In this article, the inaugural installment of Build Breakdown, we are covering an example of my favorite kind of firearm from one of my favorite TV shows. The gun is the Beretta 1301, and the show is Amazon’s The Terminal List, a series based on a book by Jack Carr.
The book follows a Navy SEAL on his quest for revenge against the people that killed his family (though that’s a very slim way to describe it!). The show made major waves when it premiered, was quickly approved for another season, and has already spawned an offshoot series.
His friend, former SEAL and CIA Ground Branch guy Ben, wields a customized Beretta 1301 in episode four of the series. Boy, oh boy, does he wield it. This show does a fantastic job of maintaining and displaying such awesome weapon handling, but Ben, played by Taylor Kitsch, stands out.
He clearly got a lot of practice with the gun, and in a Military.com article, he discusses training with the gun and getting things just right. We see that play out with constant and clean reloads, a slug select drill, and excellent control over the gun. It also helps that the gun itself is arguably one of the best combat shotguns currently on the market.
It sure is nice to see good weapon handling on the screen.
How to Build Ben’s Beretta
The following will show you what accessories you’ll need to clone Ben Edwards’ shottie. And as a bonus, remember – with a different set of furniture, you can also have the shotgun from The Tomorrow War!
Terminal List Shotgun Parts List
Beretta 1301 Tactical
Magpul SGA Stock
Aridus Industries Q-DC Hard Carrier
Aridus Industries Shroud & Latch
Aridus Industries Charging Handle
Nordic Components MXT Extension Kit
Build Component Breakdown
Now that I’ve laid out the basics let me walk you through some details. After I’m done with that, I’ll give you a list of things I’d add or change if it were my shotgun.
Beretta 1301 Tactical
I love America, but can we honestly say we are at the top of our game in terms of shotguns? It seems that the Italians have us beat. Beretta, who also owns Benelli, produces some of the best sporting, competitive, and combat shotguns out there, with the 1301 model being a bit of a do-it-all. There are various incarnations of the 1301, but we clearly have the tactical variant here.
The Beretta 1301 is a gas-operated, semi-automatic, 12 gauge shotgun. The gun uses what Beretta calls the BLINK system. The pistons pulse double duty as a gasket to increase the weapon’s cycling speed. Beretta claims it cycles 36% faster than the competition.
I can’t verify that 36% number, but the gun runs rapidly. It’s easy to empty a five or even seven-round tube. A gas-operated action also reduces recoil and makes the gun easy to handle. Beretta broke the mold when they designed the model 1301. It’s a true lightweight shotgun option. At 6.4 pounds, it’s a comparative featherweight.
In recent years the 1301 has claimed ground from the Benelli M4 and represents a very modern shotgun with some serious tactical potential. In the Terminal List, we see the gun’s capabilities in the hands of a well-trained user. However, the 1301 isn’t bare bones in the Terminal List. It’s a custom build with some of the best shotgun gear on the market.
Shotgun Furniture: Magpul SGA Stock
Did the furniture draw your eye? It’s an attractive gray, and it looks familiar. Can’t quite place your finger on it? Well, it comes from Magpul. Magpul produces a ton of polymer furniture for a wide variety of platforms. Interestingly, they don’t produce anything for the Beretta 1301.
So how…? Read on! It’s all about Aridus Industries.
That stock is the Magpul SGA, the premier combat shotgun stock. It features an adjustable length of pull, an optional cheek riser, and rock-solid construction. The pistol grip combines the best features of both traditional stocks and 90-degree pistol grip stocks. It’s incredibly ergonomic and ready for a sling from the factory. The SGA stock is only designed for the Mossberg 500 and Remington 870 series shotguns. Note: a small adapter exists.
Shotgun Furniture: Magpul Zhukov Handguard
The forend with the fancy M-LOK slots is another Magpul creation; the Zhukov handguard. If you’re unfamiliar, the Zhukov handguard is designed for AK platforms. It’s that same tough polymer Magpul always uses, but it’s also paired with a heat-defying metal insert. The rough texture of the polymer makes it easy to hand onto, and the multitude of M-LOK slots make it easy to accessorize your 1301.
If neither of these is designed for the model 1301, how exactly did the Terminal List 1301 obtain them? That’s due to a company called Aridus Industries. This small company has become the top dog in shotgun guru-ing, especially around the Beretta 1301 series. They designed adapters to allow the SGA stock and Zhukov handguard to attach with ease. This isn’t the only Aridus gear on the gun.
Shotshell Side Saddle
Since we’ve already mentioned Aridus, let’s go ahead and talk about Ben’s side saddle. A side saddle is a way to store extra ammo on a shotgun. A typical sidesaddle contains anywhere from three to eight rounds and provides an “on-the-gun” reload. Ben uses one, and we see it in action during the entire episode. This side saddle comes from Aridus and is arguably the best-made hard carrier on the planet.
The Aridus Industries Q-DC is a six-shell side saddle made from aluminum. This side saddle offers amazing retention and is the only side saddle I trust enough to run my shotgun ammo brass down. This side saddle is unique in two ways. First, it’s a universal design that uses an incredibly sticky material to secure the side saddle to the gun.
Second, it’s a two-piece design. The main portion sticks to the gun and is the platform. Q-DC stands for Quick-Detach Carrier. The six loops detach, and the shooter can toss another set of loops on the gun once the original has run dry. You can reload your gun, then reload your side saddle.
