A couple of years ago I was at a St. Louis gun shop and cop hangout when I noticed a couple of beat-up police trade-in Remington 870s. The wood showed years of banging in and out of cruisers, and there was scratching and wear on the barrel from the rack. Functionally, however, the guns were quite smooth. The prices were so low I bought one as a project gun, figuring I would at some point send it off to one of the custom gunsmiths who works on 870s. I did take it out the weekend after I got it to make sure it was reliable—it was. I also ordered the magazine extension for it and installed that, then stuck it in my office and forgot it.
Thompson’s 870 with LMS-1202 and Knoxx Special Ops Stock installed.
A few weeks ago, however, I decided that I wanted to go back to keeping a shotgun next to my bed—a practice I had followed for years but had stopped when my Airedale was a puppy, since he loved to crawl into the corner where the shotgun stood to sleep, and I was afraid he’d knock it over on himself. He’s a typical Airedale—tough as can be—but I figured it falling over on him in the middle of the night would scare both of us, so I relied on just the pistol I keep in my nightstand and moved the shotgun into a bedroom closet.
For awhile I tried an underfolder 870 with light mounted next to the bed, but found that in the middle of the night figuring out how to unfold myself from bed was complicated enough without having to figure out how to unfold the stock!
My decision to put together a new bedroom shotgun came about through a couple of items I had in for T&E. A Knoxx Special Ops 870 stock, which was previously reviewed in S.W.A.T. in some depth (KNOXX SPECOPS STOCK: The Ideal Tactical Shotgun Stock? May 2006 S.W.A.T. ), had come in for testing and it was leaning next to the police trade-in 870 in my office. Then, I received LaserMax’s LMS 1202 combination laser and tactical light for evaluation. I was trying to decide what shotgun to put it on when it occurred to me that the Knoxx Special Ops would make a perfect adjunct to a laser, since its recoil cushioning effect would allow the laser to stay on target more readily. The Knoxx Special Ops Stock has a pistol grip, too—a feature I like on a house shotgun because it allows good one-handed control while opening doors. I installed the Knoxx stock and the LaserMax LMS-1202 on my trade-in 870 and took it to the range, along with a supply of Federal Tactical buck in 00 and 000 loadings.
LMS-1202 positions laser on one side of barrel and light on the other. This keeps unit more compact and less likely to get in the way. It also balances unit more effectively.
It took me a few rounds to get the laser adjusted to match the pattern, but this was primarily due to the fact that it was a bright day, which made it harder to see the laser. As a result, I zeroed it at ten yards rather than 15, but since this is intended as a bedside shotgun, I figured that wasn’t a problem. If it was on at 10 yards, I figured it would be near enough to on at 15 or 20 yards to do the job. The LMS-1202 comes with a remote activation pressure switch, but I did not install it on this shotgun. Instead, I rely on the red on/off button conveniently located at the rear of the unit. I found that I can easily operate this button with my support hand by just moving it forward a bit on the forearm.
The light and laser come on together, which actually has some tactical advantages. First, the light illuminates the potential target while the laser fixes it. This allows quicker identification of whether the intruder is armed, etc. The light of the LMS-1202 is bright enough—60 lumens—that it makes it harder for an attacker to aim at the user by following back the laser. Speaking of the light and laser, they operate on CR 123 Lithium batteries, the same used in most tactical flashlights. I normally keep a box of them around (as do many with multiple tactical lights) so replacement is easy. Due to the use of an LED light, too, the ability to stand up to the recoil of a 12-gauge shotgun is enhanced.
Combo of LMS-1202 and Special Ops Stock makes for fast follow-up shots.
The LMS-1202 mounts in a saddle arrangement, which puts the light on the left side and the laser on the right. This distributes the 13.4 ounces (with batteries) well enough that I really didn’t notice the extra weight when firing the 870. This mounting system aids durability, too, since it positions the light and laser with minimal projection to catch when going through doors or, in the case of cruiser carry, when clearing a rack.
The second time I took the 870 with the LMS-1202 to the range, it was an overcast day, so I set up targets at 5, 10, and 15 yards and tried using the laser to quickly engage two or three targets. I had another 870 along which had just the bead sight and tried with it as well. The combination of the Knoxx Special Ops Stock (which does reduce recoil) and the laser was allowing me to engage the three targets at least 50% faster, and I definitely was centering my pattern better using the laser. A friend of mine and I set up some search drills using the 870 LMS-1202 combo and found that I could use cover much better coming through doors or crawling behind furniture with the laser since I did not have to expose myself as much to acquire the target.
I definitely became a fan of the LMS-1202, especially in conjunction with the Knoxx Special Ops Stock. Retail price on the LaserMax LMS-1202 is $399.00 and on the Knoxx Special Ops Stock is $129.95. Since I bought my trade-in 870 for $125.00, the two accessories cost more than it did, but I consider them well worth the price. This 870 now stands next to my bed—ready for things that go bump in the night.
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