In the world of tactical shotguns, 12 gauges have reigned supreme. But as Legacy's Gladius proves, the 20 gauge is starting to make headway into the defensive shotgun market.
Mention tactical shotguns and what comes to mind?
Most likely a pump, maybe a semiautomatic, heck it could even be an over-under (there are models). While a multitude of configurations were most likely conjured, what was likely the same for all was their gauge. Few will argue that when it comes to tactical shotguns the 12 gauge reigns supreme.
But the winds are shifting.
Ever so quietly the 20 gauge has crept into the tactical shotgun scene. This year saw a number of firearms and ammunition manufacturers coming out with options in the smaller bore.
Legacy Sports International is one of those not being left out in the cold when it comes to tactical 20 gauges.
The company has recently released 20-gauge models of its popular Escort home defense tactical shotguns. The Gladius offers many of the same features as the 12-gauge MP/P-A pump and MP/S-A semi-auto models, only in the smaller bore.
The Gladius has a CNC machined aircraft-grade aluminum alloy receivers on both models each with anodized finishes and mounted on black synthetic stocks. And the 5+1-round pump and semi-automatic shotguns offer plenty of knockdown power. While they are a more petite gauge, each is chambered for 3-inch magnum shells.
The guns are designed for maneuverability in close quarters, with 18-inch barrels and 40-inch overall length. The models' also have a manageable weight, each tipping the scales at 6.8 pounds.
The lighter weight of the Gladius has the potential to increase the felt recoil. However, like the larger versions of the tactical shotgun, Legacy has incorporated a number of features to mitigate the guns' kick. The shotguns are outfitted with low-density rubber recoil pads and a muzzle breaks. The muzzle breaks also allows for accurate follow-up shots, reducing the shotguns' muzzle flip.
The shotguns are also made more controllable with the addition of a pistol grips and forward grips. The forward grip on the pump shotgun also increases its rate of fire, working the gun's short throw cycle.
The Gladius models have the ability to acquire targets quickly, each outfitted with a rear ghost ring sight and fiber optics front. The sights are fully adjustable, making the shotguns — with the proper rounds — more than just a close-quarters options.
Legacy has extended the shotguns' out-of-the-box tactical usefulness by making Picatinny rails standard. The shotguns have an upper rail, making the addition of optics a snap. And they include three rails — two more than the 12 gauge models — on extended forends.
Those inclined to use the Gladius for tactical operations will most likely aim to add a shell holder to the shotgun. But for home and personal defense needs, the shotguns' built in shell holder — holding two shells in the stock — should suffice.
The Gladius models check in at reasonable prices. The MSRP on the pump model is $485 and for the semi-automatic $579, within range of someone curious about a low-recoil tactical shotgun option.
Certainly, not everyone will get worked up about a 20-gauge tactical shotgun. It’s just not some people’s cup of tea. The addition, however, of a smaller bore to the defensive mix might open up the market more to those who once thought a shotgun was going to be too much to handle.