The Mossberg 590 and Remington 870 have competed for decades, and it looks like that won’t be ending anytime soon with their newest variants.
Like the Mossberg 590 Shockwave, the Remington Tac-14 is fitted with a bird’s-head-style Shockwave Raptor grip that prevents the gun from being fired from the shoulder.
Along with a bead front sight, the Tac-14 comes with a Magpul MOE forend with hand stops on both sides to prevent your support hand from sliding in front of the 14-inch barrel.
Like all Remington 870s, the Tac-14 has a solid steel receiver and a crossbolt safety.
The Tac-14 handles extremely well in tight quarters due to its relatively compact dimensions, making it a perfect choice for protecting yourself from within a vehicle, for example.
At the range, the Tac-14 produced tight patterns with all of the test ammo, including Aguila Minishells, though these shorter rounds did not always feed reliably.
Remington’s new Tac-14 is one of the most interesting variations of the company’s storied Model 870 platform. The pistol-gripped firearm features a 14-inch barrel, making it short, handy and a worthwhile addition to anyone’s home- or car-defense battery. Best of all, the new gun doesn’t require any special paperwork or tax stamps to own.
Introduced in 1951, the Model 870 became an immediate hit with American outdoorsmen and police agencies. Developed with the intent of stealing market share from the Winchester Model 12, Remington won over hunters and clay shooters with its gun’s sleek lines, rugged reliability and comparative economy. By 2009, Remington had made an unbelievable 10 million Model 870s, and its popularity has yet to wane.
In the 66 years since its introduction, the Remington Model 870 has ridden in more squad cars, shared more duck blinds with wet Labradors and trudged through more cornfields in search of pheasants than any other pump-action shotgun. It gained a reputation for being capable of absorbing abuse and neglect and still performing. So, it seems only natural to select a gun with workhorse-like dependability for home defense.
Remington’s Model 870 Tac-14 fits the bill perfectly for those looking for a defensive gun that’s easy to handle in narrow halls and doorways or within the confines of a vehicle. Without delving too far into the legal aspects of this gun’s classification, we can say with certainty that this weapon is as legal to own as any other 12 gauge. The reason for this is that the BATFE classifies the Tac-14 as a “firearm” and not a shotgun. Therefore, it does not have to have an 18-inch barrel length like a typical shotgun would. It does, however, still need to have an overall length of over 26 inches.
My test sample’s overall length measured right at 26.3 inches with its Shockwave Raptor pistol grip. This is basically a legal loophole that gives us what amounts to a short-barreled shotgun (SBS) without filling out and submitting reams of paperwork, paying for a tax stamp and all the government intrusion that goes along with it. Mossberg was the first to exploit this with its 590 Shockwave, and Remington wasn’t far behind.
Just a word of warning here: While you can buy the Shockwave Raptor grip as an aftermarket accessory, attaching it to your trusty old Model 870 and cutting the barrel down to 14 inches will put you in some serious hot water. If the Tac-14 appeals to you, sell your old 870 and buy one. Any money saved by trying to convert an old hunting gun will be spent on your initial consultation with a lawyer and is miniscule by comparison to what you may spend in trying to avoid becoming a “prohibited possessor.”
While the Tac-14 may be an abbreviated gun, no shortcuts were taken here—it’s pure 870! Remington machines the receiver from solid steel for absolute strength. Twin action bars are used to prevent binding while cycling the action, and a high-visibility orange magazine follower is installed so the user can visually see if the magazine tube is empty.
The Shockwave Raptor pistol grip is made from a nearly indestructible glass-filled polymer and is angled in such a way to minimize recoil and maximize control. Remington outfits the Tac-14 with a Magpul MOE polymer forend with M-LOK slots for direct attachment of accessories like a tactical light/laser unit. Front and rear hand stops, or lips, on the forend will prevent your support hand from slipping off during rapid manipulations.
