Updated: Nov 16, 2022
The Beretta 1301 is one of the most popular models of semi-automatic 12-gauge shotgun currently on the market. Developed by a storied and well-respected brand, the Beretta 1301 family uses the latest technology and materials to make an excellent shotgun. The popularity, reliability, and market share this firearm commands is not easy to come by. This firearm has truly met and exceeded the needs of the modern shot-gunner and has a few very interesting attributes.
Beretta has taken their experience in the shotgun market and applied those lessons to the 1301 series, and we will be focusing specifically on the 1301 Tactical variants. The tactical models MSRP for under $1,600.00 and can usually be found for around $1500.00 in reasonably priced gun shops. Apart from the different color options, the two main flavors of 1301 Tactical are a traditional stock and forend configuration or a pistol grip stock and forend configuration. The pistol grip model costs slightly more, but mechanically the guns function the same. Additionally, the tactical models give users a ready to go out-of-the-box platform, allowing new owners to immediately hit the range and to start training and practicing with the 1301 Tactical, with little to no additional parts or pieces being necessary.
The 1301 family are 12-gauge shotguns with 18.5” barrels, 3” chambers (they will feed 2.75” and 3” shotgun shells), an overall length of 37.8”, with an extended magazine tube*. The magazine tube can hold 7+1 with 2.75” shells or 6+1 with 3” shells. The shotgun also comes from the factory with ghost ring sights and a picatinny rail for electro-optics. (*Beretta has sold the 1301 Tactical with 5 round magazine tubes, but these models can accept a +2 1301 extension. At the time of this article, Beretta’s website only lists the 7 round magazine tubes as standard).
These features are essentially the industry standard now, with manufacturers understanding that if they want to make sales and retain customers, they need factory shotguns which d to go right out of the box. The 1301 series has been on the market for a number of years, but Beretta has made rolling changes and upgrades throughout the years, with the latest iteration of the Tactical 1301 being an enhanced/gen 2 model.
The current tactical models feature enlarged controls, cold hammer-forged barrels, and the Beretta BLINK gas operating system. In particular, the Beretta BLINK uses a cross tube gas piston to reliably cycle the action, with Beretta claiming the action cycles over 30% faster than other competitors' semi-auto shotguns.
Are there any Negative Aspects to the Beretta 1301 Tactical?
First off, the Beretta 1301 Tactical can suffer from the same common problem all semi-auto shotguns face; possible ammunition sensitivity. The mechanical system is designed to be able to handle even the lightest of loads, but it is always best to test various ammo and see what runs in a particular gun. In addition, the shotgun is marketed as having a self-cleaning gas system, but users, especially those new to firearms, must not rely solely on this aspect and the weapon should be serviced based on the firing schedule.
The Beretta 1301 does have some aftermarket support, but options are limited. The Beretta 1301 has Magpul stocks and Magpul AK forends available if aftermarket adapters from Aridus Industries are added to augment the platform. There are some additional options for smaller components like the trigger, charging handle, and bolt release, but again there are only one or two viable options.
Finally, Beretta has made updates to the 1301 line over the years, and the gen 1 shotguns could have a feeding malfunction induced if the bolt release was hit while firing the shotgun. This would jam up the action and it would take valuable time to clear. This has been fixed in the gen 2, however if someone is buying a used 1301 or just is not sure, contact Beretta to verify the status of a particular shotgun.
Why is the Beretta 1301 Tactical a Good Defensive Shotgun?
Although this weapon has some negative considerations, the Beretta 1301 has proven to be one of the best 12-gauge shotguns on the market. If any reputable firearms instructor is asked about semi-auto shotguns, 99% of the time the Beretta 1301 Tactical will be brought up as a proven and all-around good defensive tool. The 1301 has gone through a number of rolling upgrades over the years, building upon lessons learned, with the current gen 2 being the latest refinement.
The 1301 Tactical has steadily grown in use by law enforcement agencies. Apart from the standard issue for patrol cars and SWAT use, the 1301 Tactical LE models have even been adopted by the Pennsylvania Game Commission and other state and federal agencies due to the reliability and durability of the weapon. Additionally, this shotgun has been found to not beat up shooters of all shapes and sizes, due to the way in which the mechanism and gas system have been designed to be smooth and soft. The Beretta 1301 has also been found to be comfortable for many female shooters too, due to the ergonomic nature of the layout as well as the ease of use, and the reduction in felt recoil.
One of the key things to remember then is not only for the money, but also for the quality of manufacturer, the Beretta 1301 Tactical is extremely good value for money. Similar premier fighting shotguns from Benelli start at well over $2,000.00 and still require additional parts and tuning to be fully setup. The 1301 can be bought and kitted out to fight with for around or under $2,000.00. This shotgun is also a good value as it can be sent out to various shops like Langdon Tactical and have it tuned and refined to a whole new level, again without breaking the bank.
Common Beretta 1301 Upgrades and Accessories
Different types of firearms lend themselves better to certain types of upgrades and the use of accessories as force multipliers. Defensive shotgun setups should always follow the basic recipe of a comfortable sling, quality white light, additional ammo storage, and a sighting system optimized for the primary user*. For the Beretta 1301 Tactical, some standard upgrades and some model specific upgrades are available. As previously mentioned, there are some limited furniture options from Magpul with the Aridus adapters for the 1301. (I am personally biased to simple setups and minimal upgrades to shot
guns, so some users may find they prefer additional items or concepts not mentioned here).
