First Look: Remington 870 DM (Detachable Magazine)— Full Review

It’s a banner day for pump shotguns.

We have waited a long time for this. Today, I am happy to report about the greatest leap forward in pump shotguns I have seen in my lifetime. This miracle of engineering is named the Remington 870 DM (Detachable Magazine). This has been a long time coming, and I am beyond excited to see it come from Big Green.

As an American, we tend to fall into one of two camps with pump guns. Either you are a Remington 870 fan, or a Mossberg 500 fan, which usually comes down to where you like the safety. I have been in the Remington camp since an early age. I don’t hate Mossbergs. I just like Remington better. And God knows Remington needed a win. There have been more than a few debacles over the last few years, some of which I have reviewed for GunsAmerica. Because of my longstanding love of the 870, I expect a lot from Big Green. And today, it looks like they delivered.

New Age for the Remington 870

Full disclosure, this gun has my full faith not because I pulled it out of the box and shot a couple rounds. Let’s be honest, such a radical departure for a pump gun requires more in-depth testing than a few days. I can say without question this shotgun will run because I did some of the Beta testings with it months ago. Given my reputation for speaking the truth, I told Remington from day one I would be beating the absolute living shit out of this gun if they wanted my stamp of approval.

As fast as I could shoot them, I burned up 600 rounds of mixed shells. Remington must’ve taken my previous review personally because over half of it was high brass pheasant loads. I did all kinds of terrible things to that gun. I tried to melt the plastic magazine follower. I pumped it by dropping it on the ground from eye level. I tossed it into a pond to cool it off so I could keep going. And it didn’t hiccup on me once.

Time will tell, but I think Remington has batted one out of the park here.

870 DM Tactical/Predator

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I will refrain from describing a Remington 870 here. If you haven’t seen one, welcome to the United States. We also have grocery stores, air conditioning, and horse-less carriages you might want to check out.

SPECS — 870 DM

  • Type: Magazine-fed pump shotgun
  • Capacity: 6-Round Detachable Magazine
  • Features: Tactical Corn-cob forend
  • Barrel: 18.5 in. /w extended ported tactical choke
  • Sights: XS Steel (front); Ghost Ring (rear)
  • MSRP: $529

870 DM Magpul

  • Type: Magazine-fed pump shotgun
  • Capacity: 6-Round Detachable Magazine
  • Features: Magpul MOE M-LOK forend
  • Barrel: 18.5 in. /w extended ported tactical choke
  • Sights: XS Steel (front); Ghost Ring (rear)
  • MSRP: $799

870 DM Tactical/Predator

  • Type: Magazine-fed pump shotgun
  • Capacity: 3 & 6-Round Detachable Magazine
  • Features: Overmolded SurShot Thumbhole Stock w/ SuperCell Recoil Pad
  • Barrel: 18.5 in. /w two Trulock Extended Chokes (Boar Blaster & Turkey/Predator)
  • Sights: XS Steel (front); Ghost Ring (rear)
  • Finish: Kryptek Highlander Camo
  • MSRP: $799

870 DM TAC-14

  • Type: Magazine-fed pump shotgun
  • Capacity: 6-Round Detachable Magazine
  • Features: Shockwave Grip & Magpul Forend
  • Barrel: 14 in.
  • Sights: Bead sight
  • MSRP: $559

There are going to be many configurations available for the new 870DM, in the future probably as many as there are now for 870 regulars. We received a single test model, and I can’t find a single fault in the choices made for the tactical version. The furniture is Magpul, a fantastic choice.

A few years back, the Magpul 870 dress up kit made some serious waves. The stock is a perfect length out of the box for me and uses spacers to change the length of pull. Drop two spacers, and you are set up for shooting while wearing armor. The stock is ambidextrous, with sling attachment points on both sides. The angle of the grip is ergonomically improved, and in my opinion is better than a true pistol grip. The fore end feels great in the hand, has a hand stop at either end for rapid manipulation, and is M-LOK compatible for accessories.

Tactical Versions

The tactical version features an 18.5-inch barrel, to keep us on the legal side. This is obviously the best choice if you don’t want to deal with a Short Barrel Shotgun NFA ordeal, and I don’t. Neither do most people. Preinstalled is a tactical breacher choke in cylinder bore. This choke not only makes it easier to plant the barrel for blasting doorknobs, it is ported to help with recoil. A nice feature in a dedicated tactical gun. Instead of the usual bead front with a prayer for a rear, Remington installed XS ghost ring sights.

