I like shotguns, I really do, and I’m betting that lots of people do. With millions of Remington 870s and Mossberg 500s out there, I feel very comfortable saying that. The problem with those millions of 870s and 500s sold is that they dominate the aftermarket, and many shotguns get ignored when it comes to accessories. So, unfortunately, some good shotguns don’t have dedicated accessories.
One must-have accessory is a side-saddle. There are a few options out there for oddball shotguns, but today we are looking at the NC Star Universal Side Saddle.
NC Star? Really?
I know, I know, NC Star stuff is imported junk made from Chinesium. I get it. But as a shotgun connoisseur, I felt a need to give it a try. What attracted me to it wasn’t just its universal design, but how small the loops were. Compared to other options, they are relatively small, and I’ve recently built a dedicated mini shell firearm. The little loops make holding and retrieving mini shells easier than other designs.
The NC Star Universal Side Saddle — Break It Down
When I received the NC Star Universal Side Saddle, I was surprised that it was made from metal. I expected cheap plastic, and for a gun dedicated to mini shells, I would have been okay with that. Therefore, the metal design was a pleasant surprise.
The NC Star Universal Side Saddle comes with six loops in total, but if you choose, you can split the loops into sections of four and two. I did just that for my mini shell blaster and mounted four loops to the gun. The system mounts on via Velcro and includes the hook side. I suggest using automatic grade Velcro. It’s much more robust and will secure the side saddle to the gun exceptionally well. The use of Velcro isn’t a bad thing, and it’s the only way one of these systems can be universal.
Once the NC Star Universal Side Saddle was attached via Velcro, I began running some simple reloading drills using snap caps. These handy little caps are dummy rounds that allow me to safely practice reloading drills. I reloaded over and over again until arthritis in my left shoulder started acting up. The best part of my job is training while I write reviews!
The NC Star Universal Side Saddle has some weird levels of retention. The first two loops are easy to draw from whereas it’s the opposite for the two farthest away which are incredibly tight and stiff. Inside each loop is a rubber bar. They seem primed to be trimmed to better accommodate the tight retention. I plan to do so in order to fit my shells perfectly.
The NC Star Universal Side Saddle sticks tight to the Velcro. It stays put well through dozens of reloads and isn’t going to come off without real effort. This is a good thing; Lord knows the last thing you’d want is the shell carrier to slide off in the middle of a reload.
I’ve never been a fan of NC Star products and had regulated most to airsoft grade stuff, but the NC Star Universal Side Saddle has me surprised and impressed. For its low price and functionality over several different guns, the NC Star Side Saddle sells itself. I may prefer a dedicated option, but that’s not always possible. When it’s not, something like this might be your only choice.