20 gauge

Esstac Shotgun Cards Review

Esstac Shotgun Card Running and gunning with a shotgun is both simple and complicated. Guns are typically lighter and less cluttered with accessories than carbines, however the ammo is large and clunky. Digging for shells in a pocket or pouch is "slow speed and high drag" while adding a side saddle to the receiver is the optimum way as the shells are already a couple inches from being reloaded into the action / magazine tube.

The higher end systems like Mesa Tactical units are aluminum and parkerized, and they carry a heavy price tag.  They are also more permanent and add bulk to the side of your gun, taking up room in the gun case or the safe. Plastic versions like the TacStar are also an option, and a lower cost than the aluminum option but still requires a semi permanent modification to your shotgun, and in some guns actually will interfere with the forearm of pump action shotguns.

The simplest solution is often the best one. Velcro backed, nylon constructed Esstac Shotgun Cards are a great alternative with a few great advantages.  There are some negative points I've experienced that come as a trade off.

The positives: ability to add a side saddle to your shotgun without any permanent modification or even tools for that matter. That, and you can literally stick it anywhere... a stock, a vest, a jacket, etc. Modularity is my favorite word. They also fit in carbine magazine pouches.

The negatives: fully loaded with 7 12 gauge shells the card with bend, or warp. When left adhered to a flat solid surface (your gun's receiver) it will either start to separate from the velcro, or worse separate the velcro from it's adhesive backing.  The latter happened to me and luckily the adhesive layer left came of with some persistent rubbing and the glue came off in one ball of gunk. The cards do not come with the other half of the velcro equation so fault is with the "loop" velcro I purchased elsewhere at a craft store. More industrial strength stuff is out there but I fear it would not have been so kind to the parkerization of my Mossberg 930.

If you are looking for a cheap system that will reduce the time of your shotgun reloads, these cards are worth a try. Just don't leave one loaded and attached to your favorite gun.

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame: Shell carrier or side saddle, fits in an M4 Mag Pouch for quick changes too.

Target Market: Tactical or competitive shotgun users as well as hunters

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • Velcro interface sticks to gear or mounts to shotguns
  • Elastic shell sleeves
  • Paracord loop for easy removal
  • Fits in an M4 pouch
  • Rubber interior strip to add in friction retention of shells
What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?:  Black, Coyote Brown, Ranger Green,  Multicam

What others are saying?: “Saw these on YouTube and had to try them. Bought two and they are exactly what I needed! Have seven rounds on the side and can have seven more of a differnt type of round ready to change out. The hassle of unloading the side saddle and then reloading is gone. Just tear off the card and put the new one on. The cards fit perfectly inside an AR style mag pouch so you can carry as many as you have room for. Can't wait to get more."  review from Brian, Altamont IL (skdtac.com user)

Price Point:

I need it now! Availability: Readily available at skdtac.com

Our Rating:

+-Price point makes it possible to get multiple cards for the price of a solid aluminum or plastic side saddle, but better suited for rapid replacement. +-Esstac Shotgun Cards remain flat when not in use, and allow for slimmer profile in storage. +  Customer Service from Otter Box (parent company) was prompt and satisfactory. - -Does not include "loop" side of velcro, you must find your own (industrial strength backing maybe overkill and damage firearm finish, so its all on you to find whats best). --Entire card warps in an arc when loaded with shells, and maybe cause separation of mount from surface, or adhesive from velcro.

Score: 6.5 Okay


Remington 1100 20ga. Shotgun


Every hunter has one firearm with the most sentimental value. It's probably one of the first they've ever had, and is reliable without question.  For me, this would be my Remington Model 1100 in 20 gauge.  Given to me many years ago by a close family friend and role model in all things outdoorsman, this is the shotgun with which I've learned to hunt upland game birds and shoot skeet.  Over a whole decade later it's still my favorite shotgun for the range or in the field.

I'm not an extraordinary shot or anything, but I can claim with this firearm I can get double and even triple consecutive hits on clay pigeons and quail. The lightweight and soft recoil of 20 gauge plus the gas operated recoil system make this shotgun a dream.

The blued image has held up over the past 10+ years flawlessly, and the engraving on the receiver and bolt add to the classy aesthetic of the shotgun.  This will be one of the finest heirlooms I pass on to my future kin.


Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame: The first autoloader to combine the repeat-shot versatility of early-century models with the sleek, modern lines and handling qualities of revered double barrels.

Target Market:  Bird Hunters, Trap/Skeet Shooters, especially those who benefit from softer recoil

FNBs:  (Features and Benefits of this product)

  • Handsome American Walnut Stock
  • Machined-cut engraved receiver and bolt
  • Stainless Bolt
  • Generously sized Bolt Latch
  • White diamond grip cap
  • High-Polish, Blued Finish

 What other aesthetic options or finishes are available? Many different models to choose from: synthetic/composite, stainless, blued, camo.

What others are saying? "Another high point of the 1100 gas operation is reduced recoil. This gun will be much more enjoyable to shoot than your mule-kicking Mossberg. Especially since it is a lighter gauge. But, don't let that fool you. The 20 gauge is plenty of gun for anything from geese to doves and deer to pigs. In fact, I like the way it puts the smackdown on a a gobbler with heavier loads or gracefully knocks a quail down with field loads. Great all-round gauge. " - fieldandstream.com review

Price point:

  • Retail = $450 - $600 depending on model / condition

I need it now! Availability: New models available, but less seen on shelves than 870 series

Our Rating:

+ Finish has held up well, bluing is very good quality + Recoil is soft, due to both 20gauge vs 12gauge and gas operated action + Lightweight translates to faster shots on quick targets, less stress in the field. - Aftermarket furniture for 20 gauge is virtually non-existent.

Score: 8.5 Great







Remington 870 Express

Remington 870 pic 1photo 3

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:  An all American pump action shotgun built with the same quality, precision and dependability found in their Model 870 Wingmaster, but at a more affordable price.

Target Market:  Hunters, clay shooters or just any one.  

FNBs:  (Features and Benefits of this product)

  • 12 and 20 gauge models offered
  • 26 or 28 inch vent-rib bead-sighted barrel
  • Shoots both 2 3/4" and 3" shells
  • A proven solid and dependable action
  • Affordable price

 What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?  Remington offers this gun in a plethora of options and finishes.  Remington

What others are saying? "Outstanding shotgun at a reasonable price."

Price point:

I need it now! Availability: Readily available at any local gun store or major sporting goods stores.

Our Rating:

+ 12 and 20 gauge models available + Shoots 2 3/4" or 3" shells + 26 or 28 inch vent-rib + Affordable price

- Laminate stock

Score: 9.090

Jared prefers Simon Peter Sport Company for all his FFL needs.

Simon Peter Sport banner