[EDITOR NOTE: Please see our followup review on this gun “Find the Malfunction“]
During the course of this review, I asked Black Aces Tactical’s Eric Lemoine what DT stands for. “DT stands for Delirium Tremens,” Lemoine replied. “Back in November, when we announced that it was going into production and we published our ATF letter, the shockwaves that it sent across the internet were profound. The AR community was not pleased. So that weekend, as we sat at the bar, we thought the appropriate name of the weapon would be DT, considering the tremors and horrors that it was sending across the community.”
Introducing the Black Aces DT
Black Aces Tactical isn’t a household name. Yet. They don’t have the longevity of Colt or the pedigree of Browning, but we think the Black Aces brand will grow because these guys are building guns that no one else even dares to develop. The best example is their redesign of the classic the pump shotgun, the DT. With their billet receivers, removable magazines, and pistol grip stocks, these shotguns are the Ferraris of pump guns.
Black Aces has also brought to market a gun that seems to defy law and logic. The Pro Series 5 DT is an 8.5” barreled Pistol grip “gun” that does not fall under NFA restriction. Utilizing a (fixed or side folding) SB15 Arm Brace, the DT falls in to the murky category know as PGO (pistol grip only). We will get into the legality of all this later, but what you need to know is this gun is legal for you to own with no NFA strings attached. And if that weren’t enough, the DT is beyond bad ass.
- Short 8.5” barrel
- Pro Series 5 mag fed receiver
- ATI talon stock with pistol tube adapter (side folder optional)
- Sig SB15 Arm Brace
- Billet Safety
- Despoked Barrel Clamp
- Billet Magazine Tube
- Billet 5 sided multi positional action tube
- Magpul RVG
- Choice of (2) 5 round magazines or (1) 10 round magazine
- Choice of Cerakote color
- All ATF letters included
- No AOW of SBS NFA stamps required
- No 6-8 month wait
Built around the Black Aces Tactical hybrid pump action billet receiver, the DT is a purpose built scattergun. The gun feeds from Saiga 12 magazines and drums, making its capacity whatever you want it to be. 3 round sticks for hunting, 20 round drums for range fun. It only fires 2 ¾ shells, so you high power 3 ½ or 3 inch magnum guys are out of luck. Birdshot, buckshot, slugs, flares, less than lethal–the DT will eat them all up with out a second thought. The DT is built like a brick shit house, so you can expect this gun to function reliably for a lifetime.
The biggest part of the DT’s design is its short overall length. It is built to meet a minimum length requirement of 26 inches for a PGO (pistol grip only shotgun), technically it is considered a firearm by the ATF. We will go more into detail about what a PGO shotgun is and where it falls exactly in the ATF’s eyes.
The DT utilizes a cut down Mossberg 500 barrel measuring in at 8.5 inches. It is then teamed up with an ATI Talon pistol grip stock system that uses a pistol buffer tube and Sig SB15 Arm Brace. This brings the overall length to 28” and 19” folded. As far as the ATF’s concerned, a firearm is measured from extreme ends–so a folded Sig brace is good to go.
Before I go any further, let me make this clear. This is not an NFA weapon. There is no stamp required. This gun is legal in the ATF’s eyes, but not every state feels the same. New York and California restrict the gun. The other 48 are good to go as long as you find an educated firearms dealer who is willing to transfer you the firearm. You may also want to carry a copy of the supplied ATF paperwork that comes with each gun in case you run into someone who is not convinced.
What it isn’t
The DT is not a SBS (short-barreled shotgun) nor is it an AOW (any other weapon). If you want to do the research for yourself, here is a link to the ATF’s NFA Hand book.
For those willing to take my word, here are the abbreviated definitions supplied by the ATF that are relevant to this weapon.
Short-barreled shotgun: A weapon modified from a shotgun that has a barrel less than 18 inches long.
The key phrase there is “from a shotgun.” In other words, it had to be a traditional shotgun first. And a shotgun is a gun designed to be fired from the shoulder.
Any Other Weapon: A weapon manufactured without a shoulder stock that is less than 26 inches in overall length.
For shotgun type guns, this means that they have never had a shoulder stock attached to them. So they’re not shotguns.
Firearm: By legal definition the DT is considered a “Firearm.” In the ATF’s definitions, a firearm (at least in this sense) is a gun that has never had a stock that has an overall length of at least 26 inches.
Though we call it a shotgun, it is not legally defined as a shotgun. It is simply a firearm. Confusing? For more information, read up on the history of the National Firearms Act here.
Or read this review of a PGO Mossberg 500. It covers a lot of the same ground.
