Concealed Carry & Home Defense

Gun Test: Remington Model 870 Tac-14

Barbara Baird Contributor
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Last year, Remington Arms Company rolled out a line of pump-action firearms featuring 14-inch barrels, no stocks, no pistol grips and measuring slightly longer than 26 inches. The line included a model 870 in 12 gauge, followed by its little brother, the 20-gauge Tac-14. How does a firearms manufacturer design and build these sorts of guns, with barrels less than the 18-inch length required to avoid taxation under the National Firearms Act (NFA) as short-barreled shotguns? Well, the ATF ruled these guns to be firearms under the Gun Control Act of 1968, but not within the meaning of the NFA. In other words, the way I see it the guns are legally firearms with overall lengths exceeding 26 inches, but they are not subject to the NFA tax stamp requirement because Remington didn’t design them to be fired from the shoulder and as such they are not shotguns. 

This new 20-gauge model sports a 14-inch cylinder bore in, of course, a smaller barrel than the 12, yet touts a 4+1 capacity. Its forend is a Magpul 12 gauge, with a Remington-designed adapter. The Tac 14 in 20 is possible, thanks to a Mesa Tactical “Lucy” grip adapter for a 12-gauge shockwave that fits onto a 20-gauge receiver. 


I shot samples of each of the Tac-14 models in this line last summer at a media event at Gunsite. I preferred the 20 gauge, mostly because of its reduced recoil when compared to the larger gauge. 

Here’s a comparison of an old “truck gun” from Remington (870) and its newer truck gun. Easier to maneuver, for sure.

Remington believes the personal defense market will love this line, especially for ease of traveling and storage; it also is much faster to wield than a standard shotgun. I think they’re right, and I also believe that the 20-gauge model is perfect in my world for vehicle carry, backpacking/hiking in high country and overall personal defense in the home. 

Babbs tac 14 20 ga Tac-14

You can also shoot this one from the hip. I prefer to hold it out in front of me as far as it will go, and support it with my non-shooting hand.

Tac-14 On The Range

Is it hard to shoot? You don’t put this gun to your cheek. You push it out in front of your body, or if you want, you can try shooting it from the hip. I pushed mine out in front. It does have some stout recoil, but not nearly as noticeable as its compatriot in 12 gauge does. 

The gun weighs about 5 pounds, which makes it easy to handle. I would heartily recommend dry firing it first, and cycling the action a few times through. Get used to the pump. Keep your support hand firmly forward and tight on the gun’s forend, so your hand doesn’t come back with it under recoil and execute a “short stroke.”

I admit it. At first, I had to work through flinching, but then once I got used to it I liked the way it handled, and … I liked the results I saw on paper with the Ultimate Defense Managed Recoil Buckshot loads that Remington sent me. I shot it at ranges from 3 yards to 7 yards. I used only this ammo because frankly, I prefer buckshot for my personal defense shotshell loads.


Remington Ultimate Defense Buckshot Load

The Right Ammo

The ammunition side of the company has designed a new, special buckshot for this line, as well – the Ultimate Defense Managed Recoil Buckshot. These rounds have been created to deliver tight, effective short-range patterns and Remington says it reduces recoil up to 40%. The 20-gauge loads contain 17 pellets of #3 buckshot at a velocity of 1140 fps, and is sold in boxes of 5 for $5.26 per box. 

Tac14 on rust Tac-14

I think this gun, combined with reduced recoil ammo, is a good fit for someone who wants a home defense gun or a gun to take along in a vehicle. 

Visit Remington to learn more about the line of Tac-14 shotguns here.

Starting at $443.05

Thanks to Women’s Outdoor News for this post. Click here to follow TheWON on Facebook.

Barbara Baird is sponsored by Liberty SafeClick here to visit