the fore-end was broken I decided to take that shorter fore-end off. I put the original Remington factory fore-end back on.
I also removed the heat shield. It's the model with the ghost ring "combat" sights on it.
I don't care too much for the bead only sight on the barrel so I went back and put a True-Glo "Glo-Dot II" on. It's the one that snaps on the barrel just behind the bead and is fairly low-key.
For now I'm keeping the Knoxx Ind. "Spec Ops" stock on it till I can get the money together to get the more traditional Synthetic "Comp Stock" (also from Knoxx Industries). I'm thoroughly sold on the recoil reduction stocks this company sells. They are a very good investment, IMO.
I'm still mulling over the flashlight. I'm thinking a mounted flashlight is a must have for a bedside shotgun. But, it sticks out like a sore thumb the way it's mounted now so I'm considering getting a mount that doesn't stick out so far. Any ideas from the shotgun aficionados here? :confused:

Here are the before and after pics:

December 15, 2008, 05:53 AM
I put one of those magazine tube extension braces that has the sling swivel stud on it on mine for temporary duty as a flashlight holder. I put the portion for the barrel on the barrel and put a plastic surefire flashlight in the wider end that is supposed to go on the tube. It is off set to the left of the barrel. It rests in the groove between the barrel and mag tube. This is only temporary as I take it off for use in 3 gun matches. Kinda far to reach but I can manage to push the tail cap switch with my index finger or thumb and can rotate the cap for constant on.
I have the surefire dedicated light on my other 870 but it stays in my patrol car. I also have the knoxx recoil absorbing stock on this 870. I put a 14 inch barrel on it and the stock keeps it on target even with hi power loads.

December 15, 2008, 06:22 AM
I bet if you had used the surefire railed forend that wouldn't have happened, as long as you had a quality grip to go with it.

Erich B
December 15, 2008, 09:29 AM
I'm a follower of the "keep it simple" philosophy. No batteries, electronics, or plastic widgets that might fail or break off during rough handling. Plus, there is that old school look that I like also


Dave McC
December 15, 2008, 10:08 AM
Picture a gray headed, big old man smiling like Bhudda....

Good move. I note repeated reports from the high end shootin' skools that many accessories fail under actual, stressed use.

I've had few failures myself, but do recall one episode where ignorance turned an 870 of mine with a new mag extension into a single shot on a deer hunt. Rereading the directions helped fix it.

December 15, 2008, 10:41 AM
Remington's military and police line includes a picatinny rail clamp that fits the barrel and mag extension perfectly. It was made by Remington for the 870/1100/11-87 line. That with a Streamlight TLR-1 makes a very low profile combination. Also makes it easy to remove the light when it's not needed.

December 15, 2008, 10:56 AM
Good, you're going back in the right direction.......it's starting to look like a shotgun again.:) The whole concept behind having to "trick out" a shotgun in order for it to be a viable defense weapon is beyond me. The shotgun is already a versatile weapon that needs no fancy add-ons and gadgets. I could see adding a flashlight maybe, but for all these years I've been shooting at night by merely holding a flashlight in my support hand with no problems so I guess I don't have a need for it.

My HD shotgun is whichever one I decide to grab, they are all well suited for it. Most often it's the old Savage/Stevens single shot 20 gauge, simply because it's my favorite one.

December 15, 2008, 11:19 AM
IMO Nordic Components makes the best shotgun magazine extension tubes that are available. Thier magazine extension tube clamp with picatinny rail is a good option for mounting lights.


December 15, 2008, 11:34 AM
I cannot tell you how many Pimped out shotguns I have seen fail at 3 gun matches. The only things i would do to the 870 is this:

1. Get a 7-8 shot extension-Done
2. Get a TAC Star Side saddle holder for 6 rounds. Yea the Mesa Tac are more spendy but they break I have had 0 problems with the "Cheap" Tac-star" on my 1100 with about 5K of rounds through it.
3. Get a youth size Speed feed stock(No Pistol grip) and the forend. They come with a good recoil pad but you can change them out if you want too.
4. Load it with Normal Buckshot or slugs. The reduced recoil are ok also but spendy. The good old normal 00, #1 or #4 are fine for HD. Birdshot is for birds. Plated lead BB would be about as small as I would go for HD.
5. The light is a nice touch but it looks like it hangs down kind of far. It might get hung up on something in the house like a plant or Table cloth. That would put you in a bind. I would look at a mount that puts the light to the side of the barrel and tight into the gun.

