Shotguns are some of the most versatile and powerful long guns available. The ability to fire different ammo types and the sheer force of most shotgun rounds means that a shotgun is seldom out of uses.
One thing it is often short of though, is ammo. There are a lot of ways to carry extra ammo on gear or the gun itself, and there are similar products to the Maxpedition out there. We'll share our observations, and you can decide if their shell card is right for you.
Maxpedition's shotgun card is a stiff-backed card with hook material on the back facing for attachment to a loop field on a the shotgun or a piece of gear. The front of the card has six elastic loops for shells. It securely holds every 12-gauge shell I've tried, and will not allow the shells to fall free when fully inserted into the loops. 20-gauge shells work in these cards as well, and are retained snugly despite their smaller size.
The card's border and elastic loops are gray, as is the back. The color, which is only khaki according to their site, is on the front panel inside the borders and mostly obscured by the shell loops, so the overall item color is gray. The khaki doesn't stand out at all, so if you're concerned with matching gear, this is not khaki. But then again... its a small piece of gear you can slap pretty much anywhere and get six more rounds for that shotgun.
The Maxpedition tag sticks out of one of the short ends. The tag is looped, so it is an excellent place to add a pull for quick extraction from a pouch or to be ditched from a piece of gear. I added a Kydex pull tab, one of our ECPT's, which formed a tactile and positive grip and index point without getting in the way or adding weight.
The stitching on the card is very well done. The stitching is straight, heavy duty, and even. You can rip this card off of gear and throw it around with no fear of it coming apart.
The card itself is very stiff. It does not curl or fold easily, even when left loaded. I see this as a good thing, I've made a few homemade shotgun cards myself, and they curl up if left loaded too long. I know other cards are stiff to prevent this, but this is one of the most rigid cards out there due it its size and backing.
And that brings me to the one downside of the Maxpedition card. The size. The Maxepdition cards are 3"X 6". This makes them a bit bigger than other cards out there. Many of the minimalist designs are barely larger than the elastic loops. So the Maxpedition covers up more space on gear or on a gun. This hasn't been a problem for me so far, but it does look strange on a shotgun receiver, and does impact the field of view a bit. I'll test out smaller cards and see which I prefer, but I like the durability of the Maxpedition and the ease of throwing it on a loop field due to the large footprint of the piece.
I'm going to preface this section by admitting that I'm not a 3-Gun shooter (yet) and I have many more training hours logged on my pistols and carbines than my shotgun. That said, in the amount of time I've spent running a shotgun, I've developed some fairly distinct preferences. Coming from semi-auto pistols and rifles, the capacity on most shotguns is staggeringly limited to me. When I bought the Maxpedition cards, it was with the intention of getting extra rounds on the gun to help offset the capacity issue.
Using a shotgun with a shell caddy onboard makes sense. Extra rounds in the gun means that gun is in the fight longer, and that you have more rounds on hand if the gun is the only thing you can get to in an emergency. That's important if your shotgun is a part of your bug-out plan or is your trunk gun. If you depend on a shotgun for home defense, you have extra ammo on hand, which is especially important in smaller capacity guns or semi autos.
However, just like a Redi-Mag, the speed of your reloads comes from the gun itself. With a shell caddy, if you don't reload the caddy in a lull, once you load those rounds from the caddy, you have no further advantage with that piece of equipment. Reloading to that caddy can be a slow process, as you have to reload the shells individually. When using a shell card, you can rip off the empty card and slap a full one on. Just like changing a magazine in an AR, you have a full compliment of rounds back on the gun in short order. My standard setup is to start with one card on the gun, a second card on my chest rig so I can do single reloads to the chamber or put the whole card on the gun as needed. Spare cards are kept in my pouches or other hook-and-loop fields on my gear.
Numerous tactical bags and gun cases have soft side hook-and-loop on the outside for patches, or on the inside for securing gear. I've added a card to the outside of my LAPG bug-out bag with more attached to the interior hook-and-loop field. This gives me the ability to get six rounds out and back onto the gun with the rounds oriented the way that I want without fumbling for rounds individually. Additionally, since hook-and-loop fields are common on tactical gear, this setup allows me to keep multiple shotguns in the fight as I can pass out packs of ammo to other shooters.
There is a big cost difference between the Maxpedition shell cards and most shell caddies and saddles. You can find the Maxpedition cards for less than $15 most places, while most caddies are at least double that, some costing more than $100. Many of these options also require you to drill your receiver to screw the caddy onto the gun, and for many people, myself included, that's a no-go.
Adding a hook-and-loop shell card to your gun is quite easy. Simply wipe down the part of the gun you want to add it to with rubbing alcohol, attach the soft side of the hook-and-loop material, and viola, you're all set. If you need to take it off, simply reverse the process.
If you are looking to add extra rounds to your scattergun or to have a backup source of ammo you can deploy in a hurry, you're probably looking for a shot shell card. The Maxpedition offering is sturdy, functions well, and is priced right.
To get more rounds into the fight, head over to Maxpedition's site and pick up a few.
Kinetic Concepts Tactical