As one of the first practical firearms, shotguns came into use in the early 1600s; through the centuries, they were mostly used for hunting and leisure shooting.
However, their sporting image was severely interrupted in the blood-soaked mud of French and Belgian battlefields. Since then, they have become an inevitable part of every military arsenal.
The American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) bring with them a manual-actuated pump slide shotgun previously tested in the Philippines and Mexico as a close-range weapon of devastating firepower.
It was a Winchester Model 1897, a specially designed variant adopted as the U.S. “Model 1917 Trench Shotgun,” or M97 for short. The most distinctive feature of this militarized shotgun was its perforated heat shield over the barrel and bayonet mounting.
Being one of the most intimidating looking firearms ever made, the modified Model 1897 soon earned the nickname "trench broom" on the western front.
Comparison Chart of the Best Remington 870 Heat Shields
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Are All Heat Shields The Same?
Although some gun writers refer to a shotgun as a strictly "business only” plain gun, many owners want to personalize their shotguns, considering the barrel shrouds as an excellent addition for the sake of looks without affecting the reliability of the weapon.
Initially, heat shields were machined of steel; however, today their construction largely features lighter materials resistant to impact and high temperatures, such as 7075-T6 aluminum or some types of synthetics.
Along with maximum protection and heat dissipation, well-designed heat shields also serve as an attachment base for sights or sling swivels. Besides these useful features, you may even be able to find a heat shield that contains silicone pads to guard the barrel from scratches.
Pros and Cons of Heat Shields
The original purpose of heat shields was to protect the forward hand from the barrel heat caused by firing dozens of rounds in a short period. Another purpose was to allow the mounting of a bayonet as a last-ditch measure.
Whereas the military "trench" style guns were a pretty impressive weapon, today we consider these types of barrel shrouds a relic of the shotguns used in the trenches of WWI.
Contemporary barrel shrouds or heat shields for combat shotguns are devices designed with the primary intention of protecting the operator's hands from burns while adding the safety and comfort to the shooter. After the quick firing of dozen and more shells downrange, you will have a very hot barrel; heat shields will protect your hands during handling and reloading.
One practical application for a barrel shroud is protecting the barrel from dents during hard use. With these protective benefits on mind, heat shields and shrouds, without doubt, add great tactical looks to the weapon, which may be the prevailing reason for some owners.
Of course, you should be aware of some of the drawbacks that you may experience from attaching heatshields/barrel shrouds onto your Remington 870. Some users consider heat shields and barrel shrouds as unpractical accessories, quoting inability to clean a shotgun properly.
Since thorough cleaning requires that the heat shield to be removed, such frequent action can cause scratches or damage the finish on the barrel. Also, improper installation may allow the shield to move while under recoil causing scratching and flipping around the barrel.
What Makes a Great Heat Shield?
Some might think that a heat shield or shroud on a home defense (H.D.) shotgun is a poor idea; however, once they have the shield attached, they will realize the many advantages of a properly built, designed, and installed heat shield.
Quality heat shields are usually built from tubular steel, aluminum, or polymer with a unique pattern for heat dispersion. Many gun experts recommend heat shields made of metal, but modern technology provides exceptionally durable plastic and nonmetal composite materials. These synthetic materials will not rust or melt and will conduct heat several times less than metal heat shields.
Standard shields apply a front band locking clamp, single or double, but enhanced models also feature a friction-fit bracket at the rear for a recoil resistant fit on the barrel. A good quality heat shield should have pads that protect the barrel surface from scratches and prevent metal-to-metal contact.
You may also find and install a shield/shroud with a MIL-STD-1913 Picatinny sight rail, though it will add some extra weight to your weapon.
Most heat shields are universal by design, but some might need a custom fit to the firearm. To avoid any frustrating issues, you should select a heat shield that is easy to install with minimum tools.
The market currently offers heat shields in many variations and finishes. However, the most common finish is matte blue or matte black because these colors match the best barrels of your Remington 870 shotgun.
Review of the Best Remington 870 Heat Shields
Heat shields themselves weigh very little and add tactical versatility to any shotgun, but they are by far the most popular with the 12-gauge Remington 870. The list below includes three top-ranked heat shields for your Rem 870.
Advanced Technology - Heat Shield
The Advanced Technology Classic Shotgun heat shield is machined of formed steel with a black oxide finish, which matches your Remington 870 shotgun finish. The elongated cooling slots of this shield are the most distinctive feature, with the primary function to provide maximum dissipation of heat and also to protect the user’s hands from getting burned.
