Browncoat Tactical Shotgun Shell Holder

Browncoat Tactical Shotgun Shell Holder Review


“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shotgun shells, and carriers
Of rifled slugs, and slings”

Yes, my English Lit professor hated me.

Shotguns. Devastating, versatile weapons. Once commonly found in the trunk of every patrol car and leaned against many a nightstand, this tried and true weapons system is being steadily replaced by the carbine.

Still viable in a great many applications, the shotgun’s major drawback is capacity. This drawback has been mitigated somewhat by magazine tube extensions and some detachable magazine fed models, but for the majority of us the standard pump or semiautomatic gun with a five or six round tube is the norm. For tactical applications where mobility in tight quarters is essential, a magazine tube extending a foot past the muzzle simply isn’t practical. This necessitates a method of carrying extra ammunition in a fashion that offers the shooter a quick way to reload the gun.

There have been several approaches to this; slings that carry a box of shells in loops on it, wrist carriers that hold half a dozen rounds, SpeedFeed stocks that carry rounds in the buttstock, and sidesaddles. I’ve tried them all at one point or another, and found that the fastest way to reload with ammunition on the gun is a sidesaddle. They are not without their drawbacks however. The sidesaddle I used for many a year wore out. It happens. After years of use, it simply wouldn’t hold the rounds in the carrier under recoil. Firing the gun only to have three or four rounds fall to the ground is, shall we say, less than optimal. In a match environment or the duck blind, this is simply an inconvenience. For someone who may be engaging multiple threats on a two-way range it can result in an advanced state of spectacular deadness.

Looking to replace the eight-round sidesaddle that had served me so well, I found that particular model was no longer made. Scouring the interwebs was disheartening. The only eight round sidesaddles I could find either had a Picatinny rail attached (I’m a ghost ring sight kind of guy so neither needed nor wanted that) or was prohibitively expensive. A friend of mine who is in my National Guard Military Police company, as well as being a civilian LEO, was helping me in my search for a replacement sidesaddle when we broached the subject of shotgun cards.

Now, these are not new, having been in use for several years. Rather than a plastic or aluminum carrier, cards are nylon carriers that attach with Velcro to the weapon. As we talked about it, we came up with more and more advantages to the cards over a fixed sidesaddle. He being an active LEO, my friend said that mounting one on the inside of the driver’s and passenger door of his cruiser would provide ammunition that would be quick to grab and go or to use behind the cover the cruiser would provide. Facing multiple assailants with just the 5 rounds an issued shotgun carries might give you the rough life expectancy of one of Captain Kirk’s girlfriends, so the ready availability of ammo is welcome. I’ve never heard someone heading into a gunfight say “You know, I just have simply too much ammunition.” Having a couple spares loaded up would also speed things up in a competition environment. With advantages listed and no apparent downside, I figured giving one a shot might be the way to go.

Enter Browncoat Tactical (which I can only hope is a nod towards Firefly) and their shotgun shell holder. Available for 12 and 20 gauge shotgun shells, and in 4,5,6,7, and the holy grail of 8 round capacities at an extremely reasonable price, I ordered one to try. Three days later, I had it in my hands.

Browncoat Tactical Shotgun Shell Holder
Browncoat Tactical Shotgun Shell Holder

Measuring 8.75 inches wide and 2 inches tall, it’s made of a double layer of scuba webbing for the back and elastic webbing that holds the shells in place, it’s a well constructed piece with even nylon stitching. Installation on my Mossberg 500 Security model was pretty straightforward. After thoroughly degreasing the receiver with Gun Scrubber I laid the adhesive backed Velcro piece on the gun to measure where I would trim to the contours. After trimming, I peeled the protective wrap off the adhesive and, starting from the front of the receiver working towards the rear smoothed it down. The adhesion was very solid. Bear in mind that the Security model doesn’t have a smooth, blued finish, being more of a parkerized texture. I think this added to the adhesive sticking as well as it did. Then it was a simple matter of sticking the shell holder piece to the Velcro.

One of the advantages the card has over a sidesaddle I noticed immediately. When you install a sidesaddle, it goes where it goes whether it’s where you want it or not. The particular one I had used in the past hugged the bottom on the receiver forcing me to insert the shells into the loops farther than I preferred to keep them from interfering with my finger getting into the trigger guard when firing left handed and making the slide release difficult to get to. Doing a shot to slug changeover was difficult having to contort my wrist to hit the slide release. I was able to put the shot card high enough on the receiver to make access to the trigger guard and slide release effortless. Another advantage to the card is that I can now easily take the gun apart to clean it. The sidesaddle I had used mounted by replacing the pin that held the trigger group in place with a threaded pin that the sidesaddle attached to with a screw. Now I’m back to just pushing the pin out to clean the gun after a range session.

And speaking of range sessions, testing the card was a perfect excuse to get out in what had become a rare period of sunshine here in South Carolina and slay some cardboard. The Browncoat Tactical card performed exactly as advertised. Running a shoot one, load four, shoot one drill I was able to keep times hovering around five seconds. Firing a variety of target loads, 00 buck, and slugs through the gun rapidly with the carrier full did not cause any rounds to fall out. While there was some movement of the shells in the card, this is to be expected whether using a sidesaddle, card, whatever. If you don’t know, there’s a little bit of recoil involved with a 12 gauge.

So, consider me a convert. For the price you get a quality made method of carrying the extra ammunition you may need to save your life or the life of another.


Browncoat Tactical Shotgun Shell Holder mounted on Mossberg 500.
Browncoat Tactical Shotgun Shell Holder mounted on Mossberg 500.

The Tactical Pirate

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