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What is the best (proven over time) shell holder for the M4

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I am in the market for a shell holder for the M4 and was hoping to hear from those of you that have had extensive experience with the options out there today.

 

I would prefer the 8 shell holder, since it would always have a complete reload handy.

 

These are the 3 that seem to be on the market today...

 

*Mesa Tactical

*Tacstar

*Side Armor tactical systems

 

The Side Armor product appears to be the best option (and of course the most expensive), but I would love to hear any and all feedback from the forum!

 

Thanks for looking!

http://www.sidearmor.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=46_48&products_id=114&zenid=rfsatl3rn527ou97sddng2lh37

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I have the side armor and love it. Not only is it very secure but you can remove it easily. A year from now you won't remember the price but you'll know if you made the wrong selection. My .02

Edited by Atlpresa

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Does it feel like a lot more weight when loaded with 8 shells, or do you notice a difference when it is not loaded with shells, compared to without the entire shell holder system? Do you have the mod 3 version (newest)?

 

Also, how does the rail hold up? Do you have any optics mounted to it that have been in constant use?

 

Thanks for your input!

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I recommend 3gungear.com for the velcro card systems. Not only is it the cheapest, it is the lightest. The carrier adds virtually no weight and can squish flat when putting carrying in a case. You can also buy additional velcro carriers, and peel and stick the rounds onto the side of the receiver as needed.

 

I've used the Mesa, Sidearmor and Tacstar metal carriers. The SideArmor is nicer than the Mesa, the shells insert easier and you're not relying on that stupid rubber tube for tension. Mine ripped. The SideArmor was well built, but the unit I had had rather sharp edges on it. I'm not sure if they've changed this or not. The edges of the carrier would cut into the plastic hulls.

 

The Tacstar unit was pure garbage. I literally threw mine down the street. The rubber carrier itself was okay, but the attachment method was pure crap. You had to replace the trigger pin which then screwed into the backer plate of the Tacstar carrier. If you tightened it too much, it would cause the receiver to bind and stop the bolt from cycling properly. If you didn't tighten it enough, it would just shoot loose.

 

Now, I don't mount rounds on the weapon since they cause too much of a weight penalty. Figure every shell you hang on your weapon adds two ounces. So an 8 shell carrier will add a pound of weight.

 

Both the SideArmor and Mesa top rails held up well for mounting LaRue mounts.

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I wouldn't say a lot more weight but yes it is heavier. For me this a home defense weapon so if I go running out the room with it I can only "play with what I brung". No extra magazines to tote so I have to have it mounted to the weapon. I also have a 2 round SA forward shell carrier with 2 slugs on the forend and Aimpoint Pro up top. I feel pretty good with the set up but once I went through the rounds I'd throw it down and get started with my xdm 45 (13rds). I would not go out without the 45 as a backup. It's a tradeoff, a little more weight for added firepower. I'm not working out with it. I'm going to put as much metal downrange as I can in a short period of time. Weight isn't that big an issue. Others have their take on it but this is mine.

 

The fit and finish is OUTSTANDING and the thing is built to last. Not a cheap add on. This is quality.

 

Yes I have the mod 3 but it is 6 shells with the integrated rail. Pictures aren't that great.

 

[ATTACH=CONFIG]2285[/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG]2286[/ATTACH]

 

I hope someone else chimes in with their take on the other options.

Edited by Atlpresa

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SideArmor p rail with quick detach 6 shell carrier here. No complaints at all. The edges of the shell slots are a bit sharp as SD mentions but a small file will easily take care of that issue should you find it applies to your piece.

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I have the sidearmor 8 shell unit with the QD attachment system. It does have some square edges that I guess could scrape on something but I haven't had that problem. If you do go sidearmor, make sure you get the quick detach version so the saddle is easily removed to leave access to the takedown pin that you pull out to fieldstrip the gun.

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I have the side armor and love it. Not only is it very secure but you can remove it easily. A year from now you won't remember the price but you'll know if you made the wrong selection. My .02

 

+1 SideArmor makes a great product. Rugged, practical and efficient. I have the 8 shell holder on mine and made the right choice.

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Took a 2 day shotgun class with scattergun guru Rob Haught. Student handed him his M4 with Sidearmor rail. Instructor felt the rail and said "wow, you can shave with this thing". That means he didn't like the sharp angles. I recently took off my Mesa saddle, and replaced it with velcro from Lowe's and SOE shell cards. 6 rounders. Cheaper, lighter, better.

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*snip* ...Sidearmor rail.... *snip* ...velcro from Lowe's and SOE shell cards. 6 rounders. Cheaper, lighter, better.

Ok...

