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 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)
- MSRP: $15.00
I need it now! Availability: Readily available at skdtac.com
+-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.