Tag Archives: Shotguns

Tactical Lever Action Shotgun?

I don’t know what it is, but some questions have been coming in from multiple folks asking about the viability of a Lever Action Shotgun for Tactical use. This answer is a straight up no. Reason being, is that the Lever Action Shotgun loses the advantage of flexibility that the normal shotguns have, or the ability to top off on the go like a normal lever action rifle. So instead of being the best of both worlds, it’s the worst of both worlds.
Sure, Terminator 2 made it look cool with the firing from a motorcycle and spin cocking it… But that’s about where the cool factor comes to an abrupt end.

The reloading is second to none when it comes to being slow and awkward.
The reliability is questionable in every Winchester and Win-Clone I’ve seen. But even if you had one that ran as reliable as the Sun Rise – it’s still limited with a very short mag tube that you can’t extend, and reloading is about as clumsy as mechanically possible.
Even one as practiced as Master Quinn has a time of running these things.
A Shotgun has it’s advantage in being Situationally Flexible.  You take that away from it – it’s handicapped drastically.
A Lever has it’s advantage in being light and easy to handle, narrow in profile, and easy to top off on the go.   Take those things away from it, and it’s handicapped.
I see no point in these Lever Action Shotguns other than as a Novelty or a Historic Curio Reproduction.
The use of one in a Tactical Situation would be a mistake unless this was the only weapon you had or that it was a stop gap weapon until you could get to a better weapon.
Granted 12 gauge is devastating and 4 or 5 shots from it is formidable… but this is like planning on using a 2 shot Derringer as a defensive weapon.  There are better options out there.  In every metric there are better options.

That being said.   They are still freaking cool and fun… so outside of the Tactical Use spectrum – they are just fine.

Quick Update – There is a Marlin Lever Action in .410… It was produced for a time, dropped, brought back briefly and dropped again.  So examples are out there.  They are rare and hard to find.  I’ve only seen 2 in person.   They are cool and could be viable as a Tactical Lever Action Shotgun.  But they are only in .410 and that’s also a handicap.  But it’s better than harsh language, so there’s that.

Shotguns for Defense

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Shotguns remain the very best weapon ever devised for static defense situations.  Meaning Home Defense or Security.  But we’ve seen a trend that has people moving away from the Shotgun in other situations.  Such as your Truck Gun or Cruiser Gun.  Police have turned to Rifles, and SBR’s are becoming the gun of choice for Truck Guns.  And depending on where you are – this might not be a good thing.

The popularity of the AR-15 is unquestioned.  It’s become “America’s Rifle”, and by Right, it should be.  The AR-15 in it’s Militant Form has been serving the Nation as our Military’s main battle rifle for over 40 years.  It’s cool to have an AR-15 and it’s cool to deck out that rifle with all sorts of add-on expensive parts and upgrades and components… and to make it so it doesn’t actually look like an AR anymore.  That’s for the Cool Guys… but is it for you?  Is a 3,000 dollar rifle what you need to defend the castle?   Really?    Do you need to reach out to 600 Meters with a glorified .22 magnum?  Maybe you do.
When I lived in Vernal, Utah I most certainly could use that range and precision accuracy for defensive use.   Maybe.  In some Red Dawn Zombie Fantasy.  In reality… my actual defensive needs were maybe 50 yards max.   That’s 00 Buck range.  If I had to extend – realistically I’d only need 200 yards.  That’s Slug range.   I’m talking Defensive Use… I’m not talking precision sniper Hostage Rescue use.  That’s for Police.  For my buddies in the Sheriff’s Department with the well zeroed heavy rifles.   I can’t justify defensive use 200 yards away.

Reality dictates I need to stop a threat that’s trying to come into my home.  And that’s where Joe Biden’s suggestion is actually a good one.  Just buy a Shotgun.  He was absolutely right.   And then he threw that out the window with the two blasts in the air and the shooting through doors thing.  But he was right about buying a shotgun.

Remington 870.  Mossberg 500.  One of those.  18.5″ Barrel.  Or if you get one that’s registered as a pistol you can get a 14 barrel for it, like in the photo above.  You don’t need a $2,000 Benelli M4… By all means, if you can get one, do it… but the mission is quite resolved with a 400 Pump Action.  Avoid the pumps made in Turkey by otherwise well known brands… Don’t cheap out on that brand new $299 pump.

I’d rather buy a well used Remington 870 than anything else… that’s just me.

