Thank You St. Valentine! My True Love Gave Me a Security Shotgun

Interstate Arms Hawk 12 gauge shotgun right profile

I have a wife who works in the firearms industry. To simply say she knows guns would not only be an understatement, it would be cause to look for cover. On more than one occasion I have given her an article to read and proof. That’s why I was taken off-guard when she offered to buy me one of IAC’s Hawk shotguns. I mean, she has access to most any gun simply by picking up the phone, but it was a Hawk that caught her eye.

The IAC is practically a Remington 870 without the markings. However, she isn’t interested in buying a shotgun for what is not; to sleep next to her it would have to be something very special—myself being an exception of course.

Next to the Mossberg 500, I would say the next most popular shotgun for home defense over the years has to be the Remington 870. The Interstate Arms Hawk Model 981R is close, actually very close to being a direct clone of the Remington 870. Not all of the parts are interchangeable, but many are.

Interstate Arms Hawk Model 981R
The IAC Hawk closely resembles a Remington 870 with a couple of upgrades and a much lower price tag.

Imported by Interstate Arms and manufactured by Norinco, the IAC Hawk 981R shotgun is Chinese made—which may be a turnoff for many and I understand completely. However, it is also our top seller and flying off the shelves alarmingly fast. I guess the wife has her finger on the pulse of guns people really like. Personally, I don’t care as long as she buys one for me too. Fortunately, for the price, we can afford two with ease.

Breaking Down the Details

The IAC Hawk does a great job of doing exactly what the manufacturer intended, which is to be a rugged, home-defense gun. Because it is patterned after one of America’s favorite 12-gauge pumps, the IAC Hawk 981R features a machined solid-steel receiver, 18.5-inch barrel, 3-inch chamber and bead sight. This traditional pump-action model is fitted with polymer stocks, recoil pad and comes decked in a black matte finish. Distinguishing the Model 981R from her sister, is the picatinny rail topping the receiver for your favorite optic and a bead sight. (I guess I know what to put in her stocking.) The Model 982 is identical with all the same features including a 5+1 capacity, but has pre-installed ghost ring sights instead of a rail—if you have priced out ghost rings lately that is a great deal and comes in at just under $250.

Even with a close look, it would be hard to knock the construction. The extractor and ejector are machined, which beats the 981’s American counterpart that uses MIM parts. As mentioned, the receiver is made of steel. The trigger guard is also steel not plastic.

Times are tough and everyone’s looking for a deal these days. Often, that means you get what you pay for. The IAC Hawk, however, seems to be an exception and provides plenty of quality at a great price. In fact, although it hurts me to admit, in many ways it features are of better quality at a fraction of the price than some of my favorite guns.

Specifications and Features

  • Caliber: 12-gauge
  • Barrel Length: 18.5 inches
  • Chamber: 3-inch
  • Capacity: 5+1
  • Stock: Polymer
  • Finish: Matte black finish
  • Receiver: Machined, solid steel
  • Sights:Picatinny rail ready for your optic of choice
  • Length: 38.5 inches in overall length
  • Weight: 7 pounds

Check back soon. With my IAC Hawk in hand, I have big plans to do a tactical build around this gun and will need suggestions and feedback, so feel free to sound off in the comments below.

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 (4)

  1. Oh FCS! Get over it! If you’re going to only buy US made products be prepared to live naked and in a hole. Not much out there that isn’t touched to one degree or another by the Chinese or other non-US material or company. Take a close look at how they define “Made In The USA” some time and just how much of a product is not made here in this country. As far as THIS product is concerned it’s a matter, from my point of view, of its use to its cost. I’m petty sure that if it’s required in any paranoid, far fetched, invasion scenario concerning . . . Oh I don’t know, zombies, North Koreans, or, ahhhhhh the Chinese it will function just as it’s expected to when needed. In the mean time if it’s needed for the more mundane purpose of, such as an accident in the Alaska bush, where it may be needed to save or sustain life I’m pretty sure that there won’t be a language barrier if its use is required. I too prefer to buy US MADE products and spend my income supporting US companies but there aren’t too many of those. If you’re going to restrict yourself to US-only goods and be the purest you seem to want to be then you also need to stop going to COSTCO, Target, Walmart, Fred Myers, Safeway, and any other general store in this country. Oh. . And don’t buy any more gas from any producer as it’s more than likely NOT US crude that produced it. Grow up and get your head into the 21st century. Fact is that there is little that isn’t a blend of world products and manufacturing in this day and age, just the way it is. If you don’t like it don’t buy it but either buy! But don’t pick and choose. Either buy Completely US Made products or pick-n-choose the ones you want as it seems you do now BUT don’t be the hypocrite and preach to the rest of us your off-center idea of US Pride. I would suggest that you do your research and get your head straight. However you decide to proceed I will defend your right to your opinion right up to the point where you’re going to make it the only right opinion from your point of view. At that juncture of the conversation you are on your own.

  2. Not JUST another foreign made firearm, but, a “Communist Red Chinese” product. Has everyone forgotten WHO china is, and what they stand for? Sorry, but,,,,,

  3. Why would Cheaper Than Dirt suggest buying a foreign made firearm. Guess loyalty to America goes before greed. Buy American.

  4. I aquired one of these as a perment resident on my boat in Alaska, it is kept in a inside a silicon sock with several dry air pacs after having been lightly oiled inside and out and wiped down then encased in a waterproof, mil spec plastic bag for long term storage.
    Included in this “grab an go pac” are 10rnds / Hexolit32 / 2 3/4″, 10rnds / Monolit32 /2 3/4″, 10rnds / #1 Buck / 3″, 15rnds / red flare shots and 10rnds / Birdshot (#8) / 3″. Ammo is vacuumed packed and sealed in 10 round pacs with a air dry PAC in each. Ammo is placed in the waterproof bag with the weapon. This is then placed in a bright orange mesh nylon bag with a small 8 to 12 buoy inside for floatation. This and one other mesh bag are the survival kit should the boat happen to go down or have to be abandoned for some reason. Between the two bags there is gear, shelter and food for 5 days for four.
    I was very pleased to find the IAC Hawk and at a very reasonable price. Two more are being considered for the 4WD and airplane. My stainless 870 is still my “go to” when fishing, hunting, wilderness camping and the like. However,knowing that the Hawk is always there, for anyone using my equipment if its needed, makes me a little easer of mind. This is well worth the price, regardless of how your going to use it. It’s well made, simple, accurate, and reliable. If I happen to miss any other important points in the Hawks appraisal please consider them added, this is a fine weapon, at a great price, that servers its purpose and function very well.

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