The Tac-14’s barrel extends a little more than an inch beyond the front of the gun’s magazine tube cap and possesses a simple bead sight. It’s also a cylinder- bore barrel, which allows patterns to open up quickly. The gun is chambered for 2¾- and 3-inch shells and has a capacity of 4+1 and 3+1, respectively. Finally, the gun balances nicely, with the majority of the weight toward the front so your firing hand can steer the gun and work the trigger.
Born To Defend
For years, I’ve kept a Mossberg 590 equipped with a Pachmayr pistol grip and forend in the closet near my front door. I have a steel security door with perforated steel attached to it and a heavy-duty bolt lock in addition to the normal wooden front door. During nice weather, I leave the wooden door open and let air flow through the security screen. The huge advantage the security door provides is that I can see through the steel screen while people outside cannot see in. In the event that I have to shoot through the security screen, I load the Mossberg with steel Federal #2 waterfowl loads. After shooting the new Remington, I will probably make the switch to the shorter gun, as I found the Tac-14’s pistol grip angle to be much more comfortable, and the shorter overall length just seems handier.
Unfortunately, I was limited to one shooting session with the Tac-14, and my selection of shells was not great, but I did shoot the gun with 2¾-inch birdshot loads, reduced-recoil slugs and a selection of Aguila Minishells. I decided to keep things simple and set up my target at what I considered to be a realistic home-defense range of 5 yards.
Using Winchester 1-ounce #7½ birdshot, I discovered the Tac-14 was very pleasant and fun to shoot. If you’re going to introduce your better half to the Tac-14, this is the load to use. Don’t be a jerk and put goose loads in the gun! My patterns at 5 yards were well rounded and measured about 7.5 inches. Even though these are promotional birdshot rounds, the amount of lead concentrated into such a small area should be capable of taking the starch out of anyone’s underpants at this distance.
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The angle of the Shockwave Raptor grip is perfect for firing from the hip, and after two boxes of birdshot ammo, I was none the worse for wear. The shells cycled smoothly and ejected positively.
The Aguila Minishells were a different story entirely, however. Sometimes I could cycle two or three rounds before I had a failure to eject and would have to turn the gun, ejection port down, to dump the round out of the gun. This isn’t really the Tac-14’s fault. It is, after all, designed to cycle 2¾- and 3-inch shells, and it does this flawlessly. So, I contacted OPSol in Texas to see if the company was working on a Mini-Clip adapter for the Remington Tac-14, but a company rep said they have not been able to make a pop-in, pop-out adapter for the 870 yet. The obvious advantage to the Minishells is the increased magazine capacity. I was able to load seven of the 1½-inch shells into the Tac-14’s magazine tube.
While these rounds didn’t cycle reliably, I was able to drop them into the chamber one at a time and shoot them. These birdshot and buckshot shells from Aguila are virtually recoil-free, meaning they would be great for training children or recoil- sensitive adults. At 5 yards, the #7½ birdshot produced a pattern about 5 inches in diameter while the 00 buckshot load, with 11 pellets, produced a pattern about 7 inches in diameter. Aguila’s 0.88-ounce lead slug had a velocity of 953 fps and generated a whopping 784 foot-pounds of energy—about double what a .45 ACP round produces—without much felt recoil.
The Tac-14’s compact dimensions, combined with its power and versatility, make this new Remington a formidable weapon. In fact, adding a tactical light and laser might make this gun unbeatable! Possessing typical Remington 870 quality and reliability, the Tac-14 gives us all of the fun of a short-barreled shotgun without the headaches of NFA paperwork and scrutiny. With a suggested retail price of just $443, the only problem I foresee with the Tac-14 is finding a retailer with one in stock!
Gauge: 12; 3-inch chamber
Barrel: 14 inches
OA Length: 26.3 inches
Weight: 5.6 pounds (empty)
Grip: Shockwave Raptor
Sights: Front bead
Finish: Matte black
Capacity: 4+1 (2¾-inch shells)
For more information, visit remington.com.
This article was originally published in “Tactical Weapons” August/September 2017. To order and subscribe, visit outdoorgroupstore.com.
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