I had the opportunity to use the Beretta 1301 Tactical Shotgun in a very intense 4-day tactical shotgun course at a well-respected firearms training school. Overall, the shotgun performed admirably through this intense “workout” and at a fraction of the cost of other tactical shotguns. Below, I shared details of the experience, both positive and negative.
The tactical shotgun course was high intensity with repeated complex marksmanship and gun handling drills under increasingly severe time pressure. Over four days, we fired about 250 rounds of birdshot, 150 rounds of 00 Buck and 100 rounds of slug. Engagement ranges extended from 15m to 100m at humanoid targets with a cardio-thoracic target approximately 16″ in diameter and a cranial-ocular 4″x6″ target box.
Slug (Federal LE Tru-Ball) sighting-in was done at 50m in the prone position. Of 9 shots fired in 3 strings, each 3-shot group was touching in a neat and consistent clover-leaf pattern. Dope changes on the clearly-marked ghost ring rear sight were right on the money, ending with a clover leaf hole precisely centered in the cardio-thoracic target box.
Where the gun really shone, however, was in multiple target engagements where the light front end of the gun allowed very nimble shifts from one target to the next. Another real plus was the appetite of the action that ate ANY kind of ammo, including 980 fps Winchester AA Low Recoil, Low Noise 7.5 birdshot that clearly warns on the box “Do Not Use In Semi-Automatic Shotguns.” It worked well on this semi-auto with no malfunctions!
The only negatives of the gun I experienced were a loose front sight nut and a loose retaining screw on the bolt release lever. These issues are easily resolved with blue thread lock.
In addition, I found the shell tray partially blocked (in comparison, say to the gaping hole afforded by Benelli Super 90s, M-2s and M-4s) the ejection port that slightly complicated performing select slug and emergency reload drills under extreme time pressure. This is easily solved by developing the necessary muscle memory.
The only other design issue I would have done differently was the shell tray release that is a very small button at the rear of the loading port just in front of the trigger guard. This also can be overcome by proper muscle memory but it would have been nice if a button on the side of the receiver was used like that on the Benellis.
All in all, I think this gun is well worth your consideration as a tactical/defensive shotgun. It has a price point of 1/4-2/3 of the price points of comparable Benelli M4s and M2s and already comes with nice features like an extended tactical charging handle, over-sized bolt release lever, nice ghost ring sights and a picatinny rail for an optic. Beretta 1301 Tactical Shotgun