Beretta 1301 Tactical: Review

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The Beretta 1301 tactical is a popular product for all shotgun enthusiasts. It is a gas-operated semi-automatic shotgun made in Italy by the Beretta Company and imported to the United States by the same firm. Initially, this shotgun was designed for law enforcement and home defense, which require a more tactical approach, but they have found their way to the hunting and clay sporting scene.

Despite it being native to these genres, it still thrives and offers magnificent performances challenging even the big brands in the respective fields. As the name suggests, this product best suits tactical encounters proving to be dependable and reliable. A minority of hunters use this as their favorite hunting weapon.

Its engineering features nothing less of modern tactical shotgun components, making it ultra-reliable and easy to use. 1301 is a successor of the 1201 tactical model with a more superior build. It boasts a compact build size that makes it easy to maneuver through tight spaces and thick vegetation. Similar to previous shotgun models by Beretta, it uses a choke constriction system.

One unique configuration of this fantastic weapon is the intentional enlargement of some of its external components for more comfortable use. These oversized pieces include the charging handle, the trigger housing, and the textured bolt release that provide a smooth service and cycling action. Its barrel measures 47cm with its chamber responsible for 76mm of this length.

1301 tactical is a 12-gauge shotgun with an overall length of 37.8 inches and made of aluminum. The aluminum-make results in a lightweight shotgun, and in fact, it is the lightest shotgun I have ever come across weighing only 6.4 pounds when unloaded. The weight, when loaded, will depend on the rounds chambered.

What 1301 Has to Offer

To get a glimpse of what makes 1301 such a spectacle, we will dive into the details of its premium features.

Fixed Cylinder Choke

This feature seems to be inherited from the gun’s predecessors as it is common in almost all shotguns released before 1301. It is an excellent addition to the gun and plays a massive role in the success of this weapon in all the fields it thrives in. The fixed cylinder choke is optimized for tactical use with various loads without malfunctioning.

I can comfortably argue that were it not for its compatibility with the vast pool of rounds, this gun would be limited to only the primary purpose. It chambers both 2¾ and 3-inch rounds, lesser rounds also chamber, as it features an all-round lightweight receiver. Expect zero complications when mixing up a diet of factory-grade ammo and light reloads. It is entirely reliable and efficient.

Barrel Deep in Fore-End

Unlike most handgun models whose barrel seems to stick out a great length away from the gun’s build, the 1301 barrel lies deep in the fore-end. The protruding part of the barrel is very minimal as compared to other tactical shotguns from various manufacturers. This design approach is responsible to ensure closeness to the supporting hand for a more firm grip when taking shots.

It is also responsible for providing a more natural aim with this gun. The barrel is ultrathin and allows for a full grip even on the small-handed shooters who have a challenge in grasping the enormous shotgun barrels. The barrel measures 18.5 inches, which is a perfect length for tactical encounters.


Straight from the factory, 1301 comes fitted in with a front and rear sight for your aiming needs. Both these sights are enough to provide with accurate shots, as we all know shotguns are more of a pointing weapon than aiming. All you require for a precise attempt is a general pointing of the target, and the rounds will do the rest. However, if you must add on a red dot sight, a Picatinny rail is available.

The front sight features a simple blade built with wings on either side for protection from damage. This build mainly caters to efficiency in tactical scenarios, which require quick one second reflexes. It offers proper visibility and aiming capabilities, whether indoor or outdoor, shooting on different light settings.

The ghost ring sight is what serves as a factory-grade rear sight for the Beretta 1301 tactical. It is an easy and intuitive pointing component that eases your target acquisition process. The benefit with this sight is that it can be used with both eyes open, providing a wide field of view.

Fore-End Grip

The Beretta 1301 tactical shotgun has a relatively thin fore-end grip that brings out the comfort in your weapon handling. It is then uniformly checkered with a unique and exquisite pattern for additional grip. 

