Sunday, July 24, 2011
Practical, Economical, Devestating
With the idea in my head that I should buy another shotgun for home defense, I immediately came to the conclusion that the Remington 870 was going to be it - I just didn't know exactly what configuration I wanted. In my previous entry, I explained the drool factor behind the Remington 870 Express Tactical, but after a day or so of thinking and sleeping on it, I decided that what I wanted was something more simple than that. Yeah, I know it's hard to get any simpler than a pump action shotgun, but to be honest, there is simple and then there is practical and simple. I opted for practicality over anything else. No extra points are awarded for style when it comes to home defense, and believe me when I tell you, this is as practical, economical, basic, and as simple as it gets - unless you opt for a double barrel shotgun, of course.
This weapon, my friends, is the venerable Remington 870 express 12 gauge shotgun. This one came from the factory with a +2 extension on the magazine, bringing total capacity to 7, with a round chambered. The stock is synthetic, so no worries about wood getting banged up or rotting away. This one came with the tactical fore end pump, so I can immediately at a 6-shot side saddle with zero modifications to the weapon itself (well, a pin gets replaced with a bolt, but that's an enhancement unto itself).
The question begging to be answered is, "why?" Why buy a simple scatter gun with a bead sight when you already have one just like it? Well, the answer is simple. Parts availability. Don't get me wrong. I love my Winchester 1300 Defender shotgun. It too is all synthetic with a simple bead sight. The only modifications made to it were a new set of stocks as well as a 6-shot side saddle from tac star. Other than that, it's as basic as it gets. The problem is that the Winchester 1300 has been out of production for years. And while some parts are still available, some are not. Even some things as basic as a spring or a firing pin can become scarce quickly. Let's face it - it's just not as popular as the ubiquitous Remington 870 Express shotgun. The main advantage of the Remington is that it is a current model production gun, with more variations than you can shake a stick at. Plus, the aftermarket is flooded with upgrades. So, if some time down the road, I do decide to add new sights, a barrel, slings, etc, the aftermarket is just a mouse click away; no hunting down scarce parts on obscure websites or any of that crap. I'm tired of it. If something brakes, I just want to make a phone call, give them my credit card number, and wait for said part to arrive. I don't want to go searching for days on end to find it.
The other factor was price. Oh yes, I know I'm just rolling in the dough these days, despite a depressed economy, but even I have limits on how much I can spend on these things. The Express Tactical would have run me another $150, and for what? A ghost ring on the receiver? No way! I decided to not only keep the gun simple, but keep the price down in earth's atmosphere. I just have a big problem with spending more than $350 for a pump shotgun - I just do. As simple as these things are, and as prolific as they are, they ought to be priced so that anyone, at any income level, can afford one. Shotguns are the every man's gun, and should be priced as such. So I also stand on principle by going simple with this gun. After all, you'd expect to pay more for a complicated weapon, right? My Beretta M9 has about 39 moving parts, give or take. The Remington 870 has about... what? Four? See what I mean?
And yes, I did give the Mossberg 500 and 590 a look too. I'm just throwing this out there because some people will ask why I didn't give the Mossberg a chance. Truth is, I don't like the safety on the Mossberg, at all. Yes, with a Monte Carlo stock, it's fine, but what happens when you throw on a pistol grip stock? Then what? It's unintuitive at best. Besides, I'm a fan of cross bolt safeties and this safety is familiar. Plus, I prefer the pump action slide release on the Remington better than the Mossy or the Winny. All in all, I just think the Remington is the better design of the three.