Cheaper

lighter

I'll give you those two but

better
?

 

How so exactly?

 

I have had not a single issue with my SideArmor and certainly would not personally consider gluing velcro to my shotgun a "better" option.

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I have had not a single issue with my SideArmor and certainly would not personally consider gluing velcro to my shotgun a "better" option.

 

What combat shotgun courses have you taken? How did your Sidearmor perform in those classes?

 

Velcro has a sticky back. I stick it on the receiver. You can unstick it if you want. The gun will not die because of it. SOE and Ares Gear make velcro panels that you wear on your belt. Upon those you can carry spare 5/6 round velcro cards. When the one on your receiver goes dry, rip it off, toss it, and replace it with the ones on your belt. I use the same system with my 870 Police. Commonality between platforms is good.

 

So in summation. Cheaper and lighter is better. Lower profile than the Sidearmor, too. Plus I can use the same cards (I have over half a dozen) with other shotguns.

Edited by HopetonBrown

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I did not take my sidearmor to a shotgun course that I attended as I didn't think I would need a side saddle since I had a chest rig already. What a mistake (inserting shells from a saddle into the mag tube is much easier than plucking off a chest rig and then inserting . . . especially under stress on the move). The day of the course saw rain and snow making the training area muddy. I would not want Velcro in that situation.

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velcro card systems.

 

This ^. I don't know why more people are not using them? Some of us don't like hanging a brick off our shotguns, verse...

 

Something that is instantly removable and can be quickly 'reloaded'.

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I think the issue is, the velcro doesn't present itself as very tacticool. But if it works it works. I haven't tried it myself. But I am sold on the idea if I ever want to mount rounds on my shotguns again.

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Love my sidearmor 6 shell holder. Addresses the issue with original rail and gives me six extra shells on top of the 9 it holds. If 15 shells is not enough i need more practice or brought the wrong tool to the party!

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This ^. I don't know why more people are not using them? Some of us don't like hanging a brick off our shotguns, verse...

 

Something that is instantly removable and can be quickly 'reloaded'.

 

Quickly removable like this one?

zdzb.jpg

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Quickly removable like this one?

zdzb.jpg

 

No, not at all like that one.

 

Unless you're carrying other reloaded metal bricks around with you, because the post you're replying to said "instantly removable and can be quickly 'reloaded'". I'll hazard to guess that he put "reloaded" in apostrophes because by reloaded he meant slapping on another loaded shell carrier.

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So are you talking about 3 gun or self/home defense?

 

How has your velcro held up to the elements?

 

Can you post pics of the velcro saddle set up on your M4?

Edited by 12508

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I think we can all agree there are pros/cons to each. Neither are perfect solutions for all situations.

 

Yes.

 

I can see for three gun velcro might be the way to go (but I wouldn't use an M4 for 3 gun).

 

I don't think the sidearmor plates weigh that much- they are just aluminum. And, I don't see a home defense/self defense

situation where I would need more than 7+1+1+8 (on a side saddle).

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For me, I'd rather have no on gun round holder if it adds bulk, weight, or snag hazards. I ran the mesa at one point and removed it for these reasons.

 

I do like the option of being able to slap pre-assembled packs on the side should the need arise. This wouldn't cost me anything but the aesthetics of having a velcro'd receiver. For even that reason, I probably won't do it. But I think in most situations, it would be what I'd prefer after having used side-saddles.

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I love the reactions whenever anyone asks simply "what is the BEST" of something - ANYTHING. It is ALWAYS tough to get a group of people to agree on this because all people are different and envision or have experience different scenarios. After dealing with drug raids on houses, in the projects, various multitudes of domestic disputes, high speed chases and God knows how many different crazy days, the BEST is what works for YOU and keeps you moving forward effectively.

 

I see a lot of people concerned with weight. For me, this is a non issue. Others are worried about getting scratched. Others about something else.

 

What is best, always, is what you have the most confidence in and can work with best as an individual. Sure, some trainers will impress upon you to use one thing or another and show you the pros and cons but you will be able to find another trainer, JUST as competent, that will disagree and show you the pros and cons of HIS views because of course, his experiences or input were different than the others.

 

I'm not in the mix anymore and I use the SideArmor. Not because it's the BEST for EVERYONE, but because it is the best for me, my M4, and what I expect to need it for. 500 people could tell you ONE thing is THE best but then you end up in a situation where they did NOT anticipate and suddenly, it is the WORST item you could possible have to use.

 

Trial and error guys. You need to do you research, buy the BEST products you can find that fit YOUR applications or what you expect to need them for and go with them.

 

Nothing is the BEST if you don't make it home that day. In the end, that's all that matters.

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