The tactical shotgun under review is the FN SLP with the 18.5 inch barrel, full length 6 shell (2 3/4 length) magazine and an adjustable aperture affixed to a small receiver mounted Picatinny rail.
In the box:
All the accoutrements catalogued by FN were present. Additionally, they supplied the 4 cosmetic receiver screws required if the Picatinny rail is removed. Of note; the Improved Cylinder choke was installed in the barrel at the factory and the spare furnished is a steel shot rated Full for such or Improved Modified for lead shot.
The firearm had no blemishes from the factory.
The gun came heavily covered in protective substance, more so than any firearm I have recently received. Fortunately, the coating was not quite on a par with the old US cosmoline coating so the clean-up was completed in about 1 hour per the instruction in FN's supplied Owner's Manual. During the clean-up I noticed the "light" gas piston was installed at the factory.
Initially I will be shooting and using the following in this firearm; Cabela's Estate 00 buck and Winchester 1 oz. Foster slugs. All shells are 2 3/4 length and neither is a magnum loading.
All shooting is done offhand.
Day One Shoot (Saturday, 1/9/2010):
The range temperature was zero degrees F. The gun was sighted at 25 yards with three slugs so that it is about 4 inches high. The initial buckshot shooting was at 20 yards. I then fired the slugs at approximately 60 yards, 80 yards and 100 yards. At 100 yards the slugs are spot on, at 80 yards about 3 inches high and at 60 about 6 inches high. The ten slugs and 12 buckshot all cycled flawlessly through the firearm.
Day Two Shoot (Sunday, 1/10/2010):
A balmy 6 degrees this morning. Initially I tried the "heavy" piston. It cycled the slugs but failed to do so with the Estate buckshot. Back to the clubhouse and in with the "light" piston. Fired 18 slugs today and about 20 buckshot.
Post Shoot Comments:
1] The sights are great for a 100 yards and under shotgun; with a large ghost ring that allows rapid target acquisition when coupled with the generous white dot front sight. The protective sides of the rear aperture sight are unobtrusive in rapid fire; whereas the front sight protective wings could be a little further laterally from the sight dot. However, this is not a serious clutter problem and the sight picture at close ranges from this sight system is quite adequate with either slugs or buckshot, consistently giving on aim hits that are delivered with decent rapidity and repeatability.
2] I like the shotgun's ergonomics. The cocking handle is large enough for good purchase, but no so large as to be obtrusive in the general gun handling process. The safety button is large enough for me; I would rather it was in the front of the trigger guard, but it is certainly effectively usable as supplied. The magazine is easy to load and unload; with the feed button being quite accessible and easy to use.
3] The shotgun is surprisingly well balanced whether the magazine is holding zero or six shells. The gun sweeps smoothly side to side; with no tending to overswing such that the target acquisition is interrupted. Additionally, the gun comes up quickly and smoothly to one's shoulder for a rapid snap shot with slugs; again, there is no tendancy for the barrel to wobble.
4] The length, weight and balance make the gun easy to carry at ready arms; either in one hand or using two for a port arms hold. Also, a rapid transition from a right hand carry to shoulder is easy due to the weight, length and point of balance of this firearm. Finally, the length is an aid in general handling, allowing transition form different positions without the gun hitting the ground or becoming unwieldy.
Well, there is my impression of the FN SLP from about 60 shots and three hours of carrying the gun on the club tactical range. I have handled a few tactical shotguns before at the club, but I have never owned such, thus my hands on time was quite limited. IMO, this shotgun handles favorably in comparison with some of my favorite tactical rifles (of which I own quite a few). Now to find a three gun competition in Minnesota.