6 Best Shotgun Sidesaddles (Shell Carriers)
What is shotgun sidesaddle and why you need it?
A shotgun sidesaddle is a convenient accessory for shotgun owners because it gives them the ability to carry more ammunition right on their weapon. That way, they don’t have to put down their weapon to go looking for more ammunition insidesl a bag or something. They can just take a shotshell right off the sidesaddle that is attached to their shotgun, load the shotshell into the chamber and then fire away. This saves them quite a bit of time in the reloading process because they don’t have to go far to get more ammunition for their weapon, since the shotshells are stored right there on the weapon itself. If you are a soldier on the battlefield, a law enforcement officer, or just somebody who needs to be able to reload quickly, the shotgun sidesaddle is an invaluable necessity that you must own.
Of course, not all shotgun sidesaddles are the same. There are some slight differences between the different sidesaddles that are on the market. Most of the differences have to do with the number of shells they can carry and the location of where the sidesaddle can be mounted onto the shotgun. For the most part, sidesaddles are mounted on the side of the receiver just opposite of the side that the chamber is on. So, you would just pick up shells on one side of the receiver and then load them into the other side or into the magazine tube. By doing this, you won’t even have to take your strong hand off the shotgun at any time.
As for the shell capacity of the sidesaddle, that is really up to you. Most sidesaddles will allow you to carry either 4, 6 or 8 extra shells. This might not seem like much, but those few extra shells can make all the difference in the world when you desperately need to fire a few more times at your target. Besides, you wouldn’t want to have a sidesaddle holding too many shotshells because it would create more weight and take up too much room. Sidesaddles are designed to give you just enough shells while keeping it lightweight and hassle-free.
Shotgun sidesaddles can cost anywhere between $20 to $70, depending on the quality and material it’s made out of. Just make sure the sidesaddle you choose is compatible with your particular shotgun model or else you won’t be able to mount the sidesaddle onto your shotgun properly.
Sidesaddles (reeiver mount shell carriers) are available for the most popular shotguns:
WARNING: These sidesaddles will not work with field length or hunting fore grips. Most tactical fore grips that do not recede past the shotguns receiver when fully cocked back, are the most ideal to run in conjunction with a sidesaddle.
TacStar Side Saddle for Remington 870 and Mossberg 500/590 Shotguns
The TacStar Side Saddle is a tactical style shotgun sidesaddle that is compatible with the most popular 12-gauge Remington shotguns. The three Remington models that it’s compatible with are the Remington 870, 1100, and 1187. The TacStar Side Saddle comes in a black color and has an ammo capacity of up to 6 shells. This is the standard capacity for most shotgun sidesaddles on the market. The only difference is the TacStar Side Saddle is made of a corrosion resistant polymer material which makes it virtually unbreakable and protects it from harsh weather conditions. Not only that, but it also makes it lightweight as well. That way, it won’t add any extra weight to your shotgun so you can still maintain the same level of accuracy and stability in all your shots when this sidesaddle is attached to your weapon.
Now, you may be thinking that mounting a sidesaddle onto a shotgun requires you to have a vast knowledge of weapons and their components. The great thing about the TacStar Side Saddle is that it is very easy to mount onto your shotgun. You won’t need to go to a gunsmith and have it specially configured. As long as you have a Remington 870, 1100, or 1187, the TacStar Side Saddle can be easily mounted in just a few easy steps. The sidesaddle contains an aluminum mounting plate which just goes right onto the side of your shotgun’s receiver. Then anytime you need to reload your weapon quickly, you can conveniently grab a shell out of the sidesaddle and load it right into your chamber, all with the same hand.
The cost of the TacStar Side Saddle is only $23.97 on Amazon.com. This makes it one of the most affordable shotgun sidesaddles that you can purchase on the market. And for that, you can a lightweight and durable sidesaddle that can be used in all kinds of environmental conditions. If you are a hunter that frequently takes their shotgun out in the rain or snow, the TacStar can handle these conditions with no problem. If you are a military of law enforcement officer who might frequently drop their weapon or accidentally subject it to banging or harsh handlings, this sidesaddle will stay in place without cracking or falling off your shotgun. You can’t ask for anything better in a sidesaddle that is this affordable and this reputable by shotgun enthusiasts all around the world.
