Recoil stock

Author shoots a shotgun with the BLACKHAWK! SpecOps stock

The 12 gauge shotgun is probably one of the most versatile firearms in history, yet that comes at a cost paid in recoil.  For the inexperienced, shooting a 12 gauge shotgun can be a brutally disappointing experience. 

Shooting light loads helps when teaching someone how to manage the smoothbore, but even they can be a bit much for the novice.  Moving a new shooter up to buckshot and slugs can be difficult.

What if you had a simple tool that could improve the handling characteristics of the shotgun and reduce felt recoil by up to 85%?  Enter the BLACKHAWK! SpecOps stock.

The SpecOps stock is a replacement stock for a wide range of pump (and some semi-auto) shotguns including the Remington 870 and Mossberg 500/590 series guns.  The rear of the SpecOps stock is adjustable, and resembles the adjustable buttstock of the M4-style carbine.  This allows the stock to fit more precisely to the shooter.

The stock also adds a pistol grip, which greatly improves the handling characteristics in many people’s view.  The pistol grip does not interfere with the safety on an 870.

KNOXX Technology

The BLACKHAWK! recoil reducing stocks utilize the KNOXX technology of recoil reduction.  In the SpecOps stock, there are two recoil reduction devices that are essentially heavy springs on cams.  The main recoil reduction device is in the pistol grip, while the second is in the adjustable stock section. In concert, the two devices reduce felt recoil significantly.

Since the recoil reduction device in the pistol grip does the majority of the work, BLACKHWK! is also able to manufacture a pistol grip only version of the stock for door breaching or other close quarters applications.
If you have ever shot a pistol grip pump (no shoulder stock), you quickly learn that the recoil stings the hand.  With the breacher stock using the KNOXX technology, the sting and harsh recoil disappear. 

KNOXX technology is also built into BLACKHAWK! stocks for rifles.

Installation for Dummies

Installation of the BALCKHAWK! stock is dead simple.  On my 870, I used a screw driver to remove the recoil pad and then the single screw that holds the factory stock to the receiver.  The SpecOps stock then mounts directly to the 870 receiver.

BLACKHAWK! includes a special tool to tighten the bolt in the stock to the receiver.  The whole process is extremely easy and takes less than five minutes.

For some shotguns, the BLACKHAWK! stock includes a new forend.  The BLACKHAWK! forend feels good in the hand, but I liked the stock Remington forend already on my gun.  So, I did not swap out that part.

Range Time

I’ve had many occasions to shoot guns with SpecOps stocks.  The first time was at the Norfolk Police Department range with veteran shooter and trainer Todd Jarrett.  Todd demonstrated the stock, and I had a chance to give the system a serious workout with slugs and buckshot.

The reduction in felt recoil was nothing short of amazing.  I’ve shot a lot of heavy loads through defensive shotguns, read: lightweight guns with an 18-inch barrel.  Even though I enjoy shooting them, the recoil is stout.

With the BLACKHAWK! stocks attached, felt recoil melts away, creating less muzzle rise and faster follow-up shots.

While on the range, I shot a pistol grip breacher stock with the KNOXX technology.  I was amazed at how controllable shooting without a shoulder stock was.  No sting, no pain. 

I had a chance that day to shoot some 300 Win Mag through a Ruger M77 outfitted with another BLACKHAWK! recoil reduction stock.  Again, I was pleasantly surprised at how light the recoil was.

Since my time in Norfolk, I’ve shot my own 870 quite a bit with the SpecOps stock.  I am still impressed by the amount of recoil reduction the KNOXX system provides.


Going from a simple factory stock to the more complex design of the SpecOps did cause me concerns about possible problems with long term durability.  After all, when you add more moving parts, you theoretically increase the potential of failure.

I have experienced no problems at all with my BLACKHAWK! stock.  I probably shoot my shotgun more often, and with heavier rounds, than most people, but I have not experienced a single hiccup or failure.

The National Tactical Officers Association, a professional organization for SWAT cops, tested the BLACKHAWK! SpecOps and gave it their “Member Tested and Recommended” stamp of approval.  These guys are sure to abuse the shotgun stock more than I will, and they were able to recommend the stock.

Whole Line of Stocks

The BLACKHAWK! SpecOps stock is an excellent choice for your shotgun, but there are more recoil reducing stocks from the company. 

In the SpecOps line, you can get a folding stock in addition to the breacher stock I mentioned previously.  The SpecOps stock is also available with a universal hunting camo pattern for taking afield. 

If you prefer the look of a standard shotgun stock without a pistol grip, BLACKHAWK! offers the CompStock.  Although not as effective as the SpecOps, the CompStock still reduces recoil by more than 50 percent.

For rifles, BLACKHAWK! offers the Axiom stock, which is a pistol grip, adjustable length stock like the SpecOps.  The company also offers a camo pattern Axiom, a thumbhole Axiom and a CompStock.

I cannot recommend the BLACKHAWK! stocks highly enough.  They offer a superb value in recoil reduction and improved gun to shooter fit.  I trust these stocks so much that I put one on my police duty shotgun, and I have a SpecOps on my home defense shotgun.