Stupid simple, stupid cheap. For less than 2 bills you can get a versatile, useful, defensive grade shotgun. She won’t win any beauty titles, but you can run the heck out of it, and it’ll keep on truckin. I put this bungee breaching sling on it, I bought years ago that is light weight, and is rigid enough it stays out of the path of the pump, so there are no hang ups. Lastly, I put a two shot side saddle on it. I don’t want to make it prohibitively heavy, I like keeping the wrist of the receiver narrow for manipulation and carry, and if I can’t handle a problem with seven rounds, then please tell funny stories about me at my funeral. One last bit…the Hogue youth stock has an 11.75” length of pull. Don’t say it’s too short…I’m 6’4” tall and it works great for me, with as little as a t-shirt on, all of the way up to layers of clothes under a parka. If you bang into your nose or your teeth, keep your thumb on the other side of the receiver.
I recently returned to teaching for Tactical Response in Camden TN. My dear friend, James Yeager, the founder and MFCEO of Tactical Response passed away in September of 2022, and a huge absence was left by him, not just in the company but in the training community. I have felt a huge hole in my being since he died, and along with all of my life’s other issues, it just seemed like it was the right time to return to teaching at Tactical Response. James can’t be replaced, but I feel that since I was one of his closest compatriots and he was my mentor, it would be fitting to his legacy and his family to return to teach for his company and continue to blaze a trail through educating others. In the spirit of true martial artists, when your Master dies, you continue his lineage of teaching. I don’t know how genuine of a martial artist I actually am, but I’m on the path. And I deem this to be a worthwhile effort.
As an instructor, you are expected to be able to demonstrate, on demand, anything you ask of your students. Seems simple enough. I like to demonstrate for students, not to show off, but to illustrate what we are looking for, and also what you want to see your students do. With that, I only expect to fire about 1/10 of what a student does in a class. Maybe even less than that. So I like to have a dedicated training gun, that mimics the features and feel of my duty guns. With my pistols, I use an identical mechanically (but marked with a FDE back strap) 9mm M&P pistol and with my rifle, I use two identical copies. Same with this shotgun. It is functionally identical to my duty shotgun, the only difference being the Pardner has a, “hump,” a la the Browning Auto-5. Otherwise, it’s an 870. I’ve heard rumors that these are actually made in China by Norinco, and imported to America by H&R 1871. Either way, for $175 NEW, this gun can be yours. Interestingly, the price has stayed pretty low. I bought this model back in 2007, and it has about 10K through it at this point. I’ve cleaned it exactly twice. I have changed the magazine spring twice as well. Not because it was having issues, just prophylactically.
And there you have it. Little different this time…more pics and less yakking. You could do a lot worse for a training gun for under two bills. And if you’re wondering, would I take THIS GUN over a Remington 870 EXPRESS, the answer is YES. The internals in this gun are made of metal. They may be made from melted down leaf springs, or Soviet T-72’s, but they are metal. The extended magazine holds five rounds and is very well balanced. The magazine extension/barrel retention nut stays snug after hundreds of rounds of full power rounds. It’s not glamorous, the finish is modest but does repel rust and corrosion even in Tennessee’s impressive humidity, and it just plain works. I’ve lent it out to students several times, and people always offer to buy it from me because they fall in love with it. I’m telling you…try a 11.75” LOP stock and tell me it doesn’t make an 870 feel like an M-1 carbine! It really does!
So if you’re in the market for a low budget 12 gauge, or something to stow in your boat or RV, or you’re a training junkie or an instructor who needs something that won’t break the bank but will serve you with minimal issues, look into the H&R 1871 Pardner in 12 gauge. Especially if you are an 870 person and want to have an understudy, you could do much worse than the Pardner!
Thanks for reading! -Dr. House