Review: Magpul SGA Stock — A Shotgun’s Best Upgrade

Angled pistol grip of the Magpul SGA stock

There are three firearms used for personal defense—the pistol, rifle, and shotgun. The shotgun is sometimes shied away from due to its recoil. The proper technique, leaning into the shotgun and controlling recoil, goes a long way, and so does extensive practice with light recoiling birdshot loads.

Remington 870 shotgun with Magpul SGA stock and TruGlo red dot sight
This is a tricked out Remington 870 with Magpul furniture.

The myth that you cannot miss, and need not aim the shotgun, must also be addressed. Of course, the shotgun must be aimed. The shotgun has a good feel that leads to a natural point. This helps make the shotgun an effective combat weapon.

The 12 gauge shotgun’s wound potential is unequaled in the field of shoulder-fired weapons at moderate range. The ability to deliver a heavy payload, with real accuracy and speed, makes the shotgun far superior for home defense, area defense, and even against large dangerous animals. Important to success is to have a shotgun that is properly fit to the shooter. Magpul has taken steps to make the shotgun much more viable for all shooters.

Magpul introduced the SGA stock some time ago, and the stock has become popular with professionals. You may order the parts individually or in packages. The product is produced with the modular outlook, and this means the shooter may add a stock, forend, and other accessories as they choose.

Magpul SGA stock spacers
These are the spacers for the SGA stock.

The aim of Magpul products is to offer superior ergonomics and fit while making the shotgun easier to handle and faster on target. The Magpul SGA stock achieves this in several ways. For example, the stock features spacers that allow a short or long length of pull as the user demands.

A sling can be as important in controlling the shotgun as it is for a rifle, depending on the shooters training. Magpul components offer options for mounting slings. The stock design is the best I have tested, as far as re-directing recoil. The shotgun still kicks, but the recoil energy feels different. The path of recoil is changed and both comfort and rapid recovery are much better with this stock.

The design is a type of semi-pistol grip. This is an innovation among shotgun stocks. There is stippling and roughening of the grip in order to give a firm hold when firing. As for the length of pull, I left my length of pull shorter than most shotguns because I like to get my eye close to the Ghost Ring sight for good accuracy.

The recoil is more to the shoulder than the wrist. If you lean into the shotgun on firing—as you should—the result is excellent control. For those using shotgun slug scopes or red dot sights, the cheek piece may be raised as well. Cheek riser kits are available with risers from .025, .050 and .075 inch. This allows excellent adjustment and brings the eye to the stock. Spacers allow changing of the LOP. This is a well thought out and versatile stock that has proven durable in hard use.


Hornady’s wall safe offers real security for a shotgun yet the piece is instantly ready for life saving deployment. They are available with RFID key fob technology.

Hornady Rapid Safe
This is the Hornady Rapid safe.


Installation is simple with common hand tools. The Magpul stock allows a short LOP of just 12.5 inches without any spacers in place. For maximum handiness in the home, this isn’t a bad set up and one that invites fast work. Recoil control is good. Therefore, it is essential that you deploy the shotgun with a workable recoil pad.

My Magpul SGA features a rubber recoil pad with plenty of give, and it works well. The Magpul forend is an excellent accessory that compliments the stock well. The forend features hand stops that prevent stubbing the hand in forward motion, or the hand slipping off of the forend to the rear.

Sling adjustment lugs on the Magpul SGA stock
Note the sling adjustment of SGA stock.

The forend offers excellent adhesion and abrasion when firing. I find the forend makes for positive control when cycling the action. In the advent of a stuck shell, or the too common swollen body we see in cheap shells, the Magpul forend offers excellent lever for shucking that shell out of the chamber. Magpul furniture is a wise addition to a credible combat weapon. This investment makes for a more capable and tractable firearm.

For home defense, you do not need a magnum-power loading. On the other hand, the oft-recommended birdshot, number #7 or even #9 shot, is far too light for effective personal defense. This shot penetrates perhaps two to three inches in gelatin versus the 12 to 18 inches needed for adequate wound potential. A heavily clad intruder might only be stunned. After all, birdshot is intended to humanely kill a small animal weighing but a few ounces.

Buckshot uses projectiles more properly called balls than pellets. An important class of 12 gauge buckshot is the reduced recoil shell. Rather than operating at a velocity of 1,600 fps, as is the full power standard, reduced-recoil loads operate at about 1,250 fps from an 18-inch barrel. This makes for a well-defined difference in recoil.

