Taming the 12-Gauge: Vang Comp Remington 870

When the topic of recoil administration comes up, we’ve observed that a component of machismo typically comes with it. Who cares if a weapon kicks like a mule? Lean into the recoil and suck it up, princess! say the self-proclaimed consultants with their chests puffed out. Admittedly, you shouldn’t be growing gnarly shoulder bruises after taking pictures a ten/22, however recoil administration is a worthwhile consideration for different weapons — shotguns are a primary instance. We’ve all seen movies of younger or inexperienced shooters choosing these weapons up for the primary time, and almost toppling over after the primary spherical. Extra skilled shooters might really feel discomfort after a number of dozen full-power hundreds. Relatively than accepting these points as inherent to the platform, it’s worthwhile to try what could be carried out to handle them.

As with all weapon, proficiency with a shotgun is a by-product of two components: software program and {hardware}. The significance of software program — that means your coaching and expertise — can’t be overstated, however the gun itself can also be a contributing issue. That’s why muzzle brakes, compensators, weighted buffers, and different recoil mitigation methods exist. Taking into consideration these two components, we got down to enhance the efficiency of our Remington Mannequin 870 pump shotgun.

This text was initially printed in Concern 21 of our sister publication Concealment journal.

Above: This is our humble Remington 870 Categorical Tactical earlier than we despatched it out to Vang Comp. It was utterly unmodified apart from the Streamlight TL-Racker.

The {Hardware} – Vang Comp Techniques

Our venture started with an 870 that’s resided in our gun protected for a number of years. That is the Categorical Tactical — a slight step up from the fundamental Categorical mannequin. Out of the field, it included an 18.5-inch barrel with prolonged “Tactical” choke, factory-installed Picatinny rail, XS ghost ring sights, and black artificial furnishings. The gun labored positive on this configuration, however we knew it might be higher, so we reached out to Vang Comp Techniques in Las Vegas, Nevada. Their gunsmiths tore the gun aside and customised it to our specs.

Vang Comp Techniques’ signature improve is its VCS Barrel Modification, which was developed by firm founder Hans J. Vang within the early Nineteen Nineties. A authorities company was on the lookout for a method to tighten the shot sample of its obligation shotguns with out including choke tubes, so Vang started modifying barrels to attain this consequence. He lengthened the forcing cone to provide a smoother transition between the chamber and bore, then back-bored the barrel to squeeze the projectiles right into a denser column as they attain the muzzle. Lastly, he drilled a collection of 62 holes into the barrel to launch among the increasing gases from every shot — this lowered felt recoil and muzzle flash. The tip consequence was a flat-shooting gun that produced constant 12-inch shot patterns at 25 yards with off-the-shelf 00 buckshot. At this time, the VCS Barrel Mod is offered with or with out ports for quite a lot of Remington and Mossberg shotguns. The corporate strongly recommends non-ported for semi-auto fashions, however we selected the ported possibility for this pump-action construct.

Above: The security, set off, bolt, loading gate, and motion bars had been coated in self-lubricating NP3 end at VCS, making the motion smoother to function and simpler to scrub.

Along with the Barrel Mod, Vang Comp Techniques carried out a set off job and motion job to clean out the operation of those shifting components. Additionally they offered a number of of their in-house upgrades. The usual journal tube was changed with a VCS metal journal tube and matching stainless journal follower. The unique flat cross-bolt security was changed with a higher-profile VCS Dome-Head Security button; this may be pressed shortly with the center knuckle of the index finger, versus the fingertip. A VCS removable ammunition service attaches by way of two alternative set off pins that go by the receiver. It presents an extra six shells on deck, and options tear-away hook-and-loop backing for quick alternative between drills.

Above: Vang Comp Techniques ported our Remington’s barrel with a collection of 32 holes on all sides. This selection is just advisable for pump-action weapons.


We sourced further components for this construct from a number of different firms. Mesa Tactical offered an LEO Telescoping Inventory Package, which provides an AR-15 buffer tube, pistol grip mount, and a pair of QD sockets for sling attachment. The corporate additionally presents a model of this equipment with a hydraulic buffer to soak up recoil, however after discussing this with Vang Comp Techniques, we determined to skip that possibility (extra on that later). A Magpul CTR inventory with Enhanced Butt Pad and MIAD grip had been put in on the Mesa Tactical adapter. Magpul additionally offered a Ahead Sling Mount and MS4 QD sling.