If you go to an AutoLoader There is alot you need/can do but for a pump that will make a kick ass HD shotgun.

Make sure the gun is unloaded, put 3 rounds in the tube, 1/2 crack the slide to make sure the gun is unloaded(but does not pick up a round from the tube), check again, One last check, point at a good back stop, pull trigger...The gun is now in cruiser ready and 3 rounds will not compress the springs too much. Leave off safe, hammer down. You can leave it that way for long periods. Make sure everyone in the house knows the gun is that way..........BG comes in the house he is greeted by you racking the slide........If he has an IQ above 3 he will beat feet.

Have a slug ready, maybe not loaded but ready. The great thing about a Pump is they can be "top" loaded while engageing targets.

I am glad you have seen the light. The vertical forend is for Hollywood and thats it. By the way those stocks are neat but they fail also. Go to the 10-8 site and check out what they say about combat shotguns.

That is my opinion. Its the way I keep my pumpgun(an 870) at home.

December 15, 2008, 11:37 AM
The most tactical shotgun is one that the user has put thousands of rounds through. Nothing extra is needed. I can understand a desire for a short barrel, extension tube and even a flashlight, but that will never reduce the need for skill and muscle memory. If I need more than 5 shots I'm in deeper trouble than a home owner could expect under any normal circumstances. We have kiddy nightlights around the home for late night visits to the kid's room, so flashlight not needed. The only thing my bird gun would need to be our perfect HD gun is a shorter barrel, and even then I'm much more likely to grab a handgun when things go bump in the night.

Piccatiny Rail on the fore-end was broken

What's the rail for anywho?

December 15, 2008, 02:35 PM
The fisherman has it right. The flashlight thing is kind of foolish. When you turn on the light the bad guy knows exactly where you are.

Mike U.
December 15, 2008, 03:00 PM
Thanks guys! KISS is the principle I'm adopting for the 870.
No more mall-ninja crap on my shotgun.

Some excellent ideas for light mounting being aired here. Thanks! :)
I've been kicking around the idea of a side mount shell holder, but, I'm kinda skittish about it because I'm trying to eliminate as many possible snag points on the gun as possible. That means eliminating extra stuff hanging on the gun.
So, I keep going back and forth on it weighing the pros and cons.

You are so right. You get what you pay for and buying quality right out of the gate would have probably spared me that unpleasant surprise. I'm just glad it didn't fail when I needed it most. That could have been tragic. The good thing is it showed me that simple is best when it comes to the shotgun.


I agree 100%. I try to exercise the shotgun as often as available funds permit.
The rail was for mounting vertical fore-grip, laser or whatever you could clamp on it. Turns out it's just a way to hang unnecessary furniture on the gun.

Here is the stock I'm considering to replace the Spec Ops stock.
As you can see, it's more traditional with a low-key pistol grip.

December 15, 2008, 03:09 PM
Thanks guys! KISS is the principle I'm adopting for the 870.
No more mall-ninja crap on my shotgun.

In my opinion there is a difference between "mall ninja crap" and quality products that CAN be used to increase the versatility and effectiveness of a weapon. emphasis on can, even a quality product won't be suitable for all applications.

Mike U.
December 15, 2008, 03:16 PM
I was actually referring to the heat shield and vertical fore-grip with that barb. I should have clarified, sorry about that.
Admittedly, I'm a little disenchanted with the extra furniture on my 870. But, it's a case of if it works for some people, I'm completely cool with that. I just discovered it isn't for me.

Scattergun Bob
December 15, 2008, 07:42 PM
Scattergun Bob says, "they come out of the factory box simple, near perfect and ready to GO, you just have to learn how to press that GO BUTTON."

That does not mean that we should add nothing to our scatterguns, what it means is we NEED to evaluate the features and benefits of a item, before we strap it on!

At some point we should start a thread and debate the things that should be on a scattergun for fighting purposes.

Good Luck & Be Safe

December 15, 2008, 07:55 PM
At some point we should start a thread and debate the things that should be on a scattergun for fighting purposes.

