The ‘other firearm’ category on a 4473 has likely never been checked to the degree it was in 2017 with the Mossberg Shockwave and Remington Tac 14 making massive waves in the industry. Anytime anything defies the NFA, you can bet it’s going to be popular. There is a reason so many Pistol Brace companies exist today. The Tac 14 is a 12 gauge, pump action weapon with a 14-inch barrel that is not subject to NFA regulations.
So How Is the Tac 14 Legal?
The Tac 14 is a Remington 870, but it’s not a shotgun. By US Law a shotgun must have or have had a stock at some point in its life. The Tac 14 has never had a stock so technically it isn’t a shotgun. It is a Firearm, and therefore it can have a barrel shorter than 18 inches. However, the overall length (OAL) cannot dip below 26 inches. If the OAL dips below 26 inches it becomes an Any Other Weapon (AOW). An AOW is another class of NFA firearm.
The Tac 14 sports the KAK Shockwave Raptor grip, this unique birds head grip is a bit longer than your normal pistol grip. The added inches is what results in the 26 inch OAL with the 14-inch barrel. As long as it stays over 26 inches, and doesn’t have a stock you aren’t violating the law.
There is one last NFA conversion to be aware of. That 26 inch OAL is required because if it was under 26 inches it would be considered “concealable” under the law. That being said if you conceal this weapon on your body it may become an AOW. So don’t tuck it under a trench coat.
Specs, Fit, and Finish
It’s no secret that in the last decade Remington has seen a decline in certain aspects of their weapon’s quality. This can most noticeably be seen in their fit and finish. One running joke at my local gun store is to see how long it takes a Remington to rust in Florida weather. I was certainly surprised to see the Tac 14 actually has a nice finish that’s evenly applied, smooth, and, nearly a year later, without rust.
The Remington Tac 14 is the Express model and sports a 4-round tube. Unfortunately, the tube is dimpled so you can’t add a plus 1 extension. Not a major deal, but the dimpling seems excessive. The gun rocks the fantastic Magpul pump so you have customization options through the M-Lok attachments. The gun is topped off with a simple bead sight that’s functional, but nothing fancy.
On the Range
The thing about these guns is that they are a blast to shoot … if you enjoy a wild, bucking gun. It takes some practice and control to really get a handle on, buts it’s fun the whole time. Part of the fun is the challenge of controlling the recoil and keeping the gun on target.
Birdshot isn’t bad at all, and should certainly be where you start. Get some practice in before you move into the much more fun, not to mention heavier recoiling, buckshot. The trick to controlling the gun is to grip the rearmost portion of the Magpul pump and push the forward. At the same time, you need to pull the Raptor grip rearward. It should feel like you are stretching the gun. I’m not sure what this technique is called, but I first heard about it from Gabe Suarez. It works well and really helps if you are shooting buckshot and shooting it fast.
Having said all that, the recoil isn’t as bad as most people assume. The Raptor grip really does its job and mitigates recoil well. There is more upward muzzle rise than rearward push. I put a few slugs through it at 25 yards and grouped them all into the head of a man-sized target. They all landed a little to the left.
Even with full powered slugs, I could control the Remington 870 Tac 14. I will say I have nearly a year worth of practice with these guns so I don’t recommend rushing into slugs.
The Remington pump is exceptionally smooth. It glides rearward with little force and throws shells outward with some real force. The pump is so smooth I can charge it with one hand and a bit of inertia. I wouldn’t recommend it at home, buts it is possible.
There is an issue I found when I first started handling this gun. The gun likes to jump out of your hands and the Magpul pump is hard to hang onto. With proper technique, it isn’t an issue. When you first start shooting I don’t recommend going fast or your hand may find its way in front of the barrel. Mossberg uses a strap, but the Magpul pump is perfectly suited to mount a hand stop or foregrip on. Both will help in controlling the gun.
It’s a pump action shotgun so very little can go wrong. I haven’t run into issues with any standard ammunition. Those little Mini Shells function about 75% of the time. The gun cycles great, ejects consistently, and runs buck, bird, and slugs without issue.
The Remington Tac 14 is a fun little “not a shotgun” firearm. It’s a challenging gun to control, and even more so to master. This is a limited use weapon, and it takes a lot of practice to run effectively enough to be used as a weapon. It fills very niche roles, and you may be better served with a standard stocked 870. If it becomes your home defense scattergun you best get out and get some practice with it. If you are looking to have some fun, and challenge yourself the Tac 14 is a fantastic way to do so.