As a guy who grew up hunting with walnut and steel shotguns, the idea of a Modern Sporting Shotgun — in more familiar language, an AR shotgun — simply would not have occurred to me. However, I was in a position to attend product announcement and product release events where I was presented with the opportunity to shoot some ARs that were shotguns.
The first was an interesting setup where the same AR lower could be mated with either a 12-gauge shotgun or a .308 rifle upper. Pretty interesting and expensive. Then, I had the opportunity to shoot one of ATI’s ARs that was a 410 shotgun. This one was loaded with .00 Buckshot. Can you imagine putting nine 9mm holes in a target 10 yards away with one trigger pull and almost no recoil? That’s what my first introduction to the ATI 410 Milsport shotgun was like. I shot it a few times, then I reluctantly gave up my position in line.
Shotguns were a very big part of my younger life. However, as I grew older and encountered some of life’s aging issues that put me in a wheelchair and blessed me with a considerable amount of shoulder pain, most of my shooting has involved handguns and .22 rifles. The AR 410 motivated me to start thinking of ways to integrate shotguns into my shooting activities.
Then, I came up with an idea. I challenged my sons and grandsons to learn to shoot skeet better by practicing with 410s. The idea behind it is that 410 patterns are considerably smaller than those of 12 or 20-gauge shotguns, so getting that pattern to intersect a flying clay pigeon would be more challenging.
I have several 410s, including a lever-action, over/under, and a couple of break-action single-shots. I purchased the ATI Milsport 410 for more than busting clays. However, it seemed like adding it to the skeet roster would be fun. My family members all agreed after having the opportunity to shoot it.
For me, shouldering the SGA 410 is fun. It shoots like an AR-15, but you can shoot birdshot, buckshot, or any of several special defense rounds that have been developed for the 410. So, what is this AR 410 that American Tactical has developed? It uses the same Milsport lower that American Tactical uses for its AR rifle. As far as I can tell, Milsport is a term developed by American Tactical to identify its brand of Modern Sporting Rifles. When you pair the lower with a shotgun instead of a rifle, it still serves the same purpose which is to provide an action from which to cycle the rounds.
American Tactical patented its .410 gauge modular upper receiver. When adding it to its lower, you have a shotgun chambered for 2 ½-inch, .410 gauge shells that are suited for small game, large game, home protection, target and skeet shooting. Featuring an 18.5-inch barrel with a custom 13-inch KeyMod rail, the Milsport .410 runs on a gas operated, short stroke, balanced piston system.
The Milsport SGA 410 comes with one 5-round American Tactical polymer magazine. Additional 5-round magazines are available for separate purchase. The Milsport 410 will only operate with the patent pending American Tactical polymer 410 magazine. There is also a 15-round magazine available separately.
Since the Milsport SGA 410 is built on American Tactical’s Milsport lower receiver, it can be converted to 5.56 or .300 BLK just by changing the upper receiver. Every Milsport 410 upper receiver is built to regular AR specs and can be installed on most MIL-SPEC lower receivers.
As you know, ARs can be configured in so many ways. As it ships, the Milsport SGA 410 comes equipped with a screw-on cylinder bore choke tube. Other choke tubes can be used, but the cylinder bore choke tube is probably the one best suited for home defense and other close-up work.
ATI installed a 6-position Rogers Super Stoc stock system. The cam-lock system completely removes any slop or play inherent with many collapsible stocks. Once the desired stock position has been selected, the stock can be locked down, simply by clicking the cam-lock lever upward. Pressing the quick-release lever will disengage both the cam-lock and the detent pin allowing you to quickly readjust the stock position.
Installed on the KeyMod rail are flip-up front and rear sights, with a blade sight in front and peep sight in the rear. Both are wind drift adjustable. For home defense use, I added a CVLIFE Rifle Sling and a Feyachi FL22-MB Tactical Flashlight 1200 Lumen LED Weapon Light.
Accuracy and Handling
Shooting the Milsport 410 is the most fun I think I’ve ever had with a shotgun. There is almost no recoil to speak of and cycling through the rounds in the magazine can be done quickly. I used 7½ pellet birdshot when shooting skeet. The brand of ammo I used the most was Winchester Super X.
To proof the gun for the home defense role, I shot some .00 buckshot plus Winchester PDX1 .410 Defender rounds which are packed with three, plated, defense disc projectiles and 12 plated BBs. That round seems to be a real manstopper. It sure plays havoc with a paper target from ranges up to 10 yards.
ARs are built to be handled easily under pressure. With the pistol grip, forearm, and a sling, the gun can be carried in the ready mode and brought to a firing position quickly. Nearby towns are experiencing increased crime, including break-ins, and even occupied home invasions. While I want to believe my home is secure from these types of crimes, there is no guarantee.
We have a split-level home and because of my mobility issues, I occupy the lower level which means if there is an attempted home invasion here, I’m the first line of defense. I’ve kept a loaded pistol handy for years. However, the more I become familiar with this Milsport shotgun, the more I think about having it handy to use as my primary tool in response to a home invasion. Writing this article pretty much sealed the deal. I now have the ATI Milsport 410 loaded and ready to defend against any attempt to illegally enter my home.
I can see the day when the younger generation thinks of an AR shotgun the way we older folks think of a pump or a double barrel. It would be the only type they would need for all their shotgunning chores.