Range Report: Wilson Combat CQB Shotgun

You’d be hard pressed to find a version more worthy of glowing review than Wilson Combat’s CQB Shotgun.

Range Report: Wilson Combat CQB Shotgun

Concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic drove firearm sales to record-breaking levels, an unexpected surge experienced by every tactical retailer across the nation. This overnight increase in volume is different than others in the past, though. It’s a lot of law-abiding citizens experiencing their first NICS background check coming through the doors, each expressing concern about protecting themselves and their loved ones.

Operating a firearm is foreign to the uninitiated, though. With training sessions postponed, time for over-the-counter education is scarce, and when faced with a concerned homeowner, FFLs know to suggest simple. It’s the same advice dispensed to veteran gun owners who need something so straightforward they can run it easily under stress, in the dark and without surrendering effectiveness.

That’s where the pump-action shotgun shines, and even the most battle-hardened customer understands the lack of complication is an advantage. Add relatively limited projectile travel without compromising performance or capacity, and it’s better. You’d be hard pressed to find a version more worthy of glowing review than Wilson Combat’s CQB Shotgun.  

Remington 870 Foundation

It’s built on the time-tested Remington 870 that needs no introduction. The performance is legendary. With more than 11 million sold since its design in 1950, no other shotgun rivals this one in volume, praise and aftermarket parts availability.

There’s not much you’ll want to add to the Wilson Combat CQB version, though. Everything needed is there in a cutting-edge firearm built with the company’s signature style and attention to detail. It’s a self-defense masterpiece guaranteed to attract longing stares, yet never abandon its primary mission — stop any threat efficiently and summarily, whether wielded by a novice or experienced shooter.

Let There Be Light

Tactical flashlights are mandatory for no-light conditions and advisable in low light. When combined with a weapon-mounted system — allowing for target identification without muzzling an unintended target — it’s the ideal setup. During a home invasion or any other high-pressure situation, though, there may only be time to shoulder the shotgun.  It’s also easy to forget the second light source when the support hand is busy dialing 911, and it takes training to use both illumination sources.

For that reason, the addition of a weapon-mounted light is a critical consideration. Unfortunately, most aftermarket add-ons can be clunky and require far-from-intuitive activation. Shifting hands surrenders lifesaving time and doing so smoothly to hit a switch requires practice, especially when under stress.

The Wilson Combats CQB shotgun addresses the problem by shipping with a Surefire Tactical Forend. The unit’s light output is user selectable to a room-filling 200 lumens or criminal-blinding 600. It activates with pressure pads on both the left or right side — a distinct advantage for southpaws — and provides either momentary or constant illumination.

Beam width is ideal for law enforcement and home-defense use. It runs on a pair of CR123 batteries, and the LED is protected by a mil-spec aluminum housing encased in a soft rubberized shell. Texturing ensures positive grip, even when operated with gloves or sweaty palms. 

Even inexperienced owners intuitively grab the forend to work the shotgun, and there are no wires exposed to hang up on doorknobs or gear. The weaponlight is a prominent feature on the gun, but it’s sleek in profile, hand-filling without bulk and an ideal addition in keeping with this shotgun’s primary mission.

Sights to See

Illumination aside, Wilson Combat addresses the critical need for fast sight-picture acquisition in likely one of the most rugged systems around. The rear of the shotgun wears the company’s Trak-Lok Ghost Ring. It’s adjustable for both windage and elevation. To say it’s anchored solidly is understatement. Multiple grooves hold it securely throughout its travel, ensuring maintenance of point of aim/point of impact even after abuse. The straightforward and intuitive ghost ring has a longer history of success than even the Remington 870.

A green fiber-optic ramp sight up front is every bit as rugged. There are four exposed surfaces — one up front, another aft, and two longer strips collecting light from atop. Generous metal fences protect the latter pair from the unexpected knocks all front sights endure.  

