A few weeks ago I posted out some tweets about my newly acquired Winchester SXP Defender. I picked up this 12ga home defense shotgun after window shopping at the Bass Pro Shop in Portage, Indiana. If you haven’t been to this particular Bass Pro Shop I recommend it highly. Not only is it a great store, huge with lots of gear, but there is also a Cabela’s and a Gander Mountain within 20 miles so you can really comparison shop for some great deals.
Okay, enough about bargain hunting, on to the fun stuff.
After I got home I started looking around online for some accessories and mods for the shotgun. This particular gun is relatively new and doesn’t have a lot of after-market gear available yet, but I did find a kit from ATI with a collapsible stock, pistol grip and nice forend. I ordered the kit online from COMBATHUNTING.COM. If you haven’t read my review of their service yet, please read it here. Below is a picture of the kit that I purchased.
Before I get into anything else, a few pointers about the shotgun itself, the kit I purchased, and how to keep your sanity if you buy the same items and attempt to make the modifications yourself. First, this shotgun is NOT made in America. Winchester imports these shotguns in from Turkey. Now, as far as I can tell the quality of this shotgun is still first rate, but the simple fact that it is an import means a couple of things;
1) A lot of people are refusing to buy this shotgun (due to being an import) so sales aren’t great, which means after market options are probably going to remain slim for a while.
2) As this shotgun is an “imported” shotgun, it has a federally mandated capacity limit of 5 shells. You “can” add a magazine extender to this shotgun but you would technically be breaking federal law if you do so. Once again, this means that you will be hard pressed to find extensions that fit this shotgun.
3) The ATI kit that I purchased includes instructions showing a forend socket removal tool. Well, this tool doesn’t exist. I called ATI and the guy that made the instructions fabricated his own tool. This is not something everyone in the world can do, myself included. I resorted to the tried but true method of screwdriver and hammer. Not recommended but if done carefully it achieves the goal without marking up the shotgun.
Okay, so when you subtract the time I spent looking for a forend removal tool compatible with the SXP the entire process of removing the original stock and forend and replacing them with the ATI gear was realistically about an hour. The fit was very nice and everything feels strong and secure.
Lastly I added a Blackhawk sling with 15rd bandolier with Blackhawk swivels. I considered a tactical sling but since this shotgun is a home defense gun I went with the bandolier.
Here is the final product.
Yesterday I finally got a chance to hit the range with this new shotgun, which I lovingly refer to as “Click Clack”. I didn’t feel like getting her all muddy so I opted for an indoor range not far from my home. I packed up Click Clack and my Ruger SR40 and went for a range day.
As this is an indoor range I was limited to firing deer slugs. There were a few people in the range already so I decided to “announce” myself. I stepped up to the line, loaded three shells and commenced to ultra-violence in rapid succession on the paper target 35 feet downrange. “click clack – BOOM – click clack – BOOM – click clack – BOOM”. If you remember the movie Robocop just think of the scene in the firing range when everyone else stops and looks to see what the hell is happening down on the other end…yup, that was me.
Now we all know that 12ga shotguns are loud. We all know they make a pretty nice fireworks display when fired and we all know they make big holes in whatever they hit. That being said the Winchester SXP Defender was still quite impressive. The ATI recoil dampening pistol grip and stock truly bore the brunt of the kick leaving me with the sensation of a slight but direct “pushing” feeling firing the shotgun. I was able to keep the shotgun on target through the three rapid shots, which is exactly what I am looking for in home defense.
The report from the Winchester SXP Defender was also extremely throaty. Sometimes the shortened barrel shotguns can sound a bit tinny to me, but not this bad boy. The muzzle flare was also pretty impressive. I was using standard deer slugs but it certainly looked like I was using shells specifically made for muzzle flare.
One negative, and this is more my fault that the shotgun or the ATI package. The ATI kit comes with two picatinny rails for the front of the forend. I added them knowing I was eventually going to throw a flashlight on the shotty, but I added both, not knowing which side I would eventually add the light. The first time I fired the gun I didn’t have enough of a grip on the forend and my hand slid, causing me to slam my thumb into the picatinny rail on the left side of the forened. It hurt a bit, but nothing serious. Just be aware of it if you follow my lead.
I must say, I am pretty happy with the Winchester SXP Defender. Even without the mods it was a nice looking weapon, but with the mods it is even better. Once I find a light that I am happy with I will throw out some more pics and a review of the light I purchase.
Thanks for reading and please share!