Angled pistol grip of the Magpul SGA stock
Note the angle of the grip that helps control recoil.

The payload of eight 00 buckshot balls is standard and penetration is adequate for personal defense. These loads remain much more powerful and effective than any handgun caliber and most rifle loads. The Hornady American Gunner is affordably boxed in 10-round boxes and offers excellent performance. I have recently fired a group at 5 yards of approximately 2 x 2 inches with all eight balls in this circle. I prefer this tight pattern, as the greater the cohesion of the load, the greater the wound potential.

With a few improvements, the shotgun becomes more tractable, more ergonomic, and more easily controlled. Improved aiming systems make for increased hit probability. These additions truly make for an improved weapons system.

How well does your home defense shotgun fit you or other family members? Do you have a tip for taming hard-kicking shotguns? Share your answers in the comment section.


About the Author:

Bob Campbell

Bob Campbell’s primary qualification is a lifelong love of firearms, writing, and scholarship. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice but is an autodidact in matters important to his readers. Campbell considers unarmed skills the first line of defense and the handgun the last resort. (He gets it honest- his uncle Jerry Campbell is in the Boxer’s Hall of Fame.)

Campbell has authored well over 6,000 articles columns and reviews and fourteen books for major publishers including Gun Digest, Skyhorse and Paladin Press. Campbell served as a peace officer and security professional and has made hundreds of arrests and been injured on the job more than once.

He has written curriculum on the university level, served as a lead missionary, and is desperately in love with Joyce. He is training his grandchildren not to be snowflakes. At an age when many are thinking of retirement, Bob is working a 60-hour week and awaits being taken up in a whirlwind many years in the future.

Published in
Black Belt Magazine
Combat Handguns
Rifle Magazine
Gun Digest
Gun World
Tactical World
SWAT Magazine
American Gunsmith
Gun Tests Magazine
Women and Guns
The Journal Voice of American Law Enforcement
Police Magazine
Law Enforcement Technology
The Firearms Instructor
Tactical World
Concealed Carry Magazine
Concealed Carry Handguns

Books published

Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry
The 1911 Automatic Pistol
The Handgun in Personal Defense
The Illustrated Guide to Handgun Skills
The Hunter and the Hunted
The Gun Digest Book of Personal Defense
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911 second edition
Dealing with the Great Ammunition Shortage
Commando Gunsmithing
The Ultimate Book of Gunfighting
Preppers Guide to Rifles
Preppers Guide to Shotguns
The Accurate Handgun
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (13)

  1. I myself have a Knoxx Spec Ops 1st generation recoil reducing stock w/Magpul fore end. I use a saddle rail as my receiver is not tapped for one. A Gobble Stopper red dot sight resides on top and a side saddle for reloads. I prefer #4buck for it’s balance between penetration and over penetration beyond the target. Slugs and 00 are on the side saddle if needed.

  2. Damn I bet Chris feels like a dip, haha!! You guys roasted his dumb ass for that ignorant/rude comment…AWESOME!! Chris, asking a genuine question can never make someone look like an idiot! You are the one that ended up looking like an idiot because of how disrespectful your reply to the question was, don’t be such a dick man!! Childish behavior and comments will only end up making you more insecure than you obviously are already!! If you are really that desperate to feel like a man, positivity will ALWAYS make you feel better than negativity!! Good luck to you bro, you’re clearly going to need it!!

  3. For those who are slight of build or stature, developing a technique for shooting from the hip is better than taking on the recoil of a 12 gauge magnum shotgun shell. The advent of modern laser sights and weapon lights have made this much easier to be accurate when firing a heavy recoiling weapon. There are two ways to handle this – one is to firmly anchor the buttstock between the forearm and the hip (squeezing the side of the butt into your hip), and the other is to provide muscular resistance with both the firing hand grip and the forend but allowing the recoil to swing the gun fore and aft like a porch glider. This technique takes practice in finding out how much resistance and give to allow but I find it works better than clamping down on the butt and pulling the forend backwards. Both techniques require enough resistance to the recoil for the action to operate properly, and depending on what kind of shotgun you are using it will become clear after a few rounds which works best for you and your weapon.

