“Homeowner confronts burglar with a shotgun.” “Robber hospitalized after homeowner opens fire with shotgun.” “Man with shotgun kills burglar in his house.” These are just a few examples of headlines I discovered while conducting research for this piece.

For as long as the shotgun has existed, it has been the icon of versatility. You can hunt quail in the morning and defend the homestead at night. It’s impossible to know for certain whether the original shotgun was invented as hunting tool first and defensive weapon second or the other way around. Suffice it to say that the defensive shotgun is here to stay.

During any conversation about combat or defensive shotguns the name “Remington” is going to come up. For years the 870 has been at the forefront of the defensive shotgun world. As with any area of endeavor—cars, planes, televisions, power tools, etc.—firearms are constantly evolving in form and function.

Fighting Shotgun

Remington’s new 870 Express Tactical is a fighting shotgun packed with custom features. At the heart of the gun is the tried and true Remington 870 receiver and action, machined of solid steel, and the pump action is famous for reliability.

Like most other Remington Express guns, the 870 Express Tactical will chamber both 2 ¾ and 3 inch shotshells of all varieties, including bird, buck, and slug. The barrel is 18.5 inches and at the business end you will notice a unique accessory. New on all of Remington’s Express Tactical guns is their “Tactical Extended Rem” choke tube, a device with round vents and a mouthful of sharp “teeth.” In the police tactical world, we call this option a “standoff.”

A standoff or, in Remington’s chosen vernacular, an “extended choke,” serves to vent off propellant gases in all directions thus preserving the integrity of the muzzle. If you were to fire a standard barrel shotgun at contact distance the gas would almost certainly split or rupture the barrel. The standoff prevents this.

When it comes to defensive shotgun, one phrase I learned years ago was “If you aren’t shooting it you should be feeding it.” This merely illustrates the fact that the pump action shotgun is a relatively low capacity weapon when compared to a modern rifle or pistol. A standard police “riot gun” holds four or five rounds in the magazine tube. The Express Tactical has a “plus 2” mag tube extension, making the capacity for this shotgun seven, plus one in the chamber. Remington has included a blaze orange shell follower in the magazine tube as well.

Regarding furniture, the Express Tactical has a black synthetic forearm and stock; both are designed to provide a solid hold on the gun. The stock has a molded sling mount and a forward sling swivel is found on the magazine tube extension clamp. This particular Express Tactical shotgun was finished in a “blasted black oxide.”

Atop the receiver and barrel you will find and excellent fighting sight combination. The front sight is a large white dot XS express sight. On the receiver Remington has mounted and XS Sights Picatinny rail with Ghost Ring rear sight. The large white dot is extremely quick to pick up, which allows for fast follow up shots on multiple targets.

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