There are three controls that an 870 user manipulates with their shooting hand: the trigger, the safety switch, and the slide release. With the traditional semi-grip shotgun stocks that the 870 was designed to use, these controls are all easy to reach and manipulate. Pistol grips, whether part of a stock or stand-alone, can have a significant effect on how – and how easily – these controls are manipulated. Pistol grips rarely interfere with the gun’ s trigger for obvious reasons, but they can – and frequently do – make working the safety or slide release slower or more difficult.
The 870’ s cross-bolt safety is located right behind the trigger, and with a traditional stock that’ s no wider than the receiver and doesn’ t enclose the rear of the trigger guard, it is possible to apply pressure on the safety with the side of the finger, rather than the tip. This allows the user to disengage the safety while keeping their fingertip on or very near the trigger, so a shot can be made virtually immediately. With traditional stocks, the safety is also fairly easily reached with the thumb or middle finger for re-engagement, or for disengagement in the case of left-handed shooters using an 870 with a right-handed safety switch.
I won’t get into when, where, and for what I think pistol grips should and shouldn’t be used, because it would just add several thousand more words to what is already a massive piece. I’ll simply say that while they have many downsides, and a fixed or folding stock will be a better choice for many situations, pistol-gripped shotguns do have their place. They’re very compact & maneuverable, and (usually) lighter than a full stock, which can be beneficial on a gun that’s used more as a tool than a weapon, or one that needs to be stored or deployed in very tight spaces. They’re also cool; a lot of folks (myself included) buy a pistol grips just for fun, and that’s a perfectly legitimate reason to own one.
Hogue is a company which sells parts and accessories for firearms. Some of their most popular upgrades are made for the Remington 870 and Mossberg 500 shotguns. Some of the stocks that Hogue sells for the Remington 870 have a twelve-inch length of pull (Short Shot model). This turns the shotgun into a compact weapon and gives the shooter more mobility when they’re in constricted environments. Hogue also has standard sized stocks that are a bit longer so it really depends on your body size and the areas you’ll be using the shotgun in. For example, if you are a shooter with long hands then you may not like having a twelve-inch length of pull. But if you have shorter hands then it will be more comfortable for you.
Now I can tell you more about this product because I finally had a chance to test it on the range. Small advice – try to shoot from the hip level first, this way you understand what recoil you need to control and will not smash your teeth with pistol grip as some guys on YouTube do.