SHOTGUN MAGAZINES: BOX-FED VS. TUBE-FED
Jeff Johnston – NRA Shooting Illustrated
In the competitive world of 3-gun, many participants decide what class to enter based on their prowess at reloading a shotgun magazine. Those unwilling to spend hours practicing the difficult act of speed-reloading a typical tube-magazine (TM) shotgun often pick the Open class so they can use either speedloaders or detachable magazine (DM) shotguns like the Saiga 12 to avoid being embarrassed. Fact is, a shotgun can be the most intuitive and deadliest short-range weapon available, until it must be reloaded. Then it’s a real conundrum.
So, the debate becomes whether home defenders should choose a DM shotgun for the faster reloading, or should they continue to depend on their proven TM shotguns? Here are some pros and cons of each.
Traditional, tube-style shotgun magazines run parallel to the barrel underneath it so they don’t take up much space or alter the gun’s ergonomics in any significant way. (Mag extensions can be purchased for most popular defensive shotguns, so when I speak of tube magazines, I’m talking about those that hold seven to nine rounds.) If you count the shell in the chamber, eight to 10 rounds of 12 gauge is a lot of firepower in terms of energy downrange, and for years the average home defender has figured this to be enough for all but the craziest of scenarios. What’s more, name-brand TM shotguns rarely fail, as they have been around since the late 1800s.
The TM’s downfall is its operation of single-shell reloading that, of course, make the shooter look like a three-toed sloth compared to dropping an empty box magazine to the ground and jamming a loaded one home in an instant…