SHOTGUN, 12-GA. RIOT 500M MILS -or- random thoughts

I think this is going to be less about the shotgun and more just rambling thoughts about shotguns.

As long as I remember knowing about the riot shotgun, I found the idea enthralling.  But I find a huge disparity between the classic riot shotgun and the modern fighting firearm.

I remember growing up seeing plenty of pictures of wood stocked low capacity Winchesters, Remington, Ithaca, Mossberg, shotguns in use by the police and military.

Photo from internet – Navy Seal with 870

I don’t think anyone reasonable would dispute the effectiveness of the shotgun in a fight, but the shotgun is certainly becoming less popular.

I think this is due to multiple reasons.

  • People are less familiar with shotguns.  Used to be it was expected you could hand someone a pump shotgun and they would not only know how to use it, but be proficient with it.  Often now when I hand someone a pump shotgun they don’t know how to unlock the action.
  • Much greater capacity in other weapon systems.  Many of these old shotguns had a 4-5 round capacity.  Even most newer shotguns have low capacities.
  • Increasing popularity of other modern firearms.  Now days guns like the M4 are generally seen as a single stop combat solution, so having other weapons in the mix are not always seen as necessary.

As long as I can remember I’ve wanted something like the classic riot shotgun.  At one point I picked up a used police trade in 870 Wingmaster, but that has been abused to the point where it had some reliability issues.  Ended up selling it to an certified armorer who was able to overhaul it.

Then some time back I remembered the Mossberg shotguns we used while I was in the Corps.  A simple riot gun configuration of a 20 inch barrel along with a 5 shot mag.  I read up a little and found that a couple times these were sold to the public.  Cheaply too, they were something like $350 when they were initially released.  Now people have gone insane and have been trying to sell some of these basic shotguns for over two thousand.  Fortunately I found this one for a reasonable price.

The only thing that could remotely really be considered special about these contract overrun guns are the markings.  Model is shown as 500 MILS and the serial number prefix is U.S.A [sic].

I always found it kind of odd that the Mossberg 500s we used in the military had sling swivel attached to them instead of the studs normally found on the commercial shotguns.  I figure it was so we wouldn’t lose them, but these rattled and made noise, which was generally considered unacceptable in the infantry.  It was not uncommon to tape up sling swivels.

I sometimes try to think of how I want to write about the disparity between various competitive shooting and actual combat operations along with historic combat usage of weapons.

Picking on 3-gun for a moment, if you looked at an Army M4 carbine and a 3-gun AR15 you would find very little in common between the rifles.  The 3-gun rifle would be easier to shoot, have less recoil, and have a great variety of various improvements.  The down side is these 3-guns rifle are often (but not always) tuned to particular loads, not designed for the abuse military guns get, and usually set up to gain maximum advantage for the competition course of fire.

Exactly the same with shotguns.  These old riot guns have little in common with the competition shotgun.  Some of these 9+ round capacity 3-gun shotguns are very fast and pleasant to shoot.  Various modifications are made to allow reloading them so very much faster than any of the old combat shotguns.  But many of these make for larger, more specialized competition focused guns.

Looking at some of the classic fighting firearms from a not that long ago, we see that they are obsolete by today’s standards.  If we look at the old classic riot gun, be it a Model 12 or the 500 MILS I purchased, while they can get the job done fine, there is tons of room for improvement.

What I suppose I am trying to say is if we look at what the competition shooters are doing and using can help us find improvements.  But keep in mind if the equipment or techniques are to improvement performance, or to game the rules of the game.

A Self Defense Story

A member of recently took the time to write up  his experience of having to use lethal force to save at least two people not counting himself. He  has graciously allowed us to share it here.

I’ve been debating posting this for a while. I got a call from the prosecutor last week telling me that the ‘official’ investigation is finished, and that he was definitely not pursuing any charges. He also said to my wife that I was a good man, and a brave man, and that my actions were heroic. Me? I’m doing okay… as long as I don’t start thinking about anything too much. My wife is having a hard time with it, considering the fact that she witnessed everything from approximately 10-15 feet away. She already sees a counselor, I’m debating going to one, but I would need to find one that is not an uberliberal, which is a problem around here.

