Friday, August 20, 2010

Knoxx SpecOps Folder Review

Knoxx Review, SpecOps Review, Buttstock Review, Stock Review, Recoil Reducing Review, Blackhawk Review
Last year I purchased a Mossberg Maverick 88 Security 8-Shot Shotgun.   I wanted to get some type of pistol grip stock to turn the gun into a cruiser version of a shotgun.  I selected the Maverick 88 shotgun because it was the economy line model from Mossberg which allowed me to afford buying some accessories which was cheaper than actually buying a Model 500 Cruiser.  A buddy of mine told me about the Knoxx recoil reducing stocks, so I had to check them out.

Before I go any further, I want to say that I'm 6' 2", 220 pounds and wouldn't consider myself a wimp.  My interest in recoil reducing is two fold.  First, the recoil reduction allows a more pleasurable shooting experience for me while at the range and secondly, it allows my home defense shotgun to be something that my wife is actually willing to shoot more than once.  Training is a key component for using any gun in a true defense situation, and the more you enjoy shooting, the more you are willing to train.

As I started looking at the Knoxx stocks, I found they had several styles to choose from; the Breachersgrip, the Folder, and the Adjustable.  If you check out the links for each item, you will see they took you to the Blackhawk website.  I'm not sure of the details, but some how Blackhawk is affiliated with Knoxx Industries because if you go to, it takes you to Blackhawk.

Breachersgrip                                        Folder                                            Adjustable    

My original thought was to make the shotgun a cruiser style, but I decided to go with the Folder instead because it wasn't that much more ($20) and gave you the option of shouldering the shotgun if desired.  I ended up purchasing the Knox SpecOps Folder from for $88.46 plus S&H.

Since I purchased this stock before I started doing online reviews, I no longer have the original packaging.  If you purchase one today, it will most likely come packaged as shown from the Blackhawk website in the photo below.

The following information in italics was taken directly from the Blackhawk website. Also, throughout this review, all information in italics represents the manufacturers advertised specifications and features.  All of my review comments will always be in plain text.

Based on the highly acclaimed Knoxx SpecOps Stock™, this sleek folding pistol grip stock takes the pain out of shooting magnum buckshot and slug loads, even with the stock folded. The sturdy soft-rubber coated folding wire-frame stock with integral rubber butt pad is easily folded over the top of the receiver. This allows for compact storage and increased maneuverability in tight spaces, such as vehicles, motorcycles, hallways and entryways. 
The SpecOps Folder™ pistol grip contains the unique Knoxx recoilreducing mechanism. The patented recoil-reducing mechanism reduces muzzle flip in addition to taming recoil. Shooters testing the SpecOps Folder™ with Magnum Buckshot loads have found that there is very little discernible recoil in either open or folded positions, with virtually no muzzle flip. The patented Knoxx SpecOps Folder™ shotgun stock cuts perceived felt recoil by over 65%.
Integrated recoil compensation system
  • 65 % reduction in perceived felt recoil
  • Eliminates painful recoil in the open or folded position
  • Eliminates shooter fatigue & recoil related wrist or hand injuries
  • Increased accuracy and faster follow-up shots
  • Cuts muzzle rise to get back on target faster
  • Increased confidence & effectiveness in shotgun utilization
  • Maintain a better cheek weld compared to other folding stocks  
Integrated Metal Sling Stud for Easy sling installation  
Ergonomic Pistol Grip with Integrated Non-Slip Texturing for Improved shooter control and comfort 
Single Bolt Installation (Pre-installed bolt & lock washer) for Quick and easy single bolt installation

You can find the Owner's Manual at this link.

