Shotgun use for home-defense can turn into a hotly contested debate. Specifically, in online forums or pages on social media, where the “experts” come out in droves to sing the praises of the shotgun, or proudly shake their fists in the air cursing their use. This article isn’t going to dive down that rabbit hole. There are naturally pros and cons to just about any weapon for a home-defense situation, and I will keep my own biases out of this article. But, if you feel that a shotgun is right for your circumstances for home defense, or if you just want a fun gun for the range, the V3 TAC-13 from Remington Arms just might be the short shotty you need in your life.
The Not-So-Big Green Machine
I can honestly say that this is the smallest shotgun I have ever personally fired. For a semi-automatic, with only a “birds-head” pistol grip and 13” barrel, my first impressions were conflicted as far as a practicality standpoint. As far as quality goes, the V3 TAC-13 is built very well. It uses a billet 7075 aluminum receiver that keeps the weapon moderately light for its size. By no means is this weapon a feather weight, but it also doesn’t feel like you are holding a cinder block either at 5.8 lbs. unloaded. It has a rich, black oxide barrel, with a matching black oxide finished receiver. The colors match very well. The vented ribbed barrel has a silver bead for aiming and is easy to pick up quickly, unless you were dealing with a low-light situation.
The action can be manipulated by a spoon-shaped bolt handle that is nicely textured on the front. Its large enough to easily grab, but not too large that could seem cumbersome or in the way. Below the ejection port area, there is a bolt release that is also easy to reach and manipulate. Upon cycling the TAC-13 with an empty magazine tube, the weapon will lock its bolt to the rear. The bolt release will pop out slightly and upon depressing it, the bolt will be sent home and into battery. The bolt release requires a fair amount of force, but in a good way. You do not have to push it down with the force of a hydraulic press, but it also won’t release by accidentally bumping it. Overall, it’s a perfect weight in my opinion.
The Shockwave “birds-head” pistol grip and plastic handguard are overall good quality. They do not feel cheap or flimsy and they are textured. My only gripe would be to have a slightly more aggressive texturing, specifically on the pistol grip. Defensive situations may not be what you expect, and that could mean wet hands due to blood loss from an injury. More aggressive texturing would be a positive upgrade, in my opinion. With that being said, the handguard comes with a built-in strap. As it comes from Remington, the strap was sized perfect for my hand, but it is adjustable. The strapped foregrip area is a very intelligent design choice and kudos to Remington for this. The pistol grip also has a built in quick-disconnect socket. Finishing up, the safety is a typical push button style safety featured on Remington shotguns, but it is slightly oversized which is great for a defensive shotgun.
Running the TAC-13 through its paces was surprisingly pleasant. I had assumed that controlling the weapon would be challenging, and recoil would be harsh. After firing hundreds of different shotgun loads, recoil was manageable considering I was firing 12-gauge shotgun shells. Brands varied between Remington, Winchester, and Federal, while loads consisted of turkey 3” magnums, slugs, buckshot, and gameloads in 2 ¾”. Not one time did I have a feeding, or extraction issue, or have any malfunction with regards to operation.
This can be attributed to the Versaport gas system. It is an ingenious design that uses 8 gas ports located in the chamber which drive two short pistons to operate the action. It regulates the gas pressure based on the length of the shell that is chambered. With a longer 3” shell, it closes off more ports to use less pressure. With a shorter 2 ¾” shell, more gas ports are “open” to allow more gas pressure into the system to reliably cycle the weapon. It is a simple design, while also being well thought out.
Now some of you may be asking a very important question. How exactly do you use the bead sight effectively? The answer is it’s awkward. Using a typical shotgun with a stock, a bead sight is usually accurate and simple to use within the ranges of shotguns. Trying to use the bead without a stock weld yields less accurate shooting. When I tried to raise the shotgun up to my eye line, my shots tended to pull slightly high and left with every load that was fired. I don’t believe that the shotgun naturally patterns that far off from the bead, but it was more improper sight alignment due to no stock weld.
Firing from this position is the awkward part. When raising the TAC-13 upward to the shooters eye line, the firing arm must contort outward at the elbow. This was not the most comfortable shooting stance and caused me to severely chicken wing my elbow out and up due to the grip angle of the weapon. While this may be comfortable for some people, my body mechanics were not having in. It could be from years of training behind a defensive rifle and keeping my elbows tucked in tight to pop corners. Firing from the hip is much more comfortable and absorbs most of the recoil from the weapon. The drawback though is that accuracy declines even more.
