For the last couple of years, I have been buying rifles and building mostly rifles and pistols when coming up with projects. I have a few pump action shotguns, but I don’t have anything when it comes to semi-automatic tactical shotguns. A few months back, I decided to start researching what shotgun I wanted to pick up. I looked at a number of companies like FN, Benelli, and Beretta. I’ve always loved the M2 and M4 from Benelli but have several hunting models that use the same inertia system. I wanted a gas shotgun to try out to see how it’s different from inertia models.
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I have shot the Benelli M4 a good amount of the last few years and it’s an amazing weapons system. It feels amazing in the hand. The Benelli M4 will usually feed anything you put in it and works no matter how much sand mud or grime is covering the shotgun. The main disadvantage is the fact that the Benelli shotguns are usually $1,500 or more, which isn’t a viable option for most people looking for a good semi-auto shotgun.
The Beretta 1301 Tactical has an 18.5-inch barrel and is overall just over 37 inches. The gun is a small package overall and feels good in the hand. The aggressive checkering on the gun makes it easy to handle and control when firing. I really enjoy the oversized charging handle and bolt release as well. It allows the shooter to get a good purchase on the shotgun when manipulating the action. Another thing I really like was the ghost ring sights with the fixed front post. It has a large rear sight that makes it easy to shoot either aiming or both eyes open. I think it’s a nice touch that Beretta made the front sight interchangeable so the shooter can switch out front sights depending on what size and material they want it to be.
|Barrel length (cm)||47|
|Barrel length (in)||18.5|
|Overall length (mm)||960|
|Overall length (in)||37.8|
Beretta did a great job oversizing certain parts that people often replace with aftermarket. The 1301 Tactical comes with an oversized safety as well. This made engaging targets quicker since it was fast to disengage the safety and get rounds on targets. When shooting shotguns in general, I sometimes notice how high the bore can feel compared to the other sections of the gun. I really liked how low the Beretta felt in my hand and made pointing the gun feel like it was an extension of myself.
I took the 1301 Tactical on several occasions and shot a ton of different shells through it. The majority of the rounds were high brass buckshot but I also shot a few different birdshot types and slugs as well. Probably the biggest difference between the 1301 and other shotguns was how fast the gun was to transition between targets. The shotgun is extremely light and can move faster than most of the Benellis I have run in the past. The aggressive checkering kept the gun where I wanted during reloads and firing and didn’t shred my hands like I thought it would.
One thing I noticed was the lack of capacity for the size of the magazine tube. I removed the plug that comes inside the gun on the first day I picked up the shotgun but even with no plug, the 1301 Tactical can only hold 4+1 as standard without adding an extension tube. It looks like it should be able to take at least one more round but in the end, it was the overall capacity. In the grand scheme of things, it’s really not a big deal but this gun shoots insanely fast when you get on the trigger.
It’s very similar to the Benelli M4 with the fire rate of the 1301 Tactical. The gun was easy to handle, but besides the lack of capacity, the gun had a very sharp recoil impulse compared to the other shotguns we tested over the last few months. It wasn’t uncontrollable but definitely felt like it took more effort to stay on target. I think this may be a mix of how light the shotgun is and the fact it’s a gas rather than inertia driven like the Benellis.
The Beretta 1301 is one of those shotguns that feels special when you pick it up. It’s definitely different from other tactical shotguns on the market today. It is light and really easy to manipulate with the enlarged controls. I really enjoy the feel and how the gun works, even if it’s a wild one to shoot. The recoil wasn’t bad with birdshot but the high brass buckshot was noticeably sharper than other shotguns. I asked four of the MDFI instructors to shoot the Beretta and they all came to the same conclusion.
Other than the recoil, 1301 Tactical is fantastic in my opinion. The aggressive checkering locks the gun in your hands and gives you great control. If you need a really solid tactical shotgun in the $1,100-1,200 range, I would definitely look at the 1301 Tactical. Let me know what your favorite semi-auto shotgun is in the comments below. If you have questions feel free to message me on my Instagram @fridgeoperator. Stay safe out there.
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