For most of my shooting life, I have relied upon a handful of firearms including the Colt 1911, Smith and Wesson Magnum revolvers, and the Remington 870 shotgun. Occasionally, I have purchased cheaper firearms and regretted it. Recently, I came across the Model 870 Express Tactical Magpul and have never looked back.
Since its introduction more than 68 years ago, the Remington 870 has been a front line military and police firearm. While there are sporting versions that also have the trademark reliability of the 870, my primary focus has been personal defense. The Remington 870 was a development that sprang from the Remington 31—a shotgun that had become too expensive and desirous of hand fitting to be economically viable. The 870, and to an extent the Mossberg 500, are each based on the Model 31’s smooth action and reliability.
When the 870 riot gun was introduced, the only difference between the riot model and sporting guns was that the riot guns had either 18- or 20-inch barrels. Later versions had rifle sights for use with slugs, but the simple bead sight was most common. The Remington 870 Buck Special and rifled barrel versions were popular with deer hunters who used the 12 gauge for hunting.
On the other hand, cop guns featured an open choke and short barrel. The tactical versions have been successful with both police and military and represent a significant part of the shotgun market. The latest among more than 10 million Remington 870 shotguns is the Model 870 Express Tactical Magpul is a highly evolved 870 with much to recommend.
The shotgun is supplied with a Magpul SGA buttstock and MOE type forend. These polymer stocks are well designed for maximum leverage, efficiency, and recoil control. The SGA stock features an angle that helps control recoil. The pistol grip area isn’t a pistol grip in the form of an AR 15, but a pistol grip as in not a straight stock.
The grip design doesn’t follow a curve but is more linear, more angled than most pistol grips. When you grasp the stock, and take a high ready or firing position, you feel the difference. This is a great improvement over most shotgun stocks. I prefer it to the AR-15-type stock.
There is considerable adjustment in the stock by means of a T-shaped handle that is inserted into the stock and secured with a cross bolt. There are polymer spaces supplied that allow adjusting the stock. Length of pull is adjustable in .5-inch increments, making the SGA stock adaptable to most any body size and type. The standard length of pull is rather short at 12.5 inches. However, you should try the shotgun as issued with this short LOP. For my use, it is comfortable, fast into action, and doesn’t recoil harshly. The recoil pad is well designed for recoil control.
The stock may also be adjusted for a higher cheek weld. For those using a red dot or dedicated slug scope, the riser is good to have. I mounted a TruGlo red dot on the Remington during the evaluation with excellent results. The risers for the comb add .25 and .5 inch, respectively. The stock is set up for a standard or quick detach sling, whichever you prefer.
The forend is well designed and offers excellent function in speed shooting. The ledges on the front and rear of the stock make for excellent purchase. There are also ridges in the forend that allow good adhesion when firing. When working a hard kicking shotgun, it is vital to keep the hands in place. You will be able to mount lasers or lights if desired. You will have to obtain addition pieces, however, for mounting most accessories.
The sights are good. However, I do not feel that they are properly called ghost ring as they are too small compared to a traditional ghost ring. That being said, they are very useful. I think they would be more properly called aperture sights.
The sight is adjustable, which I like very much for slug use. Sure, the shotgun is aimed by feel and points quickly, but for solid shot munitions, sights are important. The Remington 870 with aperture sights proved accurate well past 50 yards with Hornady’s American Gunner slug loads. The sight offers real speed but also good accuracy. Finally, a dark black Cerakote finish prevents corrosion. The receiver and the 18.5-inch barrel are coated in this manner. The magazine isn’t extended past the barrel, but I added a Mesa Tactical 6-shot magazine.
The Remington 870 is a legendary firearm, but the new Tactical Magpul version improves on the standard. This is a great, all around service and personal defense shotgun. These accessories make a real difference in handling and comfort. During the evaluation, I fired a good supply of Federal’s LEO 2 ¾-inch buckshot, Winchester’s PDX buck and ball loading, and Hornady slugs.
I especially like the aperture sight and bold front post sight. Hits are easy to come by, and it is fast to reload from the Remington’s sidesaddle shell carrier. I fired the piece primarily at 7 to 10 yards in fast paced drills. However, I also settled down and fired a few slug loads from a solid barricade firing position. At a long 50 yards, I placed three Hornady slugs into just 3.6 inches. This is a good showing for a smooth bore shotgun.
As for myself, I am respectfully retiring one of my 870s and replacing it on the front line with the Remington Tactical Magpul shotgun. It is the right thing to do. This shotgun is well worth its price.
Do you own, or have you fired, the Model 870 Express Tactical Magpul shotgun? What do you think of Magpul furniture? Share your answers in the comment section.
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