Often, the firearm world gets knocked for failing to come up with innovative introductions. After all, we're still seeing "new" 1911s launched more than a century after John Browning's original design became the official sidearm of the U.S. military in 1911. However, in recent years, the intriguing non-NFA, shotshell-firing firearm concept gained ground, with big companies like Remington and Mossberg joining in with their pump-action TAC-14s and 590 Shockwaves. Now, that concept moves into semi-automatic territory with the launch of the all-new, 12-gauge Remington TAC-13 Compact.
Though many took to the pump-action TAC-14, leading Remington to eventually introduce five different models of the firearm, the pump-action design was a sticking point for others. With such a new concept on the market, learning how to best employ the gun and finding relevant situations for which the design could be used became the next task. Of course, close-quarters home defense is a clear contender for designs like the TAC-14. However, the tendency of the gun to jump out of a user's support hand while firing heavier loads (like 00 buck) plus the need to find the fore-end again and rack in another round for a follow-up shot made it hard to consider the TAC-14 as a solid home-defense option. All that changed with the semi-automatic design of the TAC-13 Compact.
Measuring just 26.5 inches long, the Remington TAC-13 Compact is the same size as the company's pump-action TAC-14. The use of Remington's VersaPort self-regulating gas system made it possible to contain a semi-automatic action within the confines of the receiver, unlike other designs on the market that require the use of action springs running inside a shotgun's stock. Without the need for this added stock extension, Remington can maintain the reliability of its original V3 operating system while adding on the birdshead pistol grip that enables the gun to measure more than 26 inches in overall length and maintain its non-NFA status.
Featuring a 3-inch chamber, the V3 TAC-13 Compact is built on an all-aluminum receiver paired with a lightweight-contour, cylinder-bore barrel measuring 13 inches long. The accompanying magazine tube can hold up to five 2.75-inch shotshells, enabling the firearm to have up to six rounds on board, including one in the chamber.
The receiver, barrel and magazine tube are treated with a matte-black finish, and the birdshead grip and polymer fore-end are also available only in black. One issue addressed in the TAC-13 is the tendency of Remington's earlier shotshell-firing firearms to slip out of the hand with heavier loads. The TAC-13 is outfitted with a fore-end strap that keeps a support-hand secured, but recoil is also mitigated by the gun's self-regulating gas system.
Outside the Remington ammunition plant in Lonoke, AR, SI staff had an opportunity to run the V3 TAC-13 Compact in a range of scenarios with everything from defense-oriented 00 buck to lighter field loads on the clays range. One of the benefits of the Remington VersaPort system is the use of fewer components and moving parts than other semi-automatic shotguns, allowing it to run longer and more-reliably without cleaning. During maintenance, fewer parts also allows for easier cleaning. At the range, 14 different individuals ran the TAC-13, and not a single malfunction occurred across two days of shooting on a square range and a clays field.
One of the more-noticeable elements found on the V3 TAC-13 Compact is the inclusion of a ventilated rib running across the top of the barrel. According to Eric Suarez, Remington public relations manager, this provides a solid sighting system for anyone who might want to outfit their TAC-13 with a compatible stock following ATF approval for the creation of a short-barreled shotgun.
As it is, the rib actually allowed for pretty accurate aiming on flying clays with lighter field loads when fired from a gun-up position in front of the head, rather than anchoring the birdshead grip on the hip and point-shooting at close ranges. With the mitigated recoil of the semi-automatic V3 system, this is possible, though certainly not recommended with heavier loads that might push the grip into a shooter's face.
Right now, only one, all-black model of the Remington V3 TAC-13 Compact is available, but if the company's TAC-14 lineup is any indication, we'll be seeing more options in the future (Hardwood, anyone?). The suggested retail price on the TAC-13 Compact is $915.