The next set of photos show the details of the stock after it is removed from the packaging.  Blackhawk/Knoxx states the following about the build of their stock.
  • "Super Tough" Polymer and Alloy construction
  • Well proven materials for years of rugged and reliable service
  • Corrosion resistant materials for use in all weather conditions
  • Built tough for law enforcement and military environment
  • Integral rubber butt pad for improved comfort
  • Does not inhibit site picture when folded
  • Rubber coated wire frame for improved comfort in cold or hot environments
I would have to agree that this stock does seem well built and should last for years. The pistol grip portion is some type of polymer material, the portion that attaches directly to the shotgun seems to be some type of aluminum alloy, and the butt cap and folding wire frame appear to be some type of steel alloy.  The wire frame is covered with a rubbery material.  Again, I don't think anyone would be disappointed with the build of this stock.

  •  Simple & Fast Folding Mechanism 
  • Easy one hand operation of folding mechanism
  • Simple to fold open or closed even under stress or while wearing gloves
  • Self-locking mechanism eliminates the need to operate or engage locking buttons or tabs
  • Simply squeeze and fold…it’s that easy!
  • Compact Design
  • Reduced overall size for improved storage options/ ideal for quick use
  • Ideal for tactical entry or home defense shotguns 
  • Length of Pull: 14”
I also agree that it is a simple one handed fast motion to go from folded (closed) to extended (open) positions.  You squeeze the sides of the wire frame together near the pivot and rotate.  The folding stock will automatically lock into position for both the open and closed positions.  They have shown this in the Owner's Manual with actual photos.

Before I installed the stock, I wanted to get the weight of it.  The Knoxx SpecOps Folder weighed in at 2.08 pounds.  The weight of the stock on the Mossberb Maverick 88 was 0.96 pounds, so the net weight added to the shotgun was 1.12 pounds.

Installation is simple and again it is covered in the Owner's Manual.  First you remove the butt pad by unscrewing the two bolts.  Next you remove the stock to receiver attachment bolt.

When you remove the stock, the end of the receiver looks as follows.

You can see how the receiver will interface with the stock by looking at the photo above and below.

You line up the stock and receiver and thread the attachment bolt into the receiver with a long Allen wrench then tighten securely.

The two photos show my stock installed on my Mossberg Maverick 88 Security 8-Shot Shotgun.  You can see are review of this shotgun bo going to this link.  Installed on the magazine tube is a Laserlyte Shotgun Tri-Rail, with a PLA118 Flashlight Mount and an Inova T4 Flashlight installed.

The next two photos give you a good closeup of the pistol grip area.

One thing I want to point out is that the good ergonomic location of the bolt lock lever on the left side of the gun becomes a little cumbersome to release the bolt with the stock installed.  You can no longer do it with your middle finger and you can not reach it with your thumb when you have a correct shooting position on the pistol grip.  You have to rotate your hand around the grip until your thumb can reach the lever.

The next feature to evaluate is the recoil reducing feature. Just to be clear, when I talk about this recoil reducing feature, it is in terms of "felt recoil". Felt recoil is your perception of the recoil. The addition of springs helps spread the recoil over a longer period of time which gives the rifle a softer feel and thus less felt recoil. For more information on recoil, you can read this article from Wikipedia.

Knoxx has placed a spring inside the stock handle that attaches to the upper slide portion as shown in the photo below.  As the upper portion slides back, it causes the spring to stretch.

You can see the spring inside the handle shown in the photo below.

The next photos show the stock in the normal position and in the fully compressed position.  It appears to compress about 3/4".

Since I don't have any way to measure the actual reduction in recoil, I wanted to check and see how much the upper portion of the stock actually moves when shooting the shotgun.  To do this I setup some simple tests with aluminum foil.  In this photo I show tape placed on each side of the stock and foil bridging between the tape.  If the upper moves back, it will bend the foil and the bent foil will keep it's shape and give an indication of how much it deflected.

After shooting the shotgun with Knobel Sports #4 Buckshot in 2 3/4" 12 gauge, you can see how much the upper portion deflected based on the change in the foil.  Basically, the upper portion of the stock deflected most of the travel of the stock, which is a good thing.

Next I wanted to try to get a better idea of how far it deflected, so I set up the same test with a smaller piece of foil bridging over the stock.

