I love shotguns. I own dozens of them. And the Rock Island Armory VRBP-100 is likely the most unique.
The Rock Island Armory VR series of shotguns has traditionally taken an AR-like approach to semi-auto shotguns. The VRBP-100 12 gauge takes a slightly different route as you’d imagine.
However, it does retain a few AR-ish characteristics here and there. The Turkish-made (by Derya Arms) VRBP-100 is still a magazine-fed shotgun and utilizes the same standard VR mags we’ve seen over previous VR series iterations.
Breaking Down the VRBP-100
Shotguns are generally designed for short-range shooting, especially when it comes to tactical shotguns. That means smaller is generally better and as far as smaller goes the VRBP is quite compact.
The shortest non-NFA 12 gauge technically not-a-shotgun I know of is the Mossberg Shockwave. The Shockwave is 26.37 inches and the VRBP-100 bullpup shotgun is only 32 inches. Less than six inches more in overall length gets me a full-length stock and 20-inch barrel length.
You can also remove two inches worth of spacers for a shorter overall length and shorter length of pull if that works for you. The VRBP-100 weighs 7.94 pounds unloaded. The loaded weight will vary between loads and magazine capacity. The gun can chamber up to 3-inch rounds.
Speaking of, magazine capacity ranges from 5 to 9, to 19 rounds. The gun comes with two 5-round magazines, but I was also sent 9- and 19-round magazines, too. The 9-round is Goldilocks worthy, an excellent balance of length and capacity.
The 19-round magazine is awesome, but impractical in many ways and heavy. If you have to stand your ground against a horde of goblins then the 19-rounder might be pretty handy. These are single-stack magazines and the 19-round magazine looks like a boomerang (it also only accepts 2 3/4 inch shells).
Note that 19-round magazine fully loaded with buckshot weighs in at a stout 3.5 lbs. so make sure you do your biceps curls if you’ll be using one.
The 9-rounder is a bit more balanced and well-suited for practical uses. Both the 19- and 9-round mags have cuts in them that allow you to check ammo capacity, but it also seems like a great way to introduce sand and dirt.
The gun comes with both light and heavy gas pistons for tuning it for the right load. It’s threaded for chokes and comes with three Beretta/Benelli-style Mobilchokes and a choke wrench. The chokes are full, modified, and improved.
The gun also comes with a pair of cheap plastic pop-up sights and a full-length Picatinny rail, perfect for a red dot, or a slug scope. You also get a short section of side rail on the right that would be ideal for adding a flashlight.
Taking the gun apart isn’t hard, but it’s not simple either. There are 17 total steps involved to disassemble it and walking you through those would be an article unto itself. If you follow the instructions you won’t have a problem.
Check the Ergos
Remember when I mentioned some AR-like features? Those mostly come down to the VRBP-100’s controls. Like most bullpups, most of the controls are placed at the rear of the gun. These controls resemble the AR-15 in a few ways.
That includes the safety which is ambidextrous. The magazine release on the right side looks like an over-sized AR mag release button. On the opposite side is a magazine release as well, but it’s a simple button.
Directly above that is a bolt catch that’s very AR-like. There certainly are a number of borrowed ideas from RIA’s VR series. The charging handle is non-reciprocating and mounted forward on the left-hand side. It’s not swappable, unfortunately.
I find the controls very easy to access and reach. The safety, located at the top of the pistol grip, clicks into place positively and is easy to access. The magazine release is also easy to engage and its massive size is a big plus in my book. The bolt catch works fine, but I find it quicker to use the charging handle when it comes to releasing the bolt.
The gun comes outfitted with a robust adjustable cheek rest that can be raised or lowered. I found it fine on its lowest setting, but my gun isn’t running an optic. The ejection port has a dust cover that I’d imagine also helps keep the shells from hitting left-handed shooters in the face.
The foregrip is textured and comfortable in the hand. It’s fairly wide and fills your grip.
The VRBP-100 has a fixed pistol grip that’s textured and features finger grooves, something not all shooters appreciate. They fit me just fine.
The gun is balanced well and when loaded much of its weight (especially with a loaded magazine) is toward to the rear of the gun. This makes it actually much easier to use the heavy-duty 19-round magazine compared to other guns in the VR series. The VR 80, for example, feels much more awkward using that long 19-rounder.
Overall the VRBP-100’s ergonomics are surprisingly good. I’m quite impressed by the design and how well-placed and accessible the controls are.
The good news is loading magazines is pretty easy overall. The 5- and 9-rounders are a breeze. The 19-rounder doesn’t get difficult to load until the very last round. The mags slide in and lock with ease, even when fully loaded. You don’t have to jam them into the shotgun.
Rock Island Armory suggests shooting a “minimum of 50 rounds before a lighter load.” I’m assuming that means full-powered rounds. It’s advice worth taking.
I originally loaded the 19-round magazine with some cheapo Wally World Federal birdshot. Every few rounds I’d run into issues with the weapon cycling.
