Press ESC to close

Shotgun Customization

Last Updated on

By Luke Brandenburg

Due to an array of custom options and upgrades, the shotguns of today offer excellent performance in many different applications from tactical warfare and home defense to sport shooting and hunting. Learn more about what you can do to customize your favorite shotgun!

The modern shotgun has become one of the most effective and popular firearms in America. While its effectiveness, unique abilities and power play a major role in its popularity, the shotgun’s amazing versatility should never be overlooked.


From turkey hunting to home defense and warfare, the shotgun can handle almost any shooting scenario. Its design allows for hundreds of different options, attachments, and upgrades that allow you to customize your gun to suit your specific preferences.

Turkey Hunting

In the perfect situation, you can kill a turkey with almost any old shotgun. However, to maximize your performance and experience consistent success, you will need to customize your shotgun for turkey hunting.

When hunting most game birds with a shotgun, any slightly-experienced shooter will tell you that the gun must be “pointed” at the target, not “aimed.” Turkey hunting is very different in this aspect as the shotgun must be actually aimed at the head/neck are of the bird. Due to this simple difference, rifle-like shotgun sights and scopes have become some of the most common customizations in the turkey hunting world. There are many different variations of these sights and scopes, but almost all of them can be adjusted for elevation and wind speed.


Another common shotgun customization for turkey hunters is the integration of a pistol grip. In fact, the pistol grip option is now so popular that some manufacturers are offering it built-in to the original shotgun. Pistol grips are also widely available as an after-market add-on. Turkey hunters find them extremely helpful for keeping the shotgun steady while aiming.

Since the shotguns and respective loads for turkey hunting often create heavy recoil, many hunters add a shock-absorbing recoil pad at the end of the stock. Some shotgun manufacturers are also developing new technologies to better reduce recoil for turkey hunters. For example, Benelli recently invented the ComforTech system for absorbing recoil by up to 48 percent.

Waterfowl Hunting

Much like turkey hunting, customizing your shotgun for waterfowl hunting is a key step to reaching your full potential. The waterfowl hunters that have confidence in their gear are much more successful, especially when the conditions get tough.

Many experts agree that lengthening your shotgun’s forcing cone can be the most cost-effective and productive custom options for waterfowl hunting. The forcing cone is the part of the shotgun barrel that rests just in front of the chamber. It “forces” the shot load into the bore of the gun. By lengthening the factory forcing cone, which is typically very short, you can increase load velocity and decrease recoil. This custom option also greatly reduces pellet deformation to produce denser, more consistent shot patterns.

Shotgun barrel porting is another common custom option for waterfowl hunting. This process is done by precise machine that drills a number of “ports” near the end of the shotgun barrel. It allows some of the burning gases to be controllably directed. As a result, recoil and muzzle jump are both reduced, allowing the waterfowl hunter to take multiple shots easily and quickly.

Home Defense

Over the past decade, the home defense shotgun has grown into a highly-customized weapon. Where a simple pump-action 12 gauge was used for home defense in the past, a wide variety of custom options are now available.

Since many home defense shotguns are used by both the husband and wife of the household, the adjustable buttstock is a great custom option for the comfort of multiple shooters. Most adjustable buttstock designs are combat-proven and easy-to-use. Some even offer recoil reduction. In today’s world, there is simply no reason for anyone to use a home defense shotgun that doesn’t fit their frame. An adjustable buttstock paired with the right recoil-reducing ammunition makes the shotgun a feasible home defense option for almost anyone.

The shotgun’s ability to be ready to fire quickly represents one of its biggest advantages when it comes to home defense. The addition of an on-board shell carrier maximizes this advantage by making the ammunition easily available for loading. Although a simple elastic band pulled over the stock can get the job done in most cases, the shotgun sidesaddle positions the shells in a much easier-to-reach place when in shooting position.


There are many other custom options to consider for a home defense shotgun. An attachable flashlight has obvious benefits, while an oversized safety could help reduce risk inside the home. Many other tactical customizations have become popular in the home defense world, but not all give you the most for your money.

Other Custom Options/Upgrades

Whether you are customizing your shotgun for home defense, hunting, shooting sports or anything else, there are countless after-market options available in today’s marketplace, and most major shotgun manufacturers offer an array of upgraded parts and accessories.

For example, Remington produces machined extractors for its 870 shotgun. The MIM and non-MIM extractors make the extraction of spent shells as reliable as possible to avoid gun jamming. Since factory magazine followers break fairly easily, upgraded followers are also a common upgrade for improving reliability. Depending on your shotgun, many other upgraded mechanical parts are typically available

Custom finishes are also a common option/upgrade for all types of shotguns. Expert craftsmen can create beautiful designs on any part of your shotgun. Custom paint finishes and wraps can also be applied for aesthetic appeal.


Some finishes protect and preserve the metal parts of your shotgun against the elements. Spray or bake-on finishes such as an epoxy or lacquer coating can provide great protection. You can also have your shotgun parkerized, blued, color-case hardened, or nickel-plated for superior protection. Even if only for cosmetic purposes, custom finishes are a great way to specialize your shotgun.

No matter what you want to use your shotgun for, you can always find creative ways to customize it. The modern shotgun is one of the most versatile firearm designs ever created. Why not take advantage of this rare versatility to build a shotgun unique to you and your preferences?

Luke Brandenburg

Throughout my youth, I always felt an enduring connection with the outdoors. Most of the best moments of my life have been spent camping, hunting and fishing with family and friends miles away from the nearest convenience store. I will never lose my relationship with the outdoors, and hope to pass my passion along to the next generation. Although I haven’t been hunting for very long and still have a lot to learn, I know that I can help others who are interested in hunting, fishing, shooting and the outdoors. I bring an honest, readable, working-man style to all of my content, and hope to become a better outdoorsman with you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Unlock $15 OFF
your next order
Free Shipping on selected items