Again, the upper portion deflected most of the range during the next shot.  From my observations, I believe it utilized the entire travel of the stock.

From this, I can say the recoil reducing feature works.  My impression of the felt recoil was that it is less than shooting a stock without this feature.  I can not realistically give you a % reduction, but I can say I'm happy with this feature.

Now for the bad part.  The wire frame is very uncomfortable to shoot if you are using standard sights on a shotgun.  What I mean is that when you look down the sights of a normal shotgun, your cheek is directly against the wire frame of the stock.  Since this wire frame has to be wide enough to fold over the receiver, it extends out much further than a normal stock would extend.  When you fire the shotgun, you feel it against your cheek more than your shoulder.  If your plan is to have a gun you can shoulder, I would not recommend this stock, but instead I recommend the SpecOps Adjustable model. 

If your shotgun has some other type of elevated sight, the wire frame may not be an issue because your cheek would be higher above the wire.  You can see about how much of a sight window you would have with the stock folded.  There is about a 1" open area between the receiver and the stock.

Bottom Line:
The Knoxx SpecOps Folder Stock is a quality product and clearly reduces recoil.  If you believe you will shoulder your shotgun most of the time, I would consider the Knoxx SpecOps Adjustable Stock since the wire frame of the SpecOps Folder is uncomfortable to shoot with normal sights.  Now that I have owned this stock and taken it to the range several time, I think the other model may have actually been the one best for my needs.  On the other hand, I really like folding the stock into the compact version and keeping it in a handy locaiton at home.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Laserlyte Shotgun Tri-Rail Mounting System Review

Laserlyte Tri-Rail Review, Shotgun Rail Mount Review, Shotgun Rail Review, Laserlyte Review
Over the past several years, I have become a firm believer that all guns should have the capability for mounting a light.  If you can't see what and where to shoot, then you can't safely and effectively use a firearm in the dark.  Recently I purchased a Mossberg Maverick 88 Security 8-Shot Shotgun and you can click here to see my review of that shotgun.  The first accessory I wanted was some type of rail on the gun.  I ended up selecting the Laserlyte Shotgun Tri-Rail Mounting System.  I purchased this tri-rail from for $28.53 plus S&H.  The following in italics was taken from the Laserlyte website.

Set up your tactical or home defense shotgun for maximum versatility and low light performance with this new Tri-Rail Mounting System. Lightweight and durable, this system positions three Picatinny rails at the front end of the shotgun where flashlights and/or lasers are best located. Easily mounted on the magazine tube of most popular 12-gauge pump shotguns, the Tri-Rail takes up under 1.5 inches of space ahead of the forearm. Made of tough aircraft grade aluminum with a matte black anodized finish, the Tri-Rail attaches in minutes with two machine screws.

  • Compatible Firearms: Any 1" diameter tube
  • Material: 6061-T6 Aluminum
  • Weight: 2 ounces
  • Length: 1.5" 
  • Installation Instructions
Since I actually purchased this Tri-Rail last year before I started reviewing products online, I don't have any of the packaging for this item.  The series of photo below shows the Tri-Rail from different perspectives and you can see I have already scratched it up from use.  You can click on any photo and it will bring up a higher resolution image.

Notice that in the photo below, you can actually install a light or laser at the 45 degree positions.  This gives you 5 potential mounting positions.

The Tri-Rail weighed in at 1.15 ounces, which is considerably less than the advertised 1.5 ounces.  Actually,  mine (the one in this review) is a newer version of this Tri-Rail and I believe the website needs to be updated.  You can see the differences further in the review where I compare the Tri-Rails side by side.

 The Tri-Rail measures 1.35" in length.

While doing this review, I stumbled across a difference between my Tri-Rail and the ones currently shown in the photos at the Laserlyte website.  You can see this difference below.  The Laserlyte website shows a Tri-Rail with more material on the rail lugs.  The website version also has a taller rail height.  If you purchase a new Tri-Rail today you will get the latest version which is shown in this review.

