Not long ago I tested Adaptive Tactical’s Sidewinder Venom Conversion Kit, products that will switch a tubular magazine shotgun to a box magazine gun on the Mossberg 590. Adaptive Tactical has been in the business for 40 years. They are known for producing products like recoil dampening stocks and conversion kits. The Sidewinder Venom Conversion Kit has been around long enough to establish a reputation for reliability. The company makes three different conversion kits: one with a 10-round rotary magazine, one with a 5-round box magazine, and a third with the 10-round rotary magazine and an M-4 style stock.
I tested the conversion with the 10-round rotary and 5-round box magazines. This is an end user installed kit designed for installation by a competent user. The magazines are made of polymer and metal—much thicker and heavier than I anticipated. The magazine conversion adds a magazine well just in front of the receiver, replacing the magazine tube and slide with their proprietary set up.
The kit is designed to convert several different Mossberg 12-gauge models. For this test, I picked a Mossberg 590A1 with the Tactical Tri-Rail. This is similar to the Mossberg 590 A1 US Service Model, which is my favorite. The US Service Model is beefed up, but it still maintains the iconic Mossberg tactical shotgun profile.
This particular Mossberg 590 has a 6-position M4 style stock, 20-inch barrel, metal fixtures and ghost ring sights. I don’t like the looks of this kind of stock on a shotgun, but it adds to vest/carrier quick changes and is especially handy for officers with multiple assignments.
The Adaptive Tactical conversion kits are a complete package, and even include the cutting tool for fitting the magazine tube onto the receiver.
Besides greater fire continuity, why would the law enforcement user want to go with a detachable magazine shotgun? For many agencies, it’s about options. By this time, readers here have already heard the argument in favor of using slugs. (Editor’s note: see the September issue of LET for more on slugs.) A slug shotgun can deliver carbine-like performance with a smoothbore. However, there are many types of slugs, and it would be reasonable to have a selection of tools.
For me, there would be three types of slugs from which I would draw: A fragmentary slug like Rio’s Royal Expansive Fragmentary Slug Cartridge for general applications; a Brenneke Slug Cartridge for intermediate targets and a steel core slug like the Rio Royal Armored Slug Cartridge for special applications. Rio’s Royal Armored Slug is a composite projectile with a steel core. The projectile is 1 1/8 ounces post impact, the lead fragments delivering a barrier-penetrating payload. Some agencies prefer buckshot for entry use, which is also an excellent choice.
Adaptive Tactical Conversion Kits are relatively inexpensive, given the quality of the engineering. Still, I recommend spending the money and having them do the installation. It was't particularly hard for me, it’s just that they have a great custom camouflage matching service. You know, new digs after accessorizing.
I talked with Gary Cauble of Adaptive Tactical before installing the magazine. Gary explained that the supplied cutting tool is for the receiver area where the magazine tube is inserted. I ended up talking to Gary again, after I realized that I ordered a 9-shot Mossberg 590 and the Sidewinder Venom kit was designed for a 6-shot gun. This was easily remedied and my experience will benefit everyone. The Sidewinder Venom Kit fits; it just needs a barrel appropriate for a 6-round Mossberg. Since they can be easily purchased in drop-in configuration, this was a quick fix. The 9-round barrel is the same as the 6-round, with the barrel loop further toward the muzzle.
Installing the Sidewinder Kit begins with an unloaded shotgun. Whenever I check any firearm, I look at the magazine, chamber and action, and then verbally declare the gun is unloaded, usually with “Chamber is clear.” Old military habits seldom die.