Remington’s semi-auto Versa Max Tactical is built for winning any close-quarter gunfight. It carries nine 12 gauge shells, has bright fiber-optic sights for extremely fast target acquisitions and runs reliably
My first introduction to Remington’s Versa Max Tactical shotgun was at their research and development facility in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. Eight months later, I was standing on a firing line at the Gunsite Academy. I was holding the law enforcement–only version of the Versa Max, the R12. Thumbing rounds into the R12’s magazine tube, I surveyed a row of 25-yard popper targets and got down to business. After a long shooting session and several reloads, I held the now smoking-hot Remington in my hands and pondered the idea that this might just be the best tactical semi-automatic shotgun on the market.
Remington designed the buttstock with an extra-thick SuperCell buttpad to help absorb recoil. The synthetic stock also features an interchangeable, padded cheekcomb that allows for better sight alignment and comfort.
Earlier that day I listened to Phil Strader, Remington’s federal law enforcement sales rep, describe the Versa Max Tactical’s transition into the R12. Strader, an avowed three-gun competition shooter, introduced the R12 to us. Aside from his daily work of putting Remington weapons and ammunition into the hands of three-letter federal agencies, he also convinced me that the R12 was just what he needed for the shotgun legs of the three-gun events. “Remington took a shotgun out of the duck blind, and made a shotgun that the DEA could use,” Strader said. “This gun started as a 28-inch duck gun, and we cut the barrel to 18 inches, and the R12 maintains the same operating system as the Versa Max. LE agencies have migrated away from semi-auto shotguns because of reliability, but you can hang as many accessories on it as you want, and it will work.” Prototype testing of the Versa Max involved shooting 100 rounds as fast as the gun could be reloaded, a total of 10 times to get the round count up to 1,000. This was accomplished in a day, then repeated day after day.
“We wanted to come up with a shotgun that would meet their standards,” Strader continued. “The DEA wanted front and rear sights and night sights. We had to mate an 870 magazine extension onto a Versa Max tube. The DEA wanted a 3-6-9 rail handguard, so we shimmed in a handguard to get the rails to fit properly. We had Mesa Tactical fast-prototype a handguard with the mounts for 3-6-9 rails. Once we had the handguard squared away, we wanted a pistol grip—the DEA wanted a pistol grip too. Mesa Tactical also made us an Urbino pistol grip to fit this weapon. The Versa Max has Urbino inserts that can take the length of pull from 12 inches to 14 inches. The trigger group is based on the Benelli Super 90 trigger system. Technically, the gun has a 3½-inch chamber, but we won’t market it as a 3½-inch gun. I have the flexibility to market it to TSA, where they have to shoot nontoxic shot to remove birds from a runway, so the 3½-inch chamber is a plus.”