-It is possible to rip the threading out of the mounting plate
-Hides serial number
TacStar 6 Round Sidesaddle Review
Review by Tommy Geraci, one of the blog readers
TacStar has been known as an inexpensive alternative to some of the more expensive sidesaddles currently on the market for a variety of shotgun platforms. But does the price really determine the potential quality and dependability of a product? I hope to answer that question later in this segment.
The Remington 870 TacStar sidesaddle is comprised of 2 pieces, the aluminum sidesaddle receiver mounting plate and a nylon plastic 6 round shot shell holder mounted to the shotguns receiver using two large Allen screws. The nylon plastic shot shell holder is held into place on the aluminum mounting plate with 6 flat head Allen screws. When I first purchased my Remington 870, the very first sidesaddle I installed onto it was a TacStar 6 round sidesaddle. It was identical to the one seen in this review. The first problem I had with the TacStar sidesaddle was that a few of the 6 flat head Allen screws would come loose due to the recoil of my shotgun. Because of the open design, once the small flat head Allen screws start coming loose they will fall off into the dirt, grass and so on and the shooter will most likely never see them again. Applying a bit of Loctite to all of the screws might help prevent this from happening.
The second problem I had was that over time the two large sidesaddle mounting screws (that screw in through the receiver and into the aluminum mounting plate) had actually ripped the threading out of the mounting plate. Upon inspection, the only hypothesis I could come up with was that once again the recoil and frequent use had something to do with it. I called TacStar and had them send me another mounting plate and screws free of charge. My customer service experience with TacStar was exceptional. Not everyone will experience the same issues but since I’m a fairly avid shooter I will assume I’m not the only one who has experienced similar malfunctions with the TacStar 6 round sidesaddle.
I was out shooting awhile back and I got pulled over by a Ranger while in the desert outskirts of Las Vegas. The Ranger asked to run the serial number on my Remington 870 while the TacStar sidesaddle was attached. Well, the TacStar sidesaddle covers the serial number of the shotgun and if you don’t have the necessary tools to remove it on hand, it can lead to an even stickier situation. Luckily I had several other guns that the Ranger was able to verify as “clean” and he let me go. My point is, due to the poor design of the TacStar sidesaddle it may pose further problems when pulled over with it installed on your shotgun.
I recommend this sidesaddle for a budget build and people who don’t anticipate shooting frequently. As there are many people who don’t mind looking past the design flaws for the justifiability of the low price. That’s not my area of concern as that’s a decision left in the hands of the shooter and their demands. Due to it’s poor design I would not be able recommend this to anyone in search of a high quality and dependable sidesaddle.
Remington 870 TacStar: 6 Round Sidesaddle SPECS:
1 Nylon black plastic shell holder
1 Matte black (type of finish unknown) aluminum mounting plate
Made in the USA
Shell holder works with shell tension
TacStar 6 round sidesaddle MSRP: $34.99
Price seen as low as $24.50
|Get TacStar 6 Round Sidesaddle on Brownells|
Mesa Tactical Sureshell Shotshell Carrier for Remington 870, 1100, 11-87 and Mossberg 500/590 shotguns
The Mesa Tactical Sureshell Shotshell Carrier is a shotgun sidesaddle that is designed to fit onto a 12-gauge Remington shotgun for models 870, 1100, and 11-87. This sidesaddle can hold up to 6 additional shells which will be conveniently accessible on the side of your receiver. That way, you can keep one hand on your weapon and use the other hand to pull a shell out from the sidesaddle and then load it into your weapon. The sidesaddle itself is made out of 6061-T6 Aircraft Aluminum, which is a high-quality lightweight metal that is extremely durable. The best part is that you won’t need a gunsmith to mount this sidesaddle onto your shotgun. As long as you have a Remington 870, 1100, or 11-87 shotgun, the Mesa Tactical Sureshell can easily mount onto the side of the receiver by following just a few simple steps. Directions on how to do this are included with the sidesaddle, in case you are new to mounting sidesaddles onto weapons.
Because the sidesaddle is made out of 6061-T6 Aircraft Aluminum, it is designed to sustain the harsh impact of tough environmental conditions. If you frequently take your shotgun out in the rain, snow, dirt or use it on the battlefield, you won’t have to worry about the condition of the Mesa Tactical Sureshell because it can sustain tough blows without getting damaged. After all, that is why it is called a “tactical” sidesaddle because it is meant to be used by military and law enforcement officers in conditions where shooters don’t have time to think. On top of that, it’ll be so easy to reload your weapon with this sidesaddle that it could literally save your life if you were to be presented with a dangerous situation that required you to shoot quickly.
