Home Defense Shotgun

Robar Style

My 8-year-old son Mason sat patiently on the stool as I unloaded guns from the safe; he asked, “Dad, how come you don’t have a police shotgun anymore?” My first thought was, I’m retired now, and my very next thought was, why don’t I … I need one. I’m not sure how it slipped through the cracks that I didn’t have a Remington 870 in the collection anymore. It might have to do with having my shoulder fixed up by the orthopedic surgeon a few years ago — lets just say I don’t ever want to go through that again.

Over the next few days I had this feeling something was missing from my life — it was a home-defense shotgun. Sure I could have gotten away with box stock 870, but what would be the fun in that? I put in a call to Robbie Barrkman to ask what he thought I should do — buy one already done up the way I wanted it, or build it on my own? Robbie being Robbie said, “Why would you build it when I have the best gunsmiths in the world working for me?” He did have a point. I’m a parts installing hacker at best and he is Robbie Barrkman. I also learned, while talking to Robbie, that he built the first “tactical” shotgun for Col. Cooper when he was working as the on-site gunsmith at Gunsite. Please don’t get wrapped around the axel with the word “tactical”; it has been beaten to death by the gun/shooting industry. Just because its painted black, OD or coyote brown, doesn’t make an object tactical. I prefer to look at the tactic part of the word. For example, I had to use the appropriate tactics when I explained to my wife the shotgun project was only about work. She threw the BS flag, but I had to try. Better work on my tactics for explaining to her the next project.

Back to the important stuff — building my home-defense shotgun. Robbie and I both agreed the 870 was the best platform to build on. I know there are other shotguns out there, but I’ve spent so much time with the 870, it didn’t make sense to go outside the box on this one.

I wanted to keep the gun as simple as possible. No sense in hanging all kinds of stuff on the gun I didn’t need. The shotgun needed good sights, a white light for identifying friend or foe, a place to keep some extra ammo and a sling. Robbie suggested I let him machine a magazine extension — more ammo on board is a good thing, and I’m not planning on going for a long walk with this shotgun.

Getting Parts

My search for a good condition, used 870 came up empty so we had to go with a new base gun. A call to Hans Vang to inquire about purchasing some of his sights was met with, “You are going to send me the barrel to get it fixed up for you right?” I would never say no to Hans; my only request was no porting, only to do the back-boring process to improve shot groups and lessen felt recoil. I’ve shot guns with the porting and it does keep the muzzle from rising some, it also puts a lot of hot gas and stuff up in front of my face. Since I don’t plan on wearing eye pro when I hear a gremlin tying to break into my house at 0’ dark-thirty, I thought it best to not have them.

Building It

As you can see from the photos, Robbie Barrkman and his crew really know how to build a shotgun. Starting from the front, they silver soldered the Vang Front sight. The XS big-dot insert makes picking up the front sight almost too easy. They also seamlessly mounted the Vang Comp Optical Rail with ghost ring sight. The oversized safety button and Timny trigger were fitted and TacStar side-saddle mounted.

The butt stock was cut down 1″ and a Pachmayr Decel pad was mounted and rounded off. Shortening the length-of-pull and adding the decel pad makes the shotgun easy to shoulder and maneuver inside the house. It also makes shooting it easier for my wife. (See this shotgun wasn’t just for me.) After all she is a big part of our home-defense plan. The grip area of the stock was textured, assuring a positive grip.

Home/Personal-Defense Shotgun Ammo

When I set out to build a home-defense shotgun, I started to think seriously about what type of ammo I wanted to use inside my home. I assumed I would just run OO-Buck and call it good. After all it worked when I was cop. Since I had no intention of traveling outside my house with it, the thought of just one .33 cal ball tearing through the sheetrock of my house was unacceptable so I gathered up a small sample of the latest Home/Personal-Defense Shotgun ammo. Remington came in with two new offerings; 1-1/4 oz of BB shot and 1-1/4 oz of both number 2 and number 4 shot, Winchester’s PDX1 is a mixture of 1 oz. rifled slug with three OO Buck pellets, Federal’s Personal Defense load is nine copper plated OO-Buck pellets incased in their Flightcontrol wad and Hevi Shot’s offering is the new Maximum Defense — 1 oz of T Shot.

I measured the longest possible shot I could take inside my home and I found 12 yards was the longest and more then likely it would be from across the bedroom which measured 5 yards.

As you can see from the photos taken of each load from both 5 and 12 yards, each of these loads proved they and can stay on the torso area of the silhouette at the furthest and at the closest some make one really big hole. I would recommend you measure you homes and pick the load that works best for you and then practice, practice, practice and practice some more.

Vang Comp:
VCS Stainless Magazine Follower
Vang Comp Front Sight For Ghost Ring (With XS Sights Insert)
Vang Comp Optical Rail With
Integral Vang Rear Ghost Ring Sight
Vang Comp Safety Button

SureFire 618LFG WeaponLight Spec-Ops: Patrol Sling

Pachmayr Decel PadTacStar SideSaddle

870 Trigger

Robar Custom Magazine Tube Extension (6-round Total)
NP3 Metal Finish Bolt And Internals
Matte Roguard Metal Finish Complete Shotgun

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