October 19th, 2016 by Sam Morstan

Tac Star’s Slimline Shotshell Carrier increases the readiness factor of every smoothbore.

STORY AND PHOTOS BY DAVE WORKMAN

Recent tragic events have forced a growing number of armed citizens to the realization that while it is still a remote possibility, the potential for finding one’s self in the middle of a terrorist action or a riot has gone up, as has the need for a defensive weapon.

After San Bernardino and Orlando, our comfort zones have shrunk, and for the first time many of us can remember, some in law enforcement have changed their tune from “call 911 and wait” to “run, hide or fight.”

The author’s Mossberg 50 pump shotgun and Tac Star’s handy Side Saddle Slimline accessory prior to easy assembly.

The author’s Mossberg 50 pump shotgun and Tac Star’s handy Side Saddle Slimline accessory prior to easy assembly.

Unfortunately, San Bernardino taught us that we may not be able to run fast enough, and Orlando showed us that hiding and waiting to be saved might not be a survivable option. That leaves the third alternative.

According to a recent report by the Crime Prevention Research Center, the notion of carrying a handgun for personal protection has inspired somewhere north of 14 million citizens to arm up, and the number is rising steadily.

To attach the shell holder, start by using the appropriate punch to tap out the rear retaining pin through the trigger assembly, being careful not to let the trigger move.

To attach the shell holder, start by using the appropriate punch to tap out the rear retaining pin through the trigger assembly, being careful not to let the trigger move.

I PREFER A DEFENSIVE HANDGUN because it can always be with me. But it’s just one tool in the box. If it should ever come to pass that something major happens, I’ll use that sidearm to get me to something with a little more horsepower: my Mossberg 500 pump shotgun.

Many of us have good pump guns in the closet for bird hunting or maybe home defense. Mine was purchased some 25 years ago, as a package deal. It has a 20-inch upland bird barrel with a vent rib, and a second 18-inch barrel with an open choke. I ordered it with a “Speed Feed” synthetic stock designed to hold four extra shells, two on each side, in spring-loaded slots. With the plug out, that gave me five shells in the tubular magazine and one in the chamber, plus four spares.

Recently I added something new, thanks to Tac Star’s latest entry in the Side Saddle lineup, the “Slimline” version. Made from a tough rubber compound with a metal backing plate, this worthwhile add-on allows the user to have six extra shells at hand on the left side of the receiver in the event one has to grab and run. What previously gave me 10 rounds now offers as many as 16 shots, provided I start off fully loaded.

Unscrew the small slide screw inside the receiver, through the open ejection port.

Unscrew the small slide screw inside the receiver, through the open ejection port.

INSTALLING THIS ACCESSORY is a snap. First, make sure your shotgun is completely unloaded. Then, using the proper diameter punch, push out the pin on the lower rear of the receiver that holds the trigger assembly in place, being careful to keep the trigger housing where it belongs.

These shell slots are made of a tough rubber compound.

These shell slots are made of a tough rubber compound.

Tac Star provides a two-piece screw that inserts from both ends. One end features a beveled head that fits into the corresponding slot on the Side Saddle Slimline. Two small hex wrenches are also included to tighten this screw from both sides simultaneously.

However, don’t tighten the first screw all the way. Leave enough slack for the mount to rotate so that it can be fastened up front. Remove the interior slide screw with a screwdriver inserted in the open ejection port. Insert the replacement screw that goes through a corresponding hole up front on the Side Saddle and tighten it down. Then finish tightening the rear screw.

It’s also a good idea to use a drop of blue Loctite to keep both screws in place.

Workman recently dressed up his Mossberg 50 for defensive duty with the Side Saddle shotshell carrier. A pistoleer always has a backup plan.

Workman recently dressed up his Mossberg 50 for defensive duty with the Side Saddle shotshell carrier. A pistoleer always has a backup plan.

You can pray to all the Gods in the heavens to keep you safe and out of harm’s way, or you can follow the age-old advice of the Boy Scouts and “always be prepared.” Personally, I’d rather prepare than simply pray, except to pray that all of my preparations never have to be used. ASJ


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October 14th, 2016 by Sam Morstan

Tactical Walls thinks ‘outside the big, steel box’ with its innovative gun safe designs.

STORY BY CRAIG HODGKINS • PHOTOS BY TACTICAL WALLS 

This recessed In-Wall Home-Defense Mirror from Tactical Walls comes in black (shown), early American, Dutch walnut, cherry, white and “raw.”

This recessed In-Wall Home-Defense Mirror from Tactical Walls comes in black (shown), early American, Dutch walnut, cherry, white and “raw.”

For decades, gun owners were forced to make difficult choices or to compromise when it came to firearms storage. On one hand, owners needed firearms to be stored securely to protect them from theft and to ensure the safety of younger family members. At the same time, protecting those same loved ones often required that the firearms be quickly and easily available for access in case of an intruder or other emergency.

There have been excellent gun safes on the market for decades, and many do their intended job very well. But until recently, gun safes were all about security and safety, not easy access.

That all began to change a few years ago, when technological advancements such as radio frequency identification (RFID) enabled companies to think outside the big, steel box and develop products that could provide both security and access. One of these, Tactical Walls, has done an excellent job creating firearms storage products that “hide in plain sight.”

The mirror opens with one swipe of an RFID key card.

The mirror opens with one swipe of an RFID key card.

One of the things I like about these products is that every security item they produce is disguised as a functional piece of furniture or home décor. And once you’ve seen their product line in person, you’ll never be able to look at a bedroom mirror, decorative shelf or wall clock the same way again.

Several recent releases in the Tactical Walls line offer RFID locking mechanisms as an optional alternative to the existing magnetic lock. According to company literature, opening up a hidden compartment is as easy as swiping the preset RFID card in front of the locking mechanism. Each RFID unit comes standard with two key cards and one programming card used to match the key to the proper unit, and owners can order additional RFID cards if needed. If desired, a single card can also be set to open multiple units, granting access to each firearm staged throughout the home.

Tactical Walls shelves are designed for use with standard 2x4 stud framing, and hang like any regular wall shelf.

Tactical Walls shelves are designed for use with standard 2×4 stud framing, and hang like any regular wall shelf.

Each shelf comes preassembled, and is supplied with a set of two bookend-style shelf brackets for added support, one foam insert, plus anchors and fasteners.

Each shelf comes preassembled, and is supplied with a set of two bookend-style shelf brackets for added support, one foam insert, plus anchors and fasteners.

The new RFID-locking models also offer a programmable “tattletale” function that (when activated) will begin beeping when the unit has been left open for a designated period of time. This helps firearms owners keep guns from unwanted users by reminding them when the compartment is left open.

A foam insert securely holds everything in place in this undershelf design, and optional LED lights help illuminate your hidden cache.

A foam insert securely holds everything in place in this undershelf design, and optional LED lights help illuminate your hidden cache.

Finally, in addition to being excellent firearm storage devices, Tactical Walls products stand out because they are built to last. For example, their new rifle-length shelves are handcrafted in the U.S. using real hardwood, and are available in six different finishes.

A close-up view of the sturdy RFID locking mechanism.

A close-up view of the sturdy RFID locking mechanism.

MSRPs for Tactical Walls products are based on several factors, including lock type, shelf length and choice of finish, so contact the company or a dealer near you for more information.

Tactical Walls is based in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, and is a family-owned and -operated business. To learn more, visit tacticalwalls.com. ASJ


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