I'll start the list:
a few pins
end cap

I couldn't have left too much off the list.

"they come out of the factory box simple, near perfect and ready to GO, you just have to learn how to press that GO BUTTON."

If it wasn't obvious that I agree; I agree.
I'd like a shorter barrel than the bird gun. That's the only change I would make.

December 15, 2008, 08:35 PM
i am also guilty of trying to pimp out the shotty, it is fun, but in the end you come down to earth and stick with the basics mostly... i totally agree with the knoxx recoil reducers...makes practice with the mag loads so much more enjoyable...the light is a must in my books, the new style tac lights are so bright and batts last a very long time, i still like being able to temporarily blind a perp if needed...i love all the pics, keeps the wheels turnin

cheers n beers!

December 15, 2008, 08:36 PM

December 16, 2008, 12:59 AM
That should put pretty much anyone in their right mind to scamperin. And anyone not in their right mind will get one heck of a wakeup call.

December 17, 2008, 12:32 PM
I know I'll probably step on some toes, here; but, when I see a fully pimped HD gun, the first thing that comes to mind is a Filipino Jeepnie... both an antithesis of the KISS principal. I'm with Scattergun Bob, "they come out of the factory box simple, near perfect and ready to GO, you just have to learn how to press that GO BUTTON."

Sometimes we get stuck thinking within the box, and the more we try to do with an HD gun, the smaller the box becomes. Mike U initially commented: ...I'm still mulling over the flashlight. I'm thinking a mounted flashlight is a must have for a bedside shotgun. But, it sticks out like a sore thumb the way it's mounted now so I'm considering getting a mount that doesn't stick out so far. Any ideas from the shotgun aficionados here?
Mike seems stuck thinking in the box. As I understand his premise: When a HD gun is needed in the middle of the night, illumination is required for proper target acquisition. Hanging a light on the HD gun provides that illumination; but, at the cost of making the gun a target for counter fire.

Perhaps the solution is to divorce the illumination from the gun. How about having a whole-house light controller on the night stand? When something goes bump in the night, one touch lights up the whole house (with the possible exception of the bedroom). You HD gun is no longer an illuminated target searching in the darkness.

December 17, 2008, 03:23 PM
I have two HD guns, a Maverick 12 Gauge Security stock except for HiViz bead and a strictly stock Mossy 500A with 18 1/2 inch barrel. I don't have anything attached to guns, I keep 5 spare rounds in a Ziploc bag and dump them in my housecoat pocket if I go into Condition Red.

I also have night lights throughout house and won't be turning on bed stand light to ruin night vision. House is "hardened" and nobody gets in by "mistake."

As you get older and memory and coordination both start to leave, you learn to keep everything to a simple drill. Pump shotguns and revolvers!

Just because it is newer or more complicated does not mean it is necessarily better!

December 17, 2008, 05:32 PM
I'm with the simple crowd here also. The only add-on my Moss. 590 has on it one of those cheap elastic butt cuffs that holds 5 spare rounds.

Mike U.
December 20, 2008, 09:57 PM
I'm keeping the shotgun exactly as you see it in picture number two of my opening post for now.

I'm keeping the flashlight on as it is a necessity since this is the shotgun that stays in reach by the bedside. I tried different ways of holding a flashlight with the gun in the ready fire position, but, it isn't working for me so a mounted light is the way to go.
The sling I added in pic #2 stays also. It's just too handy for quick transition to a handgun or to free up my hands.
The Glo-Dot II front sight worked really well for me so that stays*. It's so much easier to pick up quickly than that silver bead.

The heat shield and picatinny rail with vertical fore-grip are not what I need so they go into the spare parts drawer until a friend or family member decide they have need for them.

Lots of great advice and insight in this thread and I really appreciate all of it. ;):D

*Till I replace that barrel with a smoothbore with open sights.


December 20, 2008, 11:02 PM
I pimped out my Mossberg 500 12ga 20" barrel Cruiser, everyone thought it was neat, but had more money in added junk than the gun cost. Botton line it was not functional for HD and I removed everything except; the Knoxx folding stock, shell follower, ghost sights, receiver shell saddle. Now it is usable for home defense

Cruncher Block
December 22, 2008, 12:13 PM
For me, it's always a weight problem. ;)

Seriously, with a magazine extension and a flashlight added to the fore-end, it's difficult to hold an 18" 870 on-target with just the firing hand.

