10 Must Have Upgrades for Your Remington 870 Shotgun
If you are a novice gun owner with a Remington 870 then you might not realize how many upgrades and accessories are available for your shotgun. You should take advantage of these upgrades instead of sticking with the factory version of your shotgun because they can help make the shooting experience more pleasant and increase your accuracy at the same time.
One great upgrade you can make is with a tactical follower. If you look at the magazine follower that comes with the factory model of the Remington 870 shotgun, you will notice that it is cheaply made and breaks very easily. This is why owners of the Remington 870 keep complaining about feeding problems with their gun. In the early models of the 870, it had metal followers that did not break because they were strong and reliable. But now the newer models use cheaper parts to cut down on costs. So you should replace the factory made follower with a stainless steel tactical follower in order to ensure you have reliable feeding.
An upgrade you probably wouldn’t have thought of is replacing the safety button on the Remington 870. The factory safety that comes with the shotgun is rather small and many owners complain that it is hard to disengage it fast under stressful circumstances. By replacing this small safety button with an oversized safety button, you will be able to quickly disengage the safety feature and fire your shotgun when you need to in a stressful situation. On the flip side, you will also be able to make sure the safety is turned on when you are in situations where you don’t want to fire the weapon. This is important to consider, especially if you are a beginner.
Finally, the most popular upgrade for the Remington 870 is replacing the fore-end and stock with newer ones. The factory forend and stock usually come in one size only and they may not be suitable for all gun owners. Instead, you will want to replace these features with ones that accommodate a specific size that you are comfortable with. Not only that, you might also want to choose newer material as well. Many of these shotgun models come with wooden stocks, but you may find that rubber stocks are more comfortable when aiming the gun at something.
10 Must Have Upgrades for Your Remington 870 Shotgun
I receive lots of questions about Remington 870 upgrades. And one of the most popular questions – what are the must have upgrades? What upgrades are the most important for the Remington 870?
It is easy to buy one of the many Remington 870 upgrade kits but it is more fund to search for the upgrades that you like most. There are many upgrades and mods to make a home defense, tactical or hunting shotgun. Make sure that you choose the best upgrades that add useful features. But remember that it is easy to buy too many upgrades and accessories and your shotgun will become tacticool :)
You can find cheap and expensive Remington 870 upgrades. The prices are different in many shops and internet boards.
Here is my list of the ten top upgrades for the Remington 870:
1. Non-MIM Extractor
There are two types of extractors that most firearms could have in them. There are MIM extractors and non-MIM extractors. MIM stands for metal injection molding. If an extractor is non-MIM, then it means it’s a machined extractor. The purpose of an extractor for a shotgun is to remove the used shells after the ammunition gets fired. A lot of the newer shotguns, like the recent versions of the Remington 870, use MIM extractors. This kind of makes some people upset who are old school and prefer the non-MIM extractors instead. Well, don’t worry because you can easily take out the MIM extractor in your weapon and replace it with a non-MIM extractor. You just need to have basic knowledge about taking apart your weapon and upgrading the part that you want to upgrade.
So, why do so many gun owners dislike the MIM extractor? The biggest complaint they have about this extractor is that it breaks very easily and becomes unreliable after a short amount of time. The non-MIM extractor, on the other hand, is more durable and has no problems when extracting the shells. The best part is that it won’t cost you very much money to replace your MIM extractor with a non-MIM extractor because the part is extremely cheap. Most gun stores will only charge you around $15 for a non-MIM extractor. Plus, it is easy to install it if you follow a few simple steps. Once the upgrade has been made, you’ll notice how much more reliable your shotgun is with the non-MIM extractor versus the MIM extractor.
To perform the installation of the non-MIM extractor, you have to first make sure your shotgun does not contain any ammunition in it by checking the chamber and magazine tube. Then, take apart your shotgun and remove the bolt. Place a flat headed screwdriver into the area between the extractor and plunger of your weapon. Pull back on the extractor to depress the spring and then rotate the extractor to lift it out. Place the non-MIM extractor part in there and push it in while rotating it until the sound of a snap is heard. Now just reassemble your weapon, place new ammunition into it and test it out on a target. The extraction of the shells should now seem flawless. You should no longer have to worry about shells getting jammed in your weapon and causing it to malfunction.