OK, here goes.

It was a normal Tuesday night, I was in the process of making tacos, as we had invited the older two kids over for dinner. I had just got a text from my wife that she was on the way home from the YMCA and that the youngest had gone home with his sister. This was a VERY good thing, as he didn’t witness anything…. I don’t even want to think how traumatic it would have been for him.

8PM rolls around, I hear someone screaming bloody murder. I figured it was kids playing outside. I saw my wife’s car sitting out front so I went outside to say hi. I walked outside to my wife screaming “My God, he’s gonna kill her!” as she’s on the phone with 911, and see my neighbor across the street striking his girlfriend in the face while she’s sitting on the ground, as the girlfriends 9 year old daughter hits the dude in the back with what looks like an aluminum T-ball bat. He grabbed the kid and threw her about six feet.

This occurred in seconds. At that point, when I saw the dude pick up the bat, I ran inside and grabbed my handgun off my desk and went back out. I did not want to see someone get their head caved in. When I came back, at this point, the daughter had run in the house, and he had the woman down on the ground and was trying to choke her with the bat on her neck. I crossed the street, came to the ready position, and told him to get his ass off of her or he would be shot. This distracted him enough that she got him off her and he stood up and looked at me. I ordered him to sit his ass down and wait for the police, he threw the bat toward me.. at this point, the woman ran inside with her daughter and locked the door and he sat on his porch.

At this point, I’m just waiting for the police to arrive… he had other ideas. At this point, he stood up, shouted “YOU DON’T KNOW ME MOTHERFUCKER”, and started rapidly moving toward me, I started retreating backward, around 10-15 feet but I knew that my wife was back there, along with one of the other witnesses, so I couldn’t just run home… this guy was going to hurt anyone he could get his hands on, or beat my ass and take my gun away if I let him get too close.. he was quite a bit bigger than me and definitely spent a good amount of time at the gym. When he was about 5 feet away he lunged at me, and I shot him four times in rapid succession. The whole time he was approaching me I was yelling “STOP, DON’T DO IT!, STOP!, STOP!” His legs just collapsed under him and I will never forget seeing the blood rushing out. At this point my wife told 911 that he had been shot and I was told to put the weapon down so I sat it on the back of my wife’s car and just stood there and shook, and waited. The cops got there 30 seconds after I had shot… 30 seconds. The whole situation lasted from 8:00PM to 8:03PM when the wife hung up with 911 after the police arrived.

I remember, after the shooting, feeling like the world is coming crashing in on me. The first officer put me in cuffs and had me sit in the back of the car while they did the preliminary investigation. He was extremely kind. I remember sitting in the back of the car praying for the soul of the man I had been forced to shoot, praying for the mom and daughter, praying for the well being of my family. While I was in the car, I noticed that my left hand and arm was covered in blood spatter. The evidence tech took pictures of this, and then the officer helped wipe me off. During this time also, one of the lady officers on scene sat in the vehicle to use the computer, and said to me,”You know that you’re a hero to that woman and little girl.” That remark helped to calm me down a lot. About 2-3 hours later, the officer came back to the car and told me that the county prosecutor, who was on scene, had told him to uncuff me. He told me to just stick around but don’t touch anything, I would have to go to the station and make a statement. I asked if I could go into my apartment and see my family and he graciously allowed that, I just wasn’t allowed to talk to my wife about anything regarding the situation, as we had not made our statements. I went back outside and was approached by the Chief of Police for our town and he said,’What you did was heroic, you saved them.’ He told me that they had had prior dealings with the man and that he was a dangerous individual.

