Here’s a summary of our review: the Beretta 1301 comp is an amazing shotgun that is well worth the money. Our only gripes? The shell release button and the limited capacity.
I used to love the Remington VersaMax. Heck, I still do. However, the Beretta is an Italian sports car compared to the Remington pickup truck. The VersaMax is clearly a strong shotgun that is very capable, but the Beretta is just way more nimble, faster, and…well…sexier.
Everything about this shotgun just screams “SHOOT ME!”
You might think I’m weird, but I’ll let you in on something I look for in a firearm: recoil impulse. Yeah yeah, I know, I’d roll my eyes too if I read that. However, especially with shotguns, there is a very real difference between some shotguns on how the recoil impulse feels. Too harsh or abrupt isn’t fun to shoot and, even though it may sometimes be faster, it makes me a slower shooter (remember, we’re talking about 3-gun/action/tactical shooting here). Also, if the impulse is too soft or long, the gun is slow, there can be reliability issues, and it just feels… well… sluggish.
I was first introduced to the perfection that is a Beretta semi-auto when I rented one on the sporting clays course at Ben Avery in North Phoenix. I was in love and quickly got a Beretta 390 Gold for myself. That shotgun taught me to appreciate what an amazing semi-auto feels and shoots like and it also taught me to hate Benelli shotguns. Seriously, Benelli’s are pretty but in my opinion, the Beretta is just a nicer machine that is a joy to shoot.
What we loved about the Beretta 1301 Comp: Super fast and altogether enjoyable recoil impulse. This shotgun is a clay breaking machine (even though it isn’t designed for it). I’ve run a few courses of sporting clays with it and it feels like it’s impossible to miss! Thankfully, the shotgun already fits me well, however, if you’re looking to change the cast of the stock, plates are included to do so!
The fit and finish of the gun is impeccable. It’s supposed to be “tactical” looking and not “pretty,” but like a good-looking woman in sports gear, the good looks still come through.
If it’s not clear, I LOVE LOVE LOVE this shotgun even with some of its warts (beauty marks?) below:
What we didn’t love about the 1301 Comp Shotgun: Two things: the capacity and the shell release button.
Imported semi-auto shotguns must be 922r compliant. This effectively means that the shotgun must have a certain number of American-made parts in it before it can have some “evil” features like pistols grips or extended magazine tubes. As this shotgun is imported from Italy, and it doesn’t have enough American parts as-is, the capacity is limited. This is not a problem for most uses, however, this is supposed to be a shotgun used in applications where extended magazine tubes are a necessity.
It’s sad to see such a perfect platform limited by this. We hope Beretta decides to put an American buttstock and forend on this after it is imported… those are the big limiting factors. If they did that…. they could finish the conversion and sell them with extended mag tubes. If you like this idea, email Beretta and send them this article. 🙂
The other thing we didn’t like seems like a case of over-engineering: the shell release button. Beretta designed the bolt release button to also release a shell from the magazine tube if the button is rocked forward. This is a neat feature if you’re trying to unload the shotgun and don’t want to cycle the shells through the chamber one at a time.
However, if you accidentally hit this button with 2 or more shells in the mag tube, you’ve effectively turned a supreme shotgun platform into a single shot shotgun. Hitting that button will put one and a half shells onto the lifter jamming the gun! Beretta sells a very inexpensive part to retrofit and prevent this from happening – they REALLY need to include this on the shotgun from the factory.