Shooting The Shorties

It’s not what you think
; .

Mossberg 590 Shockwave finished in factory Cerakote.

Several years back BATF approved the use of 14″ barrel shotguns equipped with the Raptor-head grip as a “firearm” per the Gun Control Act (GCA), but not a Class 3/NFA firearm. A 14″ barrel shotgun using the standard pistol grip is still a Class 3 firearm falling under the National Firearms Act.
Unlike with other shotguns, a buyer must be 21 years of age to purchase a “pistol grip” firearm.

Mossberg came out first with their Model 590 Shockwave in 2017 and currently has over a dozen variations with 12-gauge, 20-gauge and even .410 models available.

Remington followed shortly afterward with the Model 870 Tac-14, 12-gauge.


Common Misconceptions

Although these short shotguns have been around for several years, there remains a lot of misconceptions about them. The first is it’s meant to be fired from the hip and this is what I have observed most often.

Can you hit when hip-shooting a shorty? Absolutely, but it takes a lot of practice and when fired in this manner the normal tendency is to shoot high. I was once told by someone who considers himself an expert on-all-things-tactical, “You can just ‘walk’ the rounds onto target like you would if shooting cans with a .22.”

Two problems with this. First, cans don’t shoot back and at the ranges the shorty will be fired at. The time spent missing may be a matter of life or death — yours.

Legally, morally and ethically you are responsible for every projectile fired. Say it takes you three rounds to “walk” the rounds to the target hitting with the fourth. When firing 00 buckshot this can be between 27 and 36 pellets that missed the target and have the potential of hitting an innocent person.

If the Raptor grip is held against the front of the hip instead of slightly to the side, the sling stud and grip will recoil (sometimes painfully) into the shooter. After the first time this is usually a self-correcting problem.


The Right Approach

The correct technique is to bring the gun up to eye level and use it just like a standard shotgun except it isn’t shouldered. When I say “eye level,” I do not mean to hold it close to your face, as it will recoil into your noggin. Again, a self-correcting problem.

When so employed, the Shockwave is capable of surprising accuracy. The bead front sight is more than capable at the close ranges it is intended for. The Raptor grip soaks up recoil much better than a standard pistol grip such as found on the Mossberg Cruiser shotguns.

Remington’s Tac-14 may or may not have a strap on the forend, but the strap on the Shockwave is not there for looks. It’s important to use as it keeps your hand from wandering in front of the short barrel. It is also an aid to recoil management, especially with heavy loads such as buckshot or slugs.

Recoil can be further mitigated using isometric tension by pushing forward on the forend and pulling the Raptor grip rearward. The pump-action can be easily manipulated while at full extension.


Correct shorty technique is to bring the gun to eye level and
use it just like a standard shotgun, sans stock.

Feeding A Shorty

The capacity of the Remington Tac-14 is four plus one in the chamber. Capacity of the Shockwave is five plus one. If shooting the new Mossberg 590S Shockwave with 1-3/4″ shell, capacity is eight-plus-one (see GUNS cover, January 2022).

Accepted loading technique with a standard stocked shotgun is to hold it with the primary hand and maintain a firing grip. The stock is held between the chest and arm. Keep the muzzle pointed downrange toward the target and feed fresh shells with the support hand.

Due to the short Raptor-head grip, this method does not work with the shorties and it’s nearly impossible to maintain a firing grip.
I’ve found the easiest way to load is to hold the shorty in the support hand with loading port facing up and then load.


What’s It Good For Anyway?

With different techniques and some perceived drawbacks, some may ask what these short shotguns are good for.

The variants of the shorties really come into their own where space is at a premium. A few of these would include an RV, camping trailer, an aircraft or a boat.

If kept in cruiser ready (full magazine and hammer down, ready to cycle), it could also be a handy anti-carjacking device in the front of a passenger vehicle — quick to come into action and easy to manipulate in close confines.

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