Fast forward another hour, and I’m sitting in the office area of the police station waiting to make my statement, watching the officers check in the evidence… I saw them check in my gun and they confirmed that I had fired four times, I wasn’t sure if it was four or five, and that there was blood on the slide, they checked in the bat, and they checked in a chunk of hair and scalp that had come from the mother. And a few other miscellaneous things.

While I was sitting there, finally in some kind of light, I noticed blood stains all over my shirt and pants. He was REALLY close when I shot him. Anyway, gave my statement, kept it simple and to the point. Had my wife bring me new clothes so they could put mine in evidence and I walked out and got in the car, and cried… a lot… probably the most I’ve cried since my mother died in 2000. My wife said to me,”I used to say that my father was my hero, but no, you’re now my hero”. My wife had gone through a similar domestic violence situation with her first husband and barely escaped alive, I couldn’t be there to protect her from him, but I could be there for this. The officers thanked me repeatedly for being cooperative and they were completely awesome, I have nothing but love for them.

I’ve gotten a few more details as time has passed. Apparently he had told her that one way or another that he was going to die that night and was going to take her with him. I know that they had had some rough spots, they lost a baby back in January. My son works with his brother in law, and he was described as a mean drunk.

I picked up my firearm (Sig M11-A1) a month after everything had happened, and the PD had cleaned the blood off of it and oiled it to prevent rust, thank you again to them.

The call I got from the prosecutor this last Monday was illuminating. I asked about the toxicology screen, and his BAC was .228, and he had THC and anti-depressants in his system. The prosecutor was not sure about steroids as he said that they generally do not test for that. All I know is that he charged someone that had a loaded weapon pointed at him, so something broke inside his head.

I went shooting for the first time since the event this last Saturday.. and it just felt good… this is the hobby that got me through the deaths of both parents, and countless other stressful life events.

I’ve heard the word hero used multiple times… I’m not a hero, I only did what I had to do so that I can face myself in the mirror every day. The heroes are the guys that do stuff like this every day, The police, fire departments, the armed forces. They keep walking back into the mouth of hell repeatedly to save others. They are heroes.. I’m just a regular guy trying to keep my little corner of the world safe.

Also, one thing I’ll never forget, a male neighbor screaming ‘My God, won’t somebody help her!’ while he stood there and watched…. I don’t know how to feel about that, it just saddens me at the end of the day.

And a big thank you to my daughter for being there for her mother and I, and my son in law for watching his brother in law so that he did not have to see the scene.

Take aways from this.
1> I need formal training.. I’m ok, but I could be a lot better. My wife is also offering to go, which is a first, she needs to be able to defend herself when I’m not around. I think she understands that now.

2> CCW insurance? Is it worth it? I know that I was lucky in that I live in a gun friendly state with good politicians, it could have gone far worse legally.

Norgon Ambi-Catch

One of my favorite little upgrade for the AR15 is the Norgon Ambi-Catch.

This is a drop in replacement magazine catch that gives you the ability to release the magazine from the left side the of rifle.  Certainly not necessary to have, but very nice to have.

I picked up another couple last week.  I never noticed it was designed to be easily disassembled for cleaning if necessary.

It is very easy to take apart with a small punch, and goes back together very easily.

This is my absolute favorite left side magazine release, and I highly recommend it.  It is easy to install, easy to use, durable and simple.  I think it should be standard on the AR15 family of weapons.

I know the Canadian military uses them.  I’ve seen documents claiming that the US Military is authorized to use the Norgon Ambi-Catch per the commanders discretion, but I haven’t heard of our troops actually fielding them.

DSG Duty Grade 8″ Upper

There are two things that really annoy me, and I must confess that I did both of them in regards to this upper.

I really dislike it when some reviewer reviews some product, but modifies it first.  I think it make it not a true review.

I also strongly recommend against people customizing their guns until AFTER they function check them.  When you make modifications, even little ones, you might void your warranty or make it much harder to get help from the manufacturer.

Well I did both with this DSG upper, but fortunately it worked out great for me.

