I’m a fan of mini shotgun shells like the Aguila Mini Shells and Federal Shorty Shells. I realize they have their limitations concerning range and power level compared to full-sized shells, but I think they’re still a viable option if you keep those things in mind. The biggest problem with mini shells is that they won’t cycle a semi-automatic shotgun, and many pump shotguns don’t feed them well either. Mossberg’s new 590S series shotguns are designed with a lifter assembly so that they feed minis right from the factory. The nice thing is that they still feed 2 3/4- and 3-inch shells as well with no modification. If you’re buying a new gun, that’s great. But, if you’re one of the millions of people who already has a Mossberg, there is another option. Defender Tactical has made a drop-in Universal Mini Shell Adapter that converts you’re existing gun to feed minis for years. I have them installed in my Mossberg 590A1 and Mossberg Shockwave in fact. Now, they just dropped a more comprehensive conversion called the Mini-Pro Lifter and Cartridge Arrestor System.

 

Whereas the Mini Shell Adapter was just that, an add-on part that allowed the Mossberg to feed mini shells reliably, the new Pro Lifter and Assembly system is an OEM-like solution. It uses a hardened steel lifter, a vulcanized rubber cartridge arrestor and a red anodized 6061-T6 billet aluminum follower. This essentially converts your existing gun into a system like the factory 590S. It will work on any Mossberg 500, 590 or Maverick 88 pump-action 12 gauge that has machined grooves in the receiver.

 

I’ve had very good luck with the Universal Mini Shell Adapter already, and the new Mini Pro Lifter and Cartridge Arrestor System is even more bombproof. Having the ability to run minis, standard 2 3/4-inch shells and 3-inch shells with no modification to your gun, and even mixing and matching rounds in the tube, is pretty darn versatile. Mini shells are lower recoil, can be great for training and add quite a bit to capacity. You can get nine mini shells in a six-shot magazine tube, and a whopping 13 in a nine-shot tube. While mini shell buck doesn’t have the same performance as full-power buck, that’s still a hefty amount of lead you’re putting out from a low-recoil platform. If you aren’t sure about the buck, there’s always the option of using mini shell slugs as well. A 7/8-ounce, .73-caliber lead slug at 1,300 fps is nothing to scoff at!

The Defender Tactical Mini Pro Lifter and Cartridge Arrestor System sells for $65 and is a pretty reasonable way to upgrade your existing Mossberg or Maverick 12-gauge shotgun without losing the ability to still run traditional shells.

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