As a big fan of shotguns, you guys know I’m a huge fan of the Mossberg Shockwave style firearms. I own entirely too many of them, including ultrashort 10-inch models, the Remington Tac 14, the Mossberg Shockwave, the Shockwave 590M, but my favorite is my newest model, the Tac 14 Hardwood. I guess you can say this gun gave me wood.
Why the Tac 14 Hardwood Is My Favorite
First off in a world of high tech, impact resistant, space polymers the Tac 14 Hardwood has some beautiful wood furniture. Remington knocked out with the hardwood grip and pump. The rear grip is amazingly smooth and is the same size as the Raptor grip we all know and love from previous Shockwave and Tac 14 guns. The pump is a corncob model with some grip lines cut into it. The finish is also a matte blue, which stands in contrast to a regular Tac 14.
The entire package stands out compared to a Tac 14. The Tac 14 certainly has its charms with its black polymer furniture, and it’s Magpul SGA pump. The Tac 14 is undoubtedly the more modern choice. However when it comes down to being vain the Tac 14 Hardwood is gorgeous, it’s matte blue finish, and wood furniture stands well above the plastic and black oxide finish of the Tac 14.
That’s not where the differences end either. The Tac 14 Hardwood comes with two features that place it a step above the standard Tac 14. First, a plus one extension that makes the magazine tube flush with the end of the barrel. This gives you a total of 5 rounds in the tube and one in the chamber. Additionally, the Tac 14 Hardwood comes ready for a sling with a very interesting front sling keeper. The front sling keeper is a shield type that acts as a handguard as well as a sling keeper. Remington being the sweethearts they are included a sling reminiscent of the old GI web slings.
After that, you have a traditional bead sight, and everything is pretty standard Remington 870 Express.
On the Range
After owning a number of Remington 870s and Mossberg 500s/590s, I do tend to prefer the Mossberg for a few reasons. However, in a head to head comparison of the Mossberg Shockwave versus the Tac 14 Hardwood model I’d take the Tac 14 Hardwood. The capacities now match, the Remington is heavier which helps with recoil, and comes sling ready.
My Shockwave didn’t come with a rear sling swivel, and I’m salty about that. Overall the Remington feels smoother with a smoother pump action, a better trigger, and smoother pump release.
A lot of people see these guns as range toys, and admittedly they are a ton of fun at the range. They are difficult to control and use effectively and when you do you get an immense feeling of satisfaction. While it’s not a gun for clays, it’s a blast to throw clays on the berm and try to light them up.
Recoil with birdshot is pleasant and hardly uncontrollable. When you move into buckshot, it becomes a little more a challenge to hold on to. Proper technique is undoubtedly needed. You need to extend your nonfiring hand forward and almost lock your arm. The rear hand should be pulling rearward on the gun, and you aim as if you would a stocked weapon. I typically aim right below the target and let it fly.
The feeling of putting a load of buckshot in the chest, or even better the head of a target, is hard to beat. From 15 yards it’s a devastating weapon that disperses a decently wide pattern with buckshot. Although rounds like the Federal Flight control loads will give you a lot more range. You can shoot easily out to 25 yards and beyond with the right skillset.
Remington has been hit hard with a lot of bad press due to reliability and QC concerns, but it does seem that they are trying to work past that. Both my Tac 14s have been reliable and functional without any issues. The finish on both looks great, and I’ve no problems with feeding, ejection or firing.
The Tac 14 Hardwood classes it up. The addition of wood doesn’t make tactical sense, but damn does it look and work nicely. Seeing as how I’m not protecting witnesses or clearing trenches I don’t necessarily need to be tactical.
This is the closest I’ll ever come to owning a Witness Protection 12 gauge without a tax stamp and a butt ton of money, and I’ll take it. The original 12.5-inch barrel Witpro guns were great, but whoever argued over 1.5 inches?