Any Other Weapon (AOW) shotgun gauge firearms have never really interested me. If you are going to go through all the time and effort to buy a chopped-down scattergun, spend the extra $195 and go hog wild with a short barreled shotgun (SBS). If you need any more convincing, making an existing shotgun into either an AOW or SBS costs the same in National Firearms Act (NFA) taxes – $200. As an alternative, you can skip the tax, the registration, the wait and paperwork and head directly to sumpy 12 gauge bliss with the Remington 870 TAC14.
Before we dig into the review, let’s talk a little about the NFA laws and regulations. First I’m not providing you with legal advice – if you have serious questions about compliance, seek guidance from the ATF regulations or a competent attorney. Having said that, the reason that the TAC14 does not fall under the NFA is because it has an overall length greater than 26 inches and a barrel length of 14 inches. And as much as it looks like a pump action shotgun, it is classified only as a firearm.
And while we are on the subject, if you are considering of building your own TAC14 from the unused 870 you have sitting in the safe, you can’t. Unfortunately once a receiver has been built into a shotgun, it cannot be turned back into simply a firearm. Dumb laws for sure, but they are our (U.S.) laws.
Enough of the boring regulations and rules.
This isn’t going to be your standard gun review. First of all, I am running on the assumption that the overwhelming majority of you have operated an 870 shotgun in the past. Save for the lack of a stock, the TAC14 is essentially a standard 870 with a short barrel. So we are going to skip most of the standard features, functions and specifications.
Second, I decided to purchase this gun (a rare occurrence for me) even before the review was completed. And without spoiling the rest of the write up, the TAC14 is a lot of fun. Sure, I could talk about it’s potential usefulness as a defensive weapon, but the reality is that this gun is pure entertainment.
I also had some special modifications in mind, but we will get to that after the basics.
- 12 Gauge
- Barrel Length: 14″
- Choke: Cylinder
- Capacity: 4+1
- OAL: 26.3″
- Weight: 5.6 lbs
- Stock: Synthetic Black
- Metal Finish: Black
- Sights: Bead Front
- Weight: 5.6 Pounds
- MSRP: $449
- Street: $380-$400
True to its stats, the 870 TAC14 is a compact, but somewhat heavy, 12 gauge firearm that uses a front bead as its only method of sighting. This gun really is compact and affordable for a 12 gauge blaster.
I guess this is a good place as any to state my negatives:
- First, I hate the fact that Remington uses polymer trigger groups in their 870’s. They may be as strong or stronger than their classic metal forefathers for all I know, but it makes the gun look cheap.
- Second, Remington could have easily extended the magazine tube to allow for a 5+1 configuration. Or just include an extension as part of the included accessories. A lost opportunity that we will discuss further in the upgrades below.
- Third, a ventilated rib might assist with the single bead sight, or even an optic rail or at least being drilled and tapped “rail ready”. All of which I know would add to the overall price.
- Lastly, I wish Remington would offer an a wood furniture option in a more classic style. The polymer is definitely cool and useful, but I’m guessing some deep stained wood grain would sell like hot cakes.
Even with my list of possible upgrades for future generations of the 870 TAC14, this gun is a solid ‘buy’ at the current retail prices found below $400.
Shooting this Remington is not as daunting as it looks. I get the feeling that most potential buyers picture the forend flying up and out of their support hand. I used some light field target loads, reduced recoil buckshot and full powered slugs. As you can imagine, the stronger loads recoiled recoiled more than the lighter loads, but none were unmanageable.
Yes, hip shooting is an option, but the preferred technique is to basically mimic the use of a stock, bringing the gun up to eye level and sighting down the barrel toward the front bead. It seems awkward at first, but with practice, running the TAC14 became almost as natural as any standard shotgun.
Customizing the Remington 870 Tac14
As fun as the 870 TAC14 out of the box, I had plans to make it better. One of my first goals was to make mine the world’s first first suppressed shotgun non-shotgun.* Luckily I already owned a SilencerCo Salvo 12 for a separate suppressed SBS shotgun project, but I needed the TAC14’s barrel threaded for chokes. I went with who I consider to be the best in the shotgun gunsmithing business, Steve Rose from Rose Action Sports. For $90 the barrel was threaded for Remchokes and back in my hands in less than a week.
* I don’t know if this is actually the first suppressed Remington TAC14 in existence, but for the purposes of this article I’m going with it.
The second upgrade I wanted to add was a magazine extension to bring the capacity up to five and to make the tube nearly flush with the end of the barrel. Two tricks here: First, for some reason Remington has added tabs to the inside of the magazine tube that prevent the easy addition of an extension. Using a dremel tool, the tabs can be ground down fairly easily.
Second, if you are sticking with the Magpul forend, pick an extension with a sling loop attachment that won’t interfere with the forward travel of the action. In the end, I went with the one round extension from Scattergun Technologies at Brownells for $45.
For additional ammo storage, I also wanted a side saddle carrier. I went with the Sureshell Carrier from Mesa Tactical which I also picked up from Brownells. (Not installed yet)
I also picked up an MLOK rail section for the Magpul forend to attach a weapon light/laser and a rear sling loop attachment that fits between the grip and the receiver.
To finish it all off, I wanted a unique type of camouflage pattern that was at least somewhat functional but also looked great. Lucky for me the guys at Hi Caliber Manufacturing/The Hard Point made time in their refinishing schedule for a woodland/multicam blend on both the 870 and the SilencerCo Salvo.
I asked if Hi Caliber could use their new laser to engrave their logo into the side of what I am now dubbing the TAC14-S. I figured that since they were behind the cerakote art, they deserved to have their brand on the gun itself.
Like I said in the beginning, yes the Remington 870 TAC14 can be used as a compact defensive weapon. Would it be my first choice? No. But even in its stock form, the short overall length of a 12 gauge firearm has its advantages. But in the end, especially after all the upgrades, this gun is just a fun piece of hardware.
It’s not perfect, but for the sub $400 retail price, it is certainly a fun range toy that can be carried around the farm/camp/woods to pull general duty. In my opinion, these are the types of guns Remington should be focusing on – improving and updating classic performers for modern day shooters. We can only hope that we see similar innovation seep into other product lines as well. (I’m looking at you, Marlin.)
Hi Caliber Manufacturing – Refinishing
Rose Action Sports – Barrel Threading