March 2006

Self-Defense Shotguns: FN’s Police Handily Beats Armscor

When we compared two bargain-priced slide-action 12 gauges, we found the FN Police Shotgun, $270, to be worth the money, but the Armscor M30R6, $120, wasn’t worth buying.

The FN Police shotgun, top, $270, comes in a 7+1 and a 4+1 configuration. We tested the FN eight-shooter against the Armscor 6+1 12-gauge pump No. M30R6, $120.

We search the marketplace to find the best values for our readers, and in looking around, we came across CDNN Sports based in Abilene, Texas. CDNN is a gun distributor that specializes in closeouts. The public can order non-gun items directly from them, but you will need to get your local gun dealer to receive and transfer the firearms for you (usually for a $25 to $50 fee).

We logged on to CDNN’s website, , and downloaded a sizable PDF catalog. In the CDNN catalog, we found three similar 12-gauge pumps listed, but one of them (a Hawk) was sold out and would not be re-stocked, so we purchased the two models that were left. The first was an an Armscor 6+1 12-gauge pump No. M30R6, $120; and the second gun was an FN Police Shotgun 12 gauge pump No. 17674 that came with an extra stock for $270.

We asked a four-person test team to run through these guns and to see if these pumps could stand up to the rigors of a Gun Tests evaluation. All in, we fired about 300 rounds of shotshells and slugs through each gun, some of them on the range but most in magazine-clearing speed shooting, the better to stress the operator and product and find out any flaws in the gun’s performance. Here’s what we found:

The FN Police Tactical shotgun came with two stocks. This shotgun was made by U.S. Repeating Arms in New Haven, CT, for FN Herstal. (Unfortunately, the New Haven plant is closing; see Shorts Shots later in this issue.) FNUSA lists two versions of the gun on its website, the 7+1 gun we tested (No. 17674) and a 4+1 gun (No. 17675). Two other “police”-marked pump shotguns FNUSA lists are the FN Tactical Police Shotgun and the FN Tactical Police Shotgun Fixed Stock. For our test gun, a 14-inch-barrel is sold to law enforcement on special order.

Elsewhere on our FN Police, we noticed it came with a post front sight and elevation adjustable tangent rear sight. Both sights were dovetailed in. The receiver was also drilled and tapped for mounting a scope or other sight. We liked the matte manganese phosphate finish. It did not reflect light like the blued Armscor did.

The crossbolt safety was located in the same place as the Armscor (in front of the trigger), but we thought the FN’s was larger and better made. There was no doubt when it clicked On or Off. It locked in and out of place like a safety should. When the safety was On and the gun wouldn’t fire, the shooter could not see red on the safety bolt, and the button sat nearly flush with the trigger guard, so he could easily tell by feeling it that it was on or off, unlike the Armscor’s safety.

 

At the butt end of the gun, the FN Police used an actual recoil pad that is effective, unlike the Armscor’s piece of hard rubber. Out front, the ridges on the forearm were more pronounced than the Armscor’s, so the shooter’s hand is less likely to slip off when racking the slide. Also, the trigger group came out and went in with ease, a boon to maintenance.

At the muzzle, this shotgun came with two screw-in choke tubes (IC and Modified). We used the IC choke for our testing, and we were happy with the patterns it produced at 20 feet. The gun shot to point of aim with birdshot and buckshot loads, and its adjustable sights allowed us to fine-tune where the slugs hit.

Like the Armscor, the FN functioned well with all of the 2.75-inch loads we tested, but it, too, had problems with some of the 3-inch shells. As a result, we would steer clear of 3-inch magnum ammunition in both guns, partly because it caused feeding problems, but also because 3-inch shells are overkill, in our view. The 3-inchers’ recoil is moderately to substantially greater, and the shells have a greater tendency to hang up on extraction. A high-brass 2.75-inch shell is plenty for any self-defense use, we feel, and in most cases standard or even reduced-velocity shotshells are fine, too.

This shotgun had sling swivels, which the Armscor did not. The barrel was also 2 inches shorter yet it had a greater magazine capacity (7+1) instead of 6+1. The trigger had some take up, but it broke cleaner than the Armscor, we thought.

The additional Speed Feed SF 1 Tactical stock comes with a nice recoil pad and will hold four shotgun shells (two on each side) in the butt. We didn’t see a need to switch stocks. Eight rounds seemed like enough ammo for our needs. The receiver had a loading gate, which made it smooth and easy to load the magazine.

[PDFCAP(2)]
The Armscor Model 30R had a standard front bead sight. The barrel and receiver were standard blued steel, which can reflect light, making it harder for you to see and easier for you opponent to spot you. The push-button safety, located in front of the trigger, was spongy. It did not lock in place. When pushed in as far as it would go, the shooter could still see the red mark on the safety, and it did not work well. The stock had some large gaps where it attached to the receiver. The recoil pad was only marginally effective and was attached with two sheet-metal screws clearly visible. We tried to remove the trigger group, but we were unable to. We knocked out the take-down pin, but the trigger group would not come out, and we pulled hard on it. Then the takedown pin would not go back in. We tried to hammer it in with a plastic mallet, but to no avail. The magazine tube did not have a cap, nor did the gun come with swivel studs. The bolt face had a single extractor and ejector directly opposite of each other. This shotgun functioned well with all 2.75-inch shotshells, but failed to eject some of the 3-inch shells. Nonetheless, the patterns obtained at 20 feet were tight and on target, and the action was smooth.

Gun Tests Recommends
• FN Police Shotgun No. 17674 12-Gauge Pump, $270 retail. Best Buy. The FN Police Tactical Shotgun is a great buy at $270 (plus shipping and dealer transfer fee), so don’t wait; when they are gone at that price, they are gone forever.

• Armscor 12-gauge pump No. M30R6, $120. Don’t Buy. In our view, the safety was unacceptable, the recoil pad inadequate, and the finish too shiny. And it is sometimes difficult to load the magazine. We would not bet our life on this gun, irrespective of its price.

 

FN Police Shotgun No. 17674 12-Gauge Pump, $270 retail

Armscor 12-Gauge Pump No. M30R6, $120