For years and years I used to see ads for cheep 7.5 inch AR15 uppers with fixed iron sights.  I often wanted to buy one for a fun plinker, but I didn’t didn’t trust the quality of some of the manufactures making these.  (Yup, I had become a gun snob).  At other times I sort of liked the idea of having a very short AR with a muzzle break as a fun gun for annoying people next to me.  Neither of those reasons were enough to get me to buy one of those cheap questionable quality uppers.

A little while back DSG had a sale on their 8″ barreled 5.56 Duty Upper.  It came with a bolt carrier group (but no charging handle) and a good quality hand guard, the Bravo Company KMR.  I had a little cash burning in my pocket and I knew that DSG has a good reputation so I went and picked one up.  They shipped it out quickly.

These uppers can be had with a Keymod or MLOK hand guard.  I’m not planning on mounting anything on the modular hand guard, so I picked Keymod so I could use the sling mount and rail section that came with it on a different rifle I have.  If someone wasn’t invested in one system or the other, I would suggest MLOK as it appears to be winning the modular hand guard competition.

I heard that DSG has Ballistic Advantage make their barrels for them.  Their Duty Grade uppers come with a nitrated barrel and a Nickle Boron coated receiver extension.  1:7 twist rate, heavy profile, and a very nice target crown on it.

Now here is where I did something I advocate against doing.  Before I ever fired the upper, I unscrewed the stock A2 flash hider it came with and installed a Surefire Muzzle Brake I had laying around.  The Surefire Brake can reduce recoil up to 54%, but it does greatly increase flash and blast.

I find this a fun combination, but not what I would consider a practical one.  Because I did this, I don’t think this is a proper review as I’m not talking about the upper box-stock as a person would receive it.

A minor disappointment I had with this combination was that I had hoped I could mount a Surefire Warden on this muzzle brake when I wanted to do more serious shooting with this upper.  The Surefire MB556 mount puts what ever is mounted on it closes to the hand guard compared to other surefire muzzle devices.  And the BCM KMR hand guard extends out farther than the average 7″ rail.

So as it stands, nothing could be mounted to this muzzle brake.  Not really a problem, as this isn’t going to be a high volume gun for me.  More like something I pull out once in a while for shits & giggles.

The muzzle brake eliminated the muzzle flip when firing this upper.  The gun stayed level on target making rapid fire extremely easy.  30 rounds fired in pairs and triples were extremely easy.

30 rounds M855, rapid fire at 10 yards.  Double and triple taps.

Firing M855 with the muzzle break created a fireball that extended out to my peripheral vision with each shot.

Tried to snap a photo of the muzzle flash.

If I were planning to use this upper for serious use, the muzzle brake would come off and be replaced with a flash hider.  I could see my self in the future replacing the keymod hand hand guard with a quad rail, but there is no hurry to do that.

The sub 10 inch barreled 5.56s would not be anywhere near my first choice for a fighting gun due to the increased flash & blast along with reduced terminal performance.  That said, I feel that the DSG Duty Grade upper is a well made, reliable, and if I was forced to use a really short AR for a fight, I’d feel fine with this one.  But I would wear double hearing protection.

LaRue, Colt, KAC Battle Carbines Compared Part 1

Happy Thanksgiving all.

Today I am thankful that I got to try a few different rifles this morning.  I did side by side shooting of a Larue 7.62 Ultimate Upper rifle, Colt LE901-16SE, and a KAC SR25-EC.

It isn’t really fair to directly compare these as there are some major differences between them.  Sort of like comparing apples to apples to oranges.  But that never stopped me from being critical about things before.

This first comparison will be short.  I had these three rifles available to me so I decided I would start with 20 rounds each rapid fire with an Aimpoint T-1.  I would do some rapid engagements of a target at 10 yards, and do some double taps at 10 yards.  I ended up firing 32 rounds from the Larue due to functioning issues, and only 20 from the others.  Not exactly a comprehensive test, but a start.