Get some good 3″ hunting loads for it… not the super cheap #7 or #8 Shot loads… those suck.  Get some good loads.  And test the shotgun for reliability.  If it cycles good, and isn’t knocking you on your tush… you’ve got the weapon you need.   NOW the fun part comes in.  Now you get to go find all the different 00 Buck Loads you can find.  A box or two of each.  And find maybe 3 or 4 different Slug Loads.   Now go out and find some big boxes like appliances come in.  Draw a circle or Tape a paper plate on the box…. several of them.   And get to testing.

Patterning your Shotgun is like Zeroing your Rifle.  Find the load that your Shotgun likes the best – not the load You like the best.  There’s a difference.  If your load is giving you a pattern that is empty in the center – that is not your load.  You want a nice spread across your impact zone.  For the slugs, you want point of aim, point of impact accuracy and consistency.    Once you find the loads that your gun likes the best – That’s the ammo you go stock up on.

It’s unbelievable to me that guys will buy a brand new shotgun and then buy a couple cases of the cheap birdshot ammo… and that’s it.  If you are buying a gun to go break clays with – fine.  But for a shotgun you are going to defend lives with?  That’s irresponsible.  Take everything you do for gun safety and professionalism – and throw it out the window.  Your gun is untested and unzeroed = that’s a NO GO.  Yet you do that with your shotgun?    That’s a Fail.  You need to know how your gun performs with the ammo you are going to use for defense.  And seriously #7.5 loads that have Clay Pigeons on the box is NOT your defensive ammo.  Or else it shouldnt be.   Ever.  The smallest you should use for defense in any situation is BB Shot.  Even in an Apartment or close packed trailer park.  And even then, I’d suggest #4 Buck.  The shell should also be “High Brass”.  Trap loads have aluminum bases with very short heads… During firing in some guns, that little bit of aluminum will expand out and create a lock ring in your chamber making ejection very difficult or it could jam the gun, requiring some serious pounding to get it unstuck.   I’ve seen that in many shotguns using that cheap ammo.  You want big pellets and high brass.  And quite frankly, the bigger the better.  Police agencies across the nation and around the world who use shotguns, use 00 Buck for a reason.   Go ask your local Sheriff’s what they recommend for shotguns or what they use.   Some may use Regular or #4 Buck… I know some that used to use 000 Buck before switching to rifles.  But the great majority use 00 Buck.

When it comes to slugs, you want to use a Brenneke or Foster type slug.  Brenneke slugs have a drag device on the back of them… an attached wadding or plastic tail to stabilize the slug.  A Foster will generally be rifled and have a hollow base.  Either one is suitable for your smooth bore, and will be shockingly accurate if you do your part.

The Slug type to avoid in a smoothbore gun is a SABOT.  Oh, I know they look cool as hell.  But they require a Rifled Bore.   If that’s what you have – by all means… but we’re talking defensive smoothbores here and with those, a SABOT is useless.  They will be less stable, less accurate and they are going to tumble in the air before they strike the target and wont perform like a giant hollowpoint bullet.   You are wasting your money on those.  From all the testing I’ve done with common slug shells… overall the Brenneke type slugs are consistently the most accurate.  Especially in the 3″ loads.  Your shoulders may want something else.  2 3/4″ Foster type slugs from Winchester or Remington are common and do quite well.  Reduced Recoil Tactical Slugs kick a lot less and are just fine out to 100 yards.   But buy some different types and try them out.

The shotgun is much more capable than most guys think.

Armchair Quarterbacking: BERETTA.

I’ve not always been a fan of Beretta.  I’ll admit that.  When I was first told to turn in my 1911 to be issued an M9, I was not a happy camper, and that caused a burning hatred of the 92 series pistol that lasted for a good many years.  Two decades later and I find myself to be a rabid 92 series fanatic.  It took a long time to come around… but the gun garnered my favor the hard way.  It earned it.  Working at the gun counter for almost a 9 years, I had sold a great many Beretta products.  And I do not remember a single one that ever came back with an issue.  Say what you will about Beretta, I know they have their share of detractors out there… But I love Beretta.  But I also know they are far from perfect.  Let’s hit the high notes:

The 92FS:
92fs
I hate to admit it, but this gun is a dinosaur.  I love mine, and I think these are the best looking automatics ever built… But the design is dated and need revision.  Oh, wait… You did revise it.  And you called it the 92A1:
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You added a rail.. which is a good… but better yet you gave it a dovetailed front sight post which was desperately needed, and you improved the internals… All of this is good, fine and well… Making this gun the best 92 you can buy.  But then you changed the trigger guard to differentiate it from the M9A1.  What I don’t understand though is why do you have these two very different pistols?  Because a holster for an M9A1 wont work with a 92A1, not even close.  I do not see the roles that these two different pistols fill.   This pistol just leaves me scratching my head.  So here’s what you need to do.   Kill the 92A1.
Wait, what?  I just said it improved everything an was the best 92 you can buy!   Yes, I did.  But it still needs to die.   Namely because it doesn’t stand out in the 92 series line.  Same with the 96A1.   I would build the 96A1 within the same frame as the M9A1, same trigger guard.  Giving the 96A1 the Civilian frame with the rounded trigger guards makes no sense.  It’s a tactical gun and needs to be better compatible with the lights.  I think this will fill that 96 nitch much better.    Now, back to the 92A1… Yes, kill it.   And fill the hole in the line up with with a reintroduction of the 90-TWO, renaming it simply as the 2092:
90two
This gun looks amazing, feels amazing, and shoots as good as it looks.  The reshaped safety levers are an improvement.  This gun moves the Beretta family forward.    It only failed because someone gave it a stupid name and your Marketing effort was completely lacking.
This was the stupidest name ever in the firearms industry.  It was a failure from the start.  But the pistol was awesome.  It needs  second chance.  So rename the bloody thing and bring it back.  Also, make a 2092 INOX.  And just for fun, maybe INOX slides on the blackened frames and barrels… and vice versa… because two tone guns are sexy.  There should also be a COMPACT version of the 2092 as well.

Here’s another gun that needs to make a comeback:
Shiny92

The Billennium.  But instead of it being blinged out… Just make it Black and Inox.  Here’s why.  It answers the #1 Complaint that people hate on the 92 for – the Slide Mounted Safety.  The Billennium’s Frame Mounted Safety – Especially if you matched that up with the old Vertec Frame – would be a WINNER.
98-96-Vertec-Steel
You guys actually had it… and like the 90-Two… you failed to market it correctly.  In fact, I didn’t even know this thing existed.  All steel though – so it was a heavy pig.  Nice idea, bad execution.  Make THAT but with an alloy frame and your current rear sight… Beretta… I’m telling ya… WIN.    How come this hasn’t been done already?

The NEOS.  I like the pistol.  But it’s skinny grip and extreme angle is ridiculous.  Have you looked at a Ruger MKIII or Browning Buckmark?  Well look again.   Because I don’t have hands like an adolescent E.T.
Cylon
This is why I’ve never bought one.  I can’t even hold on to the thing.   However I’ve sold it to people with smaller paws than mine, and they have loved it.   Never have I sold one to a guy with bigger hands though.   Look at Ruger… They have the option of a .45 like grip frame.  Do that, but with maybe your Storm.  A Storm like grip frame.  Seriously Beretta, as much as you guys may like this thing as it is – at American Gun Counters, it turns off far more people than it impresses.

The Storm Series:
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I love the Storm Pistols.  Two things though… the Sub Compact with the tilting barrel…  Get rid of it.  It does nothing the Compact can’t do and it’s using a different action so it’s not really a sub compact version.  The SD as shown.  Where are the 9mm and .40 cal versions and where is the Compact version?  Remember when the Navy bought a lot of HK pistols recently?  They bought the compact version of the HK45, and not the full sized.  Huge handguns are good… but sometimes those Operators who operate operationally need something a bit smaller so they can conceal them.   And US Citizens like do something called EDC with guns with many of these features.   That Midsized handgun is the sweet spot, and you need to maximize that.

This Thing:
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I could write a 2,000 word report on everything wrong with this thing alone… But I don’t have time.  So I’m going to quickly outline what it needs to fix it.  It needs a major work-over.  The pyramid iron sights… Kill it.  Run a full rail across the top end to end.  Let customers use AR style irons of their choice.  No one likes these sights that doesn’t work for Beretta and have to say they do.   Extend the the body out till only an inch from the muzzle.  Thread the barrel.  Give it a thread cap.  Threads should be a common type.  Supply a flashhider/muzzle brake with it.  I like the lack of rails on the side and bottom, but put mounting hardware in there so rails can be added where needed.  The bottom of the pistol grip makes fast reloads a challenge.  Shape it like a normal pistol grip.  The Bolt Release needs to be a Safety.  On both sides, make it ambi.  Push the bolt handle out front and give it an HK style bolt catch and release.  That stock.  Get rid of it.  Put on a SCAR style Folding/Adjustable stock.  Done.  Now just rename it.  Your other rifles are the ARX series… call this one the ARX9 or ARX40 or ARX45 per caliber and you have a WINNER.   You’ll sell more than you ever had before.