I decided to conduct some testing with some typical defensive loads that someone might use to protect themselves and their home. Firing from the hip, from the low ready position, I fired 3 shots at a human torso sized target at 15 feet. Before I started this drill, I took some practice shots on a few targets. I am not ashamed to say that there were some complete misses that did not hit the target. I knew that this could happen, which is why I felt the need for some practice runs. Even at 15 feet, a shotgun’s spread is still very tight and without properly sighting in, it is too easy to completely miss your target.
Please keep in mind, I am in no way advocating for hip firing a defensive shotgun. This test was merely scientific and a fun way to run the gun. I have never taken the idea seriously, especially for a shotgun, because of the reasons I stated previously. After running through the drill, I will say that it is possible to achieve quick hits in a room distance setting. Granted, these drills were in a well-lit setting, with perfect visibility. Once you throw in the stress of a life-threatening situation, low-light visibility, and a moving target that may be using cover, it becomes a much more dynamic situation.
The first load that I ran through were Remington Gameloads with #8 shot in a 2 ¾” offering. My only advice would be to rethink this load for defense. I understand that people worry about over-penetration and think that birdshot could be a viable option for home defense. But realistically, lack of lethality is a major concern. Pattern size at 15 feet measured at average about 10 inches between the 3 shots. This load displayed the most spread out of all the shells tested, which isn’t necessarily a good thing. It gives more margin for error while aiming, but lethality is greatly reduced with birdshot as it spreads. For a home defense load, and from previous testing with 10% ballistic gel, I can not recommend using this load in a defensive situation.
The second load through the TAC-13 was Winchester 00-Buck load in 2 ¾”. It is a 9-pellet load that fires pellets sized at .33”. Average spread between the 3 shots taken was about 4 inches. The 00-Buck is probably one of the most popular defensive loads, and it may be the best choice for you. It is a devastating load on soft tissue with a lot of energy on target. The problem with 00-Buck though is the severe over-penetration it can have and how it travels through multiple walls easily. This may not apply to you if you live in a rural setting and don’t have shared walls with other family members. I happen to have little ones in my home and that is always an issue on my mind.
The last load that was tested happens to be my favorite for home defense. It was a Federal #4-Buck 2 ¾” load that has 27 pellets sized at .24”. Through my individual testing, this size of pellet yields the best ratio of terminal ballistic performance with soft tissue and lacks the attributes of 00-Buck for over-penetrating. The average of the 3 groups measured 5 inches. This is only marginally bigger than the 00-Buck but it also has many more pellets on impact compared to the 00-Buck. When I have tested this load before, typically only half of the load penetrates all the way through a 12” 10% ballistic gel block, and a handful have enough energy to pass through an interior wall. Whatever is left lacks the energy to blow through a secondary wall.
Pros and Cons
There are many great things about this shotgun. The V3 TAC-13 is an incredibly smooth action and the Versaport gas system is highly reliable and does manage to soften felt recoil. The controls on the shotgun are intuitive and are located where they need to be. The fit and finish of the shotgun is superb, and everything feels solid. The 13” barrel with the Shockwave “birds-head” pistol grip are exceptionally handy and are quick to deploy. With the integrated QD sling attachment point in the pistol grip, using a one-point sling on this shotgun would be very comfortable. The added oversized, push-button safety is also easy to reach and quick to get the weapon on fire. Function wise, there is nothing that I can really nit-pick about the TAC-13, besides my opinion on slightly more aggressive texturing on the pistol grip. It was designed very well, and it exceeded my expectations for recoil and controlling the weapon.
All of this doesn’t change the fact that a pistol grip shotgun can be hard to properly and effectively use. While its size makes for a very handy weapon to grab quickly and deploy, aiming the weapon even within tight room-sized areas is paramount. Sighting in with the TAC-13, or any short barreled, pistol gripped shotgun is awkward. Event though the recoil is tamed significantly by the Versaport gas system, recoil is still substantial over common handgun cartridges used in defensive pistols. Extra training would be very important to use the TAC-13, or any pistol gripped short barrel shotgun. With that being said, the TAC-13 is a very solid and well-built shotgun that chugged along regardless of what I decided to feed it. This shotgun, if converted to an NFA short-barreled shotgun, or if modified to be used with a pistol brace, would be absolutely hell on wheels for a defensive shotgun.
Gauge/Caliber – 12 Gauge
Mag Capacity – 5 Shells (2 ¾”)
Barrel Length – 13”
Barrel Type – Cylinder Bore
Sights – Front Bead
Receiver Finish – Black Oxide (Aluminum)
Overall Length – 26.5”
MSRP – Starts at $915.00