Brace Assisted Short Barrel Firearms

| April 27, 2017 | 3 Comments

An interesting three-way confluence of events is prompting me to reconsider a smoothbore defensive tool that fires shotshells.

  1. Minnesota does not permit the ownership of short barreled shotguns unless it’s an unmodified C&R shotgun (rare).
  2. Mossberg and Remington are selling “pistol grip only (PGO)” firearms that shoot 12 gauge shotshells. The ATF does not consider these “shotguns.”
  3. The recent ATF opinion letter on braces potentially reduces legal liability if a braced short barrel firearm or pistol unintentionally touches the shoulder.

The second firearm I ever purchased was a Mossberg 590A, back in the late 90s. It has a 20″ barrel, 9 round magazine, and polymer SpeedFeed stock that carried two spare shells on both sides of the stock. It has a front bead sight, no rear sight, and is cannot take scope rings or a rail on top.

I found it to be unwieldy — especially as I got into braced pistols and NFA registered short barrel rifles.

We’ve also made a conscious effort to prioritize firearms that my wife and I can both easily use. The recoil of a shotgun isn’t the issue — it’s the length and balance of weight on her 5′ 2″ frame that causes issues.

The 590A looked cool, but the more firearms training I received, the further back the Mossberg sat in my safe.

However, Mossberg and Remington are now selling PGO firearms that are not classified as shotguns by the ATF. They are classified as a “firearm.” As long as the PGO receiver has never had a stock on it, and has an overall length of 26″ or greater, it is not a shotgun — and therefore, not a short barreled shotgun, which is illegal in Minnesota.

The Mossberg 590 Shockwave has been for sale since the start of this year. It has an MSRP of $455 and a street price of around $400. It has a six round magazine and a hand strap on the pump.

The Remington 870 Tac-14 was recently announced for retail sales. It has an MSRP of $443, has a five round tube magazine, and a MagPul pump.

However, if you don’t want to wait on the Remington (which should hit retailers in May-ish), Suarez International has had their Stakeout upgrade of the 870 Tac-14 since February of this year. Gabe Suarez had been testing it since late 2016. The Stakeout custom has a long list of upgrades.

The Stakeout custom has a starting price of $829.99.

However, what really got my wheels turning, given the situation in Minnesota, is Gabe’s Stakeout with a Black Mesa grip adapter and a Shockwave Blade brace:

14″ barrel, 5-round magazine with a +1 aftermarket extension, internal refinement and tuning, ported barrel, upgraded safety, and more.

The dimensions of the 870 Tac-14 seem to put its balance and size more in line with a firearm that is as comfortable in my hands as they are in my wife’s.

The 870 Tac-14 is just over 5 pounds. I’m not sure how much length would be added by the Mesa Tactical grip, but I am going to estimate that the adapter + the Shockwave Blade brace adds another 10″ to the overall length of the firearm. The Shockwave Blade pistol buffer tube and Blade stabilizer weigh 9.6 ounces, and the Mesa Tactical grip adapter weighs 11 ounces. Just guessing.

In contrast, the Mossberg 590A weighs 7.25 pounds unloaded, and is 41″ long.

Length Unloaded Weight Loaded Weight
Mossberg 590A 41″ 7.25 lb 8.72 lb
Suarez International Stakeout with Shockwave Blade Stabilizing Brace 36.5″ 6.28 lb 6.91 lb

Weights are approximate.

So, given the trifecta of no short barreled shotguns in Minnesota, the proliferation of retail “Pistol Grip Only” firearms, and the current political climate of the ATF and their opinion letter on unintentional shouldering of a brace, the Stakeout with a Shockwave Blade stabilizer might be the closest we get to a compact, well-balanced shotgun here in Minnesota.

About the Author:

Short Barrel Shepherd Short Barrel Shepherd is a regular guy and works to make Web sites and mobile apps easier for people to use. He spends his free time attending fight-focused firearm, knife, and combatives training, motorcycling, writing, and playing games. His daily carry is a Glock 19 pistol and an AR15 .300 Blackout pistol in a backpack.
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3 Comments on "Brace Assisted Short Barrel Firearms"

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  1. van der lin says:

    nice to see that rem & mossbrg are not pussing out about selling <18" barrels 12 gauge "firearms."

    I wonder if remington is still putting that fucking dimple inside the magazine tube to keep civilians from putting evil magazine extension w/o recourse to the dremmel lol.

  2. B R KURTZ says:

    I highly recommend the new braces from SB Tactical. The SB/PDW is a copy of the Honey Badger type stocks yet it’s an arm brace and it slides to be more compact like the Honey Badger.

    GearHead Works makes what just might be the best actual brace and still looks good doing it. Picture a MP5 sliding stock and you’re thinking the Gear Head Brace

    Also by adding length with the Brace/buffer tube you can shorten the barrel to 12″ (the end of the mag tube). The overall length MUST remain at least 26 inches; but that’s easily done with a Brace. This also eliminates the need to remove the dimples. The added length in the back doesn’t “feel” longer.

  3. Geno C says:

    I built one of these already. I used the Mossberg Shockwave as a base. I chose the Mossberg as is able to run the different minishells with adapter. Gives you 8 rounds with 410 recoil that hits like a 20 but still have 12 gauge selection. I put on an Ergo AR Adapter and a KAK tube plus Shockwave Brace. Works great. IMO the only reason for shockwave is this configuration. What also works on Mossberg Shockwave and keeps it legal but original compact size is the Blackhawk Knoxx Breachers Grip—it is not a stock and most important it gives the length the Shockwave Birds Head Grip gives but heck of a lot more controllability. The Blade configuration is still better for overall use. I have blades on my Ruger Charger and MPA 930–Glock and they are way fun and usefull.

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