The price of the Mesa Tactical Sureshell Shotshell Carrier is $60.94. This might seem like a bit more money than the average shotgun sidesaddle, but that is because you are paying for quality here. Whereas most sidesaddles are made out of polymer, this sidesaddle is made out of the toughest aluminum metal there is. That is why it is used to construct aircrafts that fly hundreds of miles per hour in the air. So, you can be sure that wherever you’ll be using your sidesaddle, it will be able to handle just about any circumstances that are thrown at it. And since it is over $49 on Amazon, that means you can get free shipping on your order as well.
Remington 870 Mesa Tactical 6 Shot Sidesaddle Review
I purchased this Mesa Tactical 6 shot side saddle fairly soon after getting my 870 Express Tactical. I did a fair bit of research on what was available and decided that even though the Mesa unit costs a little more than some of the others, it should last a lot longer.
The sidesaddle is made completely of metal and uses a rubber tube as a friction material to hold the shells in place. It installs on the receiver by replacing the two take down pins with Chicago screws. The drawback of this is that you need an Allen key to take the firearm apart for cleaning. However, I always need a pin pusher anyways, so I just added the key to my tool kit.
The side saddle works very well. I load the shells from the bottom so I can do weak hand reloads. I find that with a little practice is it quite easy. I can actually put my thumb of my weak (left) hand against the end of the saddle as I wrap my other four fingers (with a shell) under the receiver to drop into the ejection port. This makes it easier for me to reload from empty without looking at the firearm.
The screws that hold the saddle onto the firearm are fairly small, so you cannot tighten them as hard as you can. However, the only time that I found them come a little loose was after a day of around 60 slugs and a large number of bird and buck shot. However, just add a little Locktite to the screws when installing and it should be fine.
Overall, I really like this side saddle. It is very durable, holds a good number of shells without infringing on the forend, and is not too heavy to affect the firearm handling. I recommend this accessory to anyone with an 870 who wants ammunition close at hand, whether it is for hunting, competition, or defense situations.
Mesa Tactical: Sureshell Aluminum Ammo Carrier Review #2
Review by Tommy Geraci, one of the blog readers
Mesa Tactical offers by far the most options for tactical shotguns. They make 3 versions of the Sureshell ammo carrier for the Remington 870. Mesa Tactical offers a 4 round, 6 round and an 8 round sidesaddle. With other options like right side shell holders, saddle rails and stock mountable sidesaddles just to list a few. However, all of which are available for the Remington 870 platform.
It features some very different designs. For example, on the inside of the shot shell holder there is an elastomer tube made of Santoprene thermoplastic. This elastomer helps to keep the shot shells snug while inserted in the shell carrier. All of the Remington 870 Mesa Tactical sidesaddles are sold with a back up white elastomer tube that can be swapped out by unscrewing the screws found in the back plate of the sidesaddle. All Mesa Tactical sidesaddles also come with an adhesive backed rubber gasket, this gasket will help prevent the sidesaddle from making surface contact with the receiver. The gasket acts as a protective layer between the back of the sidesaddle and the surface of the shotguns receiver thus protecting the shotguns finish and preserving its market value.
One of the important aspects to include in a quality sidesaddle is the accessibility to be able to visually see the shotguns serial number. The Mesa Tactical sidesaddles are all designed around the serial number. It also incorporates a closed back plate with several Phillips screws. Since these screws were designed in the back of the sidesaddle and not in the front, odds are that if they were to ever start coming loose the receiver would prevent them from unscrewing enough to be able to fall out.
Aside from all the positive attributes and designs there is one down fall I’m aware of. The front trigger pin is the replaced by a set of Chicago screws. These screws have been known to be a problem for some shooters. If they are over tightened they will snap from the middle, and in some cases extended heavy use has been known to cause this problem as well. I have personally never had this issue but I did lose the small flat head Allen screw for the rear fastener during assembly. Mesa Tactical sent me a new one in the mail a few days later. So at that point it’s just a matter of contacting Mesa Tactical and requesting new hardware.
Every shooter must identify their needs and demands for their firearm. Once the shooter has figured that out, then this review will certainly come in handy in aiding the process of selecting which side saddle may be right for you.