Maybe not ideal for flying birds, but they worked great for slugs and steel target engagements. If you have ever needed to take a rifle type shot with a  shotgun, you know what a necessity a full set of sights are. Excellent choice Remington. I am impressed. Also in the positive category, this model comes with a Picatinny rail mounted on top of the receiver. The iron sights are nice, but most of us prefer a red dot. The 870DM is ready to accept your favorite holographic out of the box.

Magazines

Obviously, the big question is, “ How do the magazines work?”. Because this is a pump action, the traditional tube under the barrel remains. The pump has to have something to slide on, so why change this? The difference is, it’s no longer a magazine tube. Over the top of the old bottom load port is what looks like an overgrown magazine well. This is bolted on through the receiver, taking the place of what was previously one of the trigger pins.

The magazine fits in here, with the magazine retaining parts covering the old tube entrance. So basically, the magazine takes the place of the lifter and feeds shells directly to the bolt when you pump the gun. Overall, it adds a little bit of weight, but also distributes it in a different way. A fully loaded gun is no longer front heavy, at the cost of a few ounces of metal added to the middle. Because the magazine well would have almost covered the old action release lever, a new oversized lever takes its place. The same spot, so if you are an 870 shooter, the controls are familiar. In front of the magazine is a huge magazine release button. Exactly the opposite of an AK-47 magazine release as far as positioning goes. It works well but does require a bit of practice due to its location.

The magazines themselves are also well thought out. The strength of any weapon is the magazine that feeds it. There is a reason so many other weapons use Glock or AR-15 magazines, and it isn’t just popularity. Those designs have proven to be extremely reliable and durable, ask anyone with a pre-assault weapons ban stack. I have magazines that old I still use, and so do many others. Magazine design is extremely important, especially in a platform that has never been done. The 870 DM magazine is like nothing else, which tells us Big Green thought this through. The mag is all steel, and not some thin sheet hunk of garbage. There is some heft to it, and in this case, I see that as a good thing. The bottom half of the magazine has a thick overlay of plastic, both to increase grip ability and insulate the internals from shock when dropped. The spring is resilient, it takes some force to load to capacity. From what I see so far, I give Remington an A+ on magazine design for this one.

Why is this design so novel?

So why exactly am I so hot and bothered by this new 870 DM? Aren’t I the same guy that said less than 2 years ago I prefer rifles for home defense and tactical use? Yes, I am. And generally speaking, if you have a choice, I stand by that. But there are many reasons to like this new gun.

For starters, I said I like rifles better than shotguns, but many people are still going to prefer a shotgun. You’re a grown assed man or woman, that is your choice. I prefer light coffee too, we are all entitled to our opinion. But this gun being magazine fed pretty much negates my reloading argument. You can reload this shotgun just as fast as you can your AR, or close enough to make the difference moot. Magazine fed also means you can change the type of shells in the gun without some 17 step tactical ninja move that only works on the range, and only at the best of times then. Pretty handy for police officers, that might need to go from riot rounds to lethal ones quickly. Or for tactical work, from buckshot to slugs quickly. The hardest part of any tactical shotgun course prior to this was keeping your beast fed. That is no longer an issue.

Saftey First Another Reason to Love the 870 DM

The other benefits are more specialized, but they do matter. When I was teaching CQB, the hardest part of the shotgun instruction was manual of arms. Soldiers pretty much only use shotguns for breaching doors. ( By the way, those guns were Remington 870’s too.) This is probably hysterical to the cops and duck hunters in our audience, but most SF soldiers have never shot a shotgun when they show up to CQB school. Hell, the first gun I ever bought was an 870, and I was far from an expert by the time I started kicking doors. The point is, if you really think about it, using a pump shotgun requires a lot of steps.

SOP where I taught, and most units I know of, was to run a shotgun with a dry husk in the chamber. That is cruiser ready for you LE guys. Tube loaded, chamber empty, trigger pulled on the empty, safety off. That way when you need to use it, all you do is rack the pump, shoot, and off you go. If you accidentally chamber a live round, safety goes on, stow the gun, and get it back to dry husk when you have time. Obviously, a lot can go wrong. I saw more negligent discharges with shotguns than any other three weapons put together. The magazine fed version will make this much easier on everyone. Drop magazine. Set up gun. Insert magazine. Now you are good to go. And clearing the weapon is now extremely similar to clearing an M-4.