Getting on target during testing was fast and intuitive — a theme that runs throughout this shotgun. Raise it a few times to your shoulder and the sights fall into place. The green contrasts very well with the ghost ring’s aperture, and the front sight emits plenty of light, even in dim conditions. Throw on the SureFire and those protective fences do double duty as a post, providing a more traditional shotgun sight picture if needed.

Extra Capacity

An extended tubular magazine raises shotshell capacity to six 2 3/4-inch shotshells. To reliably feed those rounds, the company has installed its Extra-Power Heavy-Duty Stainless Magazine Tube Spring. A high-visibility, non-binding follower minimizes risk of stoppages, and in testing, there were no problems encountered. The gun runs reliably, fast and effortlessly.

A Mesa Tactical aluminum shell carrier on the left side of the receiver holds six shotshells at the ready. The unit is mounted on the left side of the receiver, but the gun ships from the factory with nuts on both sides to make changing the system for left-handers a simple Allen wrench operation.

Stock Options

The Wilson Combat CQB Shotgun has a mil-spec buffer tube that provides six different length-of-pull adjustments. Fully collapsed, overall length of the shotgun is 36 inches. Extended, it measures 39 1/4.

Use of the buffer tube also allows owners to change over to their favorite modern sporting rifle buttstock if desired. Odds are good they won’t want to, though.

It comes with a Rogers Super-Stoc, which eliminates that annoying “rattle” or play at all of the stock’s positions by using a unique camming system. Adjust position, throw the locking lever and its rock solid. When things need to be moved in a hurry, a squeeze of the adjustment paddle overrides the system.

Firearm innovator Bill Rogers invented the stock, and it fits both mil-spec and commercial-spec buffer tubes. It’s one of the lightest available at only 7.3 ounces, yet it’s rugged enough to pass 36-inch drop tests with the gun in tow.

The cam lock lever is reversible, and the stock has a sling loop atop and ambidextrous QD mount. The recoil pad is soft enough to reduce felt recoil, but not tacky enough to hang on clothing when mounted. It’s also removable.

The Wilson Combat’s Starburst Gunfighter pistol grip is nicely textured and ideal for gloved use. A hidden compartment underneath holds cleaning gear or other essentials. Owners can also replace it with AR/M4 versions they prefer.


This shotgun’s finish is every bit as versatile as the rest of the firearm. Each part is sand blasted with fine-grit media and dehorned, then, after hand inspection, the company applies its Armor-Tuff finish (carbon steel gets parkerized first). That’s followed by thermal curing.

The result is a chemical- and heat-resistant treatment that increases durability and corrosion resistance. It’s non-reflective, available in a variety of hues, including the copper/bronze version I tested. Black is currently featured on Wilson Combat’s website, although the company continues to offer the shotgun in a variety of colors. A company representative confirmed all are still available at press time. Dealers just need to inquire.

Receiver Details

It’s chambered for 12-gauge and can run both 2 3/4- and 3-inch shotshells. The cylinder-bore barrel is 18.4 inches long.

The trigger is amazingly consistent, too. The company doesn’t mention work done there, but it never wavered above a 4-pound let-off weigh or dipped below 3 1/2 pounds.

Weight of the shotgun is 8 pounds 8 ounces. A Jumbo Head Safety ensures engagement, even when under stress. A solidly anchored sling mount is up front and its color, naturally, matches the gun. MSRP starts at $1,695.

In Summary

There’s no denying the entire Wilson Combat CQB Shotgun line turns heads. You’d be hard pressed to find anything to rival the attention to detail and striking finish.

Don’t let the looks fool you, though. It’s built on the reliable performance of the Remington 870, adds all the features enthusiasts need for self-defense, and includes the quality that comes with the Wilson Combat name.

It’s hard to think of a better example of mission focus for new enthusiasts walking in the door or overestimate the knowing nods it’ll receive from knowledgeable gun owners. The fact it looks good doing so is an added bonus.


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