A weapon-mounted mild is without doubt one of the first equipment most shotgun homeowners buy, and we had been no completely different. The Streamlight TL-Racker forend was put in shortly after we purchased this 870 and carried over to its new type. It incorporates a 1,000-lumen LED mild powered by two CR123A batteries, in addition to ambidextrous strain switches with momentary and constant-on performance. The sunshine’s central placement reduces barrel shadow, and it’s shiny sufficient to light up an entire room in home-defense conditions.

Above: Our 870 got here with a Picatinny rail pre-installed, however mounting an optic on it resulted in a excessive cheek weld and unusable iron sights. The Aridus Industries CROM presents a cowitness-ready mount for an Aimpoint Micro sight, together with your selection of an XS ghost ring or “Rob Haught mod” U-shaped rear sight (pictured). Vang Comp Techniques’ Deluxe ammunition service contains two hook-backed shell holders and a loop-backed mounting plate that attaches by the receiver. A slot is reduce to maintain the serial quantity seen.

Those that have little expertise with shotguns are inclined to assume their shot unfold makes aiming nearly pointless — this actually isn’t the case, particularly not with the tighter sample produced by the VCS Barrel Mod. Nevertheless, fast goal acquisition is clearly extra of a precedence right here than precision. Because of this, we determined to improve the iron sights and add a red-dot optic.

The Aridus Industries CROM — quick for Cowitness-Prepared Optic Mount — attaches on to the 870’s receiver instead of the unique Picatinny rail, and acts as an especially low-profile mount for an Aimpoint Micro. The CROM additionally options your selection of a regular XS ghost ring or a Rob Haught Mod rear sight aperture. The latter is a ghost ring that has been milled down right into a U-shape to hurry up sight acquisition and cut back visible obstructions. It was impressed by well-known shotgun teacher Rob Haught, whose son we might be coaching with after the completion of this construct. As for the entrance sight, Vang Comp Techniques changed it with a newly machined Sentinel prototype fiber-optic submit that slid into the manufacturing unit dovetail.

Lastly, the outside of our shotgun was refinished for a brand new look and improved corrosion resistance. The receiver, barrel, journal tube, and inventory adapter had been completed in FDE Cerakote at Vang Comp Techniques. VCS can also be one in all 5 outlets within the U.S. that has partnered with Coating Applied sciences to supply its self-lubricating NP3 end to the general public. We took full benefit of this and requested for key shifting components to be coated within the slick silver substance — this contains the loading gate, bolt, extractor, set off, security, and motion bars.

Construct Sheet: Remington 870 Categorical Tactical

Caliber: 12 gauge

Weight: 7.3 kilos

Weight as Proven: 9.6 kilos loaded

Barrel Size: 18.5 inches

Journal Capability: 6+1

Size: 40.5 inches (with Tactical Rem Choke)

Size as Proven: 36.1 – 39.4 inches collapsed

MSRP: $601

Elements Record:

  • VCS Barrel Modification with Ports $255
  • VCS Metal Magazine Tube $75
  • VCS Stainless Magazine Follower $20
  • VCS Dome Head Security $15
  • VCS Removable Ammunition Provider (Deluxe) $110
  • VCS Sentinel Prototype
  • Fiber-Optic Entrance Sight $60
  • Aridus Industries Remington / Aimpoint Micro CROM (with Rob Haught Mod) $125
  • Aimpoint Micro T-2 $782
  • Streamlight TL-Racker $225
  • Mesa Tactical LEO Telescoping Inventory Package $190
  • Magpul CTR Inventory & Enhanced Butt Pad $80
  • Magpul MIAD Grip (Sort 1) $36
  • Magpul Ahead Sling Mount $30
  • Magpul MS4 Twin QD Sling (Coyote) $60
  • VCS Gunsmithing: Cerakote and NP3 End, Set off Job, Motion Job, Meeting $575

As Proven: $3,239

The Software program – Symtac Consulting

A high-quality instrument continues to be solely as efficient as its person, so we determined to hunt coaching that pertained to utilizing a shotgun for private protection. As talked about earlier, Rob Haught and his son Matt Haught of Symtac Consulting are well-known for specializing in simply that. So, we took our freshly constructed 870 to the vary for a non-public shotgun clinic with Matt Haught and a few of his associates. Attendees included a number of younger and new shooters, and it was clear that lots of them had been a bit apprehensive about their capacity to handle the recoil of a 12-gauge. That wouldn’t be the case for lengthy.

