Why is the Remington 870 So Popular?

Remington 870 Express

The Remington 870 arm is among the most popular and widely used shotguns. Sportsmen, the military, and law enforcement agencies all use this gun. The 870 is also popular with people as a home protection tool. So far, the company has manufactured over 11 million of these shotguns. They wouldn’t be doing so if the guns were not selling. This gun was first manufactured over 70 years ago. After all this time, the Remington 870 is the most popular and widely used pump-action shotgun around due to its durability, overall quality, and value per the dollars spent to own one. The 870 is used by sportsmen, military personnel, and police agencies around the world.

Sporting Use

For hunting small upland game and waterfowl or trap and skeet shooting, you won’t go wrong using an 870 Wingmaster or Express model. Change out the barrel to one with sights, and you have an outstanding gun to hunt bigger game like deer and hogs at close range with buckshot.

Government Use

In the US military, the 870 is used by Air force security protection forces and military police. The 870 is also popular with United States special forces. Division Recon Marines, Delta Force assaulters, and Navy Seals all have the military version of the Remington 870 in their arsenals. Other branches of the United States government that use the 870 are as follows.

  • Border Patrol
  • Secret Service
  • Internal Revenue Service
  • Department of Education “The last two are head scratchers I know.”

Countries Other than The United States that Use the Remington 870 in their Military Organizations Are The Following

  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Bangladesh
  • Canada
  • Finland
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Republic of Korea
  • Luxemburg
  • Malaysia
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom
  • The Chinese military also uses an unlicensed copy of the 870 manufactured by Norinco


Brief History of Remington 870

This gun was first manufactured in 1951 by Remington Arms Company engineers. The company’s fourth pump shotgun model, which followed after 10, 17, and 31 models. The Remington 870 is lighter and features a streamlined design compared to its predecessors. It was a stronger, more reliable, and rugged shotgun.

The 870 was initially offered in 12, 16, 20, and 28 gauges and .410 bore. As such, the gun got the attention of hunters who wanted a reliable and heavy-duty gun for hunting anything from an upland game to large animals like boar and deer that was still lightweight enough to carry around all day with minimal exertion.

However, with time, the benefits of this gun attracted the attention of the US military. In the 1960s, the US government began issuing this shotgun with their standard battle rifles to their armed forces. By the time the US was withdrawing its combatants from Vietnam in 1975, this gun was rated highly among veterans. Up to date, the Remington 870 is still many people’s favorite, thanks to its reasonable price, it’s utility, and durability.

Remington 870 Specifications

Remington 870 is popular as it offers something for every shooter since it has various forms of configuration. It features a bottom-loading receiver that you can manipulate manually via a handguard placed on the action bar. As with all pump-action shotguns, when you fire it, the locked action disengages. To disengage the action lock without firing the gun, you can use a flat bolt release that’s mounted to the trigger guard’s forward. Although this lock and release action can be awkward initially, it helps prevent accidental release when cycling. Since the cycling depends on a manual action instead of a gas or piston, individuals can use a wide array of munitions.

This shotgun also features a tubular magazine found directly under its barrel. This design allows users to feed the gun smoothly without issues. Those using it for sporting purposes should opt for a 4 + 1 magazine tube, while for military or police usage, the tube measures 7 + 1. Different models also come with varying barrel lengths, but they measure between 18 inches- 30 inches. Trained operators may also opt to use an 11 or 14-inch barrel during close operations like ships, houses, etc. When it’s empty, this gun weighs approximately 7 lbs., meaning one can carry it around all day.

  • Durability
  • Versatility
  • Affordable and Available
  • Lightweight
  • Protected by the Law


The 870 is a solidly constructed pump action gun that will last long enough to be handed down through multiple family generations with proper care. The gun is simple to strip down to clean and oil it. That’s the only maintenance it will need.

There are a couple of parts that will eventually wear out on the gun after an extreme amount of use.

The 870’s receiver is machined from a solid block of steel and is very tough and durable; however, after cycling through 100s of thousands of shells, the receivers on some of these guns will develop stress cracks and need to be replaced, but that’s after 100s of thousands of shells.

The firing pin on your 870 might also break after an extreme amount of use.

Light Weight

When in the field all day long, you don’t want to overload yourself. A heavy gun will be a burden, especially if you’re going for long distances. Thankfully, Remington 870’s unloaded weight is only around 7 lbs. Therefore, you can comfortably carry it around all day long.

Affordable And Available

The average price of a Wingmaster is $850. It’s a high-quality pump-action shotgun at a reasonable price per the value.

The Average price on an 870 Express is around $350. It’s a whole lot of Shotgun for the money.

Protected by the Law

This one applies to other models of home protection shotguns besides the 870. It is nonetheless relevant here.

Most cities consider pump-action shotguns as sporting weapons rather than assault ones. If you live in an area where handguns are not allowed, buying a Remington 870 can be a worthwhile investment.


At one time, there were 32 different variations of the 870 in the Remington catalog. Each version has different features that cater to whatever specific use each owner might have. Every variation of the 870 springs from the same basic platform, though, and parts are interchangeable. Below are six 870 variations.

1-Wingmaster: The Wingmaster is Remington’s classic sporting pump-action shotgun. It features highly polished blued steel parts and glossy walnut stock and forearm.

2-Express: The Express is the Wingmaster’s less expensive cousin. The stock and forearm on the Express are laminated hardwood or synthetic. The metal parts have a less expensive matte finish. There are also some minor differences in internal parts.

The Express comes with tactical and home defense barrels as well as barrels for hunting.

An Express will cost just under half as much as a Wingmaster

3-Marine Magnum: The Marine Magnum has electroless nickel plating on all internal and external metal surfaces, including the inside of the barrel and synthetic stock and forearm. These guns are designed with the marine environment in mind. They are very corrosion resistant in both salt and freshwater environments.

4- Tac 14: The Tac 14 is designed with home defense in mind. It comes with a Pistol Grip stock.

5-MCS: MCS stands for Modular Combat Shotgun. From remingtondefense.com, “The 870 Modular Combat Shotgun (MCS) is an evolution of the legendary 870 Police. This system provides multiple barrels, magazine tube extensions, and stock options that the operator on the ground can install without tools. This revolutionary system provides the warrior with the ability to configure the weapon to meet the mission.”

6-DM: The 870 DM features a detachable. Interchangeable magazine clip.

Final Thoughts

Regardless of the type of munition you use, Remington 870 has proven to be a durable and reliable pump-action shotgun. Whether you want a gun for hunting or to defend yourself, purchasing this model can be your best bet. Many countries are even deploying this gun in their military and police forces. The Remington 870 serves all walks of life since it’s affordable, reliable, and lightweight.

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