SHOCKING SHOCKWAVES: Rem TAC-14 v. Mossberg 590 SHOCKWAVE review, part 2

In my initial review of the Remington TAC-14 and Mossberg 590 SHOCKWAVE, I focused on how the guns shot, patterned and compared to each other.  To recap, hitting a target at 50 feet was difficult, however at 40 feet on in, both guns shot exceptionally well, with the Mossberg having a slightly higher point of impact.

Since then, I’ve taken time to work on both guns, seeking to optimize them.  I’ll cover how these guns were customized, as well as other worthwhile upgrades for these guns in separate posts.  For now, let’s take a look at the guns before:

And after:

The Mossberg 590 SHOCKWAVE, shown at top, has the following parts from Brownells:

The Remington 870 TAC-14 is equipped with the following:

You’ll note both guns now have ghost ring sights.  If you think this might be silly, you aren’t alone; my friend Cranky mocked me relentlessly for this.  Not having a stock, these guns are a challenge to shoot accurately at distance.  I wanted to try to improve things, and since you can’t add or change the birds head grip to a stock, I figured new sights were my best option.

In addition to the sights, I machined the barrels on both guns to accept interchangeable choke tubes.  I like the ability to swap chokes depending on what my needs are, plus, you can add some pretty cool stuff, like a GATOR shot diverter to your TAC-14 or SHOCKWAVE.

At this point, I felt I understood the TAC-14 and SHOCKWAVE better than many, however, I still wanted to know more.  In particular:

  1. Is it be possible to “qualify” with one of these guns?
  2. Can you shoot them from alternate positions?
  3. Can you shoot slugs accurately through a TAC-14 or Shockwave?
  4. Can ghost ring sights extend their range?
  5. How fast do they guns engage close range targets?
  6. Does either the Remington TAC-14 or Mossberg SHOCKWAVE offer a speed advantage?

I had a fairly lengthy list, so I grabbed both firearms and headed to the range with a box full of slugs, buckshot and target loads.

I began by zeroing both guns.  The Wilson Combat sights for the TAC-14 were spot on as installed.  The VANG COMP sights on the SHOCKWAVE were still shooting high, I maxed out my elevation on the rear sight and actually had to bump up the front.  Keep this in mind if you go that route.

Accuracy at 25 yards on an IPSC target was fairly good, with three rounds in close proximity to one another (note three shot cluster by black dot in target above).   Pushing back to 50 yards changed thing quite a bit, you’ll notice the group opened up significantly.  While I was able to get some hits on the IPSC target, it was very easy to miss.  Because of this, I would say ghost ring sights do extend the range on both the TAC-14 and SHOCKWAVE . You can hit targets, but they don’t perform as well as they do on a stocked shotgun.


With the guns zeroed, I decided I would “qualify” with my TAC-14.  For this I selected the FBI Shotgun Qualification course (above).   Shot at 50, 25, 15 and 7 yards, the course of fire requires 11 slugs and five 9-pellet 00 buckshot.  Each slug hit is worth 5 points and each buckshot pellet is worth 1 point.  You can find a copy of the course simply by Googling “FBI Shotgun Qualification Course”, that is what I did to get the copy above.

Stage 1: 50 yards:I fired my two slugs in 8.38 of the allocated 20 seconds.  I dropped one slug center and low.

Stage 2: 25 yards:  I fired my slugs in 32.64 of the allocated 45 seconds.  All slugs hit, however, one split the scoring area of the target.

Stage 3:  15 yards:  On the first part of Stage 3, I managed to combat load 4 shells and fire one in 15.47 of the 20 seconds allocated.  My individual shots were 1.80, 1.63, and 1.61 seconds out of the 3 seconds provided.  All shots hit.

Stage 4: 7 yards: I completed stage 1 in 24.14 of the 35 seconds allotted.  All pellets hit the scoring zone of the target.

