For a generation, this model was the standard for many law enforcement agencies nationwide, from small-town municipal cops to rural sheriff’s deputies, big city police in densely populated urban areas, and highway-bound state troopers. Coming to Guns.com from an Arizona police distributor, there are no indications of what department they originated from, but Remington says their serial number range dates from October 1997.
A decade ago, Big Green proudly announced over 10 million assorted 870 models had been manufactured since the pump was first introduced in 1950, calling it the most prolific shotgun in history. Today, Remington says this number has surged past the 12 million mark. With that being said, 870Ps are different from your classic wooden-furniture Wingmaster field guns and Express-series entry level guns. They use a shortened Speedfeed style forend rather than the typical oversized grip that most 870 sporting guns have installed. They also utilize a more rugged all-metal police trigger group, fewer MIM parts, and were produced with an extensive QC process. The 870P series typically use a parkerized finished.
Each 870P has a receiver that is machined from a single billet of ordnance steel and, due to its “Magnum” style, has a larger ejection port. Inside the receiver are double ejection bars that are ready to cycle through just about any 12-gauge factory hull you can stuff into the gun. While several 870P models were and are currently made with short barrels that require an ATF Form 4 to transfer (or tax-free Form 5 for LE), these trade-ins currently in the vault have 18-inch barrels with 4+1 round magazine tubes. While some 870Ps run rifle sights, these cylinder bored models have a simple steel bead front.
Another part of the allure of these police riot guns is that, although they were introduced in 1994, for most of their production run they have been restricted to LE and military sales through Remington Defense only — although the company says that may change for some models in the future. That means most 870Ps floating around are police trade-ins, a source of guns that is getting smaller every year as progressive city and county governments are increasingly mandating their local agencies send surplus guns to the shredder rather than try to pass them on to licensed dealers for resale.
Still, while these trade-ins aren’t pretty, they have a lot of character (did we mention the rack numbers?) and honest wear but still function fine enough to bust some watermelons around camp or tap in for home defense. Polyester pants, PR-24s, Motorola HT600s, and copstaches not included.