Vertical Grip On A Shotgun: Is It Allowed?

can you put a vertical grip on a shotgun

Having a vertical grip on a shotgun is an excellent addition if you want more stability and especially if you have a type of handicap that prevents you from conventionally gripping the shotgun. Have you tried to add a vertical grip on a shotgun: is it allowed?

You can add a vertical grip on a shotgun. It is easily fitted by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Vertical grips fit on most standard single barrel shotguns and pump actions.  It is not legal to fit a vertical grip on a semi-automatic shotgun with an extending or a folding stock. 

A vertical grip on a pump-action makes the handling and reloading significantly easier for disabled shooters. The maneuverability and stability of the shotgun are increased considerably, allowing for quick action. Let’s look at the vertical grip on a shotgun and what is permitted.  

       Is It Legal To Fit A Vertical Grip On A Shotgun?

It’s perfectly legal to fit a vertical grip on all types of shotguns except for semi-auto shotguns with a folding/extending stock. For any shockwave type of gun – in other words, a short barrel or snake pistol – then it is also prohibited.

The only issue to watch out for would be the designated state laws and, more importantly, Federal Laws. The section to pay attention to would be;

Penal Code 12276.1

(a) Notwithstanding Section 12276, “assault weapon” shall also mean any of the following:

(6) A semi-automatic shotgun that has both of the following:

(A) A folding/telescoping stock.

(B) A pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the weapon’s action, thumbhole stock, or vertical handgrip.

If the barrel is long – anything over 18″ it is considered acceptable. Anything below that length will create an AOW designation or ‘Any Other Weapon,’ which is a catchy situation. The definition of AOW is –

  • Any device or weapon capable of being concealed on a person
  • Which can discharge a round –  through the energy of an explosive

 That will cause it to become NFA or National Firearms Act. 

shotgun for military

What Is The Vertical Grip Used For?

The vertical grip on a shotgun is quite helpful in terms of the handling of the gun. Some key points for consideration are;

  • The maneuverability of the shotgun
  • Allows for a more natural grip angle since the vertical grip is more hand orientated.
  • Can increase accuracy
  • Increases stability
  •  Great for additional parts such as a flashlight or tactical light
  • Some vertical grips have a deployable bipod inside – commonly used by the military or armed forces, CIA, FBI, DEA, and the Border Patrol units.
  • May contain storage space for essentials like optics, first aid kits
  • Some vertical grips can be watertight for safe storage

Are All Vertical Grips The Same?

Not all vertical grips are the same, although they might serve a similar purpose and appear to look the same;

  • Some have a ridge design for better grip.
  • Some have a soft grip material and smooth surface
  • Grips are either made from polymer or wood

Always make sure that you buy the best grip you can afford and are compatible with your specific shotgun.   

What Makes a Great Vertical Grip? 

What makes an excellent vertical grip is a combination of material, design, source, and installation methods. Here are a number of things you could consider before you buy a vertical grip;

The Material 

As mentioned previously in the article, you need to consider what material your vertical grip needs to be made of. That will depend on what you primarily use your shotgun for, and if you need it to take a beating, then the polymer is the way to go. 

Polymer is a lot more weathered in that it can handle rain and freezing temperatures or snow very well. Polymer will not get damaged in water or by solvents and oil.

Wooden grips are more natural-looking, of course. They are more readily damaged by water, solvents, and oils and can crack in severely cold temperatures. Wood may absorb a bit more recoil than the polymer.  


The design will be a personal choice based on hand size, grip design, and of course, the type of shotgun you own. The grip will determine plenty in how you handle the gun from there on out.  

An ergonomic design is the ridged grip that allows the fingers good placement. You can get a much firmer grip that way which, in turn, increases stability. Even if you were to wear gloves in winter, it will not slip or cause grip fatigue. This design seems to be the more comfortable of the available choices. 


Usually, the installations are pretty simple. Most of the grips are ‘drop-ins,’ meaning you can do it yourself at home with the right tools.

You will receive a set of action bars for the pump-action shotgun that will replace the original set. If you are unsure of how to fit any part of the grip in the installation process, your local gun shop will gladly assist you in the installation. 

firing from shotgun

Does The Vertical Grip Reduce Recoil?

The vertical grip does not technically reduce recoil, but it does increase stability. That may make it seem that it absorbs the recoil. A lot depends on how you grip and handle the shotgun. 

Controlling recoil when shooting involves several factors. The hand that supports the gun is responsible for pulling the gun into the body and aiming. The different vertical grips available will assist in the effectiveness of drawing the weapon into the body and where you aim while shooting. 

The vertical grip acts as a stabilizer and a lever to pull the gun downward. The only downside could be a slight loss in speed when aiming. The best way to overcome fumbling is to practice shooting while using the vertical grip as much as possible. 

While the purpose of the vertical grip is not to reduce recoil, it makes the shotgun much more manageable. 

Which Are The Best Vertical Grips?

KEL-TEC KSG Foregrip | KSG 12 GA Shotgun

  • Ergonomic and lightweight 
  • Compatible on any Picatinny rail 
  • Extra storage compartment
  • All mounting hardware included
  • Contoured and textured grip

CAA Flashlight Grip Adaptor

  • Thumb activated on and off button.
  • Intermittent or constantly on setting
  • Side safety switch for the torch
  • Storage compartment for small batteries 
  • Picatinny rail is included
  • Slot for pressure switch & cable.
  • Rubber pressure switch covers 
  • Quick attachment to rail with included captive thumb nuts.
  • Lifetime manufacturer’s warranty


Adding a vertical grip or foregrip to your shotgun is perfectly fine. It is legal, provided you stay within the parameters of the relevant laws. Vertical grips can add a lot of stability and maneuverability to your overall shooting experience.