[Ed. note: The information on the current generation of Knoxx Stock, the Blackhawk! Gen II SpecOps, was previously submitted during the 2012 SHOT Show. Â For whatever reason, I failed to get it posted properly. Better late than never, right?]
The Blackhawk booth at SHOT Show this year was a little more subdued than in previous years. In the last couple of years, the booth has been full of clothing, duty gear, breaching equipment, and weapons accessories. And there always seemed to be a steady stream of people moving through the booths.
This was the first full year after ATK bought Blackhawk back in mid-2010. The booth was combined into one large area instead of two areas, as in previous years. However, it seemed that the number of items on display seemed greatly reduced. Perhaps the idea was to focus on the most current offerings, as past years had a mixture of old and new. Whatever the marketing strategy was, it didnâ€™t stop Blackhawk from marketing some really nice products. One of those products was the redesigned and improved Gen II SpecOps Knoxx Stock that came out last year.
THE GEN I SPECOPS STOCK
The first generation SpecOps Knoxx stock was well received as a very versatile accessory option for shotgun shooters. Traditionally shotguns have either had a fixed stock, a fixed pistol grip stock, or no stock at all. The concept Blackhawk brought to shotgunners was to provide the best of all those features in one stock.
To that end Blackhawkâ€™s first-generation SpecOps stock had a 5-position adjustable polymer stock, similar to many AR-platform adjustable stocks, that could change the overall stock length by four inches – from 11.25â€ to 15.25â€. This would allow different-sized shooters the ability to customize the feel and grip of the shotgun to their particular frame. The stock came with an ergonomically designed pistol grip that had a non-slip texture. The SpecOps stock also came with a matching style fore-end grip for all models offered except the Remington 20-gauge shotgun.
The Gen I SpecOps stock also utilized the Knoxx dual recoil-compensation systems. These dual recoil spring systems were marketed as reducing felt recoil by as much as 85%! Anyone who has fired shotguns for lengthy periods knows that it doesnâ€™t take long before the pounding takes its effect – both physically and mentally. In effect, the SpecOps stock would allow any shooter the ability to shoot even the heaviest loads, including slugs, with confidence and reliable follow-up shot opportunities. The SpecOps stock was designed for a single bolt installation, making the transition from a standard stock easy and quick. The Gen I version has been out for about 8 years now.
THE GEN II SPECOPS STOCK
This year Blackhawk produces an improved SpecOps Gen II Knoxx stock with several very nice upgrades. In addition to the Gen I features, the upgrades should provide even greater comfort to the shooter, and increased confidence in the grip. While at the Blackhawk SHOT booth I got to talk with Blackhawk product marketing manager, Gary Cauble, and hereâ€™s what he had to say about the new Gen II SpecOps stock.
Perhaps the biggest upgrade is to the pistol grip of the stock. The design is even more ergonomic, using a modular ERGO grip that has two different sizes, and a palm swell to fill the hand better than traditional straight sided grips. The size change is made using removable rubber inserts in the grip. I got to handle a Remington 870 with the Gen II stock, and the new handle was remarkably better feeling than the Gen I stock. ERGO grips have made a name for themselves as a quality grip manufacturer and this new Blackhawk/ERGO combination is really nice. The grip seems to mold the the handâ€™s natural contour, and the feels very secure with similar non-slip features as the Gen I stock.
The Gen II stock still has an adjustable length feature and the patented Knoxx style dual recoil reduction system. That system has springs located in the stock and the pistol grip to help reduce the energy of the felt recoil to the shooter. That translates into less fatigue and better shooting. Blackhawk is still claiming the 85% reduction in recoil with the SpecOps Gen II stock over traditional shotgun stocks.
The Gen II stock also has several new features to add to the overall improvement. The new stock has changed the top portion of the stock from alloy to a polymer, reducing overall weight by one pound. The stock is now a 7-position adjustable stock, as opposed to the 5-positions found in the Gen I. The length can be adjusted from 11.25â€ to 15â€. This is a quarter inch less than the Gen I, but with 2-more adjustment positions. This should allow for an even greater ability to adjust the stock just right for the individual shooter.
The stock does have an integrated quick detach, push-button, sling swivel port on either side. This allows the shooter to have a variety of sling options from the single point, to a more traditional, or a 3-point sling. The single point sling attached in this position would hang similar to an AR-platform with a similarly placed sling attachment.
The Gen II also comes with an increased Limbsaver butt pad to further reduce felt recoil and to help prevent shoulder fatigue from heavy shooting. This butt pad has more mass than the Gen I version for a softer impact on the shoulder.
THE SLING PLATE
The ambidextrous sling plate addition is a new feature. It is located on the upper portion of the stockâ€™s side near the connection point of the stock with the receiver of the shotgun. This is a stationary aluminum attachment has a slit-like opening that is about 1.5â€ long.
This feature is designed to allow quick and easy attachment for single point slings, such as Blackhawkâ€™s STORM series sling. The metal sling plate can be switched from side to side before the stock is attached to the shotgun. The connection point, being further up on the shotgun from the swivel point attachments further back, will allow for a higher carry mode. This carry mode is considered quicker to bring the shotgun to bear by some shooters, but the additional option is an improvement that allows the shooter to decide.
Single point slings offer many advantages over traditional over-the-shoulder slings and even 3-point slings that many tactical operators enjoy. The single point slingÂ allows for the shotgun to lay easily in the front of the shooter and provides perhaps the quickest transition shooting from strong to off-hand shooting.
Currently, Blackhawk offers the Gen II for the Remington 870 shotguns, and the Mossberg 500, 535, 590, 835, and 88 model shotguns. The stocks with pistol grips and the accompanying fore grips are offered in Black, NEXT micro camouflage, and Green. However, the green color is a trademark of Remington and so will only be offered on select Remington shotguns.
Blackhawk offers the Gen I or Gen II for $134.99.
The SpecOps Gen II stock appears to be on the same path to user popularity as the Gen I was 8 years ago. I have not had the opportunity to shoot with the Gen II stock yet, but I have thoroughly enjoyed shooting the Gen I. From what I felt and saw at SHOT Show, I really want to get the Gen II.
THE TALON THUMBHOLE STOCK
For those shooters who are not into the adjustable stocks, Blackhawk offers the Talon thumbhole stock. A fixed stock with a pistol grip, the Talon still uses Knoxx technology but only reduces felt recoil by a mere 65%. The Talon goes back to using a mixture of alloy and polymer design. The fixed length of the Talon is 13.75â€
The Talon has the updated ERGO pistol grip with palm swell design, and the interchangeable rubber grips for a customized fit. The end of the buttstock can open to allow the storage of small supplies.
The Talon is offered in Black, or a universal camouflage design that should match major camouflage patterns, according to Blackhawk. The Talon will fit Remington 870 and select semi-auto rifles, the same Mossberg shotguns as the SpecOps stock, and the Winchester 1200 and 1300 12-gauge shotguns.
The Talon Thumbhole Stock can be purchased from Blackhawk for $149.99 in black, or $169.99 in camouflage.