ATI_left

Everybody has a Remington 870 lying around. Maybe a Mossberg 500? Whatever the shotgun, ATI (Advanced Technology International) probably makes a full range of aftermarket parts to improve capacity, utility, adaptability, and ergonomics…or to otherwise gussy it up. My buddy, “German Peter,” went on a little ATI shopping spree then dumped the parts and a factory-stock 870 off with my gunsmith, Nick of HCTC Firearms, for custom coating and assembly. . .

Results in a moment, but first it’s time for the 870 Express Synthetic “before” fashion show:

ATI_870-right ATI_870-left ATI_870-receiver1 ATI_870-side ATI_870-stock ATI_870-receiver ATI_870-forend

Parts chosen for this build included…T2 Adjustable TactLite Shotgun Stock:

ATI_stock-boxHalo Side Saddle with 7 Piece Add-A-Shell Package, and Talon 5-Sided Aluminum Forend:

ATI_halo-and-forend

7-Shot Fluted Mag Extension w/ Stand-Off Cap, and Single Point Sling:

ATI_tube-and-slingForend Hand Strap, a couple Talon Dovetail Rail Sections, and the crucial (if you’re swapping the forend yourself) Mag-Socket Wrench Forend Removal Tool:

ATI_wrench-and-rails

All of these parts represent something like 1/5 of ATI’s product catalog for the Remington 870, but Peter’s clearly always been one for moderation.

First, let me just come right out and admit that my previous opinion of ATI’s gear wasn’t entirely favorable. I viewed their parts as cheap in quality. The kind of blow-molded plastic stuff you’d install on a beater AK-47 for 922(r) compliance purposes or on an old surplus rifle just to avoid banging up the original furniture. But my opinion did a complete 180 the instant I checked out these shotgun parts in person.

ATI_stock

The first thing I opened was the T2 TactLite stock, which was followed a couple minutes later by my wife telling me to “shut up about the stupid packaging.” At this price point or any price point, really, I suppose I was just very impressed with how ATI’s parts are packaged. Skipping the nerdy stuff about the sleeve, the printed cardboard box inside it, and the plastic hanger for displaying on a retail peg, I found the stock nestled in egg crate foam with accessories individually bagged along with a truly exceptional installation guide.

ATI_stock1

The T2 comes with two cheek risers to provide a huge range of possible cheek weld heights (tall one shown installed), and all of the hardware and tools necessary for installation. The butt stock rides on a commercial-spec, AR-15 receiver extension with 6 adjustment positions, and fit is precise and wobble-free. ATI’s Scorpion recoil absorbing rubber material adorns the rear as well as the pistol grip.

ATI_sling-loop

An ambi QD socket is at the rear, and a single-point sling mount can be positioned on either side near the receiver or replaced with a flush spacer. The dovetail receiver mounting system is precise and solid.

ATI_stock-adjustment

Machining, fit, and finish are all excellent and the quality of the polymer is quite good. A slight gap is present between pistol grip and trigger guard and is filled with a piece of foam rubber. There’s no wobble or play because of this, but aesthetically it would be nicer if that fit was as precise as the fit is everywhere else. However, the Remington 870 has had a handful of trigger guard designs over the years, both in polymer and aluminum, and it looks like this grip is designed to fit all of them.

ATI_grip

The Halo Side Saddle is of a sleeker design than many of the competitive products, and is also highly end user-configurable. Fit and machining on this aluminum piece is very impressive. It should be noted that, unlike some other units, the Halo does not use the factory receiver pins for mounting and is made to bolt to 870 receivers that are tapped on top from the factory. Although this shotgun did not have a tapped receiver, HCTC Firearms knocked that out quickly with the Halo itself working beautifully as its own template.

ATI_rail

Each Add-a-Shell is an individual unit and slides over a dovetail on either side before it’s clamped in place. Little rubber nubs inside the Add-a-Shells provide positive enough retention on your extra ammo that it can be inserted up from the bottom (brass down), making removal quicker and easier. The Picatinny top rail is also a separate piece so it can be used or not. For the record, the front bead sight is still visible with the rail installed, so even without an optic the shotgun is good to go.

ATI_forend-side

Once again, machining on the forend is excellent. Rail sections — including one with a sling swivel stud built in — can be purchased separately and placed along any of the five, dovetailed mounting rails. This is a nice touch, as the rail sections do not simply bolt on but actually have to be slid down from either end, fitting precisely on the v-shaped dovetail. The retaining bolts — which have temporary thread locking compound pre-applied, as does all of the hardware for all of the ATI parts seen here — simply keep it from sliding.