I highly recommend the Remington 870 Mesa Tactical sidesaddle lineup to every realm of shooter looking for a high quality, dependable and rugged yet light weight sidesaddle.
Remington 870 Mesa Tactical: Sureshell Aluminum Ammo Carrier SPECS:
6065 T6 Aluminum
Stainless steel fasteners and Chicago screws
Satoprene Elastomer tubing installed in black and a back up in white
Adhesive backed rubber gasket
Shells held in place under satoprene elastomer thermoplastic tension
Hard anodized matte back coating
Mesa Tactical 4 shell Suresaddle: MSRP: $65.00
Mesa Tactical 6 shell Suresaddle: MSRP: $70.00
Mesa Tactical 8 shell Suresaddle: MSRP: $85.00
|Mesa Tactical Sureshell Aluminum Ammo Carrier on Brownells|
Tac-Star Slimline SideSaddle for the Remington 870, 1100, 11-87 and Mossberg 500/590, Maverick 88
The Tac-Star Slimline SideSaddle is a shotgun sidesaddle that is compatible with the Remington 870, 1100, 11-87 and Mossberg 500/590, Maverick 88. This particular sidesaddle features an anodized aluminum backing plate that is rigid and strong enough to sustain the worst environmental conditions that you can imagine. It also doesn’t produce any glare either so you don’t have to worry about sunlight reflecting off from it. But as durable as the material is on the inside, the exterior shotshell of the sidesaddle is made of synthetic rubber which helps secure the shotshells in place once they are put into the saddle. This rubber coating also protects the interior from getting scuffs or unwanted markings as well.
The Tac-Star Slimline SideSaddle can hold up to 6 shotshells at a time. As long as you have a Remington 870, 1100, 11-87, Mossberg 500/590 or Maverick 88, the sidesaddle can easily be mounted to the side of your shotgun without needing the expertise of a gunsmith to do it for you. All of the instructions on how to mount the sidesaddle are included with it and they are very easy to follow. You don’t even have to be a gun expert to be able to follow these instructions. Best of all, the Tac-Star Slimline SideSaddle is made in the United States of America. Tac-Star is an American Company that specializes in manufacturing gun parts and accessories. If you are an American gun owner who only likes their gun products to be made in the USA, then that is all the more reason to purchase this sidesaddle.
Amazon currently has the Tac-Star Slimline SideSaddle listed for $28.73. This is certainly more affordable than the expensive $60 sidesaddles that pretty much serve the same purpose and contain the same features. The Tac-Star Slimline SideSaddle is reduced in size so that you won’t have as much snagging as you would with these other sidesaddles too. Once you purchase this sidesaddle, you will never have to worry about the weather conditions outside or the rough environment that you are going into with your weapon. The sidesaddle will be able to survive the worst worst rains, and the worst drops or mishandlings that are done to it. That way, you can just focus on the target that you need to shoot at without worrying about the condition of your shotgun’s accessories. This is the kind of peace of mind that all shooters need to have.
-Reliable rubber shotshell holders
-It is possible to see the serial number
|Get TacStar Slimline Sidesaddle on Brownells|
GG&G Remington 870 Black Sidesaddle
The GG&G Remington 870 Black Sidesaddle is made specifically for the Remington 870 shotgun model, which is the most popular shotgun model in America. This particular sidesaddle will allow you to hold 6 extra shotgun shotshells which can be mounted right next to the receiver of your shotgun. That way, you can just pull a shotshell out whenever you need one and then load it into the chamber within seconds. If you are in a combat situation where you don’t have much time to think or react, you need to have a sidesaddle mounted onto your weapon that gives you easy access to your shotshells like this one does. Therefore, this sidesaddle can very well save your life if you have it on your shotgun in a life-threatening situation.
The GG&G Remington 870 Black Sidesaddle only weighs 7 ounces, so you certainly don’t have to worry about too much extra weight being added to your shotgun after you mount the sidesaddle to it. The mounting process is so simple and the sidesaddle itself takes up such little room on the receiver that you will practically forget it’s there when you’re firing. In fact, you won’t even need a gunsmith to help you with the mounting because the instructions you are given with the sidesaddle are so easy to follow that anybody can do it.