    Pump shotguns generally release the bolt after firing and if you are pulling the forend rearward, it will accelerate the unloading part of the cycle. The same is not true of autoloaders or break actions like over under or side by side guns. The shotguns that have the heaviest recoil impulse tend to be break action guns because they have less weight to them.

    If you are using a shotgun with a pistol grip butt stock use that to your advantage. The pistol grip will actually increase the leverage you have when holding the recoil pad into the pocket of the shoulder and the more firm or secure that hold is the less likely your shotgun will beat you up. The same is true for the cheek weld against the stock – hug it like you mean business or it will beat you up.

    Shoot from the hip with a firm hold, but allow excess energy to move the weapon to the rear – just don’t let it swing around like it was on a rope. Use your muscles and bone structure to tame the recoil. The more you work on it the easier it becomes.

    It also helps to start out with game loads with lighter shot charges – so don’t give your wife slugs or buckshot to shoot the first time out. A 20 gauge is plenty of shotgun for beginners, especially since lighter recoil means more accuracy and is more pleasant to shoot.

    .410 bore is not a good beginner shotgun because of the reduced number of pellets that requires much better technique to become proficient. The recoil is light, but the range is short and the patterns are not that large.

    If your gun does not have the facility to mount a laser on it, having a set of rifle sights or a vent rib with two beads (one midway down the length the other near the muzzle) will help new shooters to be more accurate.

    If you plan on your target to be still (and in defense, no target is stationary) you don’t need to learn how to lead a target or how your gun patterns. However, if you want to be accurate you need to master those skills and really get to know where your shot column is heading once it leaves the muzzle.

  4. Chris Hale, you are the d-bag. Duh, didnt you read, you can extend the LOP with spacers. Shut your C. Holster. You can hit your thunb on face, nose and possibly eye with high recoiling rounds such as 3″ mag and a stock that drives the recoil up due to angle. You are the moron, obviously you want to harangue people over things you know nothing about. I doubt your panzy-snowflake arse has ever shot a 3″ mag 1 1/4 oz slug out if a 5 1/2 lb shotgun, cause your shoulder would have cracked under the recoil cause your watersnake arms gave it no support.

    Carry-on gentleman, had to deal with a child trying to live in a man’s world.

  5. @Karl–yes the length of pull is easily adjustable with the included spacers. More may also be purchased (they are cheap) to make it even longer. Also the cheek risers can be added to raise the eye higher for use of optics like a red dot if one prefers.

  6. Can this stock extend to give 14.5″ length of pull?Retina re-attached,dare not get thumb or sight in eye.
    How left hand usable is it?

    1. IT is a fixed stock. How do you think it would ” extend” ? Why would anyone put a scope on a 12 guage? How could anyone possibly put their thumb in their freaking eye shooting a shotgun? Do you have some type of mental illness? Douchbag.

    2. Sorry Chris Hale, but it would appear the “douchebag” is you. For insulting someone who asked a reasonable question.

      Since you obviously did not comprehend the article about this shotgun stock, please allow me to explain in short words:

      The length of pull can be changed to fit the person who will use the gun, by changing spacers. Is “spacer” too difficult a word for you? Little pieces that fit in between big pieces to make the stock longer.

      There. Wasn’t that easy?

    3. Chris, I swear it’s people like you that need to be put out of their misery……you just can’t seem to be able to post things anymore without someone’s negativity… Chris, Karl isn’t the DOUCHEBAG… most certainly are though…..oh, and by the way, learn how to spell douchebag if you must keep posting your ignorance…..he’s only asking a question, keep your negativity to yourself, it only makes you look like the fool…..As the English poet Thomas Gray said, ” Where ignorance is bliss, Tis folly to be wise”, dumbass!

    4. Hmmm
      Started to ignore your ignorance but did not not
      Have used low powder slug scope for years for shotgun hunting. You need to take that attitude into a biker bar or perhaps among men in person and see how it works for you. I feel sorry for your poorly developed personality

    5. Karl

      Thanks for the questions. The stock has spacers that allow it to extend.
      Then the comb may also be raised by adding spacers.
      Be careful of shotgun recoil also.

    6. Karl, I have had a detached retina, also. I use only reduced recoil ammo to train with. In a case of SHTF I would resort to my #2, #0 buckshot and slugs. p.s. most of my shot gunning for defense training is from the hip…

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