ATI_forend-top

It isn’t uncommon for an aftermarket forend to have clearance issues with receiver side saddle systems, often causing short-stroking, but the Talon fit perfectly. ATI’s socket wrench makes removal and installation a breeze, and the checkering on it was cut as nicely as a high-end 1911’s. The only catch is that the wrench is aluminum, so if you have a really stubborn forend nut you’ll probably want to visit a gunsmith so they can put their expensive tools to work.

ATI_under

The nylon hand strap may be extra tacticool, but the forend is pretty nice even with nothing on it and, of course, with swappable rail sections the options for vertical grips, angled grips, hand stops, and other grabbables are nearly endless.

Lord knows we’re constantly finding ourselves needing to break out some glass but fresh out of cool ways to do it. Thankfully, ATI’s huge range of magazine tube extensions come with flush caps, sling swivel stud caps, or even stand-off caps as seen on this build:

ATI_breaker

Caps are replaceable and are sold separately, so if you get bored with one or become tired of accidently blowing the rear window out of your rig every time you toss the shotgun in there, you can switch things up. I thought the 7-shot extension was already going to extend well past the muzzle on this 18.5″-barreled gun, but it looks like we should have opted for the 8-shot after all. At any rate, these extensions are burly, heavy-walled aluminum and can certainly handle abuse. In that scenario I’m more concerned for the parts it’s mounted to, actually. It comes with a new magazine spring and once again fit, finish, and machining were absolutely top notch.

Conclusions

My previous opinion of ATI was entirely wrong, as the quality of these parts is truly excellent at any price and is amazing at the low prices that ATI asks of them. Clean machining, very precise fit that required no tinkering whatsoever, and even, deep anodizing was the case across the board. Hardware, even the little bolts, appears to be very high-grade, U.S.-made stuff and the application of thread locker from the factory is awesome.

ATI_right

Thanks again to Nick at HCTC Firearms for doing another amazing coating job! This time it’s an antique bronze and black finish, last time it was the digital camo job on The Ultimate Mosin Nagant build (which also involved some of his machine shop services such as barrel threading).

This is one sweet-looking scattergun.

Ratings (out of five stars):

Price: * * * * *
One reason I previously thought ATI was low on the quality scale is the low price of their products. Turns out it isn’t cheap, it’s just inexpensive.

Fit, Finish, and Machining: * * * * *
Beating a dead horse here. But once again I’ll just say that these parts all outperform their price category in a big way. They’ve very nice. Hardware is also very high quality.

Selection: * * * * *
ATI makes a huge range of parts, including multiple stock varieties for many shotgun models. If AR-15-style with pistol grip isn’t your thing, don’t worry, they probably have you covered as well. As long as it’s polymer, rubber, and/or aluminum, that is. They also make revolver grips, AR-15 furniture, and other accessories.

Overall: * * * * *
I’m impressed. The singular nit to pick is the grip-to-trigger guard fit gap, which is noticeable if you’re looking for it but can’t be felt and won’t be seen outside of close inspection. The quality and the precise fit of these parts is more than was expected in this price range.

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33 Responses to Tacticool Tuesday: ATI Shopping Spree – Remington 870

  1. To each their own.

    I frankly think it looked better in the before pics.

    I just can’t understand the ar stock on a shotgun. To me it is like a short barreled M-14, if it makes you happy go for it, but I don’t see the point.

  2. Learned about ATI couple of years back when I tricked out my 10-22 . They make sturdy stuff.

    • Yes! I got the folding stock for my 10/22 takedown after reading the TTAG review. I LOVE that stock….

  3. “I thought the 7-shot extension was already going to extend well past the muzzle on this 18.5″-barreled gun, but it looks like we should have opted for the 8-shot after all. ”

    Good to know, looks like I might be ordering a mad max tube extension. That finish is seriously sexy, but I imagine that cheek riser would drive me mad.

  4. -Add a ton of weight.
    -Triple the physical width due to shell carriers.
    -Add a fore-end that will heat up faster than steel (or the original polymer one…).
    -Remove the front sling point.
    -Destroy the web of your hand by increasing felt recoil through a pistol grip.

    5 stars?

    Not for me, thanks. I prefer keeping my guns usable. A Mesa or Speedfeed stock, a few springs and parts from the 870P, and a few choice ‘tactical’ components would be much better than this abortion. We’ve all been there at some point in our lives, I suppose. You should have “German Peter” do a follow-up on what his 870 looks like in 6 months if he hasn’t sold it off.

