Text & Photos by Jeff W. Zimba
Since the introduction of the first Serbu Super Shorty (SSS) in 1998, this firearm, once considered a novelty, has earned an enviable reputation.
Originally designed as a challenge to manufacture a very short repeat-action AOW from a close friend, the Serbu Super Shorty shotgun has achieved over 1,000 units sold and is now available in several configurations. (See Small Arms Review, Vol. 4 No. 6, March, 2001.) With documented customers that include police departments, foreign governments, military units and even Hollywood (Bad Boys II – Sony Pictures 2002 and others), Serbu Firearms has met the demand of their customers by offering their unique shotgun in 20-Guage and 12-Guage, as AOWs (Any Other Weapon) and Short Barreled Shotguns and has recently started manufacturing them on the Remington Model 870 platform as well as the original Mossberg/Maverick model. Current production includes all listed above in 12-Guage only.
The addition of the Remington Model 870 to the lineup is new; being recently offered in 2006. The Remington shotguns were not previously available from the factory in a “pistol grip” version, which is necessary for the AOW classification allowing the Form 4 transfer to take place with a $5 tax stamp.
The availability of the pistol grip version was not the only hurdle necessary to convert the Remington to the Super Shorty design. The Remington conversion takes considerably longer time to modify and shorten than those built on the Mossberg/Maverick platform because of the design of the magazine tube. The Remington design is silver soldiered rather than threaded like the Mossberg, creating a unique solution to complete the conversion.
All versions of the Super Shorty hold two rounds in the shortened magazine tube giving the operator a 3-round capacity when fully loaded. This pertains to both 2-3/4 inch rounds and 3-inch rounds. All accessories (unrelated to barrel length) designed for the original host firearms are still compatible with the Super Shorty including a wide variety of pistol grips. If you own the “Short Barreled Shotgun” version of the Super Shorty, all standard stocks can be utilized. With the large number of shotgun accessories available from companies such as Mesa Tactical and Advanced Technology, the possible configurations are almost unlimited.
While there are other short shotguns available, something that makes the Serbu Super Shorty stand apart from the others is the folding and locking front grip designed by Mark Serbu. Most shotguns in this class retain their horizontal forend making handling difficult at best and usually require a modified rear grip for retention and/or comfort. In the closed position the front grip of the Super Shorty takes up no more room than a standard forend. It is quickly and easily swung down to reveal a vertical front pistol grip giving the shooter a rock-solid secondary point of hold. This extremely important feature assists in comfort and control. The front grip allows the recoil to be divided into both hands instead of the rear hand taking the brunt of the sometimes-heavy recoil depending on the load used.
The folding front grip is manufactured from 4130 Steel and has a heavy checkering to assist in its gripping properties. It is spring-loaded in both the horizontal (storage) position and vertical (deployment) position and is locked into place with heavy lugs to prevent the chance of folding prematurely or in an unintentional situation. The front grip is one of the most important aspects of the entire Super Shorty upgrade, separating it from most similar offerings on the market today.
As well as just being a “neat” addition to any Class III gun collection, the Serbu Super Shorty has some very practical purposes. Besides the obvious advantage of being so compact in law enforcement or military urban room clearing operations, it can also be a useful backup tool in hunting situations such as when tracking wounded Black Bear. While guides need a defensive firearm at this point in a hunt, it is extremely desirable to have a small package due to the confined places often traveled at this stage. A small firearm is also advantageous due to the amount of hard work necessary when the bear is found and a full-length rifle or shotgun is quite cumbersome when dragging out a bear.
With an unloaded weight of only 4.75 pounds and an overall length of 17.5 inches, it is easy to pack while hiking and employs enough punch to be an effective deterrent for any predator. In a law enforcement or military role it makes an excellent breeching or CQB backup weapon.