A sidesaddle throws the balance off too much for me. The gun wants to twist counterclockwise. If I'm carrying more than the shells in the magazine, I'd rather carry it in a bandoleer.

December 26, 2008, 03:48 AM
Yep, still looks "pimp" to me...

Mike U.
December 26, 2008, 04:25 AM
Sorry guys. Gotta do the rest of the un-pimping as funds allow. There will be a flashlight on it as long as it stays by my bed. The key there is making it lower key than it is now.
Tell ya what, how about I use this old soldier till I get my baby back to normal?
I'll just lock the 870 up in the vault till I can get a more traditional looking stock on it again. NOT!!

The more traditional looking stock is gonna be a Knoxx "Comp Stock". Till then, it stays as is. The thread is titled "UN-pimping my 870". Not "my un-pimped 870". :p

Bill DeShivs
December 26, 2008, 04:37 AM
That old Rossi Coach Gun would make a fine defense weapon, and it will handle better than any pump!

Mike U.
December 26, 2008, 02:50 PM
Yeah Bill, it's got a good "feel" to it.
Swings pretty good too for a shorter barreled weapon.
Quick to shoulder, quick on target.

December 26, 2008, 05:49 PM
ive got a buddy that just got an 870 from his pops, the furniture is actually glued togeather.

he wants to make it into a cheap mall ninja/tacticool gun. he has no desire to hunt/hd with this gun. just wants to make it look "cool".

he is also very mechanically disinclined.

what is some stuff that is simple to install and cheap to achieve his goal?

December 27, 2008, 10:45 AM
I de-pimped my 870 and ended up with this.

Seriously I kept my pimp gun and use a 12ga coach gun for HD now.

December 29, 2008, 08:21 AM

My plain jane 500. No frill and it can still put #000 downrange just as good as anything. Its got a $40 dollar gunshow barrel on it but again at in house range it hits just as hard as the newest semi 12ga that cost 10 times more.

December 29, 2008, 03:30 PM
At one time police officers were trained to hold their flashlights in their left hand with their arm fully extended high and out to the side of their body, so that anyone shooting at, under or to the left of the light (most people instinctively expecting a right handed person to carry it in their right hand) would not come close to the officer.

I prefer a 1911 45 with a laser grip for home defense, but have numerous shotguns. I have a Mossberg "Cruiser" in 410 that can shoot five 30 cal. buckshot in one load and can be controlled with one hand; however, it normally has #8 shot in it for snakes (I'm rural). Without a plug, it will hold 6 rounds. If you need more, get an AR-15 clone with a 30 round mag.

At one time I had a 12 ga. Winchester 1200 home defense pump. The only signifant difference between it and a common pump gun would be the longer magazine, which is excess fo home defense.

December 29, 2008, 03:46 PM
Here is my pimped out HD shotgun!Sorry about the poor quality pic.
Started as a $150 beat up used 870.
(I use a G17 for HD,I just wanted to put together something that had that old school look to it)

Remington 870 express 12 ga.
18.5" Remington Cyl.Bore barrel
2 shot Remington extension
Wingmaster Trigger Group
Scattergun Tech. Big Head Safety
Scattergun Tech. Mag Follower/Spring
Machined extractor
Police furniture with R9 recoil pad(I would like to replace the recoil pad with a hard plastic buttplate,to shorten LOP a touch)
Gun-kote Matte Gray Finish
7 rds Federal 2 3/4" 00 buck


December 29, 2008, 06:02 PM
Roadrash, how long is your barrel and what's the capacity with the mag extension (x+1)?