The Aridus Q-DC is a premium-grade side saddle. It’s the only one I’d take to help my buddy stack bodies.
Aridus Shroud & Latch
We never get a really good look at this upgrade in the show, but it’s also an Aridus product. Specifically, their 1301 bolt release. Yep, Aridus is everywhere. This massive bolt release makes it easy to commit an emergency port reload and get the gun into action. It release replaces a rather small (in fact downright puny) stock model from Beretta. It’s a small upgrade that greatly affects how the gun performs.
Let’s end our stretch Aridus love with the charging handle. Beretta includes a perfectly useable option, but Aridus provides a much better option. This hefty charging handle is easier to use and manipulate, especially when wearing gloves. Aridus incorporates some gnarly checkering into the handle to keep a non-slip grip on the thing. It’s well suited for the environment Ben finds himself in.
Nordic Components Magazine Extension
The Beretta 1301 comes in several configurations, and up until recently, most were tapped at five rounds due to import restrictions. This led to a cottage industry of manufacturers producing extensions. In the show, we see one of the converted models using a nordic Comp +2 magazine extension.
Nordic Comp makes some of the best shotgun tube extensions out there. Tube extensions seem simple, but shotguns are rough weapons. Cheap tube extensions will often come apart under excessive fire and recoil. When they eventually unscrew, the gun will no longer function correctly. Nordic Comp uses something called the MXT nut, which helps prevent this by featuring threads on both ends to connect to the stock tube and the extension.
I’d still make a witness mark to ensure you can monitor its position, but it’s one of the more solid systems out there. The 1301 MXT system comes with a barrel clamp to better secure the magazine tube and also offers either a Picatinny rail or QD attachment for a sling swivel.
Finally, we get to the last piece of the puzzle. Ben runs the gun with an Inforce WML. It’s likely the two-battery, gen two variant. That’s the one pushing 800 lumens of bright white light. This light is pretty handy for shotgun nerds. It’s small but works fine for the close ranges a shotgun would be used for. The rear switch is a massive ramp, making it easy to hit with the thumb while handling the gun.
The sleek design keeps the light close to the 1301 and helps keep the gun snag-free. It’s also fairly light and won’t throw your shotgun off balance. The Inforce WML is a solid little light that doesn’t break the bank. The shape and design make a lot of sense for a shotgun.
What I’d Add
Far be it from me to tell a Ground Branch guy and former SEAL what his weapon is missing, but I will, because it’s a TV show. The shotgun is one of the more competent setups we’ve seen on screen, but we can add a thing or two to make it a little better.
Blue Force Gear Vickers Sling
The Vickers sling is one of the premier tactical two points on the market. I’d go as far as to say it’s the trendsetter that created the current genre of tactical two points. This rugged sling features a rapid adjustment tab to run things loose or run them tight, depending on what you need to accomplish.
A good sling will support the 1301, and make it easier to transition to a handgun (which Ben carries). A good sling is a must-have on a long gun. Especially for close-quarters fighting where someone might grab your gun. Having it tied to your body can go a long way.
Aridus CROM Mount
Well, we’ve already covered the gun in Aridus. What’s one more goody? The CROM mounts are a rear sight and red dot mount all in one. The dot sits low enough to cowitness with the front sight without issue. This mount uses a rear ghost ring peep sight, and different variations exist to accommodate different red dots.
Like all the other Aridus gear, these are very well-made and extremely durable. Being able to get the optic to sit so low makes it much easier to keep your cheekweld when shooting. The CROM comes set up for the Trijicon RMR or the Aimpoint Micro.
A Good Red Dot
Since we got the CROM, we might as well find a good red dot. The CROM accommodates two of the best red dots, the RMR and Aimpoint micro-series. Both footprints are fairly popular, and several companies make compatible optics.
It’s tough to beat the Aimpoint Micro series. They are extremely well-made dots with enclosed emitters. They are small, lightweight, and barely sip their battery. These things last forever, and the Micro series, specifically the T1 and T2, have been proven by the GWOT over and over again.
The Trijicon RMR is a great sight; you’d be well served by it. However, I think the Holosun 507C might be the better choice for a shotgun. It uses the RMR footprint and attaches to the CROM without issue. The reticles include a 32 MOA and dot option. You can pattern your buckshot into that 32 MOA circle and know which ranges the shot load exceeds that circle and which it will not.
Plus, the big circle is more eye-grabbing and easier to see. The Holosun optics have gotten a lot of attention lately and are quite rugged and well-made – and they don’t break the bank.
Where Else We’ve Seen the Beretta 1301
Does this shotgun look familiar? Well, maybe you say it in the Amazon original, The Tomorrow War. It’s another Chris Pratt starring role, and the shotgun pops up in the hands of Dorian. It’s the same gun but does wear a Primary Arms Microdot and Aridus CROM. Xtreme Props handled the firearms for both films, and the Aridus-equipped Beretta 1301 found a home in the hands of two awesome characters.
Maybe Chris Pratt will get lucky enough to rock a 1301 on the third try instead of one of his cohorts.
The Beretta 1301 is an amazing shotgun, arguably the best currently on the market. It’s nice to see shotguns get some love and also see them competently used on TV. Shotguns tend to be exaggerated, wall-of-lead, heavy recoiling cannons in most media, but the Terminal List portrays the weapon accurately for what it is.
It helps that they used one of the best shotguns out there equipped with some of the best accessories on the market.
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