Reviewed (Mine)                                          Laserlyte Website

Installation is very easy, two screws and an Allen wrench.  I installed the Tri-Rail on my Mossberg Maverick 88 Security 8-Shot Shotgun.  The hardest part during installation is deciding where on the magazine tube you want the Tri-Rail so it is in a good position to access your light or laser.

The photo below shows the Tri-Rail with a UTG Swatforce LED 200 Lumen Tactical Flashlight installed in the bottom position.  One thing I found is that the rails are in such close proximity to each other, that not all rail mounted accessories can be mounted simultaneously in side by side positions.

Bottom Line:
The Laserlyte Shotgun Tri-Rail Mounting System is a great addition to any shotgun.  It is very light weight and compact.  It would be nice if the rails were a little taller to prevent potential interference when mounting items on the bottom and sides at the same time, but doing this would cause you to give up the additional two 45 degree mounting positions which I consider a plus.  Knowing what I know now, would I buy it again? Absolutely.  When you consider it is light weight, versatility of 5 mounting positions, and overall price, especially compared to the others on the market, I think you will find this a good product and value.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Mossberg Maverick 88 Security 8-Shot Shotgun Review

Mossberg Review, Maverick Review, 88 Review, Security Review, 8-Shot Review, Shotgun Review
For years, I have wanted to get a home security shotgun.  At the moment I own several hunting shotguns but due to the low shot capacity (3 because I keep the plugs in) and longer barrels (28" minimum), I have never felt they were the right guns to use for home security.  Some of the criteria I wanted to meet with a home defense shotgun was high capacity, short barrel, pistol grip capable, and inexpensive.  My first thought of a gun to fit these criteria was a Mossberg Model 500 Cruiser so I headed off to the gun store to check it out.  While there, I noticed the Mossberg Maverick 88 Security 8-Shot Shotgun for $200. The similar Model 500 Cruisers started at $320.  Other than price, the big difference between the two was that I would need to purchase an aftermarket pistol grip for the Maverick.  After looking over the Maverick and comparing it to the Model 500, I decided on the Maverick because it will probably spend more time in the back of a closet than out impressing friends.  There are other significant differences between the Maverick and the Model 500 and I will point them out later in the review.  My new Maverick shotgun is shown below.  FYI, all the photos were taken after going on a Shoot-A-Rama with the guys from work so it is not in a true "out of the box" condition.  Also, you can click on any photo and it will bring up a higher resolution photo.

In general, the information shown below in italics was taken from the Mossberg Maverick 88™ Security web page.

Mossberg Maverick 88™ 8-Shot Security Model Features
  • Barrels are equipped with 12 gauge 3" chambers and handle factory 2¾" and 3" loads
  • 8 Shot capacity with  2¾" shells (7 in magazine tube, 1 in chamber)
  • 20" Cylinder Bore fixed choke and a non-ported barrel
  • Barrels are capable of firing lead, steel or other non-toxic loads
  • Barrels are compatible with Mossberg® 500® model barrels within gauge and capacity
  • Brass front sight bead
  • Blued metal finish
  • A rugged black synthetic stock and forearm
  • Dual extractors and twin action slide bars for positive, non-binding extraction and ejection
  • Cross-bolt safety in front of the trigger for speed and convenience
  • Cable lock included
  • One-Year Limited Warranty
The following photo shows what was in the box.  Basically, the shotgun, Owner's Manual, various literature, and a cable lock.

The next three photos give you an overall look at the Maverick shotgun.  Further in this review, I will have closeup photos showing all of the detailed features.

The buttstock is a hollow synthetic molding that provides a 14" length of pull for the gun.  The buttpad is made from a soft rubber and will clearly provide some cushioning when firing the gun.

The receiver has a good finish and is very simple with minimal engraved details.  You should notice that the top is not drilled and tapped for mounting optics.  This is one of the key differences between the Maverick and the Model 500.  You can also see the cross-bolt safety which is another big difference from the Model 500. 