The great thing about a Remington 870 is that it can be used for virtually any purpose. You could be an avid hunter who likes to shoot a prey or you could be a military soldier who uses their Remington 870 to defend themselves in combat. The reason why the GG&G Remington 870 Black Sidesaddle is the best choice for your 870 shotgun is because it has been made to have the same versatility as the shotgun itself. That is why this sidesaddle is the preferred accessory of most owners of the Remington 870.
The current price of the GG&G Remington 870 Sidesaddle is $62.97. This might seem a bit pricey for a shotgun sidesaddle, but if you own a Remington 870 shotgun then this is the most compatible sidesaddle that you can ever purchase for it. But hurry, because this sidesaddle is a hot seller on Amazon and there are less than a dozen left in stock. Since it’s over $49, that means you will get free shipping if you purchase it as well. You simply can’t ask for a better deal than that.
-Interesting design with angled shotshell holders
-Made of aluminum
-It is possible to see the serial number
Sureshell Polymer Shotshell Carrier by Mesa Tactical Products Remington 870, Remington 1100 and the Remington 11-87
The Sureshell Polymer Shotshell Carrier by Mesa Tactical Products is a high-quality and affordable sidesaddle for your Remington shotgun. The three specific Remington shotgun models that this carrier is compatible with is the Remington 870, Remington 1100 and the Remington 11-87. In addition, there are also separate Sureshell Carrier models that are compatible with other shotgun brands including the Benelli M1/M2/M3 and the Mossberg 500/590. The price ranges of these sidesaddles go from $40 all the way up to $90. So, make sure you purchase the right sidesaddle that corresponds with the shotgun type that you have.
Remington 870 Tactical with Magpul Furniture, Mesa Tactical Sidesaddle
The Sureshell Polymer Shotshell Carrier can hold up to 6 shotshells which are plenty to have in an emergency situation. The sidesaddle is conveniently mounted to the side of the receiver so you can easily grab a shotshell anytime you need one without taking your trigger hand off the weapon. If you are in a combat situation, this will be a lifesaver for you. As for the material of the sidesaddle, it is made of an impact resistant polymer which is lightweight and made to withstand tough conditions where it would be subjected to harsh falls and bangs. Therefore, you’ll never have to worry about your sidesaddle breaking or cracking when you’re forced to endure tough environmental conditions.
Best of all, the aluminum backing plate will ensure your sidesaddle stays mounted to your weapon the whole time too. This mounting system contains a steel pin with steel fasteners that are threaded into them and two Chicago screws. The combination of all these components allows the attachment to be flawless and without any risk of the receiver getting pinched at all. There is even a window in the mounting plate so you can easily see the serial number of the shotgun without having to take the entire plate off. If you are someone who owns a lot of weapons, then this will certainly make it easier to inventory them.
What is truly unique about Sureshell Polymer Shotshell Carriers is their dual rubber friction system. It prevents the shells in the carrier from sliding around or falling out of it as the weapon’s being jerked around a lot. At the same time, you can easily push in and pull out a shell without much effort at all. So, you really get the best of both worlds when you have one of these carriers attached to your shotgun’s receiver.
-One of the most popular sidesaddles
-Made of aluminum
-It is possible to see the serial number
Mesa Tactical 4 shell Suresaddle: MSRP: $65.00
Mesa Tactical 6 shell Suresaddle: MSRP: $70.00
Mesa Tactical 8 shell Suresaddle: MSRP: $85.00
|Get Polymer Sidesaddle Mesa Tactical on Brownells|
Detachable Side Ammo Carrier by Vang Comp Systems
The Detachable Side Ammo Carrier by Vang Comp Systems can be mounted right onto the receiver of your shotgun for easy access to extra ammunition shells. This sidesaddle can hold up to 6 extra shells which is plenty of ammo if you need to reload your shotgun quickly. The shell carrier contains an aluminum backing plate which makes it lightweight and easy to carry around on your shotgun. In fact, you won’t even feel much of a difference in the weight of your weapon when you go to stabilize and shoot it. As for the shells inside the sidesaddle, they will be held securely in place because of the elastic webbing material on the exterior of it. This even protects the sidesaddle in moist or wet conditions and it will never feel slippery when you need to pull out a shell if it’s raining outside. Then you can just focus on shooting your target and not on the safety and durability of your shotgun’s sidesaddle accessory.
