Remington 870 Combat Shotgun

The Remington Model 870 Shotgun is a manually operated, tubular magazine-fed, pump-action shoulder weapon suitable for close quarters combat, MOUT breaching, guard duty, and many other operational roles.

MarForPac Shotgun Training, Remington 870
MarForPac Shotgun Training, Remington 870. Thanks to 'Fett' for correct shotgun ID.

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Military Use of the Remington 870 Shotgun

Remington 870 12 ga. Shotgun
Remington 870 12 ga. Shotgun.

The Model 870 was announced by Remington in 1950 as a hunting shotgun for the civilian market. As military requirements for combat shotguns were recognized in the Vietnam war, the Model 870 was selected for acquisition by the Marine Corps in 1966 followed by other services in the 1970s, including the USAF Security Police. As issued, it was equipped with sling swivels and a bayonet adapter for the M7 bayonet used with the M16 series rifles.

The first combat use of the Model 870 Mark I is reputed to be in the Mayaguez incident, May 1975, when the American ship was boarded and captured by Khmer Rouge troops off Cambodia. According to Bruce Canfield's book on Combat Shotguns (p155), "The Mark I was a key weapon employed by the Marine boarding party which retook the ship and the subsequent operations against the Cambodians on a nearby island."

A high resolution photo of a Marine with a Remington M870 Shotgun is available in the Gallery.

Military Variations of the Remington Model 870

Riot training using Remington 870 equipped with gas cannister, Quantico, VA, 16 July 1979
Riot training using Remington 870 equipped with gas cannister, Quantico, VA, 16 July 1979.

The Model 870 shotgun has been used by the USMC and USAF Special Operations Command (AFSOC), USAF Security Police, Navy SEALs, and law enforcement agencies including the U.S. Border Patrol. To accomodate the various roles, the Model 870 has been procured with folding stock, barrel lengths from 14 to 20 inches, and different magazine capacities.

Description of the Remington 870 Shotgun

The Model 870 has a uniquely designed action with balanced sear - plus inertia firing pin - that prevents discharge unless the action is completely closed and the trigger is squeezed and released after each slot. The large, side-ejection port stays unobstructed when shooting over walls, car hoods, and other barriers; the blaze orange magazine follower also permits quick, safe inspection of the chamber and magazine. The positive, cross-bolt safety is conveniently located near the trigger for fast operation, even while wearing gloves.

The recoil pad permits greater control by eliminating slippage while firing. The grooved, steel-lined fore-end provides a better grip, and sling swivel studs are standard on all 870s.

This 12 ga. shotgun has a barrel length of 14 to 20 inches, a modified choke, and several types of sights that can be ordered. The stock is synthetic material, black in color. The metal parts have a dark gray parkerized finish.

With a 20 inch barrel, overall length is 39 inches. The standard magazine holds four rounds of 12-gauge , 2 inch shells. Normal ammunition issue is 12 gauge, 00 buck.

Material in this section from the Remington Arms Co. Inc.- Military web site.

Technical Manual for the Remington 870

The USAF manual is TO 11W3-6-2-1, "Military Shotgun, 12 Gauge, Pump Action, Model 870", Department of the Air Force, Secretary of the Air Force, Washington, DC, 1972. Nomenclature is "Shotgun, 12-Gage, Remington, M870, MK1, Riot" with NSN 1005-00-143-8509.

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