With most shotgun models, the fore-end is large and makes it challenging for small-handed individuals to grasp the weapon entirely. However, for this particular product, the build is perfect for handling both small and large-handed individuals. This build allows the shooter to control the recoil felt when shooting.


The 1301 trigger is among the components that make up for a great shotgun. The trigger of this weapon is housed in an enlarged guard, and right in front of it lies its triangular cross-bolt safety.  Both the trigger and the safety are aluminum made and promise a durable and practical lifespan. The steel made guard protects the trigger from any impact that may result in damages.

It is a fantastic and smooth trigger, just like its predecessors and breaks at 5 pounds. It is an adjustable trigger and can adjust between 4 to 15 pounds depending on the shooter’s preference.

BLINK Gas System

This Beretta shotgun brags off featuring the Blink gas system that is a spectacular addition to the gun’s build. If I were to be asked, I would say that this operating system is what gives this piece an advantage over its close rivals. The gas system compliments a cross tube piston, and they both work hand in hand to reduce the pressure build-up within the chamber of the gun.

The blink system is said to cycle 36% faster than its competitors, which is a proven and tested fact. You practically cannot outrun the Beretta 1301 tactical as it can shoot more than four rounds in one second. I know of a guy who shot six rounds within one second, proving it is a fast and effective weapon.

The configuration also allows the barrel to self-clean, which is a similar mechanism to recoil-operated shotguns. The piston seal is designed for cycling as it scrapes off powder residue within the barrel.

Oversized Bolt Release and Handle

Among the enlarged components of this weapon are the bolt release and handle, which are visible and protruding on the side of the Beretta 1301 tactical shotgun. They are intentionally oversized, making the controls easily usable and visible under the most challenging conditions.

They allow for easy and quick manipulation of the controls even on gloved hands, which is a challenge in most shotgun models. The synthetic buttstock that comes with this product is perfectly checkered, giving the shooter a perfect grip on the handles. They can adjust their shooting technique to reduce the recoil felt without losing their hold of the gun. This enlarged bolt release is also responsible for the smooth cycling action when taking multiple shots.

The initial model of this shotgun had inconsistencies when taking shots. However, the Beretta Company considered this and made the necessary adjustments correcting this issue. Among the modifications made was increasing the size of this component.

Adjustable Length of Pull

Its initial length of pull straight from the factory is 13 inches. Personally, there is no need for further adjusting this LOP; however, if it does not suit your shooting style, you can go ahead and adapt it to your preference. This easy adjustment is all thanks to the calibrated spacer system available on its build.

The primary basis of adjustment is respective to your shooting style and body size. What most shooters are not aware of is that with the proper shooting technique, you can reduce the recoil felt on this gun. Steve Fisher explains that by jerking your weapon slightly forward immediately you pull the trigger will result in a lesser felt recoil. Be careful so as not to lose your aim while trying to reduce this impact.

Picatinny Rail

For easy mounting of additional accessories to help in your aiming and target acquisition, its makers included a Picatinny rail on the tactical shotgun. No further modifications are required to secure your extra sight on this piece.

Sling Attachment

We all know that carrying around your shotgun will become tiresome in a matter of minutes, especially to the hunters who prefer shotguns as their primary weapon. Beretta 1301 tactical users have no problems tagging their weapons on long strolls because of the option of attaching a sling to aid in holding the gun on their bodies. 

The design of the gun has two small holes at the butt of the weapon and one on the front tip. You can then attach a sling and hang the gun on your shoulder. This position allows for smooth action and easy shooting technique even on scenarios expecting quick drawing of your weapon.

Shooting Test with the Beretta 1301 Tactical

Most weapons promise a lot on paper but fail to deliver the same quality promised when on the field. It is because of this reason that I decided to take my Beretta 1301 tactical to the field for a hands-on test. With me, I carried two sets of rounds; Remington and Hornady. It is essential to try out different loads as one may perform better than the other.

With the Remington Loads

My target positioning was 15 yards away, and my expectations for this shotgun were high. This exercise was the first test on this gun, and the loads were 1 1/8 ounces from Remington. The results, as expected, were pleasing, and with only five shots, I demolished the ten-inch target.

