You’ll be excused if, when shooting the Remington TAC-14 “firearm” (it’s technically not a shotgun for legal reasons), you feel like the hero in a post-apocalyptic action movie, defending against hordes of mutants and zombies. You see, the TAC-14 is a cool-looking little 12 gauge—just the kind Hollywood would pick for a hero trapped in a “Walking Dead” kind of world.
Coolness factor aside, the Remington TAC-14 has very real uses as a home- and self-defense firearm. At 10 yards and closer, the TAC-14 is an efficient, maneuverable and fearsome choice. Beyond close range, though, you’d be better served by a full-size handgun or carbine.
Maneuverability begins with the TAC-14’s 14-inch, cylinder-bore barrel, giving the arm an overall length of just over 26 inches. The TAC-14’s pump action is worked via a Magpul M-Lok fore-end; the shooting hand grasps a synthetic, Shockwave Raptor pistol grip. The receiver is milled from solid steel, and receiver and barrel have a black-oxide finish. The TAC-14 holds five shotshells of the 3- and/or 2¾-inch variety. I had three range sessions with the Remington TAC-14, and used the following shotgun loads: Federal 3-Inch No. 4 Buckshot; Fiocchi Target 2¾-inch with 7.5 Shot, 7/8-ounce load; and Remington 2¾-inch No. 1 Buckshot. I also fired off a couple of slug loads, and a pair of 12-gauge Aguila Mini-Shells.
I tested Remington TAC-14 patterns at self-defense ranges of 5 and 10 yards. I used large sheets of brown cardboard, marked aiming spots on them, and fired the TAC-14 from the hip. Then, I measured from the center of the aiming spots in a 6-inch diameter circle.
At 5 yards, the Federal No. 4 buckshot consistently put 26 to 30 pellets into a 6-inch circle, out of a 41-pellet load. At 10 yards, the same load placed 15 to 17 pellets within the circle.
The Remington No. 1 Buckshot placed 11 to 13 pellets into the circle, out of 16 pellets total, and eight to nine pellets at 10 yards.
All of the hits above would equal potentially incapacitating hits on an attacker.
The two brands of slugs—Federal TruBall, 2¾-inch, rifled 1-ounce slugs, and Remington 3-inch Sluggers, also 1-ounce and rifled—fed and fired without any trouble, though with more recoil than even the hottest buckshot loads. At 10 yards, I could usually place my first slug within 3 to 4 inches of my aiming point, and subsequent shots (fired fast) were a few inches farther out.
I also tried Aguila Minishells in the company’s buckshot 5/8-ounce load and 7/8-ounce lead slug. The 1¾-inch shells loaded fine, and the first shots went off without a hitch. However, the spent shell couldn’t make it out of the ejection port, bouncing around inside the receiver. I had to tilt the Remington TAC-14 on its side and shake it to clear the spent shell. I tried racking back the slide harder, softer, and in between, but no matter what I did, that first spent shell would not cleanly eject.
I’ve seen people shoot the Remington TAC-14 with the support arm extended straight out, the shooting arm crooked at the elbow, and their head cocked to one side to line up the barrel’s gold bead on their targets. I tried this very awkward position, and missed my target more often than not. If your firing hand is damp, you have a good chance of the TAC-14’s recoil dislodging the pistol grip and popping you in the cheek or chin with the grip.
And, this hurts. I know, because I took two jolts to the face trying to fire the TAC-14 in this arms-extended position.
The more-accurate (and comfortable) shooting stance for me is holding the Remington TAC-14 about waist high, and using my hip for support. It only took a little practice for me to figure out how to aim from this position.
For me, the TAC-14 is a fine option for home defense. I mean that literally—in the home, where distances tend to be across rooms at 10 yards or closer. This isn’t a longer-range or precision firearm, nor was it intended to be. It’s a cool and handy little gun that would be the very last thing a home invader would ever want to encounter. And it’s a lot of fun to shoot, with or without zombies. For those who prefer less recoil, the company just released a Remington TAC-14 in 20-gauge.