Moreover, this barrel shroud offers shooters an additional surface that is not slippery in wet hands, making it totally secure for the handling and control of the hard-kicking 12-gauge shotgun.
Measuring at 13 ½ inches long and weighing less than3 ounces, the all-steel ATI heat shield is quite light and compact. It also means that ATI shield does not add any noticeable bulkiness or weight to the barrel of the shotgun.
It installs easily and quickly in about 10 minutes and all you have to do is slide the shroud over the barrel and secure it in place with supplied hardware. Although this shroud requires no modifications to the firearm, if you have a barrel with rifle sights, you will have to make some simple alterations to it.
The Advanced Technology heat shield model SHS1300 is by far the most popular with the Remington 870; that being said, it is not a custom piece built specifically to this pump action shotgun, meaning that it is compatible with virtually all 12-gauge plain barreled shotguns that don’t have a ventilated rib.
Just note that any other accessories on your shotgun could interfere with the heat shield; be prepared to modify these parts to work properly with heat shield installed.
This upgrade from ATI is actually a handguard that covers the barrel and helps to prevent burns. Of course, it would add a fierce look to your shotgun, making your Rem 870 look tremendous and intimidating at the same time.
The Advanced Technology model with manufacturer part number A.5.10.2481 is built specifically for your Remington 870. Machined of high strength steel, the ATI Deluxe Halo heat shield is finished with matte black powder coating to match your firearm perfectly.
While this heat shield is compatible with 12-gauge Rem 870, it will fit most .410, 20-gauge and 16-gauge pump action Remingtons. Remington 870 Deluxe Halo heat shield is 13 inches long and has elongated cooling slots designed as a ventilation system.
With considerably reduced weight, this ventilation system would protect the shooter's hands from getting burnt. This Halo shroud features an advanced free-float design, which utilizes the heat-resistant silicon pads that provide 1/8 of an inch of separation from the shield and barrel reducing heat and eliminating metal-to-metal contact.
The ATI Halo barrel shield is secured to the rear of the barrel with a DuPont Extreme Temperature clip and with two polymer V-Blocks at the front. However, according to some users’ reviews, this attachment method won't stop the shroud from rotating left or right a bit.
The Advanced Technology Deluxe Halo heat shield boasts aluminum CNC machined Ghost ring sight with a large, .122" I.D. aperture for easy targeting. Finally, to justify its “Deluxe” name, the ATI ventilated metal unit sports a rail attachment with two 6061 T6 aluminum Picatinny rails.
This ATI lightweight, the ventilated design requires no permanent alterations, but it does not fit vented rib barrels like the most of barrel shrouds. In some cases, the installation of the heat shield might interfere slightly with your forend, requiring you to modify the forend.
Best for the Money:
GSI Shotgun Mount 12GA
Intended to fit most popular 12-gauge pump action shotguns, the most affordable metal heat shield on our list comes from the GSI (Gear, Solutions + Innovations) manufacturer. The GSI builds their universal barrel shrouds of tubular steel and protects with black oxide finish that should blend well with almost any shotgun that you put it on.
The GSI Shotgun heat shield is characterized by elongated cooling slots that provide maximum heat dissipation and secure, non-slip, grasping platform for your support arm. The heat shield is 13.5 inches (35cm) long and can be clamped onto the barrel of your Remington 870 quickly with supplied hardware.
In case you have mounted an extension tube on your Rem 870, then an adequately installed GSI heat shield will reinforce the stability of the whole system. While the GSI heat shield will do its primary function to protect your hands from burns, there are few complaints about imperfect coating and weak material that would not sit cleanly on the firearm.
The GSI steel heat shield is a decent candidate for budget-conscious shotgunners, allowing easy installation without requiring any modifications to the firearm. Besides protecting your hands from burns, it will improve your control and handling convenience.
There are many debates on gun forums about heat shields and their necessity on shoulder-fired guns. While some shooters consider shotgun heat shield to be great only in theory, this gun accessory finds its way to more and more shotguns for many reasons.
First, it really will save your hand from the hot barrel and will provide the user with a surface that is not slippery and totally secure. Secondly, it will not add noticeable weight to your Rem 870 shotgun. Finally, heatshields/shrouds install easily and quickly; they usually require no permanent modifications to your firearm.