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Magpul Shotgun Accessories: Breathe New Life Into an Old Friend

While often thought of for its AR and AK accessories, Magpul is one of the few manufactures that also produces furniture for the Mossberg 500/590 and Remington 870 shotgun platforms as well. This can be of great benefit for those who look to the shotgun as a solution (and less expensive) for home defense. For the purpose of this review the Mossberg 500/590 model was selected.

Released in 2011, the MOE M-LOK and SGA stock by Magpul Industries offers a number of improvements over stock Mossberg 500/590 hardware. These accessories continue to place Magpul innovation at the forefront of the firearms market, while improving the platform’s comfort and ergonomics.

MOE M-LOK Forend

The forend replacement is a direct drop-in replacement for the stock Mossberg forend that provides a number of number of innovative Magpul improvements. The M-LOK Forend has a reinforced polymer construction with M-LOK slots at the 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions for the direct attachment of corresponding accessories and rails.

The M-LOK forend itself has an extended length with front for greater hand positioning, and front/rear handstops to prevent over extension of the support hand.

The MOE M-LOK Forend is available in Black (featured), Stealth Grey, FDE, and Orange.

Product Link: https://magpul.com/moem-lokforend-mossberg590-590a1.html?mp_global_color=118

SGA Stock

Magpul offers a stock replacement for the Mossberg 500/590 that improves on the factory design by offering a number of ergonomic improvements and added features. The SGA Stock provides an adjustable length of pull in ½” increments, from 12.5” to 14.5” using a spacer to attain a more comfortable shouldering.

The grip of the SGA offers a blend between traditional fixed stock with a downward pistol-grip type approach. Sling loops are integrated on both the SGA’s sides and can accommodate a sling up to 1.25” in width.

At the rear of the SGA is an ambidextrous, recoil-reducing buttpad to mitigate impact.

The SGA Stock is available in Black (featured), Stealth Grey, FDE, and Orange.

Product Link: https://magpul.com/firearm-accessories/stocks/shotgun/sgastock-mossberg500-590-590a1.html?mp_global_color=118

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Product Evaluation Scores:

  • CostAverage (3/5): With the M-LOK Forend ($29.95) and SGA Stock ($109.95), users will spend less on improving all of the shotgun’s furniture than most AR users will to upgrade just their rail. Made from the same polymer as its magazines, the M-LOK Forend and SGA Stock have sufficient material to validate the cost, specifically the stock that also includes additional Length of Pull (LOP) spacers for a comfortable shouldering. Generally, secondary online retailers will also offer discounts or holiday specials for both the M-LOK Forend and SGA Stock when sold as a set. Other companies like Hogue offer a similar rubberized forend ($22.95), and ATI does have a A2 stylized stock ($119.99), but these either echo the original minimalist design of the stock Mossberg hardware, or only have the minimal of materials necessary. Given that Magpul’s furniture falls in line with other market alternatives, this translates to it being adequately (or of average) cost.
  • Comfort Excellent (5/5): The M-LOK Forend was a definite improvement over the stock Mossberg design in that not only did the Magpul forend have hand stops at both front and back to prevent slippage when cycling, but the texture and dimensions filled the palm more appropriately. Likewise, the SGA Stock was both lightweight and had a padded buttstock that came with adjustable LOP spacers to attain the best comfort. In addition, the SGA Stock had the same approach angle in its grip as an A2 stylized pistol grip that made holding the overall weight of the shotgun (either in both hands or just by the stock) much more comfortable on the wrist than the traditional stock.
  • Durability – Excellent (5/5): Both the M-LOK Forend and SGA Stock were made from Magpul’s durable polymer material and are single-piece designs, so there is little potential for the few frangible pieces (such as the sling loop) to become compromised. Several drop tests were performed on each unit prior to installation but aside from the few minor aesthetic surface scrapes (more to the rubberized buttpad), nothing that detracted from the hardware’s function was noted.
  • Functionality Good (4/5): Installation of the M-LOK Forend was extremely straightforward, thanks in large part to the included wrench that made removal of the stock hardware’s retention nut very easy. The forend also came with the appropriate spacers for either the Mossberg 500 or 590 model shotgun and ensured a tight fit with no excess movement after installation. Along both side of the forend are spacers for Magpul M-LOK rails that could add other accessories or weapon lights. When it came to the SGA Stock, installation was through a hide-slot in the upper grip and with an included threaded bolt. It was a little tight to use the included hex key, but afterwards the slot was easily covered with the included plug. The length of pull simply was adjusted by attaching or removing the included spacers to find the most comfortable fit. That’s it. Very simple and very functional, the M-LOK Forend and SGA Stock offer a very efficient and functional improvement over the 500’s stock furniture. It should be noted the SGA Stock does have additional accessories to increase the rise of the comb to accommodate even more comfort into its function for any shooter.
  • Weight Good (4/5): Individually, the M-LOK Forend (6.3 ounces) and SGA Stock (1.5lb or 24 ounces) were both very lightweight for the improved functionality added over the stock furniture. In addition, the added furniture did not imbalance the shotgun and in fact improved the overall feel of the shotgun as a single unit. The use of polymer as a base material aided in keeping the weight to an appropriate (or good) level given the volume involved. In comparison, the Hogue forend comes in at a surprising 1.75 pounds (or 28 ounces) while ATI’s A2-styled Shotforce stock was 1.86 pounds (or 29.76 ounces) and both demonstrate Magpul’s ability to save weight through its materials while sacrificing none of the functionality.