If someone has an older model, a Beretta 1301, tube extensions can be easily purchased from companies like Nordic Components, and screwed onto the gun to maximize ammo capacity. Just like the majority of shotguns on the market, a Velcro shell holder can simply be added to the left side of the receiver to increase the amount of ammunition on hand, while a more rigid part could be purchased and installed if someone was more inclined to do so. Aridus Industries also makes a rigid side saddle for the 1301 series.
With the 1301 Tactical coming with ghost ring sights and a picatinny rail on top of the receiver from the factory, literally any durable electro optic sight can be placed on the rail to maximize target acquisition. Any of the sealed Holosun, Sig Sauer, or even Aimpoint red dot sights would be ideal for such a weapon. Also, a Trijicon RMR on a minimalist mount could also make for a slick setup atop the 1301. In a similar way, a Surefire or Streamlight weapon light can be mounted to the front of the shotgun using either the magazine clamp or some upgraded furniture to simply bolt the light onto the ideal spot for a user. If warranted, a tape switch can then be run and fastened to a comfortable location for the primary to easily acuate the weapon light. Finally, any quality single point sling could be looped around the wrist of the stock to provide maximum retention, with the least amount of snag. A two-point sling can also be configured onto this shotgun, with the primary user needing to account for its position relative to other accessories and controls.
Legal Considerations: Delaware HB450
Unfortunately, states like Delaware and other “progressive” states often have arbitrary proposals, laws, regulations, taxes, and other unconstitutional restrictions in place which greatly inhibit a citizen's options when selecting weapons for self-defense, for collecting, or to simply own just for the fun on owning unique and interesting arms. In Delaware, tactical shotguns are being subjected to criteria banning and restricting so called “assault weapons.” As a result, this limits the combination of certain features like magazine capacity, pistol grips, and telescoping stocks a single weapon can have.
Fortunately, these arbitrary ideas do not greatly affect the Beretta 1301 Tactical as it uses a traditional stock, or the pistol grip model which has a fixed stock. Additionally, shotguns cannot have detachable magazines under Delaware HB450, but again the 1301 is a tub-fed gun with up to a 7+1 round capacity, thus allowing users to keep using the gun as it comes from the factory. Such legal issues further the argument that shotguns are an excellent defensive tool and make it easier for people to acquire a quality multi-use small arm. This also furthers the use and proliferation of the 1301 and other tactical weapons in states where the elite are trying to legislate away the common man's ability to self-defense. And once more, given its cost, quality, and availability, the Beretta 1301 Tactical is a phenomenal option that can be purchased and owned in virtually any part of the country.
What other Shotguns are Available?
The Beretta 1301 Tactical is not an inexpensive shotgun, but by no means is it out of reach for the typical consumer. Focusing on tube fed semi-auto shotguns (so no Saigas, Saiga-clones, Fostech Origin, or other box magazine fed semi-auto shotguns) the 1301 is priced about in the middle of the road. The new Mossberg 940 Tactical is
slightly cheaper than the Beretta and has a different feature set. It may prove to be its equivalent, but it is still a little too early to make the call on the Mossberg.
The family of a Benelli semi-auto tube fed shotguns are by far the industry standard to measure all fighting shotguns from. However, those shotguns are extremely expensive, the parts are expensive, and they are sometimes hard to find due to various market conditions. They are also employed by law enforcement and military groups around the world, as well as by armed citizens, but for many, such weapons are just too expensive to justify purchasing.
Recently, a slew of Benelli clones mainly from Turkey has flooded the US market. These shotguns are brought in under a variety of names and models, but at their core are based on the different Benelli models; Panzer Arms and SDS Imports are just a few
of the companies bringing in what are nicknamed the “turk-nellis.” Due to the variety in features and price points, generally speaking this subcategory of imported shotguns has been met with mixed experiences. Many users are reporting different issues with both the fit and finish as well as reliability and durability, from both short-term and long-term testing. Some folks have had luck with some of the more expensive models, but these guns need to be subject to higher quality control standards at the factory to minimize issues. Their major redeeming factor at the moment is the insanely low price point of these imports, which is well under $1,000.00 for most models; many people are open to purchasing one of these cheaper shotguns and seeing if they have any luck with it.
Should Someone Buy a Beretta 1301 Tactical?
At the end of the day, consumers are taking their hard-earned income, even with
today's obscene inflation, and spending it on quality and meaningful goods. If a proven, easy to handle, reliable, semi-auto 12-gauge shotgun is on the grocery list, then the Beretta 1301 Tactical needs to be one of the top choices. In the age of the AR-15 and its infinite modularity, the 1301 still finds law enforcement, military, and civilian
use all over the world. This shotgun brings to bear the full capabilities of a firearm chambered in 12-gauge, with few if any real significant detractors (and most would argue these detractors are true of any semi-auto 12-gauge). The Beretta 1301 Tactical enables citizens to have a quality and affordable option for self-defensive, without having to compromise on anything. Contact us or your favorite local shop to order one, or have any additional questions answered.