Machined extractor is one of the must-have upgrades for your Remington 870. It insures reliable extraction of fired shells. Police version of the Remington 870 utilizes non-MIM extractor too because it is more reliable.
2. Tactical Flashlight for Shotgun
Light on a is one of the most important upgrades that are required for a home-defense or tactical shotgun. Adding a tactical flashlight to a shotgun – is one of the first advices that all firearm instructors give.
One of the most popular upgrades you can make to your shotgun is adding a tactical flashlight to it. The word “tactical” is generally associated with law enforcement or military because it defines upgrades that benefit their particular line of work. Of course, you can still be a private shotgun owner and purchase a tactical flashlight upgrade too. The benefit of a tactical flashlight should be obvious. If you are frequently using your shotgun in dark environments or terrains, then it will certainly help by allowing you to shine a light directly in front of your path. Since you need to have both hands on your shotgun while you’re pointing it, the only way to shine a light is to have a flashlight attached to your weapon. That way, the light will shine in whichever direction you’re pointing your shotgun. This helps for both navigational purposes and being able to see your target clearly before shooting it so you don’t have any accidents.
Tactical flashlights can be mounted to your shotgun using a clamp with a Picatinny rail. You likely won’t have to buy the clamp separately because most tactical flashlights come with clamps specifically designed for mounting those flashlights. Some tactical flashlight models get mounted onto the side of your shotgun and others are integrated to the bottom of your shotgun’s forend. You may find that having the tactical flashlight attached to your forend is better because the light shines straight in front of your weapon rather than to its side. On the other hand, some people don’t like having the light in the same place where they have to pump the weapon with their hand. The choice is really up to you since some gun owners prefer one over the other.
Once you install your tactical flashlight, you will be able to use it either day or night. Then you will no longer after to worry about staying out late while you’re hunting in the woods or shooting at targets. If you’re a law enforcement or military officer, you can maintain your safety during all hours of the day by being able to see your enemy from afar. This also includes going into dark buildings and searching for suspects as well. Some tactical flashlights even have red dot technology integrated into it for assisting the shooters further with their aim.
If you have flashlight on your shotgun you can use it day and night. If you can’t identify target, you can’t shoot it. I recommend choosing one of the following options:
CDM Gear Clamp (with Rail) or Elzetta Flashlight Mount and TLR Flashlight
Streamlight TLR-2 Flashlight/Laser combo. I have installed it using CDM Gear BMT clamp with picatinny rail. I think this is the best way to attach Streamlight TLR-2 or Streamlight TLR-1 to Remington 870. I really like this flashlight/laser combo, it is lightweight and easily attaches to a rail. TLR-2 is low profile and doesn’t stick out much. Streamlight TLR-1 which doesn’t have laser is even smaller. Stremalight TLR-2 has lots of great features.
Surefire Forend Light for Shotguns
Surefire Forend Light – is one of the popular choices of the light for a tactical shotgun. It is well-known, it is reliable and compact.
The Surefire forend light for shotguns is a specially designed “forend weapon light” which integrates the light and the forend together into one unit. This is different than a tactical flashlight which gets mounted onto the forend. The Surefire forend light is an upgrade for your shotgun’s existing factory installed forend. This means you will have to know how to disassemble your weapon and replace the forend that is already installed. The Surefire forend features a forend made of durable polymer with a light source built in that can shine a bright blinding beam of light in front of it. There are also switches on the forend to make it easy for the shooter to control the light. With the Surefire forend, you’ll never have to worry about mounting your tactical flashlight ever again.
Surefire currently has two forend light upgrades available; one for the Remington 870 and the other for the Mossberg 500/590. The Remington 870 forend light is a LED light which contains a maximum output of 600 lumens and a minimum output of 200 lumens. You could use the light for an estimated three hours without the quality of the light diminishing in any way. If you put the light on high the whole time, expect it to only last for about 1.5 hours. Once the light goes out, you can easily replace the batteries inside of it with two CR123A batteries. A package of two typically costs about $13 at your local hardware store. As for the Mossberg 500/590 forend light, it contains the same specifications as the Remington forend light. The only difference is that it’s made for the Mossberg shotgun model rather than the Remington. The bezel ring which contains the light inside the forend is 1.37 inches in diameter. The same goes for the bezel ring on the Remington as well. While this may seem small, it casts a pretty bright light that allows you to see what’s in front of you perfectly.
