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Wilson Combat Scattergun Standard Model Review

by Jason Teague   |  March 19th, 2013 0


I really considered myself a nostalgic guy, but having spent the last 15 years in law enforcement, I have seen many changes. I sometimes miss the simplicity of policing like it was early in my career, simplicity in things such as paper reports, good leather gear and shotguns. I have always enjoyed carrying a shotgun on the street, and there is a sense of confidence in deploying one on a call. The versatility in a pump gun to handle just about any situation is one of the things that have allowed it to survive in the law enforcement arena. In the face of constant technological advancement in guns and gear for the police officer and civilian alike, the trusty pump 12-gauge still has a place in one’s arsenal. With the advent of better and more accurate “flight controlled” shotgun ammo, the 12-gauge is more effective than ever.

There’s no denying that the pump 12-gauge can be considered the quintessential long gun in American law enforcement. Even though the patrol rifle is prevalent among agencies these days, the shotgun can still get the job done. Looking at the distances at which most gunfights take place in this country, the shotgun brings to bear an extremely effective fighting tool that can rapidly curtail a deadly force encounter.

Outdated? Hardly
In this age of the patrol rifle, many police officers may think that the shotgun is a dinosaur and needs to be retired to the safe. Well, I’m here to tell you that there are some things that just can’t be accomplished with a rifle. The ability of a firearm to digest a variety of specialty munitions—buckshot and slugs, for example—with unparalleled reliability is accomplished only by the venerable 12-gauge pump shotgun. There’s no denying that, like most guns, the pump shotgun has gone through many stages in evolution, even though the original concept remains with us. Many manufacturers have provided quality shotguns over the years, but few companies have been at the forefront of producing high-quality custom shotguns as long as Wilson Combat.

Many only attribute high-end 1911 pistols to the name Bill Wilson, but his company has been producing custom pump and semi-auto shotguns for many years. Having acquired the original Scattergun Technologies, which was known for its custom Remington shotguns during the ’90s, Wilson Combat took an already good idea and made it even better. As with his 1911s, Wilson has sought to produce reliable, high-quality shotguns for duty and home defense use. Keeping with some of the original themes of Scattergun Technologies, Wilson Combat capitalized on Scattergun’s popular shotgun models, not only refining the designs but also adding the ability for the customer to spec out his shotgun if he chose to do so.

When it came time for Wilson to start turning out pump shotguns, it’s easy to see why he chose to stay with the Remington 870 as the primary platform. The 870 has earned its reputation as a bombproof, reliable workhorse of a shotgun. It can easily be said that all pump shotguns are measured against it. From that starting point, customers can choose among several models or have theirs built from scratch. One of the more popular scatterguns offered by Wilson Combat is the Standard Model. This shotgun represents what a good patrol or home defense pump gun needs to be: simplicity with some decisive add-ons. Obviously, first and foremost it must be reliable, and the gunsmiths at Wilson Combat make sure the shotguns that leave their shop are 100 percent reliable. The Standard Model starts life as a fairly basic 870. Standard is an 18-inch cylinder-bore barrel finished in a rugged MIL-SPEC black manganese phosphate (Parkerized). The Standard Model is chambered for 2¾- and 3-inch magnum loads. Unlike the Police Magnum models, it does not include an aluminum triggerguard, but rather a plastic one.

Next come quality sights that are easy to find and aid in shooting a variety of munitions. Wilson’s Trak-Lock ghost-ring rear sight and ramp front with tritium insert make finding a sight picture quick and easy under stress and in low-light conditions. The rear Trak-Lock sight is adjustable for both elevation and windage, is very rugged and can be ordered equipped with tritium inserts. The front sight is a robust, ramp-style post with a tritium insert, which helps draw the eye to it under less than ideal lighting conditions. It has been soldered onto the barrel in place of the traditional “bead on a pedestal” front sight. The ability to have a sighting system other than a traditional bead sight takes the shotgun to another level, especially when running slugs or other specialty munitions. Even though most would consider the ghost-ring-style sight system to be used only for up-close, rapid-sight-acquisition shooting, it is very capable of delivering accurate fire with slugs. One-hundred-yard hits using Wilson’s Trak-Lock sights and slugs are quite possible when in the hands of a capable shooter.

Seeing the sights is only part of the equation. You must be able to identify what it is you are shooting, and this is accomplished very well by a SureFire 618 forearm light. This model replaces the factory handguard with a dedicated housing containing a blistering 120-lumen white light that can be activated with a momentary pressure pad or the constant-on toggle switch. Threat identification is critical, and having a dedicated light enables the shooter to maintain control over the shotgun while easily identifying any threats. A high-performance, dedicated firearm light is absolutely one of the best upgrades to a combat shotgun. The homeowner is just as dependent as a police officer on threat identification, and Wilson’s addition of the SureFire light is another feature that sets this pump gun apart from a factory model.

A simple, but often overlooked addition to the 870 is Wilson’s Jumbo Head safety. The factory part can be a little difficult to find, especially while wearing gloves. The Jumbo Head safety ensures that, be it with gloves or an elevated heart rate with less than nimble fingers, the shooter will have no trouble locating the crossbolt safety when the time comes to fire the shotgun. With the safety’s oversize button, the shooter has a solid tactile sensation with his index fingers as to the location of the safety. Depending on how the shotgun is deployed, either in a “road ready” condition that has the magazine tube loaded and the chamber empty or with the shotgun “hot” upon retrieval, there will be no doubt as to the location of the safety.

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