Recently I wrote about my first experiences with the Beretta 1301 Tactical shotgun. I love the “shotgun carbine” idea of a short, light and handy defensive shotgun. What I didn’t get into before was the idea that if you ever had to use a defensive shotgun, it would probably be in the middle of the night, meaning in the dark.
I decided to take a shot at gearing up the Beretta 1301 for night time use and testing it in dark conditions. The perfect opportunity was the recent Crimson Trace Midnight 3 Gun Invitational competition. If you’re not familiar, it’s a three gun event with one important twist of the rules. The competition takes places in the middle of the desert outside of Bend, Oregon, but the shooting doesn’t start until after 9pm. If you haven’t been in the middle of the high desert in the middle of the night recently, I can tell you, it’s dark. Really dark. No residual light from nearby towns. No street lights. Heck, the range doesn’t even have electricity or running water. When the International Space Station passes overhead, they have to pause the match because of the glare.
Anyway, in preparation for my midnight rendezvous, I added some goodies to the Beretta 1301.
First, I called the nice folks at Crimson Trace and politely explained to them that since I was risking life and limb to compete in this match, they should loan me a light or laser for the shotgun. They sent a Rail Master Pro, which offers both 100 lumen light and a red laser that activates with a simple paddle switch. You can configure the light and laser to operate in different modes – a strobe light, for example, but set mine up so that movement of the paddle would turn on both light and laser until i hit the paddle again to turn them off. I mounted this on the barrel with a Nordic Components magazine tube extension and barrel clamp with rail so that I could reach it with my support hand. As I’m right-handed, I put it on the right side of the barrel, so it’s out of the way of my support hand grip, but easily accessible with my support hand fingers when I want to flip it on.
Next, I called Kristi at Aimpoint. Like my Aimpoint PRO, Kristi has never let me down when it comes to good advice about optics. She loaned me an Aimpoint Micro H-1 optic. I guessed that it would line up perfectly with the iron sights on the. Beretta 1301 and it did. I could see the iron sights through the bottom half of the Aimpoint Micro. If my optic ever failed, then I would have a backup option of using the iron sights. This seemed like a good idea until Kristi reminded me that the whole deal about Aimpoint optics is that the batteries run 75% of forever. In this case, you can leave the Micro on for about 5 years non-stop. I figured I could remember to change batteries every couple of years or so to avoid any risk of downtime.
The Aimpoint Micro H1 mounted on the Beretta 1301 Tactical’s rail.
Now, when I turn out the lights, I have a compact shotgun with a forward-looking tactical light and I see two red dots out yonder – one from the laser and the other from the Aimpoint.
For ammo, the choice was easy. I needed something reliable with shot size with a dense enough pattern to break stationary and flying clays at high speed, but with enough “oomph” to knock down steel targets with one shot. I chose Federal Premium Gold Medal Target loads with 7 1/2 shot.
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Hello, kind of confusing how to find you, as some of your stuff does not always come up on a search in the Beretta blog, plus I find the same thing in other blogs ? Anyhow, glad I found again.
SO, how did you manage to use the Nordic clamp in such a tight space between the nut and the sight ??
Also Nordic has a notch in the tube that the clamp is supposed to sit in, that I know does not line up, meaning if you put the clamp in the notched area, the clamp would hit the sight ? Looking at the picture in the previous article, where you have the Nordic tube pictured, you can see the notch not lined up to clamp evenly.
Would like to try the same things you did, but wondered how you got around the clamp thing ?
Here you go Wayne look like “tom” is to busy….this is the new model to fix what you asking about.
Hey Joel – As I recall, Wayne and I resolved this question over at the Beretta USA blog in the comments there, hence no reply here.
This is the model that I currently have on mine:
NEW! Nordic Components “MXT” Shotgun Extension Kit, 12ga. (#MXT-BR-2)
12ga Brands: Benelli Nova/SuperNova, Beretta A400 Xtreme/1301, CZ 712,
Extension Tube Length: +2 – Adds 5.7 to 6.2 inches
It looks like you found that Nordic has created an updated version that avoids the ridge issue that Wayne and I discussed since this article was written, so that’s awesome.
Thanks for sharing your find with updated info!
Now I am really confused as to where these comments are, I thought it was the Beretta Blog, but find I get My gun culture in my email, can you with which is which.
That said , I bought the new 1301 Tactical kit Joel mentioned above, I found out it was being produced just after you and I exchanged comments. It was a request form some agency I was told to build a specific 1301 Tac kit.
@tom ohhh that played out strange… Well I’m glad you got back at me. Didn’t know about the blog. Hey tom sorry to bother but adding this extension will it be 922r compliant since its an import??? Here are some links as reference.
@wayne email subject say My Gun Culture – The lighter side of guns and shooting.
I can’t provide legal advice on this, but my understanding is that it’s legit.
I wrote the original article at Beretta USA and posted an excerpt and link here.
???…..i followed your link to review and purchase the Nordic Components magazine tube extension and sells rep said no compatible….
i’m planning on shooting skeet in the daytime with the 1301 tactical. Would you use the ghost rings or the aimpoint with good vision?
Shotguns and moving clay targets are a different animal. Generally speaking, you don’t use sights on clay targets but rely on perfect shotgun fit to make sure it shoots where you are looking. I actualyl remove the sights from my clays shotguns to my eyes aren’t tempted to come back to the sights.
With that said, it sounds totally fun to shoot clays with an Aimpoint, so why not give it a try?