I’m only going to touch on 1 shotgun.
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I want a pistol grip version and I want the feed tube to run out to the end of the barrel.   Make these options.  I also want mounting points at the front end so I can attach a short rail section to add a tactical light.  That’s it.  Simple.

Recoil & Recoil.

I remember the first time I ate a Jalapeno. It made me cry. I was young… still watching Saturday morning cartoons. Just a kid. I think we had just moved to Fircrest, Washington.  I remember going into the kitchen and seeing these peppers on the counter.  Don’t remember why, but I picked up the pepper off the counter and started eating it. Never had one before, seen one even. I was unprepared and unfamiliar with the heat of that little thing.  Thought I was going to die.
Now, if I’m in the mood, I can eat them whole like I would a carrot or something. I’ve learned to enjoy the heat. Tolerance is the word. I built up tolerance to the heat and found I liked the flavor. Took some time of course, but now I do not consider them to be all that hot.
Much is the same with recoil.   Especially with Shotguns.  I don’t mind the recoil and I enjoy the devastating results a shotgun can give you.  People perceive spicy food’s heat, and recoil differently.  This is based on familiarity and tolerance of the thing.  The more you are exposed to it, the less it effects you.  It’s not that one guy is packing more sack than the other guy… it’s just a matter of getting used to it.

Speaking of hot peppers in Fircrest.  I remember pranking my brothers, Josh and Zack.  I coated a couple apples in Tabasco Sauce.  Multiple Coatings, let dry, coat some more, and let dry again.  The apples looked normal.  Then I made sure there was nothing in the fridge to drink.  Then I filled the faucet with Tabasco.
Like a good big brother, I offered my brothers the apples.  In a very short amount of time, the boys were in great distress and running around… they ran to the fridge… nothing… they ran to the sink.  One of them put his head under and opened the tap.  Hilarity ensued.
To this day I feel bad about it… but still laugh at the memory of it.

Speaking of Recoil.   I got the latest issue of Recoil Magazine on my Nexus 7 Tablet.  I had little interest in it, as I had cancelled the subscription.  But since I knew Ian took over as Editor & Chief I thought I might give it a look through.  I’m impressed.  The magazine is good.  I’m not through reading the issue, but I am liking everything I’m seeing.  It’s less GQ with guns and more Gun Magazine, with Style.  It makes most news stand gun rags look tired and old.  If they keep it up, I’ll renew my subscription.

Tactical Semi-Auto Shotguns.

I have a great fondness for the Gauge.  And when it comes to The Gauge, I am a firmly in the House of Remington and consider the 870 to be where it’s at.

I’ve considered and examined and have fired all the Semi Autos out there.  The M4 is certainly the Mercedes Benz of the class.  However at it’s price… a Thousand Dollars more than most everything else, is it worth it?  Man, I don’t know.  It’s cool… but I am not sure its a Grand More of Cool.

You know what gun I keep coming back to?  The 1187.  Reason?  I like the position of the Bolt Release.  To unleash that bolt on a Tactical Reload, it’s center bottom, easy to get to and faster than a tiny little button that everyone has positioned in the worst possible place.  A small button with no geographic reference point on the gun… just alone in the field of the receiver some place where your hand can get struck by the charging handle if you don’t get it out of the way.  Every semi auto in current production that feeds from a Tube does this and they are all wrong… all save for the Remington 1187.

I believe this to be a key advantage.  Because regardless of how many shells your tube gets stuffed with, its going to go dry and you are going to have to do a fast tactical reload.  I think this is a winning position.    Not only that, but the 1187 can run the same iron sights that you can on the 870, making it scary accurate with slugs.

This is why my pick on the Semi-Auto Shotgun for fighting… the 1187.  For impressing other guys, the M4 remains just fine.

You need a good AR.

Crusader Weaponry can build you the best AR you’ll ever own – for not much more than the cost of a production AR with the features you want.

