A while back, we took our initial look at the Beretta 1301 Tactical shotgun. The Tactical was an evolution from the 1301 competition, a gun which I needed no introduction. The 1301 represents the pinnacle of semi-auto shotgun technology, and that is coming from a Benelli guy. The 1301 absolutely stole the show when it was introduced in 2012. Beretta, as you may know, builds a couple of shotguns every year. But ironically, they were not well represented in the then exploding sport of 3 Gun. Sure, they were winning silly things like Olympic medals and International Trap World Championships. But the designs just couldn’t hang in places like the Missouri Regional 3 Gun/ Monster Truck rally. And in what I would call an uncharacteristic approach by the Italians, known for exquisite shoes and cars mortals can’t afford, they decided to fix that.
There are a lot of details you won’t find on Le’ Internets for how this came about. I remember them from being very active in 3 gun at the time, which also means some of it is fuzzy and unverifiable. But essentially, Beretta wanted to win something besides snooty shooting matches that involved a golf clap and ladies in expensive hats. And European gun culture can come as a shock to us Americans. Some nations such as the Czech Republic have VERY loose ownership and CCW rules for citizens and handguns. Many European nations allow not only ownership of firearms, but sometimes better stuff than we can get with our stupid NFA rules. In short, not every nation on the continent is
Cuck Island England.
So there are things like tactical challenges, hardcore USPSA clubs, and the like. Beretta found a champion shotgun shooter whose name escapes me at the moment and gave him carte blanche to develop a new blaster. As the world’s oldest gunmaker, Beretta has a deep bench of engineering expertise. Finally, after much debate about including leather seats and who’s tailor was better, the 1301 emerged.
And it really did take the world by storm. It was an out-of-the-box, ready to go 3 Gun competitor. With some incredible advantages. First, the cycle time on the 1301 beats everything. That isn’t a huge issue to most shotgun shooters, but it does matter when you have either targets close together or are in a head-to-head shoot-off. Unlike many shotguns, you cannot outrun the hammer on a 1301. Combined with being incredibly soft shooting, this gun was already on the way to the podium. But it had one more advantage.
A not insignificant factor in 3 gun is how reliable your shotgun is. And when it comes to semi-autos, the answer to most of them has been “not very”. I’m not insulting anyone’s duck gun, but it is true in the sport. Not only do sport shooters run more shells from a semi-auto than anyone else, but do so with a mixed bag of rounds. A Remington 1187 might be very reliable with high brass, for instance. And it might even do well with bird shot if you swap out the gas piston from heavy to light. But almost no shotgun will do both, all the time, without a hiccup.
Prior to the 1301, the most reliable was a Benelli M-2. And that reliability came at a cost. The M-2 is inertia-driven, not gas-operated. Which means it recoils like a train wreck compared to a gas piston gun. I knew the 1301 was destined for great things the moment I saw it cycle, flawlessly, low noise rounds back to back with slugs. Low noise rounds are a very weird shotgun shell. They are slower than Christmas at 980 fps, and notoriously light on recoil. Most semi-autos, including the M-2, will absolutely not eat them. But the 1301 runs them as if nothing changed.
Fast forward a couple of years, with the 1301 absolutely dominating sport shooting, and Beretta introduced the Tactical model. Created for LE and home defense, the new Tac model had a lot going for it. The receiver was slightly shortened for a better fit with armor, while also reducing overall length. It had ghost ring sights, as well as a top Picatinny rail for red dots. It had an 18.5 barrel for negotiating tight spaces. And it only had a 5+1 capacity?
Yes. Due to idiotic import rules, the 1301 was stuck with a 5+1 capacity to keep it “sporting”. This is less than ideal when American-made tactical shotguns can run the magazine tube all the way to the end of the barrel for 7+1 in capacity. Who was going to step up and fix this situation? The aftermarket, in the form of Nordic Components.
Nordic Components is famous on the race circuit for all kinds of whiz bang add ons. Seeing the popularity of the 1301 Tactical, and the need for a minor upgrade, they put together an extension kit. Unique for the shorter tactical model, the MXT kit is everything you need. It includes a special +2 flush fitting tube extension, a barrel clamp, Picatinny rail section, and QDA swivel attachment. In short, it adds everything to a tactical shotgun that should have come from the factory.
About a week ago, Beretta announced they were no longer going to be giving Nordic Components a license to print money. They finally figured out that since they have a US manufacturing facility, they could make very similar parts in-house (and legally add them). Which is the “all new” Beretta Enhanced 1301, with an MSRP of $1449. But if you have an earlier model 1301 Tac, not to fear. Nordic still has the kits, and they work amazingly well.