      • Depending on which stock you have on the Benelli, it has some recoil-reduction build in to the geometry and padding. That being said, you can’t deny the physics of it… wrapping the web of your hand around a grip will ALWAYS hurt more with a pump shotgun than a traditional stock.

        I didn’t say pistol grips on shotguns were always bad, either. Just another bullet-point on my list of how I felt that 870 was ruined.

        • I don’t think I could shoot it fast enough to start heat soaking the forend. There’s a pretty large air gap between the tiny bit of barrel it covers. It’s wrapped around the magazine tube, not the barrel 😉

          The pistol grip is totally comfortable. While I don’t really like pistol grips on shotguns in almost all cases due to awkward ergonomics and general ungainliness, it isn’t uncomfortable to shoot at all and the adjustable length-of-pull is one big reason. The cushy, comfortable, energy-absorbing rubber on the grip is another. ATI likes to do that demo where they drop a ball bearing onto any competitor’s recoil pad and you see it bounce back into the air, and then they drop one on theirs and the ball bearing just stops dead. Whatever the “Scorpion” rubber material is, it really is quite effective at absorbing this sort of energy.

        • I thought the recoil was absorbed primarily by the shooter’s shoulder and not the hand via the pistol grip.

          I think if a person is having hand pain due to recoil then they need to pull the stock further into the pocket and not let the firing hand brace against the recoil. The firing hand’s job is to pull the trigger and steady the firearm – at least that was what I was taught.

          🙂

  5. Nice job, it looks great. The Remington 870 express finish is truly garbage. I still don’t understand why it’s the only 12 gauge I own. It was my first long gun so I’ll likely get it coated.

    • The quality of the parts is deserving of that. If you want a pistol grip and an AR stock and side shell carriers and a railed forend, etc etc, you’ll find these ones to be 5-star worthy. Aesthetics are subjective so it isn’t a category. ATI does traditional-layout stocks as well. …but the very intention of this was a “tacticool” build and in that it succeeded.

  6. Love the coating and the mag extension makes real sense, but the ar bits don’t work for me on a shotgun. I do like that 2 shell add on on the right side. Done right it would make a fine boat gun, baring a tragic accident that could result in the loss of all your firearms.

  7. I recently converted a Stevens 520 to a (replica) Trench Gun.

    The old 870 Wingmaster stays factory config. for now.

  8. How much of this glitter is applicable to my 870 clone Pardner Pump? I know I can’t swap barrels but isn’t most everything the same(and probably more durable than new remingtons)?

    • The shell holders are not, and the fore end may not be, the stock should be but may look a little funky. I put a home made paracord sling on my pardner and a cheap neoprene shell holder on butt stock and good to go.

  9. I have the 7 shot ATI extension (no breacher) on my 870. It works well and still has about 1/2 an inch before it reaches the end of the 18.5″ barrel. I think the 8 shot would barely stick out. On a 20″ it would be perfect. I wanted to keep a good balance between weight and capacity and 7+1 is a good number. Of course my shotgun sucks in other ways so I bought a 590a1. I’ll keep the 870 for my beater and hunting shotgun as I have the 28″ barrel still and it takes less than a minute to convert it back.

  10. For the guys bitching about the tactical look, reread the title. This shotty is not for me, but I have to ask did the gunsmith need to work on the shotgun before you could shoot it? Being a freedom group I have not seen many work well off the shelf.

  11. If you really like the tacticool pump action head on over to Black Aces Tactical for some awesome shotgun porn.

    • Thus proving the old adage that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I think it’s as ugly as a mud fence – looks like somebody went through the mall ninja catalog and bought everything that said it’s for the 870.

  12. I Have three AR’s with ATI Milspec Stocks, nice and tight. I have Taurus small revolver grips on a 605, great. I would like the stock on a R 870 or M 500 for the wife. she really need to be able to shorten it up. not much price difference from Magpul.

    If it works she wants it

  13. So how much did it cost, parts and labor, by the time all was said and done, not counting the cost of the original firearm itself?

  14. It’s the 12 gauge equivalent of a riced out Honda complete with rear deck wing and chrome fart can.
    To each his own of course, but no thank you.

  15. I realize this is an older article but to all the criers out there moaning about this build I say call a Whaaambulance…. Why bother reading the article if it’s not your thing? I think this 870 turned out great. The parts look to be of good quality and fit and the final piece with it’s new coating look great.
    That’s right, to each their own. Stop crying.

  16. New ATI products are much better than they used to be. I have also tested some of their new products and they looked like a high-quality upgrades for the Remington 870.

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