Current Offerings

Magazines are currently a 6 round capacity, but I bet we see 10 and 3 very soon. This is another huge benefit to the soldier. Our breaching guns were extremely short, the tubes held 3. Looking at the new magazine, 3 would almost be a flush fit on the mag well, which is awesome. I, and many of my brethren have been to “block parties” in the GWOT that lasted all night. I preferred to call that trick or treating, but block party won the naming convention. Mountains of doors blown, and reloading the breach gun gets old quick. It would be awesome to have the 3 capacity for normal days, and go to 10 for the nights that get crazy. The 870 DM ships with 1 magazine, availability of extras not known at this time.

This also has a benefit for the young guy that needs an all-purpose gun. Current retail on the 870 DM is about $700, but that is still cheaper than a good rifle. Combine that with the fact that many states prohibit rifles for hunting, and you see why those light on cash might only have a 12 gauge. It does triple duty for deer, ducks, and home defense. The new 870 DM being magazine fed makes it a much better choice for the defensive role and propels it to a viable combat weapon. Not my first choice, but it would get the job done better than it’s predecessors.

Lasting Impressions

This is a great day for 870 fans, and I am happy to find myself applauding Remington. This gun works great, the magazine system is great, and shooting this thing is guaranteed to make you smile. The DM model is like a boyhood dream come true. This looks like a turning point for Big Green, and I recommend you get one of these quick. No way they are going to be able to keep up with the demand the 870DM creates.

To purchase a Remington 870 on GunsAmerica, click here.

For more information about Remington shotguns, click here.

{ 10 comments… add one }
  • Arthur Frank December 16, 2017, 8:59 pm

    How much are the extra magazines going to cost. Does anyone know.

  • jim fletcher December 11, 2017, 10:27 am

    Clay

    Great article on the 870 DM. I would like to send you a free mag carrier for you new DM.

    Jim

  • Will Drider December 6, 2017, 3:57 pm

    Does the mag follower prevent bolt closure when mag is emptied? I.E. impede combat reload?
    Is the old mag tube receiver end blocked so extra shells can be stored in the tube if desired?
    The TAC-14DM will now match the Mossy’s capacity but looses the sleek profile. 10 Rounders might change the preference down the road. I still take the basic TAC-14 over the Mossy Shockwave even giving up one initial load shell.
    Thanks for the News.

    • Alan December 8, 2017, 9:14 am

      6 round magazines are way too small. A Remington 1187 automatic, with the magazine tune extension is much better. If they want to make a magazine that is useful, make it 10 round minimum. Carrying a lot of 6 round magazines and needing to change so often is not appealing.

  • Blue Dog December 6, 2017, 11:57 am

    The name Remington used to mean something. It used to inspire confidence in quality. Used to. Remington, like too many other good American names, has fallen from grace. Were my name Remington, I would be embarrassed to see my name on products like the 710, 770, 597, 887, RM380 and the R51, especially before they started working the kinks out of it. I might even feel a little embarrassed at a 783. Oh and what they have done to poor Marlin! I have seen outhouses with better wood-to-metal fitting than new 336s.
    This monstrosity will probably be pretty popular despite being ugly. The mag well even looks a little like they bolted on an AR-15 mag well, which some people may even consider a good thing! It is not a bad idea in and of itself, I just don’t like the execution. It’s not even a good ugly like my beloved old Stevens 520. It might be a good functioning gun – really, how hard is it to screw up a pump shotgun? Oh that’s right, the 887. That’s how easy.

  • Robert Smith December 5, 2017, 10:08 pm

    $529 for the basic model is quite a deal. A lot of other manufactures add some “custom” feature then jack up the price by a thousand dollars. The AR makers in particular. I like Remington’s efforts to keep their prices affordable. Not just on the 870 DM but most of their other new products, RP9, RM380, R51 – all good value for the money.

  • Greg December 5, 2017, 1:45 pm

    I wondered if this was going to happen eventually. My downer on shotguns for home defense was leaving rounds in the tube and permanently compressing the mag spring–which was never stout to begin with. Problem solved. Anyone know if you can still switch barrels out?

    • clay martin December 6, 2017, 2:39 pm

      yes you can. and I will test later today, but it looks initially like any 870 barrel will fit the new DM models

  • WD Shaw December 5, 2017, 1:07 pm

    Great review! Can’t wait to get a DM! THANKS Remington!

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