The cost of the Surefire forend light is currently priced at $395 for each on the Surefire website. This might seem like a lot but don’t forget you are getting two upgrades for the price of one. You are getting a durable polymer forend that is easy to grip and a powerful light that shines brightness even in the darkest of night. If you are an avid shotgun user that likes to hunt at night or simply wants protection in case an intruder breaks into your home at night, the Surefire forend light is the best upgrade you’ll ever make to your shotgun.
This forend is one of the best but the most expensive choices when you want to install flashlight on Remington 870.
Surefire forend is bright, reliable, compact and very easy to use.
3. Tactical Magazine Follower
As you may know, it is important to have a reliable magazine follower because this is the part of a firearm which pushes the ammunition rounds toward the breech of the gun. That way, the rounds can get loaded into the chamber as soon as the shooter is ready. Behind the magazine follower is also a spring which is responsible for providing tension to the follower as it moves the rounds in place.
Magazine followers can be made out of either plastic or metal. If you purchased a factory Remington 870 shotgun, for example, then it probably came with an orange plastic magazine follower which is not very sturdy or reliable. This means you’ll want to take out that follower and replace it with one that is more sturdy and reliable, such as a tactical magazine follower. The benefit to using a tactical magazine follower is its tail helps improve how the follower feeds ammunition into the breech. Plus, the tail prevents any kinking from taking place with the spring. The only downside is the tail of the tactical magazine follower takes up a little more space than the average follower.
Some tactical magazine followers are made of metal in order to ensure their durability and reliability. They can be the best magazine followers in a combat situation. For example, the Remington 870 Tactical follower comes many different colors, they may have a hole on the head. This makes it easier for the shooter to check their empty magazine simply from using their finger or their own sight.
The good news is the typical price of a tactical magazine follower for a 12-gauge firearm is less than $10. If you go with a follower made out of stainless steel, then it may be $20 or $30. But in the end, you will still get the same level of quality with the $10 magazine follower as long as it’s graded as a tactical follower. Tactical means that the follower is reliable enough to where law enforcement and military officers are willing to use them in dangerous situations which involve them risking their lives.
Brownells Stainless Steel Magazine Follower
When you hold it in your hands you feel that it is heavy and reliable, it is thick and made of stainless steel, it is even thicker than Vang Comp Systems follower. Looks good and works well, I didn’t have any malfunctions during the tests. Brownells Magazine Follower has grooves and will work with Remington 870 shotguns which have dimples but don’t have extension.
Brownells Stainless Steel Magazine Follower is very good alternative to Vang Comp Systems follower. It is machined, it is stainless, it is thicker than Vang Comp Systems follower. It will last forever.
4. Oversized Safety Button
A lot of shotgun owners prefer to replace the standard factory Remington 870 safety because it is rather small and in a stress (combat, self-defense) situation it maybe difficult to quickly disengage it. Oversized safety button enables you to disengage safety fast ensuring that you will be able to use your shotgun when you need it. This is very important, especially in stress situation. Also, oversized safety button is much more easier to find when you wearing gloves.
Safety buttons are often overlooked by new shotgun owners until they are in a situation where they have to disengage it quickly. Often times, shotgun users will see a target and then quickly try to shoot it without switching off their safety mechanism first. If the safety is on, then it will prevent the weapon from firing. This would be even more serious if a law enforcement or military officer were using a shotgun and could not disengage their safety fast enough because the safety button was too small for them to push quickly.
Remember in a combat situation, it is very easy to feel stress and anxiety. These feelings can often impair a person’s concentration when it comes to menial things like pushing a safety button. That is why the safety button needs to be huge so that a nervous shooter can easily disengage the safety and shoot their enemies when they have to respond quickly to their actions. The same philosophy can be applied to people who use shotguns for home defense too. If an intruder breaks into your home, you may only have a few seconds to disengage your weapon before the person points their weapon at you. By having an oversized safety button, you’ll be sure to reach the button quickly so you can have your firearm ready to shoot in case you need to do so.