The Maverick 88 Security 8-Shot comes with a 20" barrel and the magazine tube extends the full length of the barrel. 

The front sight is a brass bead and the barrel is held in place by the take down screw.

The end of the take down screw has a hole that is drilled and tapped to allow the installation of a sling swivel.

The barrel is stamped on both sides.  One side is stamped with the chamber gauge, shell size and barrel information.  The other side is stamped with Mossberg's warning statement.

The forearm measured just under 8" in length.  The action slide bars appear to be riveted or integrally molded directly to the forearm.  This is what makes the Model 500 forearms incompatible with the Maverick.

The trigger housing assembly is a synthetic molded part.

You can see that the cross-bolt safety is a molded part also. Ergonomically, I like the location of this safety as compared to the Model 500 tang safety. The operation of the safety is extremely stiff and it makes a loud click as you go from fire to safe or safe to fire.

The action lock lever is located on the left side of the trigger housing and functions great.  With my middle finger behind the trigger guard, I can apply a small amount of up pressure to the action lock lever and it disengages the lock easily.

The Maverick 88 weighed in at 5.96 pounds empty and 6.86 pounds with 8 rounds of #4 buck shot.

The overall length of the gun measured 40.5".

I keep my Maverick loaded with 7 shells of #4 BuckShot in the magazine tube and the chamber empty.  Since I don't keep this in a gun safe, I keep the chamber empty, on safety, and make sure that it requires you to press the action lock lever to cycle the first round into the chamber (hammer already cocked).

When I took the Maverick out to the range, I shot about two boxes of shells (mainly bird shot) and some 00 buckshot.  The gun functioned flawlessly.  The second time I went to the range, I checked the spread at 7 yards with #4 buckshot.  I was aiming at the center of the page below and believe all 27 pellets can be found within a 6" spread.

The Mossberg Maverick 88 Security 8-Shot most closely compares to the Mossberg Model 500 Persuader 8-Shot shown below.

Mosssberg Maverick 88 Security 8-Shot
Mossberg Model 500 Persuader 8-Shot (shown for reference)

I have read many posts trying to identify the differences between the Maverick 88 and the Model 500.  From what I have found from these posts and the owner's manuals, the differences between the Maverick 88 and the Model 500 are as follows.
  1. Suggested Retail Price (MSRP): Maverick $233, Model 500 $406
  2. Location of the Safety:  Maverick has a cross-bolt safety on the trigger guard and the Model 500 has a top tang safety.
  3. Trigger Groups: Not interchangeable
  4. Swivel Studs: Maverick has an integrally molded sling mount on the buttstock and no forward swivel stud.  The Model 500 comes with swivel studs on both the buttstock and the take down screw.
  5. Upper Receiver:  Maverick is not drilled and tapped for a scope mount, Model 500 comes drilled and tapped.
  6. Stock Forearm: The forearm on the Maverick has the action bars riveted or integrally molded to the synthetic forearm.  Replacement Model 500 forearms will not fit on the Maverick.
  7. Manufacture & Assembly:  Based on everything I have read on the Internet, the Maverick has some parts that are fabricated in Mexico and assembly takes place in Texas.  All Model 500 parts are fabricated in the USA.
  8. Warranty: Maverick One (1) Year Limited Warranty, Model 500 Ten (10) Year Limited Warranty
Bottom Line:
The Mossberg Maverick 88 Security 8-Shot Shotgun is a great value for those wanting to have an inexpensive home defense gun.  I was a little disappointed with the feel (not location) of the cross-bolt safety.  It requires much more pressure to switch from safe to fire and back.  This was the only feature I thought that could use some improvement.  If your biggest need is to have a shotgun sitting in the back of a closet for that peace of mind in the event trouble comes your way, you should look closely at the Mossberg Maverick 88 Security 8-Shot Shotgun.  Since I saved money on the gun, my next venture will be to get a pistol grip stock and magazine tube picitanny rail adapter (every defense gun should be able to have a light).