Tristar, importer of cool looking yet unproven Turkish made shotguns, has released a tactical shotgun that is getting some attention. The Tec 12 appears to be inspired by, if not a direct clone of, the classic Benelli M3. Normally the gun is a semi-automatic, recoil inertia operated 12 gauge, but the user can turn a ring in front of the forend (just like the M3) to convert the gun to pump action. Capacity is 5+1 with standard size 2 3/4 inch shells, but the gun also accepts 3 inch magnum shells.
Why would you want to turn a semi-auto shotgun into a pump? The answer lies mostly in ammunition. Most of the self loading shotguns in my gunsmithing shop are there because they aren’t functioning properly with the ammo that the user wants to shoot (usually cheap birdshot). Some “tactical” loads like reduced recoil buckshot or the so-called “beanbag” less lethal loads will fail to cycle most semi-autos regardless of how clean or lubricated they are. Add in the possibility of a fouled or muddy gun in tough real world conditions, and the idea of being able to manually pump a tactical shotgun by flipping a switch starts to make a lot more sense.
The Tec 12 brings a full slew of tactical features– picatinny rails, ghost ring sights, pistol grip buttstock, two different types of sling swivels, external ported cylinder bore choke, chrome lined barrel, and the list just goes on. J&G Sales has them in stock for $530 at the moment, which certainly compares favorably to the rare Benelli M3′s current MSRP of $1589, but as a new product imported from Turkey, the Tec 12 needs to be put through its paces by some serious shooters before it proves itself worthy of even a $500 price point. Your spec sheet looks good, your design appears solid, now go out there and prove yourself, Tristar!