The Defender Tactical Universal Mini Shell Adapter

As shotguns become more and more popular, we are likely to see more and more niche companies popping up to support the world of shotguns. Defender Tactical is one such company, and their Highball sight has been previously reviewed. Defender Tactical produces a wide variety of shotgun goodies, and their Universal Mini shell adapter is a standout. This adapter is produced for Mossberg shotguns and is a must-have if you want to throw some mini shells downrange. 

The Universal Mini Shell Adapter 

Mini shells aren’t exactly a standardized measurement. Most shooters likely picture the 1.75-inch shells from Federal and Aguila, but that’s not all. There are also 2-inch shells, as well as 2.5-inch shells. It seems that anything shorter than 2.75 inches falls into the mini-shell title. In the past previous adapters have filled a gap and worked only with the 1.75-inch shells. 

The Defender Tactical Universal Mini Shell Adapter works with any shell, meaning no need to pop adapters in and out to cycle whatever ammo you want. They cycle everything from 1.75-inch shells to 3-inch shells without issue. The Universal Mini Shell adapter comes with a metal follower also designed to help ensure smart feeding. 

The Universal Mini Shell Adapter is essentially a rubber-like tongue that fits into your receiver. You have to remove the trigger group to install the device, but it really takes no effort to do so. This rubber-like tongue works to fill the space left by smaller shells. This keeps them from spinning or flipping as they travel from the tube to the chamber. 

This Universal Mini Shell Adapter only works with the Mossberg 500 and 590 series of shotguns. The skeletonized shell lifter seems to be why Mossberg gets adapters, and other guns do not. I could certainly see a market for the Remington 870, but this would require a custom shell lifter as well. 

At the Range 

As a shotgun nerd, I have piles of shotgun shells of various lengths from the Aguila, Federal, and Challenger 1.75-inch shells in various shot types, as well as 2-inch slugs from Ukraine and some Nobel Sport 2.5-inch shells as well as numerous 2.75 and 3-inch shells. I didn’t just try one at a time. I mismatched and loaded the tubular magazine with a variety of different-length shells. 

The Universal Mini Shell Adapter functioned without a fight. I shot a few magazines of these fixed loads without a single issue. It fed each round over and over again without complaint. The adapter kept the shells from spinning in my gun and made it easy to load and shoot whatever shells I chose to toss in that day. 

The adapter can be removed, but again, it requires the trigger to be removed to do so. It’s semi-permanent and can’t be accidentally removed, loosened, or rotated. Once it’s in, it’s in. The rubber-like material is fairly thick, and I’ve been using it for a few months now, and it’s not compromised. Defender Tactical has a few videos of machine testing of the Universal Mini Shell Adapter, and it seems to withstand some seriously heavy use. 

All Convenience 

The original mini shell adapters were great, but they weren’t always convenient. You could shoot mini shells but had to remove and try to lose the adapter if you ever wanted to shoot standard-sized shells. The Defender Tactical Universal Mini Shell Adapter makes life much easier. 

I have no need to remove the adapter when switching from mini shells to standard buckshot. While I don’t use mini shells for much, they can be fun to shoot through various guns, especially Shockwave type weapon firearms. 

The only downside comes down to admin unloading. It makes it a little more difficult because you can’t open the action and easily dump the round into your hand. You have to press it out from the bottom. That’s a minor trade-off for total reliability between various shell lengths. 

To make it even sweeter, the adapter with follower comes in at only 25 bucks, and you can find it here. 

Travis Pike
Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record setting 11 months at sea. He’s trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines and the Afghan National Army. He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and teaches concealed carry classes.