Overall Rating – Good (21/25)

IMG_2889_TackenbergI am reviewing this product as a courtesy to the manufacturer and via STL Shooting Enthusiasts, so that I can evaluate it and provide my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give positive reviews. All views are my own, and based off my personal experience with the product.

The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the author. The views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

 

SB Tactial SBA4 Brace: Bringing Adjustability to the Fixed

Released at SHOT Show in 2019, the SBA4 is one of the newer AR pistol braces offered by SB Tactical, and among many along its AR, AK, and shotgun models. Highlight features to the brace include an adjustable length, a wider polymer body for increased support, and a QD mounting point that all provide improved comfort and function for shooters.

The SBA4 is intended as a follow-on to its predecessor, the SBM4, with the A4 having a more rigid forearm support sides, and a 1” hook-and-loop strap to secure the brace to the arm. However, where the A4 differs is the newer brace now accepts any 7075 mil-spec carbine buffer tube (included with brace) and thus has a 5-position adjustable length.

The older SBM4 only accepted pistol buffer tubes and was not adjustable. And unlike the older SBM4, the newer A4 brace now also includes a metal ambidextrous QD mounting point for slings forward of the buffer adjustment pin.

Fully collapsed, the A4 has a minimal length of 7.5”, while on a fully extended carbine buffer tube measures 10.25”. Understanding these measurements can become impetrative when determining the overall length of an AR build to meet ATF regulations on AR pistols.

With its wider angled polymer body, the A4 also enables an improved cheek weld for the user. This is an improvement over the SBM4, and for comparison an improvement over the smaller, thinner, and lighter Magpul CTR buttstock.

The SBA4 is available in Black, OD Green, FDE, or Stealth Grey.

