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DFWSFO

New M4 Owner, Side Saddle Advice

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Hello all. I recently purchased a new M4 with collapsible stock and extended mag tube. Primarily will be using this for fun and home defense/SHTF. Thus far, I've added a GG&G Oversized Bolt Release (stock one feels too small!) and an IWC Light Mount for a Surefire M600. My last planned modification is a side saddle and I've narrowed it to two options:

  • Adding velcro and using shotgun cards (Esstac, SOE, etc.)
  • Mesa Tactical 8 Round Side Saddle

I was leaning towards the former approach, but wanted to get some additional advice. My main goals are reliability and the ability to reverse any modifications relatively easily. Any feedback is appreciated. 

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I'm a fan of the velcro systems over the hard mounted ones. The velcro ones weigh less and crush flat when not in use. I didn't care for how stiff it was to pull the shells from the Mesa one either.

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Fully loaded with 7+1+1, adding a side saddle will add substantial weight. Better think about a sling also.

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, StrangerDanger said:

I'm a fan of the velcro systems over the hard mounted ones. The velcro ones weigh less and crush flat when not in use. I didn't care for how stiff it was to pull the shells from the Mesa one either.

 

Thanks StrangerDanger! You seem to be one of the M4 gurus on here. I've noticed that in your pics you dont even run side saddles. Is that right? Any reason in particular? 

Edited by DFWSFO

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I have tried both the velcro and hard mounted side shell holders.  Don't like either.  I use a chest rig that holds 24 rounds. It has a quick release belt.

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I used a Tacstar slimline on my 870 and another hard shell type on my 590. I am not in love with either. I shoot lefty and decided to go with the ESSTAC cards for my M4. It’s a cheap way to try the Velcro out. If it works I can swap to the other guns. I also have a chest rig with Taco’s that can hold them if I need. I figure a reload will look like this. Strip the old card off, pull the new one out of the Taco,  place it on the gun, and reload off the card. Shooting lefty I have to turn the gun over so I would stage my shells accordingly for an upside down reload. 

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56 minutes ago, Sigfla said:

I used a Tacstar slimline on my 870 and another hard shell type on my 590. I am not in love with either. I shoot lefty and decided to go with the ESSTAC cards for my M4. It’s a cheap way to try the Velcro out. If it works I can swap to the other guns. I also have a chest rig with Taco’s that can hold them if I need. I figure a reload will look like this. Strip the old card off, pull the new one out of the Taco,  place it on the gun, and reload off the card. Shooting lefty I have to turn the gun over so I would stage my shells accordingly for an upside down reload. 


Thanks, this is helpful, I'm a lefty as well and was thinking about that. 

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I like that. Maybe I'm wrong, but I always thought the Velcro side saddles needed to have one piece glued to the receiver. This design avoids that. So this fit's the M4? Sorry to butt in, not trying to hijack the OP's thread.

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1 hour ago, CobraBG said:

I like that. Maybe I'm wrong, but I always thought the Velcro side saddles needed to have one piece glued to the receiver. This design avoids that. So this fit's the M4? Sorry to butt in, not trying to hijack the OP's thread.

Oh yeah.  I just got some velcro brand industrial 2" loop https://www.amazon.com/VELCRO-Brand-Industrial-Fasteners-Professional/dp/B00006RSP1

Cut it to size (and left a little notch for the trigger group retaining pin)  and applied it.  I cleaned the side of my receiver with alcohol or acetone before hand and have had no problems.

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On 4/7/2020 at 8:49 AM, DFWSFO said:

 

Thanks StrangerDanger! You seem to be one of the M4 gurus on here. I've noticed that in your pics you dont even run side saddles. Is that right? Any reason in particular? 

I tried them in the past. They add a lot of weight fast. Figure every round equals 2 ounces. The big aluminum systems add half a pound. I find the loading from a shell carrier to be rather slow. You cherry pick each round between pointer finger and thumb the push it into the tube. The added weight slows how fast you can snap the barrel from target to target and can slow down your shot time.

I’d rather load from a California Competition belt mounted loader where I can grab 2-3 rounds into my support and quickly push them in without a lot of hand movement back and forth to a carrier. Even a dump bag type shell holder on the belt would be okay but not as secure. 

I keep a couple Blackhawk bandoliers loaded with the shotgun so that I have a bunch of round available close to the gun in the event I need to grab and go. You can slide it under the bed and it will be easy to pull out if needed.They’re not super fast from loading from like a side saddle, but it does give me like 55 rounds to take with me all indexed in the belt how you prefer. I put slugs in from the opposite side of the loop give give me an immediate indicator of what they rounds are without looking. You can throw it over a shoulder and go unlike a box of bullets which can be difficult to open quickly. 
 

 

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I have a mesa tactical 6 round shell holder and haven't had any problems.  But I am splitting my side saddle load alternating between slugs, 00 buck, salt, and breaching rounds depending on the training evolution.

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On 4/7/2020 at 3:52 PM, Scout_21 said:

Oh yeah.  I just got some velcro brand industrial 2" loop https://www.amazon.com/VELCRO-Brand-Industrial-Fasteners-Professional/dp/B00006RSP1

Cut it to size (and left a little notch for the trigger group retaining pin)  and applied it.  I cleaned the side of my receiver with alcohol or acetone before hand and have had no problems.

I'm with Scout.  Went with the Vang Comp idea and just bought the shell holder from Brownells.  Don't buy the aluminum plate that attaches to the receiver with screws. 

Because A) they don't make one for the M4 and.   B) You don't need it.  Just do the glue-on velcro that Scout suggested.  Their idea that you can carry several extra shell carriers (like extra mags in a pouch) loaded with different rounds sounds good, but in practice and under threat, I can't see ripping off the empty carrier and slapping a full carrier on the velcro as you've done a lot of stuff but still haven't loaded anything in your mag tube.  Once you get the fresh shell holder mounted, you still need to fumble with pulling single rounds and getting them fed into the tube.  Maybe in a tactical reload scenario, dunno.  I might rather have a "bag-o-bullets" on my belt or over my chest and just pull out fresh rounds by the 2's and do a weak hand reload.  Then again, I could me wrong!

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I’ll give you my philosophy which is worth zero. My experience is majority rifle and pistol. The Tac shotgun is a home/property defense weapon. If I was shooting it in competition my approach would change significantly. I see what I have on the gun as my entire load out. The magazine tube plus side saddle. The cards I wear in a chest rig are extra ammo that I can reload from cover or a lull if one happens. I have 8 rounds staged vertically in front of my AR pouches that hold my ESSTAC cards. Those 8 are my quick need it fast reloads that I can grab and put one in the chamber. Ideally I am not swapping cards off the gun with it completely empty either. I shoot lefty so in a perfect world I would not run dry and I can pull an empty carrier off the gun and place a loaded one back on without running dry. Shooting lefty I have to flip the gun to swap cards. Thus I don’t have ready loading port access on an unloaded gun. If I did run dry perhaps I would have the training ingrained to pull one of my quick 8 rounds out before I swapped cards? Those quick rounds might get me to cover so I can swap for a new card. 

 

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