Go to CrusaderWeaponry.com.  Hit the Contact Page.  Send Joe a message and tell him you want the best damn rifle ever made… Pick your Caliber.  Pick your Configuration – you tell us how you want your AR.  Pick your Finish.  And Joe will give you the quote.  It’s easy.  To make it easier, we have an Installment Plan.  Tell Joe you want to set up your Crusader Account.  You pay what you can when you can… We’ll help you get the gun you want.  Even if it takes you a year to pay for it – We’ll work with you.

We also do custom Glocks and Shotguns.  This OD Green 870 is Available.  749.99 gets it shipped to your Dealer or if you are in Utah, you can pick it up.   This is one seriously badass Shotgun.  A local fellow got one of these guns, in Coyote Tan.  He brought it out to the Range.  Firing it – holy crap – it’s so smooth and can cycle so fast it was like I was running a Semi.  Amazing.

Time to get Serious.  Time to get a Crusader.

If you already have an AR that isn’t a Crusader.  You can still get SLIPSTREAM.  You will be amazed at the difference.   At the last Crusader Tactical Carbine course, some guns were running Slipstream and some were not.  The Slipstreamed guns had no problems.  The others… Hell, even an AK jammed out here in our dusty dirty gritty hot as hell training location.  Slipstream made all the difference.

Three custom Crusader Glocks Available

These Glocks came to us as a well taken care of pistols. They were in great shape but we wanted to give them new lives. The barrels were in great condition so we left them alone. We added Ghost 5 lb fitted trigger connectors. You’ll never get a better trigger break than with this connector in the gun, but then we tweaked that so it’s even better yet, because that’s what we do at Crusader. Make great stuff better. We added tungsten guide rod assemblies. This takes out the flexibility of the polymer rod and give some extra weight to help control muzzle flip.  Complete action jobs were done to ensure a smooth trigger pulls and enhance the reliability under dirty conditions. All our weapons come standard with our Slipstream permanent lubrication treatment so you stay well lubricated even after all rust prevention oils have been cooked off from heavy firing. We topped it all off with a Cerakote finishes and Grip Force adapters to remove any slide bite. These may be used pistols but after all the care we put into it, they are better than than they ever were brand new.
For more information, or If you want one of these customized Glocks, or if you want Joe to work on your own Glock, M&P, XD, or other Weapon of Choice… Contact Joe at Crusader Weaponry directly.

Let me throw in a little Sweetener here.  Buy one of these Glocks – you get 50% off Crusader’s Defensive Pistol Course.  Same goes for Crusader Shotguns and our Tactical Shotgun Course.

Remington made it interesting.

Remington has brought out their Versa Max in a Tactical version.  It has their breaching choke, extended feed tube, a small section of rail up front to mount a light, and a rail over the top of receiver for an optic, oversized bolt release… all fine and good.

But Remington has once again proven that they just don’t really get what tactical really is.  They have some guys working on the 870 that know Tactical, and that’s about where they stay.  Because they just got it wrong.

They took the Versa Max, which is a gun that can shoot all 3 sizes of Shot Shells, and neutered it so it can’t shoot the 3 1/2″ shells. This was the whole point of the Versa Max, and they ruined it.   Then they are keeping it as long as Punt Gun.  The 8+1 capacity is nice, but good grief this is a long gun… In WWII Germans shot down Spitfires with these things.  “Ja das ist das 88mm Waffe für den Abschuss Flugzeuge.”

So it’s not a real tactical gun for anything… but what makes it interesting is that this is almost ideally made for something.  3 Gun.  This has all the features suited for the growing sport, and it’s going to have a very reasonable price… So for you guys looking into getting into 3 Gun and you want a Semi Auto, I think Remington has the gun for you.

For me and what I’d want, I’d want the barrel cut down to 18″, ghost ring sights, and a pistol grip with an adjustable stock that isn’t an AR stock.  Maybe next month, Remington?  Oh, and maybe, if it would help – let it keep the 3 1/2″ shells just for fun.

 

Guns Magazine from 1956

Take a good look at this… Guns Magazine from 1956 with an interesting article speculating that the Shotgun would be the Army’s weapon of the future.

They make some good points about the utlitity, but the Shotgun has only remained in a more niche roll.  It saw some use in Vietnam and is still used occasionally by the Marines in door to door type operations.  Weapon of the future?  Not so much.

Back then they said we’d have flying cars too.   Huh… Now wouldn’t that be a fun combination?