This outcome was more than what I was expecting, as all my shots flew directly in the target. Moreover, the pattern left was uniform, with all prints attaining a fist-sized grouping. I did not encounter any difficulties with the loads, and my shooting experience was as smooth as it can get.

With Hornady Loads

Hornady rounds are among my favorite brands, and it would be a shame if they did not perfectly pair with this spectacular gun. They did not disappoint as the results were nothing short of amazing. With these loads, I took ten shots, which gave me an impressive three-inch pattern. The most distant shots were four inches apart.

General Analysis of Both Tests

On both exercises, I decided to use the standard ghost ring and blade sight for aiming at my targets. I did not have enough time to prepare for an additional sight accessory. Nevertheless, my results were still promising. It proved that even this typical setting is ideal and offers a fast and accurate target acquisition.

Both these sights are fully adjustable for windage and elevation. Before beginning my tests, I took a couple of practice shots to help me calibrate them to my preference. I must say that they are the easiest and quickest pair I have ever had the opportunity to zero in.

In terms of loading the Beretta 1301 tactical, I had a pleasant experience. This smooth operation was thanks to the wide feeding port that allows for easy sliding of shells into the interior magazine. Unloading of the shots is as easy as loading them as all you have to do is to lift the shell carrier located underneath the gun. On pressing the back half of the bolt release button, the rounds will practically fly out of the weapon and into your waiting hand.

The Trigger

The Beretta 1301 adjustable trigger broke cleanly with every shot I took at the standard five pounds that are factory set. The momentum created by the smooth action of the gun made me make continuous successful shots, all hitting my target. Accuracy is not a concern as the trigger is soft enough not to interfere with your aim. For shooters who prefer a heavier trigger pull, do not be shy to try this gun out. 

I had no complications regarding the triangular safety located in front of the trigger housing. It is massive and textured in a way that you cannot miss it. Its location also plays an essential role in the smooth action cycle as you can easily reach it without moving your finger too far away from the trigger.

Beretta 1301 Tactical Gen 1 vs. Gen 2

Both of these shotguns are from Beretta and feature almost similar components. However, one is an upgraded version of the other. The Beretta 1301 gen 1 was first to be released into the market, and it is no lie that it gained a massive following immediately on its release. 

After a few weeks of its release into the market, its users brought forth claims of the weapon jamming frequently. The complications were regarding the carrier release featured in the gun. If you inadvertently bumped the rear, the system would release a shell from its magazine onto the carrier. Complications arose if there was a shell already in the carrier, as the two would come into contact resulting in a jam.

Considering this issue, the Beretta team then came up with a generation 2 of the same shotgun, this time having solved the malfunction.  The gen 2 featured a re-designed bolt release that offered a smoother and complication-free release.

Immediately the team introduced the second-gen into the market; its prior model dropped in pricing to help clear it off the shelves. I would like to believe that by now, the Gen 1 model is out of stock in the current market.

1301 Tactical Marine

Here we find another great product from Beretta and is an addition to the 1301 tactical series. This particular model features several necessary improvements that were inspired by the feedback received from the marketplace. It comes in a black setting and includes a corrosion-resistant finishing and aqua-tech coatings, making it perfect for maritime environments.

A great addition to the Beretta 1301 tactical marine is the re-designed bolt release lever that provides a better functioning. This mechanism is also responsible for the complete elimination of any chance of double feeding the chamber, which is what results in malfunctions in the previous models.

It also includes an aluminum Picatinny rail to support heavier optics that you might attach to your weapon. You will achieve maximum performance as this shotgun is compatible with optima core HP chokes made for 12 gauge guns.

Without a doubt, the marine proves to be the most superior model in the 1301 series.

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I hope that after completion of this review, you will agree that the 1301 tactical is among the best semi-automatic shotguns on sale. The only way to fully experience is by rushing to your gun store and placing your order.

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