The Detachable Side Ammo Carrier is made specifically for the Remington 870, Remington 1100 and the Remington 11-87 shotguns. As long as you have one of these shotguns, you will find this sidesaddle to be compatible and easy to mount to it. Also, they must be 12-gauge shotguns as well. Don’t worry if you’re not a gunsmith or professional weapons expert because this sidesaddle is simple to install. It also contains a hook-and-loop attachment system that allows you to install shell carrier very fast. And if you want to remove the shell carrier for any reason, you can do that just as quickly too. This means you won’t have to spend extra time to modify the weapon for you just so you can attach the sidesaddle to it. A lot of the other sidesaddles would require this, but not with the new ones like this.
The price for one Detachable Side Ammo Carrier is $79.99 on the www.brownells.com website. You can also purchase a deluxe version of this sidesaddle which contains two shell carriers instead of one. The deluxe version only costs $96.99, which is less than $20 more than the standard version. If you want to purchase additional shell carriers, then it is $20 for each one. Just note that these extra carriers don’t include separate aluminum backing plates for each one. You only get one backing plate with the standard and deluxe versions, so keep that in mind.
-You can have additional shell carriers for quick swap outs
-Hides serial number
-Elastic ammo carrier isn’t as durable as plastic or aluminum ones
Vang Comp Systems Detachable Side Ammo Carrier Review
Review by Tommy Geraci, one of the blog readers
The Remington 870 Vang Comp Systems DSAC is truly unique and original. It is comprised of an matte black anodized aluminum side mounting plate layered with Velcro to attach a 6 round elastic ammo carrier. The aluminum mounting plate has a serial number cutout. That is a very helpful design, which will speed things up when getting pulled over by the police.
The Velcro design is excellent. If the shooter has a few extra removable elastic ammo carriers, they can be attached to tactical vests, bags for quick swap outs. Literally anything that has female Velcro will aid in holding extra carriers. The only aspect I question the durability of, is how well the Velcro will stay attached to the aluminum plate after extended periods of time and hard use. Since I do not have months or years to test the Vang Comp DSAC I cannot be certain that this wouldn’t be a problem for some users.
I have one minor aesthetic issue with the DSAC. My problem is in regards to the two trigger pin screws that run through the receiver and into the aluminum mounting plate. The two trigger pins are shiny stainless steel (silver in appearance, see picture below). The Remington Marine Magnum is the only 870 shotgun that’s silver in color, the great majority of Remington 870’s are either cerakoted black or are blued. This is a very minor complaint I have, but I can’t rule it out since aesthetics play a big roll in the customer’s decision to purchase. The positive aspect about the two mounting screws is that Vang Comp went with an enlarged flat head design for the DSAC and used stainless steel for the screws, so no more stripping threads. Allen keys can be hard to find but with this design the shooter can use a flat head screw driver, quarter, knife and so on to remove the mounting screws if need be.
Ultimately the design of the Vang Comp DSAC is excellent, it has unique attributes that only further enhance its versatility. I would recommend this to shooters in need of versatility. I would also recommend this to more frequent shooters for tactical applications and competition shooting. The DSAC appears to be high quality and has great design features. The DSAC has a good chance of standing the tests of time while under hard frequent use and to top it all off the Vang Comp Systems DSAC is 100% made in America.
Remington 870 Vang Comp Systems: DSAC / Detachable Side Ammo Carrier SPECS:
1 Aluminum matte black anodized mounting plate
2 Stainless steel mounting screws
Elastic wed shell carrier
12 gauge only
Made in the USA
Shells are held in place under elastic tension
Vang Comp Systems DSAC: MSRP: $80.00
|Get Vang Comp Side Saddle on Brownells|
Remington 870 Shotgun Heat Shields
In some cases, you can literally melt a barrel down on some firearms. The heat caused by firing multiple rounds in a short period will create intent heat in the barrel. Certain automatic weapons that are not typically shouldered fired usually have an extra barrel include because the barrel can actually get hot enough to warp, and of course, this means the accuracy of the weapon is gone. The barrels were changed out quite frequently. In years past, certain weapons had water jackets to keep the barrel cooled, but today most are air-cooled and may have a baffling system that allows airflow around the barrel. Shotguns do not typical come with a heat shield or any type of baffling around the barrel. Air cooled barrels will get hot and this is particularly agonizing for a shooter in a combat situation. A hot barrel can cause serious burns to the hand.