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • CostAverage (3/5): At an MSRP of $169.99, the SBA4 is also available at secondary sites for approximately $129, with some retailer coupons or sales during holiday’s providing the brace for even a lower cost. Given that SB Tactical is the market leader for firearm braces, there is no direct competitor for comparison to the A4. However, its predecessor the SBM4 ($99) with a similar design, does include many of the same stabilization aspects, but the SBM4 is only for use with pistol buffer tubes and as such is not adjustable. Even the more recent SBA3 ($169) is lighter and adjustable, while the SBPDW ($299) is one of the heaviest AR pistol braces on the market. In all this gives the A4 an average price range for its time on the market and amount of materials involved.
  • Comfort Good (4/5): For its comfort factor, the sides of the A4 were very rigid and gave support to the forearm rather well. This prevented the AR pistol from canting, while the support strap kept the overall brace secured despite the weight of the firearm held out at full extension to the body. Indeed, users with thicker forearms may find it more difficult to get a deeper position within the brace at first, until the rubber has had time to adequately break in. The nylon support strap was slightly elastic which made getting a positive/tight bond somewhat difficult, but not unattainable. One notable improvement for the A4 was the wider 2.8” angled polymer body that gave the user more surface for a positive cheek weld. This was an improvement over the SBM4’s width of 2.0” and thus narrower angle/less surface for contact. Internet research showed a number of aftermarket replacement straps to most SB Tactical braces, including the A4 and the recommendation to the manufacturer would perhaps examine improving or offering alternate straps for improved comfort and function.
  • Durability – Good (4/5): The SBA4 was made with dominantly a polymer body; which gave it a similar profile to a A2-style stock but with more rigidity than the SBA3 brace, and provided a stable platform for a positive cheek weld. The forearm support sides were made from a rubberized ABS material that gave the sides sufficient flex to contour around the arm. Over time and use the SBA4’s support sides did not collapse nor overlap, a problem that was a common concern for the SBA3, and rather the A4’s sides were molded to form and maintain a wedge shape when not in use, rather than loop. It is most likely that over time, the element of the A4 that will wear out first will be the hook-and-loop material to the 1” support strap (another reason there are aftermarket straps available).
  • Functionality Average (3/5): From a functional aspect the SBA4 was a little tricky to don on the forearm, it being necessary to fully loosen the support strap and push the arm through the sides. This was the same process similar to securing the older SBM4. The newer A4 also had more rigidity in its forearm support sides. These defiantly improved support to the AR pistol given its wide, angled dimensions that contoured around the arm once the support strap was tightened. Adjusting the position on the carbine buffer was a little tight, most likely attributed to variances in buffer tube dimensions and that not all tubes are a one-size-fits-all. But with a little effort the A4 was able to move across all five (of six) positions on the carbine buffer tube. The ambidextrous QD mounting points were full metal and accommodated a variety of mounting accessories. The feel of the QD point (forward of the adjustment pin and closer to the receiver) gave the overall AR pistol a tighter feel on the sling, and was a little distracting when raising the brace up to the cheek as it put the hardware right there by your face. Some adjustment of your sling may be necessary to accommodate this QD location.
  • Weight Fair (2/5): Weighing in at just 10 ounces (without buffer tube) the SBA4 is relatively lightweight, and among the line of other SB Tactical braces had a fair scoring. As noted above, once secured to the arm, the brace balanced the AR pistol and helped alleviate the weight of the firearm forward of the body. In comparison, the heaviest AR pistol brace in the SB line is the SBPDW (18.14 ounces) while others, such as the SBM47 (15.5 ounces), SBM4 (8.7 ounces), and SBA3 (6.75 ounces) demonstrate the weight of the SBA4 is towards the heavier side given most other AR pistol braces trend to a more minimalist approach with less materials that achieve the same results. The added weight is the payoff for the SBA4 to have that five-position adjustability.

Overall Rating – Average (16/25)

Product Link: https://www.sb-tactical.com/product/sba4/

***Editor’s Note: The history and ruling of AR/AK pistol braces is a sordid one. From the initial ATF ruling in 2014, the “clarification” letter by Max Kingery (then-acting Chief of Firearms Technology Criminal Branch) in 2015, and a second ATF ruling in 2017, and the most recent ATF clarification in 2019 the regulation agency has struggled to provide a clear ruling on the application of such devices. Specifically shouldering, the topic of proper use of braces has caused more internet arguments among “internet lawyers”. Currently ATF guidance as of 2019 states as follows:

“To the extent the January 2015 Open Letter implied or has been construed to hold that incidental, sporadic, or situational ‘use’ of an arm-brace (in its original approved configuration) equipped firearm from a firing position at or near the shoulder was sufficient to constitute a ‘redesign,’ such interpretations are incorrect and not consistent with ATF’s interpretation of the statute or the manner in which it has historically been enforced.”

As such, Per the ATF the use of an AR/AK pistol brace comes down to intent. Thus, accidental or “sporadic” shouldering of an AR pistol brace is not illegal. When consistently shouldered however, it demonstrates the intent to subvert regulations on SBRs by utilizing the AR pistol and brace as an impromptu work-around (and thus illegal). The same is said by adding accessories intended for precise accuracy as found with an SBR, such as scopes or utilizing irons. During the course of evaluations, any shouldering of the SBA4 was purely accidental, as efforts are made to test the brace within various range iterations to the extent of design, while still adhering to ATF regulations.

