Mesa Tactical, that California expat company now located in Reno, Is known for law enforcement- and home defense-ready upgrades for long guns. My first experience with their gear was installing their Sureshell shell carrier/rail combo on my Remington 870 Tactical shotgun. Installation was laborious, but it’s held up well and has been so handy in terms of keeping shells at hand for speedy reloads as well as offering plenty of Pic rail for the various sighting components I’ve tried over time. It was with enthusiasm that I accepted Mesa Tactical’s offer to test the Gen II version of their LEO Stock Kit.
Mesa Tactical @ TFB:
Mesa Tactical Gen II LEO Stock Kit is available for Mossberg 500, Benelli 1301, and Remington 870 pump shotguns. Both 12- and 20-gauge guns are suited for installation, but, according to the instruction manual, there’ll be a slight overlap of the adapter component over the receiver of a 20 gauge.
The initial attraction to this setup for me was the AR-style, adjustable stock that would shorten the length of pull substantially from the immobile polymer one on the gun. In the same vein, I liked the idea of the gun being easier to deploy from its on-duty location behind the passenger seat.
Equally important as my interests in this kit are what it does for the typically lower line of sight on a shotgun. The stock is set lower in relation to the receiver than the level profile customary on AR platform guns. The lower stock allows the operator to easily use iron sights or, in my case, a low-mounted Sightron S3-05 red dot, using a standard cheek weld.
Opening the kit, I was pleasantly surprised to find not only the stock and connector tube with hardware, but the tools needed to do the change-out, plus a plunger cup and swivel sling loop. A Phillips screwdriver to remove the Remington butt pad was the only thing I had to provide. So often, adding one accessory necessitates purchasing another to keep a gun useful. The knowledgeable operators at Mesa Tactical thought of the need for more than one sling attachment option. Even just practicing on the range, I consider a sling essential for safe and efficient handling of my long gun when doing other things like moving targets up-range or down, checking targets, and the like.
The sling loop and attached flush cup in the kit fit into the adapter on either side. A fixed loop is located on the bottom edge of the butt. Talk about plug-and-play functionality, it’s built into this product. Choose one or two points of contact, or leave the pushbutton cup ring off and opt for no sling at all. My own sling is a two-point, attached to the forend stud and the Mesa Tactical adapter. For my short self, this setup keeps the gun well off the ground and balanced.
The heart of the Gen II LEO Stock Kit is the coupler between the receiver and stock. Part of the Gen II re-design was to make its shape a flat oval, with the flat sides being on the top and bottom, decreasing the chances of it contacting the shooter’s face during recoil. It’s lighter and shorter than the original also, always a nice feature for a gun intended for use in places other than a shooting bench.
Gunsmithing, or much of anything requiring fine motor skills, is not my strong suit. Fortunately, not much is required to install this kit. The entire process took less than 20 minutes, including attaching and checking the adjustment of the sling. A Phillips head to the single screw in the original rubber butt pad handily exposed the original stock’s innards. Removing its components and replacing them with the kit’s hardware was painless, especially thanks to the model-specific and pictorial directions provided in the manual.
A few twists of the threaded connection on the stock (male) into the adapter (female) and the apparatus is set up. Its pistol grip, by Hogue, is already attached, saving a bit of fuss.
The pistol grip represents another Gen II update for this device. The earlier stock kit employed, and required, an A2 style grip, something many shooters (self included) find less than user-friendly thanks to its angle, which doesn’t make the most of wrist strength for carrying the gun and, at least on the Stoner platform guns, places the selector switch out of easy reach. The updated stock kit arrives with a Mesa Tactical rubberized, slab-sided grip with an angle resembling that of a 1911. It makes for easy carry and less bulk in a gun safe. I like it a lot, but those who want their A2 angle grip back can have that instead. This option is new in the Gen II version.
Excessive length of pull had been a bit of an obstacle between my 870 and me. Though readily overcome with correct handling and habitual attention to not smashing my pinky as a result not reaching far enough to grab the forend (2/10 do not recommend), LOP has been a niggling issue. The Gen II LEO Stock Kit solved this problem entirely for me, giving me more room than I need at 12” LOP at its shortest setting. What a boon this is not only for me, but other operators with relatively short physical arms who have to or like to carry relatively long firing arms!
Now, the grip has been updated (and improved, in my opinion), that much I’ve mentioned. But what remains true to the A2 style is the buttplate of the stock. It’s bare-naked polymer with crosswise lines molded in for shoulder traction. A bit of dread came over me at the thought of 12-gauge recoil coming through that thing onto my shoulder. I have a Limbsaver brand rubber butt pad for just this stock. But in the name of science and quality journalism, I headed to the range with it in hand, but not installed, thinking I’d give my shoulder the smashing of just a couple rounds so I could justify this non-Mesa Tactical accessory.
Turns out, that was one of those times it was good to be wrong. Even without body armor, I can perceive no difference between firing with or without the pad. Perhaps on a high round count day that wouldn’t be the case, but as 00 buckshot and tactical rifled slugs aren’t exactly free, this was not a high round count trial. 20 rounds in, and only three with the Limbsaver installed, I happily report there was no appreciable difference between firing with or without rubber padding. Which is a good thing, because after discovering that the pad tends to hang up on floor carpet and upholstery when retrieving the shotgun from where it stands upright in the backseat area, I decided I’d rather live without it.
The shorter length of pull, the original reason I found the kit interesting, is delivered in spades. The six-position, telescoping stock makes a great fit for me and can fit a person even smaller than myself. My 6’2” range partner was likewise comfortable with the stock anywhere from the longest to middle adjustments. At no time did I feel that the kit was “in my face” or presenting any threat of recoil-related discomfort. Of course, good stance and shoulder/cheek positioning help.
The LE Gen II Telescoping Stock Kit, as shown, is $180 by direct order from Mesa Tactical. For me, it’s worth that for greater ease of storage and operation. It’s on my 870 to stay after this test.
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