There is an option however called a shotgun heat shield that attaches to the shotgun barrel. Along with protecting your hands, some heat shields will come with sights already mounted. Typically, there will be silicone pads that can take intense heat between the shield and barrel to prevent damage to the barrel.
The shields are easily attached and removed. Setscrews are included but the package may not include the needed Allen wrench so keep this in mind. Many shooters will make sure they have a wrench in their cleaning kits and carry one while in the field so you can remove the shield to clean underneath it.
Who Needs a Shotgun Heat Shield?
Some might think they do not shoot enough or never touch the barrel so they do not need a heat shield. If anyone has ever been in the hot sun with his or her shotgun knows the barrel can get hot even from the sun. Then once you have fired a dozen rounds downrange you will have a very hot barrel that will burn you. They are any number of reasons why you would handle the barrel and in some cases, you will grab it without even thinking especially when someone hands a shotgun off to you.
In a tactical or hunting situation, you do not want to grab or touch the barrel because this will cause you to jerk your hand back and in tactical situations, this can have deadly consequences. You can scare game off by doing this while hunting as well. Not only does the shield protect your hands it also adds looks to the weapon and some shooters start out with this in mind. However, once you have the shield attached you will also realize the protective benefits.
It is quite easy to make contact with the barrel while reloading and some of you may know what it feels like to have touched the barrel with your forearm while reloading. When deciding on a heat shield make sure it is of good quality. Ensure it has pads that protect the barrel finish and prevent metal-to-metal contact. The shield needs space between it and the barrel for airflow to keep it cool. Heat of course would conduct from the barrel to the shield this defeating the purpose for the heat shield, so you need the air space between the metals.
Remington 870, Mesa Tactical Kit, Magpul Stock/Forend, Detachable Sidesaddle
Gummy posted photos of his very nice and simple Remington 870 shotguns on Remington 870 Forum:
Before and after shots of my 870. I’ve got around 200 + rounds down range and very happy with this set up. Currently I have a Magpul AFG on it, but not sure if it will make the cut. Trying to decide if I will put a reflex site on it or not, A C-More would be pretty cool but i’m not sure I could justify it.
Very simple and reliable build, recommended!
|Get Vang Comp Systems Detachable Side Ammo Carrier|
|Mesa Tactical Stock Conversion Kit|
|Magpul MOE Stock|
|Magpul MOE Forend|
Mesa Tactical 20″ Rail with 6 shot SureShell Carrier
I decided to do a review on one of my favorite upgrades to my Remington 870 Marine Magnum pump-action shotgun. It is the Mesa Tactical 20″ 1913 Mil-Spec Picatinny Rail with 6 shot SureShell side saddle and front barrel/extension clamp (also comes with different options such as a singular barrel clamp model, a 5″ Rail Model, or the 4 and 8 shot models with MOST options interchangeable on each model).
First and for most ill mention the super effective “Bonus Factor” to this product, the fact that it also acts as a heat shield! For you 870 owners out there you know how quickly you can heat that barrel up at the range or surely while taking a class! This is a great option in a sense because all the other 870 heat shields on the market that i know of are geared towards the Mossberg 500/590’s and are “adapted” and “modified” to fit an 870. Not this Baby! Not only does this install fairly simply, through your trigger group pins (essentially upgrading you to anti-walk style pins) and barrel/extension mount, but once installed it is ROCK SOLID!! The 20″ Mil-Spec 1913 Picatinny rail is perfect for mounting optics (especially Dot & Reflex types) because it doesn’t force you to mount on the 5 inches of receiver space that a normal shotgun rail usually covers. It also opens you up to a huge market of aftermarket picatinny BUIS for incase your primary optic goes down.
As far as Side Saddle goes, those of us in the know already have the skinny on Mesa products and their “SureShell Carrier” specifically… They are amazing but a bit steep at $64.99 for the basic 6 shot SureShell Carrier. They come with a secondary neoprene tube (I believe that is the material) to adjust how snug your rounds are in the saddle by replacing the stock diameter black rubber tube with the slightly larger OD’d white rubber tube (although i don’t see a need for the white tube as i have never had a round fall out and wouldn’t want them to have to much resistance when i need to get them out in a hurry). Also, as a side note, if your rubber tube is ever misplaced/damaged/or worn out Mesa will ship you a replacement free of charge if you call and speak with a representative. I though I would also quickly touch on the versatility and strength of the Barrel Clamp which also acts as the front rail mount. This aftermarket barrel/extension clamp is the same model thats sold for over $60$ separately from Mesa Tactical& for $84.99 with the 2″ picatinny and hardware. Not only does it have a great fit and finish, but either side is adaptable with Mesa’s QD sling attachment or a 1913 Mil-Spec Picatinny (2″-5″ depending on preference). Like just about any other Mesa Tactical product i can think of off the top of my head, I would have no problem recommending this product to someone who’s looking for a well built accessory rail for the 870, which also happens to be made in the U.S.A.!!