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I am reviewing this product as a courtesy to the manufacturer and via STL Shooting Enthusiasts, so that I can evaluate it and provide my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give positive reviews. All views are my own, and based off my personal experience with the product.

The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the author. The views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

 

Propper Bail Out Bag: Rapid Response On the Go

Designed for rapid deployment and flexibility, the Propper Bail Out Bag offers a modern take on a way to pack for a short-term contingency.

Initially introduced during the Korean War by soldiers preparing “bail out” positions, packs were put together that were meant to sustain individuals 12-24 hours until they could get to a position or point of greater support. These packs became known as Bail Out Bags (BOBs). Today the concept of BOBs has expanded to include packs specific to a purpose, such as Boom Bags, 72-hour packs, or first responder/active shooter bags.

Specifications for the Propper Bail Out Bag

The Propper Bail Out Bag is 100% 600D Cordura and features two, full-sized access compartments (one wide, one thin) – both featuring a full panel of hook-and-loop in the interior, but the larger compartment also features a full panel of MOLLE webbing as well. This allows customization of the internal compartments to any pocket, holster, or pouch with the associated mounting system. Both compartments are secured via zippers using 550 cord with rubberized tubing.

On the BOB’s exterior, one side is completely lined with three bands of MOLLE webbing and one panel of hook-and-loop the entire length of the bag. On the other side are three AR-15 magazine pouches with elastic slide adjusters that will accommodate up to six magazines (two per pouch) and secured via hook-and-loop. The BOB features two side pockets; one mesh with an elastic enclosure band and the other with a zippered enclosure (using a 550 cord drawstring) and exterior MOLLE webbing.

The entire bag measures 11″ length, 5″ deep, and 9″ in height. It has five drainage grommets and is carried via a single padded shoulder strap with two plastic carabiner clips and anchored at two plastic D-rings. The Propper Bail Out Bag comes in Coyote (featured) and black.

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • CostAverage (3/5): At $34.99 the Propper Bail Out Bag is nicely priced for its size, features, and materials. I do think however given the market for similar BOBs, some improvements could be made with minimal impact to the overall cost of the product, such as reinforced hardware.
  • Comfort Fair (2/5): Fully loaded, the BOB resembles, and feels like it looks – a large square slung over your shoulder. While you can’t overload it weight-wise, if worn while deploying a carbine the pack does not contour to the body effectively and is only secured via a single shoulder strap. Additionally, I would have liked to have seen the underside of the shoulder pad rubberized for added grip. Access to the compartments and magazines was easy as the zippers felt smooth and the hook-and-loop was secure.
  • Durability – Good (4/5): The 600D Cordura of the bag is on par with other similar priced BOBs on the market. The choice of material will ensure abrasion resistance and longevity regardless if the BOB is used on the range, in a patrol car, or personal vehicle. I do question the choice of using plastic for the carabiner and D-ring hardware, because it feels flimsy in relation to the weight of a fully loaded bag and its potential operational environment (one where it is supporting law enforcement and getting tossed around while worn or pulled at by vegetation). Other patrol bags and smaller dump bags do use similar plastics in their hardware, but as a BOB you want that added durability to key points.
  • Functionality Good (4/5): The design of this bag as a “Bug Out Bag” implies one (by nature of position or duty) regularly carries, or has immediate access to a carbine, such as a patrol officer or sheriff would. With the dedicated magazine pockets, and plenty of MOLLE webbing, the BOB has a large array of functionality for LEOs or members of the military looking for an active shooter or first response bag. However, from the standpoint of civilian application then this BOB would be better suited as a small range bag.
  • Weight Good (4/5): Weighing in at less than a pound, the BOB’s relatively small size and choice of materials help ensure the overall weight is minimal. Your ability to add weight is entirely up to you, but keep in mind that there are no carry handles so all the added weight will be on your shoulder.

Overall Rating – Above Average (17/25)

Product Link: https://www.propper.com/propperr-bail-out-bag.html

IMG_2889I am reviewing this product as a courtesy to the manufacturer and via STL Shooting Enthusiasts, so that I can evaluate it and provide my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give positive reviews. All views are my own, and based off my personal experience with the product.

The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the author. The views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

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