Rock Island Armory recently introduced a new shotgun to their lineup called the VR80. The RIA VR80 is a semi-automatic 12 gauge shotgun that uses a five shell box magazine and a gas piston system that functions smooth and flawlessly. It will accept both 2 3/4 and 3 inch shotgun shells. The lower receiver and fore-end hand-guard are made of anodized aluminum which adds weight (9 pounds loaded with five shells) to the shotgun thus decreasing the felt recoil. The polymer stock has a connecting arm to the grip that gives it a different look and Rock Island mentioned it is compatible with most buffer tube stocks and pistol grips. The VR80 comes with flip up rear and front sights along with three chokes (cylinder bore, modified and full) which is a nice touch for a shotgun that has an MSRP of $699.
The Rock Island VR80 has controls that mimic the M16. The thumb safety, bolt release and magazine release are all commonly positioned on the lower receiver similar to the M16 (AR15) rifle. It uses an over-sized right side charging handle that can be switched to the left side of the shotgun making that feature left-handed friendly. The RIA VR80 has a 20 inch barrel with a thick barrel shroud near the muzzle. Simply by removing the barrel shroud, then the hand-guard, the VR80 disassembles quite easy. This shotgun, that resembles a heavy duty combat rifle, looks extremely tactical yet is simple enough for the average working man to operate.
I took the Rock Island VR80 to the range to see if this shotgun fires as well as it looked. I used Fiocchi 7.5 bird shot loads that travel at 1330 feet per second. After the first couple shots, I knew this shotgun was a winner. Given the weight and gas piston system, the recoil was easily managed and the shots were on target. I also used some cheap low brass 7.5 target loads to see if the VR80 would cycle low energy loads. This shotgun ate them up like a fat man in a Chinese buffet.
If you watch the video below, you will see that I set up pizza box targets eight yards away to measure the shot pattern for each of the chokes included with the VR80. Just as expected, the cylinder bore choke had the widest pattern followed by the modified and the full choke had the tightest pattern. Most firearm manufactures will include one choke in the case but the fact that Rock Island Armory includes three chokes and a choke wrench speaks volumes to me.
Overall, the Rock Island VR80 was excellent. Really enjoyed shooting this shotgun and feel it made with quality parts and loaded with accessories. Watch the video below and let us know your thoughts about this new Rock Island VR80 semi-auto shotgun.