870 shotgun review
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By Dan S. Defense
The Remington 870 family of shotguns is diverse and well
worth looking into. From hunting to home defense and
tactical situations, the Remington 870 is tough and
reliable. The Remington web site lists over 20 different
configurations for the 870 but this review will focus on
just one—the Model 870 Express Syntactic with an 18"
barrel. The 870 is a basic and affordable, with an MSRP
of about $370 (mid-year, 2010) and it is essentially a
functional utility shotgun.
The Remington 870 is a 12-gauge pump action shotgun
which holds 5 or 7 rounds, it has a 18" fixed Cylinder
choke barrel, single front bead sight and comes in your
choice of black. The finish, while being plain is made
from non-glare material which helps when it’s used in
bright or direct sunlight. , and choice of 5-shot or
The Model 870 Express Synthetic is an
excellent choice as a basic weapon or as a base which
most custom shops will use to build you as much gun as
you can afford. Because I designated the 870 as a home
defense shotgun, and wanted to keep it simple, the only
modification I made entailed a simple clamp to hold a
The 870 has an internal magazine which holds both 2 3/4"
and 3" shells. The pump cycles the action and feeds a
new round into the chamber. It’s a very simple weapon to
From a user’s perspective, the shotgun starts
with a basic block stock which has a small section
recoil absorbing material, then the receiver which holds
the trigger, safety, breech bolt and ejection port; the
the fore end with its internal magazine and magazine
cap; and finally the business end which includes the
barrel, front sight and muzzle. The safety lever, which
resides just behind the trigger and is essentially a
button you press in and out to make the weapon safe or
ready to fire.
Operating the weapon is simple in principle—you load
shells into the internal magazine, pump the action to
load the shell, disengage the safety and pull the
trigger. Anyone can fire a shotgun but hitting what you
want is a different story. Looking at a 12 gauge shell
will tell you that it’s big. Compare it to a rifle round
or handgun bullet and you’ll truly get the general idea
that when this weapon goes bang, it does so in a
meaningful way and it kicks like a mule.
When I broke this weapon in, I took
some folks new to shooting with me. This isn’t a starter gun nor one that you should use
to introduce new shooters to the sport but these folks
were interested and they were about to get their first
experience with the Remington 870. After teaching them
the proper grip, which leave no space between the stock
and the shoulder, and showing them how to put their
weight forward, I proceed to send a few rounds down
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A handgun laser offers a tactical advantage in a threatening
situation, as well as a great training tool. We'll review
different types of lasers, discuss their applications, and see
how to get the most out of them.
In-depth handgun reviews ranging from pocket guns to combat
revolvers and full-size semi-automatics.
We'll evaluate each gun for accuracy
and reliability and look at pros and cons, with the goal of
giving you the information you need to make an informed decision
when buying a gun.
© Rational Self Defense, 2010