What it really is
The DT isn’t just a weapon, it’s a revolution, it changed the way we perceive guns that shoot shot shells. With its development we can chop 10 inches off of the normal shotgun, incorporate the folding arm brace and roughly lose another 10 inches off the firearm and find ourselves with package that is the same size as a normal shotgun’s barrel.
Shooting the DT
Shooting the DT is an experience! The recoil is modest, the muzzle flash is more reminiscent of a cannon, and the percussion that you feel every time you pull the trigger is similar to being inside of an explosion. Will any of this stop you from enjoying every second of your trigger time? Hell No! Every shot you take with the DT is a shot of adrenaline. It’ll put a smile on your face–guaranteed.
When you actually run the gun, you begin to appreciate the generous tolerances of the action bars as they keep the gun from binding. You begin to appreciate the speed and ease at which you can reload the gun. You notice that the magazine release is precise and easily actuated with your off hand or your trigger finger. The magazines fit to the receiver with little play while still inserting eassily. The DT is built like a Swiss watch where it should be and built like an Ak47 where it needs to be. Out of the hundreds of shells I fired (both brass and steel rimmed) I had no jams, no malfunctions, no problems what so ever.
Reloads with the DT consist of a click when the pin falls on an empty chamber. Rack the slide. Drop the empty magazine. Rock the new magazine into place and close the action. It all happens very quickly and is smooth as silk. It is not as fast as reloading a GLOCK, but a hell of a lot faster than re-stuffing a magazine tube.
Can you actually hit anything with it?
Though it has a short little barrel measuring in at 8.5 inches, the DT is capable of putting lead on target. Realistically we accept that we are short 10 inches of barrel, and a cylinder bore choke away from a modest group, but the DT is actually capable of consistent and somewhat tight patterns. From 7 yards, Estate 00 buck patterned a 4 inch group. Moving out to 15 yards, the DT put down a 7.5 inch group with 6 of the 9 pellets hitting inside a target. Moving to slugs, I repeated the test at 7 yards and was able to put 4 Fiocchi low recoil slugs into a 1.5 inch group. Again moving out to 15 yards, I was able to put 4 of the Fiocchi slugs into a 3 inch group.
Inside of 25 yards the DT is capable of making consistent hits. The obvious choice for me is to run slugs in this gun. Moving outside of realistic shotgun engagement distances, the DT suffers from a decent drop in velocity that makes buckshot inconsistent. And long range work with slugs requires a bit of Kentucky windage.
Ergonomics of the DT
The DT is designed to be comfortable to shoot. It has padding built into the pistol grip, it has a Magpul vertical grip that is offset to the left, but able to be positioned at 4 other locations around the action tube making the gun ambidextrous. The gun also has an ambidextrous magazine release and safety.
The DT takes all of the good traits of the Mossberg 500, combines them with the capacity and quick reloading of the Saiga 12, and gives it to you in a package that is well within the size of a normal shotgun’s barrel.
One shortcoming of the weapon is that it doesn’t come from the factory with any accurate way to place shots. It has no sights. It is drilled and tapped for the addition of a standard Mossberg 1913 rail. The assumption here is that you’ll top it off with some sort of red dot. I picked up an inexpensive rail for $10 that did the job. On top of this rail I put an old Primary Arms Microdot that lasted right around 200 rounds before the glass shattered out of the front from the percussion.
Still. Adding an optic to this gun is a must. The addition of a PA microdot allowed me to accurately place slugs on human sized target with ease out to 50 yards and inside of 20 yards it made shots with slugs as precise as with a full sized shotgun. The addition of the red dot sight took what would most certainly be a range toy and made it into a functional working gun.
Conclusion/ Should you buy one?
In an effort to perfect the DT, Black Aces Tactical is launching a new model called the DTR in early August 2015 that will address the lack of mounting surfaces on the DT. The model designated as DTR fixes the problem of mounting optics and or lights/lasers to the DT. Constructed form a single piece T6 6061 aluminum the RB7DT quad rail acts as both a mounting surface and as a barrel shroud protecting you form the inevitably hot barrel while you are blasting away at the range. The DTR retails for $1328 making it roughly $150 more than the DT.
Even without the extra mounting space, the Black Aces Tactical DT is a shotgun evolved; it redefines what is capable and legal from a pump action shotgun. If you are looking for the next cool toy, force multiplier, or work gun–the Black Aces Tactical DT might be the firearm for you. The DT comes retails for right around $1200, it is available for sale directly through the Black Aces Tactical website as well as online on GunsAmerica from one of our many dealers.