What’s a 12 Gauge Firearm? The Shockwave and Tac-14

So I like shotguns and own close to a dozen of them, ranging from your mass produced Turkish shotgat to the pride of my: collection a Winchester 1897 produced in 1902. This intro is going to sound kind of odd when I say we aren’t talking about shotguns today. We are talking about 12 gauge “firearms” like the Tac 14 and Mossberg Shockwave. What’s the difference? American laws.

The Not a Shotgun Difference

Guns like the Mossberg 590 Shockwave and Remington Tac 14 fall under the rather ambiguous title of firearm. Yes, they are based off of traditional shotgun platforms, but by law do not fall under the category of shotgun. Because they aren’t technically shotguns they can have those nice and short 14 inch barrels without being considered an NFA weapon.

The thing is the ATF defines a shotgun as a weapon designed to be fired from the shoulder or redesigned to be fired from the shoulder. This means if it’s never had a stock it’s not a shotgun.

Now there are similar weapons like the Serbu Super Shorties aren’t considered shotguns, but they are considered AOWs making them NFA items and subject to a $200 theft. The reason these 12 gauge firearms aren’t AOWs is due to their overall length. These guns have to have an overall length of 26 inches. Anything less than 26 inches makes the gun an AOW.

Raptor Grips add those needed…inches.

The Shockwave Raptor grip is the key to making these weapons a success. It’s a pistol grip that’s more horizontal than vertical and gives the weapons those precious few inches necessary to allow the use of a 14-inch barrel while remaining over 26 inches.

The Two Big 12 Gauge ‘Firearms’

I see one of three reactions whenever someone sees the Remington Tac 14 or Mossberg Shockwave. The first is oh that’s cool. The second, that’s dumb and pointless, what a waste of money. The third is, that’s the ultimate ‘insert truck/ home defense/ whatever gun’ ever. The truth is something in the middle.

Both the Tac 14 and Mossberg Shockwave are well-made firearms. Surprisingly the Tac 14 isn’t a rust bucket like more than a few of Remington’s latest guns. I first saw and fired the Shockwave at Shot Show, and instantly knew I wanted one.

Why? I have no idea. What are they really useful for? I can think of a few things.

First, just having the ability to flick off the ATF is always nice without risking my precious doggo. These aren’t loopholed guns necessarily, but it certainly defies what most of us believed about 12 gauge pump action firearms.

Second, they are fun. They are an actual challenge to shoot and certainly to shoot well. There is certainly a level of thrill you get from shooting one of these guns that you don’t get from shooting your Mom’s Glock 19.

Third? I don’t really have a third reason to own one of these guns. Sure they are great for dispatching snakes and other very specific niche tasks. At the end of the day outside of flicking off the ATF and being fun, they don’t do anything a stocked shotgun can’t do. In fact, a stocked shotgun is going to do it better than a 12 gauge firearm.

If you want a home defense gun or some ninja tactical shotgun just go with a standard tactical shotgun with a stock.

On the Range?

These things are fun to shoot. The first time you actually try to aim and shoot one of these you are gonna pucker just a little bit, but thinking the gun is going to come back and give you a gnarly black eye is part of the fun. You know, the whole” if you can’t die it’s not an adventure” thrill.

The good news is the recoil shoots more upward than rearward. I imagine this is due to the excellent Shockwave Raptor grip. It forces a pivot point at the wrist. This makes the Shockwave’s strap equipped pump a little handier than the Remington’s Magpul pump. Despite this I swapped my Shockwave pump for a Magpul pump but also installed a vertical grip for control.

Since it doesn’t go rearward it’s not painful to shoot, differing from a normal vertical pistol grip. Even with powerful ammunition like Winchester PDX slugs you don’t feel any pain. It’s a handful and you won’t shoot those for fun, but its not painful.

Notice how high the recoil pulls the weapon

And while you can always shoot slugs through it birdshot and reduced recoil buckshot are the most comfortable options if you don’t hate yourself.

Mossberg Versus Remington

Companies like Fostech also make a 12 gauge firearm, but let’s be real, no one is going to outsell Mossberg and Remington. With that in mind, which of the two is better? I own both and to me, this is an easy choice. The Shockwave.  Why?

The 590 Shockwave holds 5+1 rounds compared to Remington’s 4+1 rounds. It’s lighter by almost half a pound, and repairing the internals of the guns is much easier with the Mossberg. The Mossberg’s tang safety is much easier to use with the Shockwave Raptor grip than the push button Remington safety. The Mossberg is also tapped for a scope, which I’ve taken advantage of with a Meopta Meosight 3. Also, you can fit the gun with an Opsol Mini Clip and run those adorable Aguila Mini shells through the gun reliably.

The main benefit of the Remington is the Magpul pump. While some prefer the milled steel over the aluminum, I personally have never seen a difference.

Overall both guns are pretty similar in performance, which is understandable. I mean, how different can two pump action 12 gauges be? I haven’t had issues with either gun after a few hundred rounds of bird and buckshot through each.

Now to the biggest question: Are they worth buying?

If you want something fun and priced at under 400 bucks they are great range toys. But if you aren’t accustomed to handling heavily recoiling weapons you may want to ease yourself in. These aren’t for beginners. As a shotgun fanatic, I’m pretty happy with both my purchases, and regret nothing.

Especially so I can do shit like this….

Travis P.

Travis has been writing in the firearms industry for about 6 years now. He's written for dozens of crappy blogs, but luckily in the past 3 years, he's been writing for a few not so crappy websites. He currently works with the Loadout Room, Pew Pew Tactical, Govx, GAT Daily, and The Kommando Blog as a regular contributor. Travis is also a 5 year Marine veteran, and NRA Instructor

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2 Responses

  1. Tovarishch says:

    Just bought a Shockwave. Thing is so fun. I’m gonna make a scabbard and make it an anti carjacking gun. Because fuck you that’s why.

    • Greg says:

      I notice there’s a couple of pics of the tac-14s with VFGs on the magpul forends. I’ve scoured the net and cand find any documentation this is legal in fact most postssat it isn’t. Since it’s a weapon and not a handgun I don’t see why it would be illegal but logic and the ATF often fail to meet. I found documentation from the ATF that’s its legal to install a brace and a reversal letter that even says it’s legal to shoulder the brace, but I can’t find any documentation you can instal a VFG which is my goal. Can anyone point me to a definitive answer as to the legality, rather than the typical 5 guys says yes and 5 saying no? Thanks much.

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