As far as downsides I would have to say they are mostly relative to the shooter. If your a person of smaller stature, the extra weight and bulk may make it tougher to manage (although it does help tame recoil just by adding weight and mass towards the front of the firearm). regardless of body size we all know ounces equal pounds and pounds equal pain so remember that before ordering.
It is all CNC machined from billet aluminum and is EXTREMELY WELL MADE but is not overly heavy weighing in at about 7 ounces w/o shells. It certainly does add a good bit of weight, especially with the 4 ,6, or 8 extra shells but we do need to remember, we don’t always have time to put on a chest rig and/or to prepare. A lot of times with a shotgun (especially HD or Law Enforcement scenarios) what you have in it and on it is what you have to work with. That measly 100 meters back to your cruiser may not seem like its far now but is a different story once bullets are wizzing by your head. Needless to say the trade off for the weight of the saddle specifically is fairly easy to justify. Oh Ya, One other downside is its cost…It retails from $199.99 – $240 (I believe the average comes in around 219.99 and is what i paid at BROWNELLS) which if you think about it already contains the 65$ SureShell Carrier and the $60 Barrel Clamp so really its just another $80 -$100 bucks for the rail & simplicity of having it all together. For more information visit www.mesatactical.com or to order visit www.brownells.com and search for “Mesa Tactial” products. As a side note i have Magpul “Ladder” style rail covers on in the photos of my actual 870MM if you wondered why it my look “different”.
|You can get Mesa Tactical Rail with Shellholder from Brownells|
Receiver Mount Shotshell Carriers
Having fast access to shotshells is important, especially when using a shotgun because you are limited to the number of rounds you can load. Firing until empty is not ideal so to make combat loading easier you can install a receiver mounted shell carrier or sidesaddle. With a little practice, you can combat reload as you fire a shell without losing your position. Typically, you can choose a four, six or eight shell carrier. Your hands when in the firing position are just inches from the shells.
Typically, an aluminum shell holder will also have a small rail for attaching sights and other accessories. The question many would have is will the shells stay in place. The last thing you want to happen is to have your shells fall out while you are in a tactical situation. Manufactures state the shells are secure even during vigorous movement and recoil will not knock the shells from the carrier.
On some models, the shell carrier uses the trigger group pins. You would remove the pins, place the carrier in position, and then replace the pins with the specially adapted pins provided by the manufacturer. Some models may also require an adaptation of the forend to mount an eight-shell carrier.
Before purchasing make sure, the receiver-mounted carrier will work with your weapon. Some shell carriers will wrap over the top of the receiver and mount on both sides using the same method of removing and then replacing the trigger pins.
As you can see with a little practice, because of the where the shells are positioned, you would be able to reload without losing your sight picture or removing your eyes from the target. If you practice you can keep the weapon pointed down range as you combat reload.
With a receiver mounted shell carrier, that holds six shells and one in the chamber with four in the tube you will have plenty of fire power. As you reload from the carrier, make sure you replenish the holder. In a firefight, there is so much to think about so practice is important so you develop muscle memory.
It will take some time to get used to the side carrier so make sure you get plenty of time in at the range. Those used to reaching for a shell holder on their stock or belt pouch will have to train themselves. As you know, it will take several weeks of practice before you begin naturally reaching for the shells in the new mount instead of reaching for your belt pouch.
Once you have fired 30 or 40 rounds double check the pins to make sure they are still seated tight. Similar to checking the lug nuts after changing a tire to make sure they have not loosened. The recoil can have an effect on the pins so get in the habit of checking periodically.
As the picture indicates, you can load the shells up or down depending on your weapon or style of reloading, again practicing will allow you to develop your own style. The objective as with any weapon and especially with a shotgun is to be able to reload quickly. Having the shells inches from your fingers allows you to maintain your tactical position as you reload.