I made sure I had the light piston in. It was at that moment that I checked the first page of the manual and hit myself in the head. I used the manual a lot to take the gun apart but never paid attention to that first page.
Armscor sent me a heavy dose of Fiocchi High-velocity birdshot. These 2 3/4″ shells packed 1.25 ounces of 7.5 shot and had a velocity of 1330 feet per second. I powered through a hundred rounds of it with 6 malfunctions total. After that, I stripped and cleaned the gun. Then went through the other 150 rounds of Fiocchi birdshot they had sent.
Next was some famous Olin company military spec double-aught buckshot. Here is where we ran had complete success. The high-velocity break-in seemed to work. With buckshot, I ran into no issues at all. I chewed through about a hundred rounds total.
Next, I went back to the big box birdshot and had perfect success. Even with the cheap stuff.
I’m not a fan of break-in periods, but I did enjoy the break-in process. Well mostly. The gun’s recoil is surprisingly stout. Most semi-automatic shotguns feature a lower perceived recoil impulse, but I would go as far as to say this gun recoils harder than a pump action. It left me fairly bruised and battered.
That being said muzzle rise was non-existent. Just dig in, lean forward and practice your recoil control techniques.
The VRBP-100 has a good trigger, stiff but with a very short pull. Not bad for a bullpup in particular. Also, the reset isn’t just a reset, but a push, or a shove forward.
The gun cycles rapidly — incredibly rapidly. Combine that with the short trigger pull and you can really spray and pray as fast as you choose to. It’s a blast, and the 19-round magazine with cheap birdshot let’s you send a shower of lead downrange amazingly fast. Throw down a dozen clay pigeons and have at it. The VRBP-100 will leave a smile on your face.
From a practical perspective, the gun’s bullpup design is excellent in a scattergun. The shotgun’s strengths are its power and its speed on target. The brutal strength is there by design, but the speed on target is where you can make or break a shotgun.
The VRBP-100’s bullpup form makes it much easier to bring the gun from a low ready position to the shoulder very quickly.
There is less drag and the main benefit of the VRBP-100 is that you don’t overshoot your target when bringing the gun upwards. When the pressure is on with a standard shotgun you’ll often swing the gun up, but the forward weight of the gun and the momentum it carries throws higher than you intended.
It’s often a quick fix, but there’s nothing to fix when it comes to placing the VRBP-100 on target fast.
Target transitions are quick, easy and less taxing overall. Swinging left and right is easier due to the placement and rearward balance of the weapon. Overall, using the weapon is less taxing on the body when it comes to gross movements.
The included sights are complicated for shotgun sights, but they work. The flip up front and rear irons are a bit much for a shotgun and are more AR-like than they need to be. I’d prefer an open or ghost ring sight on a shotgun, or a wider rear aperture but now I’m just being picky.
Reloading isn’t swift, but I’m not used to bullpups enough to make it fast and easy. With the rearward mounting position, that takes some training to do it fast.
That being said the controls are placed for easy access. You press the button, drop the mag and shove another in. It was just different doing it for the bullpup configuration with massive 12 gauge magazines.
The VRBP-100 is a fun gun, perfect for use in the Space Force (or for home defense). One of its biggest draws appears to be the reasonable price tag, which has it retailing for just under $500 from most online outlets. It’s a fun and interesting design, and at the price, it’s a fun range toy once the break-in period is over.
Specifications: Armscor VRBP-100 Shotgun
Caliber – 12 gauge, up to 3-inch shells
Action – Semi-automatic
Barrel Length – 20 inches
Overall Length – 32 inches
Weight – 7.94 pounds
Width – 2 inches
Capacity – 5, 9, and 19 rounds available
Choke Thread – Beretta/Benelli Mobilchokes
MSRP: $774 ($499.99 retail)
Ratings (out of five stars):
Cool Factor: * * * * *
This is the perfect Space Force weapon. It looks cool and very futuristic. I love my wood stocked shotguns as much as anyone, but there is certainly some futuristic charm to this polymer stock gun.
Ergonomics: * * * *
For such an inexpensive semi-auto shotgun I’m surprised it’s so well thought out ergonomically. The controls are well placed and easy to reach. The gun is also very left hand-friendly, minus the one-side-fits-all charging handle. The downside is the gun’s stout recoil, which surprised me.
Reliability: * * *
It’s not going to replace my Mossberg 590. The break-in period seemed long, and this does give some reservations on trusting the gun for self-defense.
Accuracy: * * * * *
It does shotgun things well and at shotgun ranges. It’s more than accurate enough to get the job done.
Customize This: * * *
There are multiple mag sizes, you can add an optic, a light, and there are a few QD sling slots.
Overall: * * * 1/2
It’s fun for sure, and the semi-automatic bullpup shotgun design makes it unique and easy to handle (aside from the recoil and pain). The Rock Island Armory VRBP-100 is a lot of gun for the money. If you want a fun blaster, go for it. If you want a bullpup semi-auto shotgun for home defense, you might consider the TAVOR (but it will run you almost three times as much).