December 29, 2008, 06:06 PM
In my opinion there is a difference between "mall ninja crap" and quality products that CAN be used to increase the versatility and effectiveness of a weapon. emphasis on can, even a quality product won't be suitable for all applications.
Right on. Combat shotguns, really all fighting firearms, can be divided into "defensive" and 'offensive' weapons classes or purposes. For me, the ideal dedicated HD shotgun would be a short, bead sighted, full-stocked pump (a Mosberg due to preference for the tang safety). I think KISS is the best policy when considering weapons and tactics for when your own home is invaded. Out of the box the average unmodified riot gun has everything you need and nothing you don't. Just as while I favor the 1911 think a Glock or Centennial might make the better true defensive circumstances weapon. In this way a simple Bantam or Youth 20 gauge pump may have a edge over a Benelli Tactical or similar, where enhancements may not only not be needed, could hinder you at the worst time, either from malfuntion or complex procedures.

Tacticool stuff has a place, for 3-Gun or entry teams, or even just to add versatility to a combat pump gun (which, IMO, may in some ways impede it inside the house). Ghost Rings can be a useful accesory, and a quality mag extension. I hate side saddles but can see the concept of using one to chamber a slug on the fly. All of this is irrelevant to unexpected, room combat. Lights...undecided. Nothing wrong with a Knoxx stock as I understand they really work, I prefer and do better with conventional shaped stocks. All in all these bone stock examples are IMO better suited for defense, definately what I'd prefer to be working with if I woke up in the middle of the night to a situation this intense with probable permanant consequences.

One idea I did have for a HD SG improvement, for those who clear with one (versus folks who can take cover and wait for help). In the past I've used night lights and usually a Mimi 14 carried in Indoor Ready position when practicing for this scenario. Anyway, was looking at Clyde Barrow's sawed-off Remington autos, and the shoulder strap he used to carry them as a PDW. Just a leather strap in a small loop and attached to the heel and toe of the stubby stock. This might be an aid in weapon retention without involving a cumbersome tactical sling or even a single point model that allows the butt to move from the shoulder. Or wear the thing under your robe to answer the door if you have reason. Just a thought.

I just look at the pure HDSG as a safety tool similar to fire extinguisher, to keep the home safe, more or less disposable compared to the value when it may be needed (not junk though, it must work, and come on were all gun guys, if we gotta whack a burglar, would be nice to have a shotty with style and customizationon all the documents, but simplicity is key. That gets you to operate at the basic, lowest level where you stand a better chance.

December 29, 2008, 06:15 PM
Strat,I added the stats!;)

December 29, 2008, 07:06 PM
Looking good, roadrash. Thanks!

Your setup is similar to what I envision my 3-gun 870 to be.

I'm still wrestling with mag extension... do I go for a 6+1, 7+1, or 8+1?? The gamer in me says 8+1. However, my "practical" side says 6+1 or 7+1.

I plan on retaining my 870's wood furniture and cutting the stock to fit me. I already bought an 870P forearm to accommodate a 6-rd side saddle.

December 29, 2008, 09:14 PM
When it comes to shotguns, I'm a big fan of "less is best". The best accesory other than training and practice for any shotgun is a good sysytem for ammo supply such as a grab and go dump pouch. I'm a little guy and I like my shotgun stripped down and easier to maneuver.


December 29, 2008, 09:41 PM
My HD 870 wears a XS Big Dot Tritium bead.

Mike U.
December 30, 2008, 03:03 AM

Where did you get your Tritium bead?
That's a whole new animal to me and it sounds like a good replacement for my hard to see stock silver bead.

December 30, 2008, 09:54 AM
Mike U., these aren't tritium but are a good compromise and may be what you want, depending on your circumstances:

December 30, 2008, 11:25 AM
Here is the XS website:


You should be able to find what you need there. Which one you get depends on what you have/want. My HD 870 is pretty plain Jane except for the epoxy on bead on ramp front sight. It glues right over top of the existing bead. If you shop around you can probably find them cheaper retail than directly from XS.

I like the Tritium much better than the Fiber Optic type as it works in very low to no light and the FO wont.

Mike U.
December 30, 2008, 05:13 PM

I have the Hi-Viz snap-on plain barrel sight. It works fairly good in lower light conditions. Better than a silver bead. And in full light the thing is a neon sign! Extremely easy to pick for a fast sight picture.
However, at night my house's interior is as dark as Henry VIII's dungeon. Tritium sights help greatly in those circumstances. My 870 is primarily a bedside shotgun first and a goes-bang!-joy-toy the rest of the time. (I love shooting it.) :D:D:D


Thank you very much! That's the ticket!