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Personal Defense

Guns of PDTV: Tough, Affordable Home Defense Shotgun

by Scott E. Mayer   |  June 6th, 2011 31

On a recent trip to film episodes of Personal Defense TV with Clint Smith of Thunder Ranch, we got a sneak peek and the opportunity to shoot the new Thunder Ranch edition of Mossberg’s venerable Model 500 fighting shotgun.

If you know anything about Clint Smith, it’s that he’s about as straight forward as they come regarding guns, training and gear. You won’t find anything stupid taught at Thunder Ranch, and you won’t find any stupid features on the TR 500.  This shotgun is, simply, a fighting machine.

Barrel length is 18 inches for maneuverability. Choke is cylinder bore, which is equally effective at fighting distances with everything from birdshot to buckshot. And if you need a slug to stop a fight, let 'er rip.

The tang-mounted thumb safety is completely ambidextrous. Forget what you may have heard in the past about these safety buttons splitting--new-production Mossberg safety buttons are made of a tough-as-nails synthetic that isn't going anywhere.

Capacity is 5+1, and if you fit your TR 500 with an aftermarket sidesaddle, even more rounds or different types of rounds are right at your fingertips.

There are three accessory rails on the TR 500. Aside from the obvious, the rails are there so if you're down to only one arm in a fight you can hook them on cover and work the shotgun while keeping the muzzle pointed at the threat.

Yep, that's a door breeching muzzlebrake. But instead of for blowing hinges, Smith specified the feature to help with weapon retention. If a bad guy grabs your muzzle, they won't hang on to those teeth very hard for very long.

The brake helps reduce felt recoil, and dual action bars help prevent binding up the works when shooting under high stress.

Spacers allow the user to adjust the length of pull between 12 and 13 inches so you can shoot from a stable fighting stance.

Sights consist of a conventional gold bead, but the receiver is drilled and tapped, ready for your choice of red dot or iron sights.

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