March 2019

Sub-Gauge Shockwaves Go Up Against Remington’s TAC-14

We test two Mossbergs, in 410 bore and 20 gauge, against Remington’s shorty in 20 gauge. Used correctly, these maneuverable guns are all good choices for home-defense effectiveness.

Sub-Gauge Shockwaves Go Up Against Remington’s TAC-14

The Mossberg Shockwave in 20 gauge (top) and Remington TAC-14 in 20 gauge (bottom) offer slick operation and less recoil than the 12-gauge variants. The petite Mossberg Shockwave in 410 bore (center) is nonetheless formidable, especially when stoked with specialty defense loads. Any of these three firearms classified as “other” by the ATF will make a good home-defense firearm, but be forewarned these shotguns require a new skill set to operate properly and efficiently.

According to the ATF, the Mossberg Shockwave and Remington TAC-14 are classified as “other” firearms, meaning they are not handguns nor are they shotguns. It is not our intent to ignore ATF definitions, but it can be confusing to use the term “other” when describing these firearms. So, for less confusion, we will refer to them as firearms even though they shoot shotshells and slugs and have chambering descriptions in gauge and bore terminology.

Back in 2017, we tested the Mossberg Shockwave in 12 gauge, giving it an A grade. We expected as much — and less — from these sub-gauge models. “Less” meaning less recoil. The 12-gauge variants offer heavy recoil depending on the loads used. We also had some specialty 410 defense loads that we have used in 45 LC/410 revolvers and wanted to try them in one of these weapons.

We tested at 10 yards on plain cardboard sheets that measured 18 inches wide, the average width of a male torso. We fired slugs, birdshot and buckshot out of the 20-gauge weapons using Aguila 2.75-inch shells loaded with #2 buckshot, Federal Premium 0.75-ounce rifled slugs, and handloaded #8 birdshot shells, which one of our testers uses for skeet and sporting clays. For the 410, we used the same distance and target and loaded up with 3-inch Winchester Super X quarter-ounce slugs, 2.5-inch Federal Premium #8.5 birdshot shells, and Hornady Critical Defense loads with one 41-caliber FTX projectile and two 35-caliber round ball projectiles. We fired to determine pattern size and found that with specialty and buckshot loads, these tiny blasters were surgical, allowing us to easily keep patterns on the 18-inch wide target. Birdshot destiny patterns were pretty close to covering 18 inches, but we did note some shot flew at a wider pattern — something one should consider if you were to use these weapons for home defense. Note that using birdshot will more than likely cause a large shot pattern with not all projectiles hitting the target. We would stick with buckshot and specialty loads for home defense and leave the birdshot for dispatching large rodents and snakes.

Our initial process was to accurately fire on the cardboard with birdshot, then buckshot/specialty loads, followed by slugs. Since the projectiles are of different sizes, it was easy to discern the different hole sizes. We also followed this process to quickly compare load types on our 18-inch-wide target.

These three pump-action weapons feature a 14-inch barrel with a Cylinder-bore choke and use a Raptor pistol grip. All weapons functioned flawlessly, though we did find the 410 slower to reload. There was also a distinct preference for the Mossberg versus the Remington, or vice-versa, depending on what type of pump shotgun our testers had experience with. In our opinion, the Mossberg with the action lock lever behind the trigger guard allowed for fast manipulation without changing your grip. The ambidextrous safety on the Mossberg also gave it a slight edge over the Remington’s safety in the trigger guard behind the trigger. We’d feel empowered to protect our castle with any of these weapons, but we would lean toward the Mossberg. Here’s why.

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