Remington 870 Express Tactical Review
Part 1 - Introduction, Specifications and Summary
February 5, 2011

Most people would agree that a shotgun is a good home defense gun and over the past several years there is clearly an increase in the number of "tactical" shotguns on the market.  Based on this increase alone, there must clearly be a market for the average firearm's consumer to want one (or more in my case) of these shotguns in their inventory.  I have been hunting for over 30 years and know first hand the effectiveness of 12 gauge buckshot when hunting.  It's that effectiveness that makes a short barrel shotgun loaded #4 buckshot, located in a handy spot, that gives me peace of mind should the need arise.  Remington is clearly one of the big name shotgun manufacturers and it is hard to dispute the reputation of the Remington 870 platform.  When you consider that the Model 870 first came into production back in 1951 and Remington has sold over 10 million shotguns over the years, the Model 870 has been thoroughly field tested and has proven it's place in the market. Remington produces 27 different models of their 870 Pump Action Shotgun.  This alone is a good indication of the success of this shotgun platform.  Another indication of success is the number of aftermarket products (stocks, grips, forearms, etc.) that exist for the Remington 870 Shotgun.  Based on all this, I decided to get the Remington 870 Express Tactical Shotgun because I wanted to add an 870 to my collection for basic home defense.

At the Remington website you will see the MSRP on this shotgun is $505, but you can find it around the $350 to $430 price range depending on your willingness to try an online purchase versus going down to a retail store.

 

The following text in colored italics was taken directly from the Remington website on 1/7/11 and gives an Overview, Key Features, and Specifications for the 870 Express Tactical Shotgun.  The and are my way to keep up with details that I have covered in this review either with photos or commentary.  I may also add commentary after these marks as necessary to explain some details if needed.

Overview:

  • Remington tactical shotguns are rugged, ultra-dependable and continually evolve as they’re called to serve in new, increasingly demanding environments.
  • Built on our legendary pump action that’s become the gold standard for high-risk applications, the Model 870™ Express Tactical with a quick pointing 18 1/2" barrel and includes our extended ported Tactical Rem Choke.
  • It packs a full 7 rounds of 2 3/4" or 3" 12-gauge firepower with the factory installed 2-shot extension.
  • The Model 870™ Express® Tactical with XS® Ghost Ring Sights is optimized for rapid target acquisition and precise shot placement with the XS blade sight and XS Ghost Ring sight rail (fully adjustable for windage and elevation), which accepts optics and sight systems as well.
  • Receivers are drilled and tapped.

Key Features:

  • 18 1/2" tactical barrel with XS® front blade sight RC Tactical (ext/ported tube)
  • XS Ghost Ring sight Rail (mounts to receiver)
  • Sight is fully adjustable for windage and elevation
  • Front blade sight works in conjunction with Ghost Ring to quickly and accurately acquire target
  • Tactical style fore-end
  • 2-shot magazine extension
  • Receiver drilled and tapped for scope mounts (XS Picatinny rail with ghost ring included)

Specifications:

  • Action Type: Pump
  • Barrel Type: Rem Choke
  • Barrel Length: 18.5"
  • Gauge: 12
  • Overall Length: 38.5" The actual length including the Tactical Rem Choke tube measured 40.75".  It appears that Remington did not take into account the length of the Rem Choke.

This review is broken down into multiple parts with this page providing links to each part along with an overall summary of the specifications, pros and cons, and my final "bottom line" comments.  Make sure you take time to checkout the other parts of the review because they contain many photos and commentary.  Also, there is an extreme amount of detail in those parts which is not covered on this page.

As you read these Pros and Cons below, keep in mind that it is hard to keep my particular preferences from creeping in the equation.  Therefore, it is important that you take the time to look at the other parts of this review so you can decide yourself on items which may be preference to you personally.

Pros:

  • With nearly 60 years and millions sold, the 870 is a proven platform.
  • Fair price range considering additional features such as rail, ghost ring sights, tactical choke & magazine extension tube.
  • A wealth of aftermarket parts exist to customize you shotgun.

Pro/Con?:

  • The cross bolt safety is rear of the trigger and is a feature that tends to be a matter of preference.
  • The action lock is located on the forward left of the trigger guard and again is a matter of preference.

Cons:

  • I wish Remington would have included at least a rail on the fore-end or barrel/magazine tube area for mounting a light. I'm a firm believer that any defense weapon should have a light and the cost for this addition would be minimal (i.e. look at what Remington did for the 887 Nitro Mag Tactical).

 

Bottom Line:

I would have a hard time believing that anyone would be disappointed after they purchased the Remington 870 Express Tactical Shotgun.  For the last couple of months, this shotgun has been sitting on my desk while I'm working on this review and I have shouldered it hundreds of times.  I like the way this shotgun feels and operates.  As you can see from the other parts of this review, I have studied this gun inside and out and believe this to be a quality shotgun that offers some upgraded features (extended magazine tube, ghost rings sights, upper rail and tactical choke) for a reasonable price.  I have taken it to the range and on two night hunts and it has already proven it's worth by helping me get rid of some pesky beavers.  Would I recommend this shotgun?  Most definitely.  If you are in the market for a tactical or home defense shotgun, I would put this shotgun high on the list to checkout.


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