Haught defined that almost all of us are used to taking pictures carbines with comparatively mild recoil, however what works for these weapons doesn’t essentially work for shotguns. Conventional considering says to tug the gun firmly into your shoulder and lean ahead to soak up the recoil, however Haught says there’s a greater approach — he calls it push-pull. This method includes concurrently pushing the gun ahead with the help hand and pulling it rearward with the dominant hand, as when you’re making an attempt to stretch it out. This opposing strain needs to be utilized a short second earlier than breaking a shot, whereas resting the buttstock calmly towards your shoulder. Getting the timing down and equalizing the push-pull forces took just a little follow, however as soon as we received the dangle of it, we had been stunned by how little recoil we felt.

Drills had been easy at first — shoulder the shotgun shortly and hit a single metal plate utilizing push-pull recoil administration. Subsequent, we started making use of it to follow-up pictures, studying to cycle the pump shortly and apply the ahead movement into the subsequent push-pull shot. We additionally frolicked on track transitions between a number of metal plates, push-pulling as we introduced the gun to a cease on the subsequent goal.

Since most off-the-shelf tactical shotguns have 18- to 20-inch barrels, this poses some maneuverability points in shut quarters — clearing rooms in a home-defense scenario, for instance. As soon as we had the fundamental push-pull method down pat, Haught confirmed us a extra superior method referred to as short-stocking that may assist shotgun customers overcome this problem. He requested us to be very clear that this shouldn’t be tried with out prior coaching, because it’s very straightforward to punch your self within the nostril or tooth when you don’t handle the recoil correctly. Brief-stocking includes lifting the shotgun’s inventory over your shoulder, then rolling the gun onto its aspect so the sights are seen. With stable push-pull method, it’s doable to shoot comfortably from this place, making the gun really feel a lot shorter and extra maneuverable.

Unfastened Rounds

Above: Haught’s short-stocking method includes turning the gun sideways with its buttstock over your shoulder for extra maneuverability in tight areas. Don’t try this with out prior coaching — in any other case you would possibly find yourself with a break up lip, or worse.

In comparison with its authentic type, this Remington 870 appears to be like virtually unrecognizable. The refinished aesthetics are good, however we’re extra involved about the way it shoots. The Vang Comp Techniques barrel mod and ports resulted in a noticeably tighter shot sample and softer recoil. The motion feels vastly smoother as nicely, because of the polished internals and slippery NP3 coating. Shells glide over the loading gate and into the magazine tube with minimal effort. The pistol grip and telescoping inventory on the Mesa Tactical adapter are snug to make use of, and supply a great cheek weld at the side of the CROM and Aimpoint T-2. We’re glad we selected the Rob Haught mod rear sight, because it presents a lower-third cowitness with out intruding on the red-dot sight image.

Though Mesa Tactical presents a hydraulically cushioned model of the LEO Inventory Package, each VCS and Matt Haught steered us towards the non-hydraulic model for a number of causes. First, customers who turn into proficient with push-pull not often discover themselves in want of extra inventory cushioning — we will attest to this after the clinic. Second, the hydraulic buffer’s motion might trigger superior customers to short-stroke the motion whereas firing a number of rounds shortly. That stated, it’s largely a matter of desire — editor Tom Marshall has a gun with the hydraulic setup and likes it.

Pairing these {hardware} upgrades with the software program we picked up through the clinic, we really feel dramatically more adept with our 870. Even when you’re not somebody who has left the vary with a black-and-blue shoulder, there’s a lot to be gained from studying to raised handle the recoil of a shotgun, particularly if it’s a weapon you’re planning to make use of for dwelling protection. And for individuals who might not be capable of drop 1000’s of {dollars} on a personalized scattergun like this one, a fundamental $300 pump shotgun and some hours of coaching nonetheless presents an entire lot of bang in your buck.


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