Let’s take a look at a Remington 870. The factory standard safety button that comes with a Remington 870 is rather small for pushing when you’re under pressure. If you were going to upgrade this button to an oversized one, then something like the Wilson Combat Jumbo Head Safety would be a wise choice. This button works great because it is big enough to disengage quickly and it doesn’t stick out of the gun so much either. If you have a Knoxx recoil reducing stock on your shotgun, this safety button is compatible with that too.
There is an old saying that it is better to be safe than sorry. If you are just somebody who goes out hunting with your shotgun, then you may not feel like an oversized safety button is worth the money. But even in these situations, you may only have a few seconds to shoot your target before it runs away out of your sight. For less than $20, it is surely a good investment to make for a Jumbo Head Safety for your shotgun.
Vang Oversized Safety
Vang Comp Systems is a good safety and I have heard positive feedback about it from many shooters.
There are two issues which can stop you from buying this safety button:
1. Sticks out too far.
3. Cannot be installed with Knoxx recoil reducing stocks.
Other than that, it is good and tested by many Remington 870 owners.
|You can get Vang Big Speed Safety for Remington 870 on Brownells|
Wilson Combat (Scattergun Technologies) Jumbo Head Safety
Very good safety button for Remington 870. Works great and can be easily disengaged. It doesn’t stick out much and big enough to be quickly disengaged. The quality of this safety button is very good. This is the only one oversized safety which can be used with Knoxx recoil reducing stocks.
5. Stock and Forend
The stock and forend are the two most notable parts of any shotgun or rifle. The stock is the end of the firearm which faces the shooter’s direction. It is primarily used to help the shooter aim their weapon and give them stability so they can shoot it with as much accuracy as possible. The forend is the long part of the shotgun that is between the muzzle and the receiver. This is where the shooter’s weak hand normally goes while their main hand is on the trigger area. If it is a pump action shotgun, then the forearm is the part that you pump back and forth to extract the used shell from the chamber and then load a new one into it. Both the stock and forend parts are often sold together because they are typically made of the same material from the same manufacturer. That way, the shooter can experience the most reliability with their shotgun when they are shooting it.
If you are purchasing your Remington 870 stock and forend separately, then you need to pay attention to a few key features in order to ensure they are compatible with you as a shooter. For the stock, you’ll want to examine its length and make sure that it can press against the front of your shoulder comfortably when you go to aim with your Remington 870. If the stock is too long or too short for your body, then it will be virtually impossible to aim with accuracy. As for the material used in their construction, you can choose from wood, laminated wood, injection molding, metal, or hard-laid composites. Everyone has their own preference when it comes to the material. Some may prefer lighter materials versus the heavier ones like metal. The choice is up to you.
The attributes of a good Remington 870 forend are similar to the attributes of a good stock. Not only will you want to pay attention to the material it’s made of, but you’ll also want to make sure the size of the forend is compatible with your weapon as well. Check with the manufacturer of the forend because they will usually tell you if their forend can be attached to your particular weapon. Plus, pay attention to how easy it is to grip the forend that you are thinking about purchasing. If you are using a pump action shotgun, you’ll need to be able to grip the forend firmly so you can pump it quickly and fire additional shells.
Standard Remington 870 stock and forend are designed to fit most of the shooters. But we are all different. It is important to find the stock and forend that fits you.
I recommend Hogue stock and forend because they are affordable and quality made products. Material and texture of the Hogue stock and forend are unique and assure excellent feel and a non-slip positive grip. Hogue rubber finish is much better than plastic on other stocks/forends.
Another good stock and forend set for Remington 870 is made by Magpul. Be sure to check the stock by Mesa Tactical as well.
6. Magazine Extension
Most gun owners have been situations where they’re shooting at their target but then run out of ammunition rather quickly. This could happen with any weapon whether it’s a pistol or a shotgun. Although, the one bad thing about shotguns is they don’t hold very many shells at one time. Fortunately, you can purchase a Remington 870 magazine extension upgrade to increase the shell capacity of your shotgun, or most other firearms that you possess.
Of course, the magazine extensions for a shotgun are going to look different than the magazine extensions of a Glock, for example. If you were to upgrade your Remington 870 shotgun with a magazine extension, then you would be adding a tubular magazine extension to the existing magazine tube of your weapon. That way, you will be able to fire a few more rounds than you normally would before having to manually reload your weapon. As for a pistol like a Glock, this magazine extension would be a small piece that goes underneath the magazine to extend its length and allow for it to hold a few extra rounds. Although the shape and structure of these magazine extensions may be different, their basic purpose is the same.
