Beretta 1301 Thoughts

Background: I'm not a "shotgun guy." I'm a winning guy and a buy-once-cry-once guy. That is why I went with the 1301: it’s the single best combat shotgun on the market and it hasn't disappointed. My application for the shotgun is pure home defense. I have plenty of rifles and pistols around and train with them often. However, “one round from a shotgun” is likely the least politically charged way to kill someone legally. Shotguns have an innocuous reputation and it was only one shot. If the pistol or rifle is coming out, you can expect doses served in groups of 3-5. Running a Mozambique drill on someone with 9inch 300blk just isn’t as easy to smooth over in courts typically. The 1301 lives in a safe but easy to get to place, shell on the lifter, chamber empty, safety on. It’s not a Mosin, you can leave the safety on without fearing for your life.

Walk through:
I’m utilizing the Aridus industries stock adapter with Magpul shotgun stock. There’s nothing especially wrong with the OEM stock. However, I want a real sling mount and prefer the ergonomics of the Magpul stock. Why do I want a sling on a home defense weapon? Because I want to be able to use both hands and never relinquish control of the weapon. Administering first aid, moving a non-combatant (IE your injured spouse or child), etc all end up being much quicker with two hands. The OEM stock doesn’t have a sling attachment on the side, it’s on the bottom like grandpa’s scattergun. This is a huge oversight in my mind. Long guns sling better with the mount on the side; they lay flat and don’t move or flop. Attaching the sling to the outside of the stock also allows the sling to help pull the long gun into your shoulder if you’re using the sling as a shooting aid. Taped to the stock I have the allen keys for disassembling the clamp on the tube and barrel, as well as tensioning up the CROM mount. Doesn’t hurt to have them there and the tape has held up fine.
On this weapon I have a Grey Ghost Gear two point adjustable with padding and no bungee. Any good two point adjustable, properly set up will be fine. Viking Tactics, Vickers, Redback One, whatever. Just pick one and be good with it. You’ll see I have the sling brought back around the butt and tightened down. This enables me to rapidly use the shotgun without fumbling with the sling and prevents the sling from snagging on furniture, etc. If I need to use it or have time, I just loosen it and throw the sling over my neck.
I don’t believe in three point slings ever or one point slings for 99% of applications.
The CROM with an Aimpoint T1 provides excellent all weather, any time precise sighting. Paired with the T1 is a Knights Armament battery cap giving two batteries instead of one. I’ve never had an aimpoint battery die before being replaced but I always have extra batteries on the gun. Usually that’s in the grip of a rifle but Magpul hasn’t gotten that far with the SGA.
I’m typically a hardcore 2MOA guy but a 4MOA will be fine for the ranges and application of this weapon system. The T1 is zeroed at 25yds with slugs. The backup irons are zeroed at the same distance with the same ammo. In short, “cowitnessing” is a shortcut and isn’t 100% reliable. You can take the time and ammo to zero your Aimpoint, turn it off, then zero your irons.
I find the combination of irons up all the time to be a bit busier than I’m used to. In use there is no issue though. A massive benefit is that I have instant ready to go back up sights if anything should happen to the optic (battery dead, forget to turn it on/keep it on). Also, if the white light washes out the dot, it’s a fraction of a second to go to irons. I also took a black paint pen and obscured the white dot on the front blade, I didn't like it floating out there with the red dot.
More than once the windage tensioning screws on the rear sight vibrated loose, they now receive an extra-dose of Loctite and have been fine since. What distance to zero? I settled on 25yds as that’s the farthest I’ll reasonably engage and it meshes fine with a 10yd shot. Your application may vary. All the screws on witness marked with red paint pen. I find these last the longest and are easy to check while conducting a PCC (pre combat check). Silver sharpie has worn off too quickly in my experience and starts to resemble scratches.
Side Saddle:
My side saddle holds 5 and is the typical Velcro/elastic deal. It hasn’t worn out and I can’t remember who made it. I don’t like the bulk of the more robust side saddles and I like being able to rapidly strip off the side saddle if I need to stow the shotgun in a tight space. More ammo is more better…but it comes with a weight and bulk penalty. It’s up to you to decide if you need it. I’m fine with 7 in the gun and 5 on the saddle. If we’re at the point where I’m reloading the shotgun another gun is coming in the fight.
Evil button stopper:
We all know the 1301 fatal flaw, I have a Tau dev group shield to prevent the bolt release from becoming a jam master. As soon as you buy a 1301 get one from anyone and press on.
The Nordic extension gives me a capacity of 7. I see no reason not to maximize capacity without adding length that makes the weapon unwieldy (looking at you three gunners). The tube also allows me to mount a QD sling mount on one side and section of picattiny rail on the outboard side. To me, these are must haves as they allow proper sling mounting and the ability to mount a light with minimum barrel shadow. The only thing I would want to do is mount the sling a bit closer, IE on the handguard. Not an insurmountable issue but it’s there.
A Streamlight TLR-1 rounds out the set up. Bottom line: you need to PID (positively identify) whatever you’re shooting. That’s all there is to it. I typically do not like pressure pads but this shotgun will never see extended time in sandstorms or get time in a helicopter. The pressure pad is attached via Velcro on the fore end, this position is very specific. The raised portion of my palm (tracing down from the thumb) rests on it when I take a fighting stance; it’s impossible for me to not activate the light before shooting. No fumbling, no switchology. Again, the application matters. Stealth isn’t the main concern in this context. But all the lumens! Yes, all the lumens is great. However, at 10yds indoors the 300lumens of the TLR-1 is sufficient and this light has good throw and nice sized hotspot for the application.
This is a whole novel in itself. I’m using purely 00 buck from Federal. At one point I kept some slugs on the side saddle for the case I may need to take a longer shot. Situation changed and I’m 00 buck pure on this gun now.
I use boring old CLP. Fireclean deteriorated and made a nice gunk that prevented the firing pin from hitting with enough force to activate the primer. Bad day.
I hope this was interesting if not useful, I’ll try to actively respond to questions as they arise.

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I had some time on a 1301 with the Aridus RMR CROM at the FPF shotgun skills course. I preferred the T1/2 only because of clarity and lack of edge distortion through the window. The higher than average parallax and distortion of the RMR isn't an issue on a pistol because its so far from your eye; you're seeing more around the optic than through. With the RMR mounted closer to your eye the weird hues and distortions are more obvious. This is in direct comparison to a T1, literally fired alternating on the same drill. If all you ever had was an RMR on the gun I don't think it would be an issue nor would it register as being weird. But going from the T1 to an RMR RM06 was definitely odd. Bottom line, the T1 is maybe 10-20% better in this role, really up to the individual so see if the 10-20% is worth it to them.

Mine is getting the complete Aridus treatment.

I have a couple spare RMR's and I may go that route over a T1/T2.