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So you want to build a “Hollywood shotgun”
You just came back from the movies and saw your favorite action hero using what looks to be a High-tech super accurate shotgun to take out everything from on-coming cars to sending the 6’5 300 pound bad guy through a big plate glass window. On the way home you think, I can turn my old shotgun into this and then …. You fill in the rest.
Fact is to make a home defense shotgun you really don’t need that. But if you want to have one that has the “look” it is possible. This is where I am, I know what is really needed but I want the look for my own personal taste. This is where I will go with this article, explaining both side’s of the “Home” vs “Hollywood” shotgun.
Let’s face it, for home defense you want to be able to swing it freely and comfortable and be on target. Most home defense shotguns sold from the manufacturers will work out of the box with little or no modification needed. I have always been a fan of Winchester shotguns, have owned a few over the years and still have a few. I have also either had or used others from Remington, Mossberg, Berretta and so on.
So I will go with Winchester for the purpose of this article, more specific the model 1300 defender. A shotgun advertised and sold as an out of the box home defense shotgun. First thing to look for is reputation and reliability. You do not want to grab the shotgun at night when needed and have it not work. One thing this shotgun offers like most others is two slide rails for the forearm slide action. Always look for two slide rails, one can break, bend and cause a jam.
The only problem I had with this out of the box was the rear stock. Around the grip area for the hand and trigger, it was a little to “thick” for me. I did not like the way it fit compared to my favorite older 1200 I have. So I thought ok I can do a few different things here, but what do I need as opposed to what I want. I could have just bought a 1200 stock and put it on or took it to a stock expert and have it shaped and custom fit for me or the last thing was to look around and see what aftermarket combat (Hollywood) pistol grip stocks were out there.
I admit I “wanted” the look but I did not want to affect the efficiency of the shotgun either in action or my ability to get on point. So what I call the fixed pistol grip stocks was out. In my mind, no adjustment, no sale! I found a few stocks that have adjustment and look like they are off the AR and M-4 rifles. So ok, the “look” was there AND you can adjust the length and pull. This is what I was looking for! There is one type that has “air” cushioned for the recoil which is a little more pricy. Others had nice semi-soft thick rubber padding. With the ability to adjust the stock length, this is a perfect option.
So the stock was done and set to my body, so now swinging, balance and being able to get on point was not effected and improved my speed. So the next thing to do was the forearm grip. You have to think, most times if this type of weapon is needed it will be needed at night. You then need a light, so I started looking at the different types of lights available for shotguns. I am not a fan of coiled wire hanging down the pump action of the shotgun. To me that is adding to the chance for a malfunction. It could get caught in the sliding for the next round jamming the weapon and or cutting the cord and shutting off your light. Also not a good thing to have happen at 3 in the morning.
Next is the flashlight that has the big bulky bracket that either clamps the light to your barrel or the shell tube. This works but looks in my opinion, hideous. So that was out and the search continued. Then it was found, SureFire who makes some of the best personal and tactical flashlights around has the answer. They offer a complete forearm set-up that has the light molded in the front of the forearm. Two different models, has an on and off and the other has the constant-on and momentary switch standard, with the optional system disable switch also available. The optional system disable switch is a useful feature to eliminate accidental light activation when you don’t want to be seen.
They are in the $230 to under $400.00 range but well worth the price, how much is the security of your family worth to you? SureFire has the reputation of always there and always in focus so to me that is a no brainier. So now the rear stock and front forearm are done, set and did not reduce my effectiveness of the shotgun. That is what I was going for, first and foremost I wanted it right, and reliable, second due to my personal taste, I wanted somewhat of a look for it. I have another reason for the look, a friend of mine had one that was in his own words, “All decked out” and to be honest it was heavy, bulky and I am sure it was not as easy as he hoped it would have been to swing and get on point, but nevertheless it was what “he” wanted.
He had the chance to use this one night as he had a person break into his home one night. He did not fire a shot due to the “look” the shotgun had. When the for lack of a better word, burglar saw the shotgun with all the bells and whistles light up and get swung in his direction, he fled the scene. This shotgun looks intimidating, shells mounted on the side, big flashlight bolted to the bottom tube, laser light bolted to the top, shells hanging off the sling/strap and the pistol grip forearm with another little light mounted on it is enough to scare anyone who sees it pointing at them at 4 in the morning.
So what he had is a “Showgun” instead of a shotgun more of less. Yes it would fire if needed but that was about it. The laser, in a house where you are maybe 15 to 25 feet away from your target has no true purpose other than effect on the mind. Which I admit can work, it did for him. This type of shotgun has much more weight added to it and is awkward to handle in general. Not to mention that is clanking around as you swing it from all the shells and cables. What I think happened is he got lucky, they guy must have had visions of the first Terminator movie going through his head as the laser light come on and across the room to him.
The truth is in a close range area like that; your shot pattern is going to be close together. Not spread across a wall as some would lead you to believe. So a regular flashlight would be much more serving for the purposed that the shotgun is intended for. You want to “SEE” what you may have to shoot at not just put a red dot on it. If you have family in the house you want and NEED to make sure of the target. There is not room for error in this point.
So mine has the adjustable stock with a pistol grip, the SureFire forearm with light and is loaded with the factory 8 shells. That is all; it has a look and is improved functionality for my personal use. I see no need to have 44 shells hanging from the weapon unless you’re on SWAT or military maneuvers. You would be doing good to get all 8 shots off if you ever had to use the weapon.