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Op-Ed: Rock Island VR80 – new shotgun for 2019

Rock Island VR80 shotgun. (Courtesy of Dan Abraham)
January 02, 2019

Rock Island Armory recently introduced a new 12 gauge shotgun to their line called the VR80. The Rock Island VR80 is a magazine fed, gas piston operated shotgun that has a slimline look and feel of an AR15. The controls are also in a similar position. The thumb safety, bolt release, magazine release and disassemble pins are located on the shotgun and mimic an AR15. The polymer stock has a connecting bar to the grip for states that do not allow a free-standing vertical grip. Rock Island states that the stock is compatible with most commercial buffer tube stocks and grips for those shooters who do not prefer the connecting bar.

The VR80 uses an anodized aluminum lower receiver and handguard, a 20-inch contoured barrel and flip up sights. They also include three shotgun chokes in the case (cylinder, modified and full) which I feel is a nice touch from Rock Island considering the most manufacturers include only one choke in the case. The magazine carries five shells of 12 gauge. The VR80 will accept 2 ¾” and 3” shells. Aftermarket companies already have higher capacity magazines available in both nine and 19 round capacity.

I took the Rock Island VR80 to the range and was pleased with its recoil management. The weight of the VR80 (nine pounds loaded) coupled with the gas piston operating system allowed for a manageable and controlled shooting experience. The 12 gauge ammo I used was 2 ¾” Fiocchi 7.5 shot bird loads. With the help of empty pizza boxes, I shot the VR80 with the modified, cylinder bore and full choke to measure the bird load spread pattern. From eight yards, as expected, the cylinder bore choke had the widest pattern, followed by the modified choke, and the full choke had the tightest pattern.

The MSRP for the Rock Island VR80 is $699. Once released, I believe the VR80 will sell for around $600. Considering all that is included in this package, I feel this is a fair deal. Check out the video below to learn more about the Rock Island VR80 and let us know your thoughts about this new release shotgun for 2019.

Dan is an outspoken supporter of the 2nd Amendment. He uses his YouTube channel, “TheFireArmGuy” to spread his 2A message along with reviewing and shooting all types of firearms.

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