TactaLoad’s Easy-to-Mount and Indestructible Five Shell Buttstock accessory provides shotgun shooters faster access to rounds than Side Saddle Carriers.
Story and Photos by Paul Pawela
When a news reporter witnessed famous veteran Marshal John Slaughter walking down the street with his shotgun, the reporter asked, “Marshal, what are you going to do with that shotgun?” e marshal’s reply was “I’m going to use it to kill bad men, you damned fool.” The shotgun has been one of the go-to weapons since the inception of America. While Winchester advertised that their 1873 rifle won the West, as a historian of the Old West, I would argue it was the shotgun that made the most difference in Old West gunfights. As many families traveled west in covered wagons, they were usually armed with three types of guns:
a revolver, a rifle and a shotgun. The shotgun was (and is) versatile because it could be used for many purposes like hunting game or self-defense. Well-known for protecting people and valuables, Wells Fargo had two people on the stage – one driver who drove the horses and one guard armed with a shotgun, thus immortalizing the term “riding shotgun” forever.
FOR THE AMERICAN civilian population, the pump shotgun has been the crown jewel go-to gun for years for protection against home invasions. So, when my boss and general manager for the American Shooting Journal asked me to review the new TactaLoad FLASH-5 buttstock, I must admit I was a bit apprehensive to do so. I must have compiled over several hundred case studies involving gunfights with a shotgun, and never, ever have I found a case where more than two rounds were used on a human being. That’s not to say it hasn’t been done, it’s just I have never seen it or heard of it before.
Then it got me thinking. I once knew a deputy sheriff who worked on a warrant squad and specifically went after outlaw bikers who were stealing guns and ordnance from the local military bases. The sheriff asked the breacher of the tact team, who carried a Remington 870 at the time, to say a “little hello” to the bikers from the sheriff’s department by putting one slug round in the biker’s engine block and one in the gas tank. As many as ten or more custom motorcycles were destroyed per raid. What a lot of reloading (or so I was told).
Still, I was not really sold on the idea. en my boss told me the inventor is a retired Secret Service agent. Now I was very interested. I have been in the business of testing equipment for going on 40 years, and most people who make a product are inventors or engineers who never use the actual product. I was reminded of that by the people at Natick lab who were designing test parachutes for the U.S. Army; when I asked them if they ever jump the parachutes they design, they said, “Oh no, that is why we use you as a test jumper.” So, what a concept, a product designed by an actual door kicker. OK, now I was all in.
MIKE LAVERGNE IS the inventor of the TactaLoad FLASH-5 buttstock. For whatever reason, I generally cringe when I talk to current or former federal officers, but to be honest, interviewing Mike was a very pleasant experience. Mike is a very humble man who comes from humble beginnings. He started his law enforcement career in a sheriff’s department in Louisiana. His first two years were as a reserve officer before going full-time with the department. When asked why Mike got into law enforcement, he said he always had a mindset of a protector, so law enforcement seemed to be a good fit. When assigned to his unit (patrol car) as a rookie, a 12-gage pump shotgun came with the car. Being the diligent rookie he was, he took his car and cleaned it from top to bottom, including his pump shotgun. Much to his horror, the previous officer had put chicken bones and paper napkins down the barrel, which is shamefully more common than one might think, even to this day. Thus, a lifelong love-hate relationship with the duty shotgun began for Mike.
After a stellar stint with the sheriff’s department, Mike had a passion to become a federal agent and followed his dream to become a Secret Service agent. When Mike served warrants and arrested criminals, he used a 14-inch Remington pump shotgun. He would even go on to become a firearms instructor. Once again, the shotgun was part of the inventory he taught. The Remington shotguns came with buttstocks that had shell feeders that were on the sides of the buttstock. Sometimes they worked, sometimes they did not. Also, they only accommodated four shells, two on each side. So, there was always an extra round stuffed around somewhere because slugs and 00 buck come in boxes of five.
THIS WAS THE start of Mike’s epiphany of what would become the reality of the TactaLoad FLASH-5. At first glance it looks simple, but the number of hours it took to get to the point of perfection is mind-boggling. Mike went through several different buttstocks, having to saw them in half. He used machine welding, carbon fiber material with the right epoxies and different types of rubber bands to get just the right tension on the shell retainer. He then made 3D-printed prototypes and had different specialists give their input. Lastly, he farmed the product off to the main people who know how to run shotguns, such as competition shooters, law enforcement and military personnel. Why? Because the good Lord knows if anyone can find ways to destroy anything related to firearms, it’s those three categories of people!
So, what’s the bottom line you might ask? Priority one for any head of household is the protection of the family. Man or woman, the pump shotgun is not only economical but can be utilized with a great deal of simplicity. If you have any of the common pump shotguns, which are Remington 870 and Mossberg’s 500, 535, 590, 600, 835 and the Maverick 88, the TactaLoad FLASH-5 is the perfect accessory. It is totally indestructible, and it is easy to put on.
As all the cool guy operator instructors will tell you, if you shoot the beast, you must feed the beast immediately. The TactaLoad FLASH-5 has easy accessibility to load shotgun rounds into the buttstock as well as the simplicity of loading the shells from the buttstock into the gun, and this can be accomplished with or without gloves. (Loosely translated, it will work under duress.)
LET’S LOOK AT the positives of the product itself. The company is made up of former United States professional law enforcement and military personnel who know what it’s like to use products lives depend on. Check one. It is made in the United States. Check two. The inventor is a dedicated man who believes in God and uses his product to protect his greatest investment (as any of us are blessed to have), his own family. Check three. At a recent major retailer industry conference, TactaLoad took the best new accessory award right out of the gate, which speaks volumes unto itself. Check Four. Finally, the TactaLoad is affordable. Compare its price point against modern side shell carriers and you will find that not only does the TactaLoad beat its competitors’ prices, it’s also faster than side saddles for tactically reloading shotguns. Check five. When adding up those five positive checks in total, you get checkmate for the TactaLoad FLASH-5. If you own a Mossberg or Remington pump shotgun, this is a must-have add-on accessory. For more information on TactaLoad, go to tactaload.com.