Archive for January 16, 2013

I first saw Pat Harrington (aka Shotgun Blasters) at the Market Hall show several months ago.  From the moment I saw the shotguns on display at his table, I could tell that this is someone who thinks outside the box.  Way outside.  Pat also proved to be very knowledgeable and quite personable.  When I found out that he lives in Carrollton as well (we are, in fact, practically neighbors), I knew we had to do business.  I’m an ardent supporter of local, small business.

patharrington

After performing a careful, measured analysis of my self-defense and sporting needs for a long gun, I came to the conclusion that a tactical shotgun made much more sense than an AR.  In terms of circle of force in a SD scenario, I’m also a big believer in visual and verbal intimidation.  In any tactical situation, situational awareness, escape and evasion are always on the top of my list.  Distance is an ally and any opportunity to increase distance between myself/family and an attacker(s) is highly valuable.  However, if distance or other tactical advantage is not possible, I still like to have visual and verbal intimidation working in my favor to possibly deflect a threat without firing a shot.  This is a key consideration for my tactical shotgun build.

I’m kind of a Mossberg fan and wanted something built on the 500 platform, but not just any Mossberg.  Not just any tactical Mossberg.  I wanted something highly practical, but also at the high end of the visual intimidation scale.  I also wanted pump-action, both for reliability as well as the intimidating sound of racking a shell.

This is where Pat’s service really shines.  He invited me to his shop where we sat down and discussed my use cases for the shotgun and a wide variety of options.  From there, we agreed on the specifics of a build.

The build was completed just after the holidays and nothing tells the end story quite like a photo.

shotgun

The ATI Talon adjustable stock (Scorpion buttpad) gave me a lot of flexibility in adjusting length of pull.  The pistol grip is NOT a military characteristic as spouted by the dunces in the media.  Anyone with a minimal amount of shotgun experience knows that the pistol grip helps distribute recoil through the hand/arm and away from the shoulder.  The gel backing in the grip really helps in this regard.  The pistol grip also helps hold the shotgun level with a single arm during reloads.

The Black Aces rail fits onto any Mossberg in the 500 series and we added a red/green dot optic that is co-witnessed with an iron front sight that also has a laser installed.  The laser is quickly activated by pressing a button at the back.

Two 230-lumen lights are installed on either side, placed in close proximity to the vertical foreend grip.  This allows either light to be activated or deactivated by extending the left thumb (I’m right-handed) from the vertical grip.  The first finger can be used to switch the left-side light from continuous beam to strobe, so one light may be strobing while the other displays a continuous beam.

The tactical foreend of course has a vertical grip for faster pumps and it’s much easier to hold the shotgun level with two vertical grips,.  This type of hold also helps with muzzle flip.  There is sufficient foreend space for a more traditional hold in the event the shotgun is aimed like a rifle for hunting or distance shots.  I added a sling with shell holders (15) for extra capacity.  It’s just long enough that I can brace the strap across my left arm/body and obtain an extremely tight hold without compromising operation of the shotgun.  The two shell holders affixed to the stock and rail allow faster reloads without having to fumble across my body.

The 20″ barrel and 9-shot tube provide adequate capacity and tight distribution on longer shots, which are valuable in hiking/camping scenarios involving multiple, aggressive animals. At 11.2 pounds, the build has sufficient weight to buffer recoil of even magnum loads.  Just like a magnum revolver, weight is your friend 🙂  Of course, this is another reason to have a sling for long carries.

Overall, I was very pleased with the build and the price. You can tell from dealing with Pat that the quality of his builds is what drives his business. I’d highly recommend Shotgun Blasters to anyone looking for modifications to an existing shotgun or a complete custom build like mine.  You can even order one exactly like mine.

The best thing was when I brought the build home for the first time and showed my wife.  She looked it over for several seconds, then said, “I don’t even have to fire that, just show it to someone and they’ll give up.”  Unlike the dopes in Washington, she actually gets it 🙂

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