There are often a variety of magazine extensions available for each kind of weapon. Many tubular extensions for Remington 870 shotguns can hold anywhere between one to six extra shells in them. The more shells it can hold, the longer the extension tube is going to be on the weapon. Sometimes it may even stick out as far as the barrel itself if it is long enough. But don’t worry because the magazine extensions are often lightweight and don’t really impact the handling of the weapon.
The price of a Remington 870 magazine extension is anywhere between $100 and $200. It is only worth the money if you use your weapon frequently and have a reason to fire a lot of ammunition within a short amount of time. Police and military officers, for example, may find Remington 870 magazine extensions to be worth the money. Of course, they would likely be issued these magazine extensions by their superiors so they won’t have to worry about purchasing them. But if you are a private citizen who likes to go target shooting then you may find it more convenient to have a higher capacity of ammunition in your firearm at any given time. Then you won’t have to spend extra time reloading your weapon in case you need to use it quickly.
7. Receiver Mount Shell Holder (Sidesaddle)
When you grab a shotgun, all ammunition you have is in shotgun and on shotgun, so it’s important to have receiver mount shell holder. Sidesaddles are very popular and you can find them on many police, tactical or home defense shotguns.
I recommend getting Mesa Tactical sidesaddle. This is the most durable and reliable sidesaddle available on the market today. Mesa Tactical sidesaddle is made of aluminium which makes it indestructible. It is low profile and looks fantastic!
One of the good features of this shell carrier is that it doesn’t hide the serial number.
There are many different versions of this sidesaddle. There are 4-round, 6-round and even 8-round shell carriers. Some of the sidesaddles have rail on the top to mount red dots or optics.
This is the most expensive shell carrier but it is worth the price. There are less expensive sidesaddles and they work just fine but made of cheaper materials like plastic.
Receiver mount shell holder (sidesaddle) is a must have upgrade for Remington 870.
Better sights are very important because you use them every time you shoot. It is good idea go get Tritium sights because they glow in the dark for years.
This set is very sturdy and well made. I have tested them in day light and they were very good and easy to use. Of course they don’t glow in the daylight as light gathering sights but easily identifiable thanks to the white ring around tritium tubes. Also, Ameriglo sights glow in the dark thanks to the tritium elements (which will be glowing for 12 years). You can choose several colors for your sights, I have front dot of the green color and yellow dots on the back sight. You can choose all green elements if you want. These sights are little higher than standard ones but I like it.
The most popular barrel for homedefense is the Remington 870 18″ bead sight barrel. It is short, simple and inexpensive.
This short barrel enables you to easily manouevre around the house. It is possible to change the factory bead with light gathering or Tritium one.
You can get this barrel here: http://tinyurl.com/d3rg5jm
This barrel is universal tool which is good for almost any purpose. Of course, longer barrel will be better for hunting and ghost ring sights will be better for home defense. But 18″ bead sight barrel enables you to do almost all tasks. It is good choice for beginners or for people that want to have only one shotgun for home defense and for week end clay shooting.
Barrel which is shorter than 18″ usually requires special license.
10. Carrier Latch Spring
Carrier elevates the shell and it will be held there until the bolt can push it into the chamber. Carrier dog spring upgrade upgrade ensures positive feeding when using heavier rounds.
Carrier dog spring upgrade is very simple. It is as important as extractor replacement. Many custom Remington 870 shotguns have better carrier dog spring. Carrier dog spring upgrade can be done at home without special tools.
You can get heavier carrier dog spring here: http://tinyurl.com/7yolquh
11. Bonus Upgrade: Tactical Picatinny Rail for Additional Accessories
This is small bonus for those who have read the article till the end :) Many Remington 870 owners want to install red dot (holographic) or optic sight on their shotgun. You can do it two ways: drill and tap the receiver of your shotgun or get rail which can be isntalled without gunsmithing.
There are many different rails available. You can choose Remington 870 rail with sidesaddle and even heatshield or simple rail without any additional features.
Some of the ghost ring sights can also be installed on picatinny rail.