If you’ve seen any of my articles you may notice I tend to have a bit of a love affair with shotguns. I think it’s a family gene passed down because the men in my family seem to be pretty skilled with the old scatter gun. It’s safe to say I own more shotguns than any other weapon. I was even the rare Marine issued a shotgun in my platoon. Because I’ve used shotguns so often, and so much I’ve learned to really appreciate their strengths, and come to terms with their weaknesses. The biggest weakness is tied to their ammunition. Shotguns have a low magazine capacity, bulky ammunition, and the current means to carry extra ammo is pretty limited. That’s where the AmmoPal comes in.
Extra Ammo Options
When it comes to carrying extra shotgun ammo your choices are quite limited. Basically, you have side saddles on shotguns, and then some form of loop based carrying system. Nylon and leather bandoleers have been around for decades and are the go to means of carrying ammo. Most other options include some variation of a loop based ammo carrying system. The 5.11 VTAC MOLLE bandoleers come to mind.
They all rely on the same elastic or polymer loop to hold single rounds of ammo. Some are better than others, but they all suffer the same problem. They are often bulky, the shells are exposed to the environment, and they aren’t the fastest or most intuitive system for reloading a shotgun.
Alternatively, you have 3 Gun caddies that allow more rapid reloads, but outside of 3 gun they aren’t too hot. They have retention issues and aren’t great for tactical, or even hunting applications. Oh, they are also ridiculously expensive.
Introducing the AmmoPal
The AmmoPal is a unique means to carry ammunition and abandons the idea of using a loop system. The AmmoPal is basically a large magazine that doesn’t go in the gun. It’s the most modern means I’ve seen the carry spare ammo for the shotgun. You load ten rounds just like you would a magazine and it holds them in place and feeds them to you as necessary.
The AmmoPal holds the round in place with two teeth, and in between the teeth is a wide gap that allows you to grip and rip rounds. You can load the magazine with the shells facing left or right, or even alternating. The polymer body fully encompasses the shells, minus the first shell on tap.
This protects the rounds from dirt, dust, moisture, etc. The AmmoPal comes with two clips that can connect in a variety of locations on the AmmoPal. These clips allow you to mount the AmmoPal to MOLLE platforms like plate carriers, to belts, or if you’re creative even inside a cargo pocket.
The AmmoPal itself isn’t pigeonholed to one role or another. It’s perfect for hunting, clay shooting, and tactical use. The only thing I could see it being weak in is 3 Gun. The AmmoPal is much more convenient that a bandoleer, has more retention than a caddy, and is a lot better than fishing around a jacket or cargo pocket for extra ammo.
The AmmoPal in Use
So I’ve been testing the TriStar Tec 12, and by now the review is likely posted. If you checked it out you likely saw the AmmoPal rocking on my Blue Force Gear Plate Carrier. It mounts nice and securely to the carrier and with a little adjustment to the left I got it just right for reaching reloads. I’ve also been using it with my Mossberg 590 Shockwave, Remington Tac 14, and Mossberg 930 SPX.
Admittedly this is still a slower means to reload a shotgun, it’s difficult to try and remove more than one round at a time. In some ways, it’s faster than a bandoleer, and in others ways, it’s about equal. It’s equal when you reload from the bandoleer perfectly when you draw the rough the right way when your hand finds the round, and you don’t miss it reaching for an empty loop. Where the AmmoPal is faster is when you factor in consistency. It’s also much easier to work when wearing than a bandoleer.
With a belt based bandoleer you have to move left to right or right to left as you do multiple reloads. This could leave you reaching for an empty loop and having to adjust to find a round. This, of course, assumes you are keeping your eyes downrange as you reload. With the AmmoPal the ammunition is consistently in the same place, each and every time.
Side Saddle Cooperation
A few of my shotguns rock Side Saddles and reloading from the side saddle is much faster in my opinion, and more intuitive. So if I was in a fight I’d reload from the side saddle first. From a tactical perspective, I see the AmmoPal as being suited for reloading a side saddle.
Rocking it with my Mossberg 930 SPX I would reload from the side saddle into the gun, and then from the AmmoPal into the side saddle. In a fight, I want to reload, get the gun topped off and in action as fast as possible. Whenever a lull occurs I can then reload the side saddle. With that being said it’s still easy to load from the AmmoPal to the gun. The BFG Plate Minus carrier is tiny, but I could easily fit three AmmoPals side by side on it for thirty rounds of 12 gauge power. Like everything, you need to train with it.
Besides being used tactically this will be a blast for both hunting and clay shooting. If you are shooting birds, or clays it’s good to have a few extra rounds on tap. A few AmmoPals gives you an organized means to carry a little additional ammo.
Like with anything there is some compromises you have to make. For one, you can’t see the ammunition in the carrier. If you were rocking multiple kinds of shells you couldn’t easily mix and match without multiple AmmoPals. You’d need one dedicated to buckshot, one dedicated to slugs, etc. With a bandoleer, I could line them up and visually see which is which.
Is it Good To Go?
Well, it’s durable that’s for sure. I’ve tossed it around quite a bit. Since it’s connected to my plate carrier it’s been banged off my plates quite a few times. It’s been dropped, tossed in a truck, and bounced around with use.
I’ve used Winchester PDX shells, Federal 00 bucks, Fiocchi 00 buck, Federal Birdshot, Winchester birdshot, and Remington No 1 buckshot. They all fit and fed without issue or modification. It’s a smooth feeding device, and it works as advertised. I love the idea and plan to get 2 more AmmoPals soon. This way I can increase capacity, and load a multitude of different shells for different purposes.
(Not sure if it’s possible, but a Mini Version for the Aguila minishells would be perfect for the Shockwave + Opsol mini clip. Just saying AmmoPal.)