- FRONT SIGHT AND BARREL_phatchThe 20-inch barrel features an external, ported cylinder choke. The Tec 12’s protected, red fiber-optic front sight really pops on target.Joe Levack Photo
- REAR SIGHT_phatchThe Tec 12’s ghost-ring rear sight is easily adjustable for windage and elevation. It pairs well with the fiber-optic front for true speed.Joe Levack Photo
Variety, as they say, is the spice of life, but decisions can be tough—especially when it comes to choosing a tactical shotgun for law enforcement. Do you opt for the tried-and-true pump-action 12 gauge or do you instead select a semi-auto smoothbore? It’s true that the pump shotguns that have been in the agency armory for years and years have been abused much and shot little, but after the dust is blown off and they’re loaded with 12-gauge fodder, they’ll still perform.
That said, the newer semi-auto shotguns are just as resilient, shoot as fast as you can pull the trigger, and are easier to manipulate than a pump action. Let’s face it: Even with the gross-motor-skill motion of racking a pump forearm, short-stroking still takes place and frequently results in a 00 shotshell on the deck instead of in the chamber and a very loud click instead of a bang. So which system should those in law enforcement get? Get the best of both worlds. Yep, that’s right: a dual-action shotgun with the semi-auto’s fast and smooth shooting and the pump’s robust action. The TriStar Tec 12 is made in Turkey, and my previous firsthand experiences have shown that Turkish guns are a combination of excellent old-world craftsmanship and new firearms designs.
Upon first observation, the Tec 12 is a modern tactical shotgun with just about everything you need out of the box to conduct tactical operations or defend the homestead. The shotgun has a pleasing and subdued matte black finish, as well as synthetic furniture both fore and aft. The forearm is well designed and ergonomic, and the synthetic stock comes with a pistol grip, which I favor for tactical and home-defense applications because it offers better control and one-handed operation while moving or searching in a residence. The TriStar Tec 12 is chambered for 2¾- and 3-inch 12-gauge shells. Its magazine capacity is five 2¾-inch shells. The factory warranty on the shotgun is an excellent five years.