The first word that comes to mind when shotguns are mention is “versatility”. That was true when Europeans waded ashore with matchlock muskets and its still true today. While shotguns in function have changed a lot, the projectiles are as old as could be.
Shotguns really are versatile whether you are shooting small birdshot to claim birds from the sky or larger buckshot to claim medium game or for self defense, or a single big projectile to take out large game at distance the shotgun still would make the ultimate gun if you only had one gun.
But what if there is a way to make your shotgun even more versatile? Well there is. The solution is not new but I got the opportunity to test said solution courtesy of Short Lane out of Miles City, MT. That solution are shotgun adapters.
Shotgun adapters are a steel sleeve that mimics a shotgun shell but are machined out to fit a smaller type of ammunition whether its shotgun shells of a smaller gauge or pistol rounds. The concept is simple but Short Lane took it a step further by creating versions that are longer than a standard shotgun shell and rifling the bores on some of their models for enhanced accuracy. I have had the opportunity to test out a few of their adapter models out of their wide selection. Short Lane’s adapters do give a new meaning to shotgun versatility.
Photo credit: Terril Hebert
I recently took out a new offering from Short Lane. It is a 3 inch rifled adapter that chambers 9mm Luger pistol rounds in your 20 gauge shotgun. My test platform was my H&R Tamer Survival shotgun and the ammunition I shot was inexpensive TulAmmo 115 grain full metal jacket bullets. The recommended initial sight in distance for Short Lane’s adapters is seven yards distance but I placed my target at a full twenty-five yards away.
To use the adapter, open your shotgun and insert it like you would an ordinary shotgun shell. Place your 9mm ammunition into the chamber and close the shotgun up. The gun can now be fired.
Shooting was a piece of cake with the only limitation being the sighting of the bead front sight onto the target. This sight is regulated for one hundred yards so it makes the point of impact higher. Recoil was nonexistent as you can expect firing pistol ammunition out of a shotgun. Blast was also minimal.
Reloading is accomplished by opening up your shotgun and pulling the empty shell out using fingernail recess machined into the adapter. You can then reload. This works out very well with low pressure ammunition and brass cased ammunition but TulAmmo is already notorious for sticky extraction and that’s exactly what I got. While oftentimes the brass cased ammunition would fly out of the adapter without the need to pluck it out, the lacquered steel cases used in the TulAmmo proved hard to get out and I had to use am empty shell case to free them from the chamber.
Having said that, the accuracy of the 9mm adapter was stellar and I managed two-inch groups at a distance of twenty-five yards. That is ample for pest control, plinking and hunting the appropriate game.
Short Lane’s shotgun adapters made it obvious why these nifty devices can be useful. They come in a variety of calibers, gauges, and lengths but so far I like the 9mm version the most. I originally got into the shotgun adapter world to test their viability as a survival tool. I definitely want one in my emergency kit. It takes up little space and affords you the opportunity to carry much more ammunition than you could stoking your bag with shotgun shells alone. I also like the lack of recoil and loud report. An injured person may not fare well with a shotgun’s recoil and its mild report is less likely to scare off game animals.
Getting off the survival bandwagon, shotgun adapters make total sense when it comes to teaching new shooters and children as well as just having fun. 9mm ammunition is plentiful and inexpensive so you can shoot without damaging the pocketbook. At $40 retail cost, the 9mm adapter’s cost is negligible though longer adapters do cost more. The previously mention lack of recoil and report helps new shooters greatly and allows them to become confident behind a firearm and develop proper fundamentals without the bad habits that high recoiling shotgun shells instilled into me as a kid. It does come in handy for pest control without alarming your neighbors with the bark of your 20 gauge. Unlike some other adapter’s, Short Lane adapters have proved quite accurate in my book. Sniper rifle quality, it ain’t, but it is more than ample for serious use at distances you can accurately shoot with shotgun sights. Now that’s versatility.