While Armscor and Rock Island Armory are known for a lot of firearms, including some semi-automatic shotguns such as the VR60, this year they showcased something new. Out at the 2019 SHOT Show Range Day, I had the opportunity to check out the highly-anticipated VR80.
So let’s start with what it is, it is a 12 gauge (3” chamber) shotgun. But while the VR60 shares the lines and design elements of the old M16-A2, the VR80 takes its cues from the modern, more modular evolution of the AR platform.
To that end, the entire upper/lower receiver and forend are constructed of 7075 T6 aluminum. Additionally, the forend features M-LOK compatible cuts at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions for mounting any accessories. Not to mention sections of 1913 Pic rail at the very end of the forend for even more bells and whistles.
The VR80 comes with folding iron sights, giving you the option to zero it and fire it straight out of the box, or simply lay the sights flat so that an optic can be used.
Something interesting with the VR80 is the incorporation of a fluted barrel shroud. By design, the shroud helps dissipate heat and protect the user from a hot barrel. As a byproduct of this, it makes the shotgun look, at first blush, like a suppressed AR-10.
While the stock and grip look pretty unconventional, this was done to allow the purchase of this rifle in states that aren’t the most gun friendly. Talking about you California… But, the beauty of the AR style of rifles is modularity. The stock and grip can be removed and replaced with any standard AR compatible grip as well as any stock compatible with a Commercial Buffer Tube.
With respect to capacity, the shotgun ships with (2) 5-round magazines. Nine round and 19 round magazines can be purchased as well. Spoiler, the 19 round magazine is crazy long, but if you need all those round, it is a solution.
Depending on your intended use, you can choke the VR80’s 20” barrel. The shotgun comes with cylinder, modified and full choke tubes. All the chokes are compatible with Benelli mobile chokes, should you be looking for other options.
The VR80 features ambidextrous fire controls. Users can move the reciprocating charging handle can to the left or right side of the gun, depending on their preference.
At the range I was able to put some rounds through the gun. My first impressions, it is a pretty handy shotgun. Shotguns can be difficult weapon systems to run. For me, having cut my teeth on a M16-A2, the entire manual of arms on most shotguns is totally foreign. But the VR80 capitalizes on the proven ergonomics of AR-patterned rifles. This, for me at least, made it very easy to manipulate, as the controls largely mirror those rifles, save the side charging handle.
So who is the market for this gun? I can see it doing well for someone in the 3-Gun world, someone in the market for a home defense solution, or even someone just looking to have fun at the range. The VR80 brings you all the power of a 12 gauge into a familiar and easily modifiable platform with a modest MSRP of $699.
Visit Armscor.com for more information on the RIA VR80 Shotgun.