Final score was a 95%, I qualified!  You can see the slug holes circled on the target above, the number adjacent the hole is the distance in yards that it was fired.

What did I learn shooting the FBI Shotgun Qualification course with my TAC-14?

Well, I learned you can hit; but it is also easy to miss. In the years I’ve used this qualification as a benchmark to compare shotguns, I’ve never shot below 100%.   So the 95% was humbling.  Moreover, shooting the TAC–14 standing wasn’t so bad, but switching to the kneeling position changed things a lot.  I actually managed to punch myself in the face with my firing hand.  I don’t even think it is possible to shoot it from the prone position.

Next, I wanted to pattern the gun with 00 buckshot and ghost ring sights.  I used Remington reduced recoil 9-pellet 00 buck and a full choke in the gun.  I fired one round at 25, 15 and 7 yards.  At each range all of the pellets stayed inside an IPSC target.  This was a fresh change from the easy misses on the same sized target at 15 yards with the factory bead sights.

Pattern sizes for the buckshot were as follows; 25 yards 19″, 15 yards 10″ and 7 yards 5.5″.  Bear in mind this buckshot didn’t use a flight control wad and the gun has a full choke installed.

Finally, I wanted to run some drills to see how fast both the TAC-14 and SHOCKWAVE were.  I set up a Q target at 7 yards and ran four of the same drills.

Each drill started with the weapon on safe held at Port Arms.  I used 1 1/8 ounce full power target loads.  The felt recoil is about the same as the reduced recoil buckshot loads I had been using from Federal and Remington and they cost less so they seemed like the obvious candidate.  All shooting was done with the sights and the gun held in a push/pull grip, “Book of Eli” style.

  • Shoot 1- fire one round at 7 yards.
  • Shoot 2- fire two rounds at 7 yards.
  • Shoot 3- fire 3 rounds at 7 yards.
  • Rack, Shoot 1- start with an empty chamber and loaded magazine, on the start signal the slide is racked with the slide release and one round is fired at 7 yards.

I ran each drill 5 times and recorded the times, as well as the average times in the table below.  Note times are dis-aggregated by firearm as well.  Note the SHOCKWAVE was consistently faster than the TAC-14 in each drill.  The difference in average time between the TAC-14 and SHOCKWAVE are recorded in the table above as “DIF”.

Both guns allow 3 rounds on target in around 2 seconds, this is pretty impressive performance for a heavy recoiling 12-gauge firearm.   The speed advantage goes to the Mossberg most likely due to the location of the safety, however, as the complexity of the drills increased, the speed advantage decreased, leading me to believe the TAC-14 was cycling quicker.  Whichever conclusion you draw, it is still impressive to note how quickly hits were on target.

Whew, I think all that shooting was bad for my wrists!  Let’s look at how I would answer the questions I went into this round of testing with:

  1. Is it be possible to “qualify” with one of these guns?  Yes, it is.  It is also easy to miss with one.
  2. Can you shoot them from alternate positions?  You can shoot kneeling, however, it isn’t particularly easy.  Prone is out of the question, at least for me.
  3. Can you shoot slugs accurately through a TAC-14 or Shockwave?  Yes.  I shot a string of 50 full power 1 ounce slugs.  It was exhausting, but worked.
  4. Can ghost ring sights extend their range?  Yes, you can get solid hits with buckshot at 25 yards.  Slugs are harder past this range but possible. I’d call a hit at 50 yards most likely 50/50 mostly depending on target size.
  5. How fast do they guns engage close range targets?  From Port Arms with the weapon on safe, you can score an aimed hit within 1 second.
  6. Does either the Remington TAC-14 or Mossberg 590 SHOCKWAVE offer a speed advantage?  Yes, the SHOCKWAVE is faster to the first shot, but this is by fractions of a second.  I believe it is due to the location of the safety.

To buy or customize a Remington TAC-14 or Mossberg SHOCKWAVE, check out Brownells, they sell both guns as well as the accessories shown above.