From top to bottom, KAC, Larue, Colt.  20 round groups rapid fire off hand at 10 yards.  Mostly rapid pairs.

I shot the Colt LE901-16SE first.  When Colt release the 901, they first released the LE901-16S, which was a full railed model.  I believe they sold a few -18S with an 18 inch barrel.
After that, they release the -16SE.  They shaved a pound off the rifle by replacing the quad rail on the monolithic hand guard with a proprietary modular rail.  This model appears to have been discontinued and the newest model, the CM762 adds an ambi safety, longer MLOK hand guard, and an ambi charging handle.  The new model is also available in 6.5 Creedmoor with a 18 inch barrel.

The rifle is is stock configuration with a Aimpoint T-1 added to it for the comparison.  With the exemption of the lack of an ambi safety, I found the controls on this rifle to be the best.  The right side bolt release is easier to hit, the larger and lower left side mag release gives more leverage and is easier to use.

The list weight on the -16SE is 8.4 pounds.  When I shot it I found it tended to recoil straight up.  I felt that it was fast and easy to shoot, but my performance on paper was the worst with it.  Back when I the 901-16S side by side with the 901-16SE, I found that that 1 additional pound of weight made the fully railed 901-16S have much less felt recoil.

The Ultimate Upper is an economy large frame rifle kit from Larue Tactical.  You can purchase the upper kit in SR25 or DPMS pattern.  If you buy a kit you can buy a Larue lower for it.  This isn’t really a fair comparison to the others as I added a Surefire Warcomp to this rifle.  The Warcomp can drastically reduce recoil.  I think this gave the Larue the major advantage in shooting.  But I had multiple short strokes when shooting the Larue.  I fired an additional 12 rounds at another target trying to diagnose the issue and trying out the offset sights.

The Larue lower is the only one of the bunch that isn’t ambidextrous.  I find the bolt catch on it harder to use than the one on the 901.  Not hard on its own, but less easy than the 901.  The receiver extension on the Larue is AR10 pattern, but doesn’t have the hole locations to collapse the stock completely.  The photo above shows the stock as closed as it will go.  This made the UU kit rifle longer than the others.

The Safety Level that Larue includes in their parts kit is horrible.  I have two of these Larue safeties and they don’t move positively.  Several times when I was bringing the rifle up for a fast aimed shot, attempting to flick the safety off it would only move half way.  I did not have any issues with the safeties on the other rifles.

The recoil spring on the Larue is much lighter and easier to work the action than the other two .308 rifles.  Felt more like racking a standard AR15.  When firing the action felt like it moved much slower than the other rifles.  I think this also made it feel more controllable and easier to shoot well it – when it worked.  Compared to the others, shooting the Larue Ultimate Upper kit felt like shooting one of the other rifles in slow motion.  I’m going to start calling this the LTUU762 for Larue Tactical Ultimate Upper.

Unlike the others, the KAC SR25-EC uses a rifle length gas system on the 16 inch barrel.  I had always heard that the KAC SR25 were so extremely smooth shooting.  Much to my disappointment it didn’t seem any better than the others.

The SR25s for a long time not have come with ambi controls.  The right side safety is scalloped and the rifle has a right side bolt release.  The rifle weighs about 2 pounds heavier than the other rifles.  This was noticeable in the handling and recoil characteristics.

When shooting the SR25-EC it recoiled straight up.  Settles right back down on target.  To me it seemed like it had similar recoil to the 901, but the 901 is about 2 pounds lighter.

I think it was the lighter two stage trigger on the KAC that helped me shoot it rapidly better than the standard AR15 trigger on the 901.


Right now, if I had to pick one for a fight it would be the 901.  Even thought I shot it worst in this side by side comparison, it is far lighter than the KAC, and the LTUU7.62 is currently unreliable.  I previously had a Warcomp and match trigger in the 901, and it drastically reduced recoil and made it easier to shoot.  I returned it to stock before this comparison.

I’ll be talking more about these rifles in the future.