Shotshell Carrier

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 ( user)

Price Point:

I need it now! Availability: Readily available at

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


California Competition Works 12 Gauge Speed Stripper Review

California Competition Works 12 Gauge Speed Stripper With all the pistol and carbine mag pouches out there on the market, a lot of people forget about a carrying system for the largest and clunkiest of the munitions, the 12 gauge shotgun shell. Instead of fishing around a dump pouch or pocket blindly for shells chaotically, there are belt caddies available to hold shells in the same direction, and in an easily accessible way. The lest expensive option I've found is the California Competition Works 12 Gauge Speed Stripper. I bought a couple of 4 round strippers while there are strippers with 6 packs available. You know what I mean. The caddy can hold 2 3/4" and 3" shells and its quite robust, the metal clip on the back is extremely rigid. Luckily the supplier offers the same caddies with different backing systems. The only downsides are the shells rattle quite, and when you are running/active with only 2 or 1 shell left in caddy it is likely to come out. As a beginning 3 Gunner looking to accommodate shotgun shells onto their belt, look no further than these from California Competition Works.

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame: Provides controlled carry of 12 gauge shells for fast, fumble-free reloads.

Target Market: Bird hunters, Skeet/Trap Shooters, 3 Gun Competitors

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • Available in either 4 or 6 round configurations
  • Belt Clip ride height is adjustable (only 2 positions)
  • Multiple mount options available through
What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?:  Black, Coyote Brown, & Orange

What others are saying?: “Works well in Practical shooting. Capacity of four definitely the correct size for me, as four rounds is the maximum I can hold in my hand while feeding my gun. Comes with two spacers to adjust the stripper for different length of cartridges. You have to use both spacers with extra short rounds like S&B Practical Sport. With one spacer extra short rounds can fall off. This also means that the stripper doesn't cope well with mixed length rounds. Few downsides though: - Rattles which prevents hunting usage - If the stripper is not packed full, remaining round(s) may fall off while moving. This limits tactical usage, if there's a need to feed only one, two or three rounds into the gun. All in all a simple, rugged and very good product." - puppe user, review

Price Point: Retail: $25.99

I need it now! Availability: Readily available at Brownells

Our Rating:

+-Retains 4 shells securely and easy to load up +-Price is under other competitors, easy to afford multiples +-Includes spacers to accommodate 2 3/4" shells --Metal Clip on back is overly rigid and extremely hard to clip on belt. --When caddy is not 100% full (-1 or 2 shells) remaining shells are able to fall out during rapid movement --Shells rattle loudly in caddy (using spacers and 2 3/4" shells) which may spook some game during hunting

Score: 8.0 Great

Taccom 8Up Quaload Shotgun Shell Holder Review

4f06530962d2950a2dd70c4c84beb478_xaph_ra0y By Daniel Strait

Taccom Quaload: I ordered this product directly from the Taccom website based off of the review of Jesse Tischauser on BrianEnos Forums and the forums. I figured, if he could load 8rds in 3.5 sec then I could...right??

Initial Impressions:

Upon opening the package, I was initially very impressed. It has a very sturdy feel and does not feel like it will break easily. I ordered the product with TekLok and was surprised, and slightly annoyed, when there were no instructions on how to use it! Well that agitated feeling quickly went away upon a quick search on YouTube and finding a video of how to attach the TekLok to the 8Up Quaload.

When attaching it to my shooting belt I noticed that these are not a small loading system. If you are cramped for space on your belt, I would not look toward the 8Up Quaload to save some space...the 4 Quaload, perhaps, might be a better choice or the Carbon Arms EZ8 or FSL8  or AP L2/L4 might be better space savers.

As previously mentioned, the Taccom system feels very sturdy. The problem I seemed to have is the tightness of the clips. The website even mentions IOT (in order to) remove the shells from the caddy efficiently, you need to remove them in a specific way. While not intuitive, it is not too difficult, unless you have small hands, then you might want to try the Load 2 method.

Overall Impression:

Overall, I would buy this product again. However, keep in mind this method does take quite a bit of practice, contrary to what I had initially thought. Granted, you will probably notice improvement within the hour, but IOT load 8rds in 4 seconds, this will take many hours of practice, in my humble opinion. The price point is right on par with many of the other quad loading techniques, based off of my prior research. One 8Up Quaload will cost you $69.95 plus $10.00 for the TekLok backing (must purchase separately).

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame: Straight from the horse’s mouth..."Our QUALOAD holds the 2 columns of shells next to one another, you can't get any closer than having them touch. No other quad load device can do this!! This allows for you to control how the shell come out of the holder and not have to worry about rim overlay.....the rims are already overlapped in the correct position!!

We allow a generous amount of room under the shells so that you can wrap your fingers around the shells before you lift them out of the holder. Also, we have the farthest distance between our clips so that HUGE hands will have no problem getting at the shells out of our loader."

Target Market: This product was specifically created for the Competition Shooter ie. 3 gun competitors. I have seen those on a few “End of the world as we know it” forums though for what it’s worth.

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • Ability to load 4 shells vs 2 shells
  • Availability of sizes (Quaload, 8Up, and 16Up).

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?: The Taccom 8Up Quaload Shotgun Shell Holder is only available in black.

What others are saying?: “Been working with these this week, allows you to grab a handful with less fumbling, you can raise or lower the shells, the clips hold the rounds in a lot better than the one with metal clips, 5 star, looks like it’s made of delrin, should outlast most anything!” - dustbuster, The Shooter's Source Review

Price Point:

I need it now! Availability: You can purchase this shell holder from a few retailers, including Midway USA, The Shooter's Source, and directly from Taccom.

Our Rating:

+-Tough Construction +-Shells positioned well

--Size --To much tension

Score: 7.5    75

Mesa Tactical Sureshell Shotshell Carrier with Integrated Picatinny Rail

Mesa 1

When you combine classic design with the desire for end user customization, there is bound to be innovative companies that will rise to the occasion to give the customer what they want. Just like the AR-15, common shotgun patterns such as the Remington 870 and Mossberg 500  are easily customizable with a bevy of affordable and easy to install parts and accessories. One company that provides this is Mesa Tactical.  One of the things that makes me love this company is its dedication to the scattergun. They focus exclusively on products to make shotguns more effective tools for whatever purpose you choose to utilize them for.

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame: Multipurpose, platform focused and versatility. Mesa

Target Market: Operators, 3-gun competitors and home defense.


Key Features

  • Milled from 6061-T6 aircraft aluminum
  • Bead blasted and mil-spec hard anodized
  • Integral MIL-STD-1913 picatinny rail
  • No gunsmithing installation
  • Innovative rubber friction retention system

Key Benefits

  • Solid mounting platform for optics
  • Rock Solid retention of shotshells

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?:  There are a variety of models that have different capacities and lengths of rail. There is also their line of non railed Sureshell holders.  While mine is for an 870, they make models that correspond to a variety of firearms.   SureShell Shotshell Carriers-Mesa Tactical

What others are saying?:  I purchased mine off of Amazon and its average rating is 4.25 stars. With the two 2 star ratings being for faulty packaging on the one and simple preference on the other. Consensus seems strongly positive considering this products two main detractors are for these reasons.  Amazon

Price Point:

I need it now! Availability: If you happen to have a very well stocked local gun store you may be able to pick it up however with Amazon the shipping is free and you will have it in a week. Direct from manufacturer is also an option.

Our Rating:

+ Construction + Included hardware + Simple installation + Rock solid mount + Rock solid shell retention

Score: 8.585 GREAT

My Blog: NJ Gun Blog