Build of the Month

Build of the Month: Tactical Trident

By Joe Kriz


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If you’ve followed our Build of the Month series, you’d know we’ve almost exclusively stuck to AR15/10 and bolt-action rifles – and for good reason. Rifles are highly customizable platforms and adaptable mounts for any optic across the spectrum. But often forgotten are the other long guns.

When you think of Beretta, though, shotguns are often the first firearms that come to mind. Designed for law enforcement/military and a popular choice for home defense, the 1301 Tactical is one of the best and serves as the base of this month’s build with a name inspired by the three arrow logo of the world’s oldest manufacturer.

Unlike previous BOTMs pieced together from guns and components we have laying around, this one comes from one of our own exactly how you see it without additional modification.



Beretta 1301 Tactical

The successor to the 1201, the Beretta 1301 Tactical set the new standard for the world’s finest tactical shotgun when it started production a decade ago. Designed for law enforcement and home defense, the 1301 Tactical combines Beretta's ultrafast BLINK gas operating system with 5+1 12 gauge capacity for speed and firepower needed to combat any self-defense scenario. Of course, there’s nothing inherently wrong with classic pump-actions, but semi-autos eliminate the possibility of “short stroking” under pressure while also just being faster to operate.

The 1301 Tactical fires from an 18.7” cold hammer-forged, back-bored barrel with interchangeable chokes. A raised front sight sits above the muzzle to pair with a protected ghost ring rear sight. A small Picatinny rail section atop the receiver also allows for optic and accessory mounting – but we’ll get to that a bit later. An oversized charging handle, bolt release, and reversible safety button aid quick handling under pressure and poor weather conditions.

Near perfect on its own, consider the rest of the build “optional” for your own Tactical Trident.


Mesa Tactical Urbino Stock

Before the 1301 Tactical was offered with a Mesa Tactical Urbino Pistol Grip Stock from the factory, we installed one ourselves. For 20 years, Mesa Tactical has equipped law enforcement, military, and professional operators with trusted, American-made tactical rifle and shotgun accessories like the Urbino stock (2010).

Made for the Beretta 1301/A300 and various shotgun models from Benelli, Mossberg, and Remington, the Urbino Pistol Grip Stock offers a reduced 12.5” length of pull for easy maneuverability in tight spaces and while wearing body armor or bulking clothing. Constructed of injection-molded glass-filled nylon with a textured pistol grip and shock-absorbing butt pad, the Urbino is durable and comfortable. A Benelli-style side sling loop or bottom QD swivel mount allows easy attachment of tactical slings. Optional upgrades, the Urbino stock can be had with a Limbsaver butt pad for additional recoil management and an adjustable cheek riser, as seen on the Trident, for a personalized fit.

Not everyone likes a pistol grip on a shotgun, but we find it helps give us a better grip on the 1301 when moving and greater leverage to pull the gun tighter into our body under fire.

GG&G Zhukov Handguard

While the factory 1301 Tactical forend is nice with its slim form, texturing, and front Picatinny rail section, we could do better – something with better grip and more accessory attachment points. Enter GG&G with a surprising solution from a familiar name.

Adapting Magpul’s AK47/74 Zhukov Hand Guard to the 1301, GG&G makes internal modifications and adds a CNC machined aluminum nose cone adapter with steel spring plunger to engage the shotgun’s magazine tube cap/extension nut. A stainless steel heat shield is also installed in the forward position to defect hot gasses and slow heat transfer when shooting.

The result is a rugged polymer handguard with wider, ribbed grip, integrated hand stop, and eight (8) M-LOK attachment slots at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock positions that requires no direct modifications to the 1301 Tactical.


Nordic Components MXT Extension

Of all firearms, shotguns have the lowest capacity. Our 1301 Tactical Trident came with a standard 5+1 tube, but there was real estate under the barrel to add more.

The Beretta 1301 Tactical Complete MXT Extension Package from Nordic Components provides just this. Mounting to the nose cone of our GG&G Zhukov converted hand guard, the package includes a +2 tube extension for 7+1 total rounds of 12 ga. using 2-3/4” shells. Flush with the end of the barrel to not increase the gun’s overall length, the extension is secured to the barrel using a clamp kit with integrated Picatinny rail and QD sling swivel mount.

Between the Picatinny rail section and multiple M-LOK slots of the Zhukov hand guard, there’s ample room for adding weapon lights, shell carriers, and other accessories to the 1301.



Swampfox Justice II

Optics and shotguns may be a new combination to many, but it’s a growing trend among tactical shooters and turkey hunters. Look no further than Mossberg, who launched optics-ready 500, 590, and 940 models at this year’s SHOT Show cut with RMSc footprints for traditional pistol dots rather than accommodate larger rifle red dots and micro prisms, like our Liberator II and Raider 1x, respectively. All are valid options, but pistol dot sights can provide similar performance in a smaller, lighter package.

Following this trend, we chose our second-generation Justice II for the Tactical Trident.

Built on a standard RMR footprint, Justice II sports a massive 30mm window for seamless visibility when clearing rooms or tracking moving targets. Shake N’ Wake auto on/off provides anytime readiness, immediately waking up our preferred red multi-reticle when picked up. Ten (10) manual brightness settings cover a wide range of light conditions for lights on, light off, and indoor, outdoor engagements. And a reinforced hood design protects Justice II from any bump in the night.


Mesa Tactical Reflex Sight Mount

We could have mounted Justice II to our low profile Picatinny Mount to attach to the 1301 receiver rail, but doing so would have prevented our ability to cowitness with the 1301’s iron sights. Leave it to Mesa Tactical to resolve that too with their Reflex Sight Mount.

After removing the Picatinny rail section from atop the receiver, the Reflex Sight Mount attaches using the same drilled and tapped holes. Machined from aluminum and Type 3 hard coat anodized to withstand duty use, the mount includes an integrated RMR footprint for direct mounting of red dot optics, like Justice II, at a height that still allows for proper cowitness in case of battery or optic failure.


Why We Like It

Shotguns are simple but effective home defense tools, and the Beretta 1301 is one of the best. But what started as a stock semi-auto shotgun was made even better with innovative, practical, and platform-specific upgrades.

Lightweight and fast cycling, maneuvering and shooting the Tactical Trident is easy and natural even in confined spaces. The Mesa Tactical Urbino Stock adds comfort in both length of pull and adjustable cheek height while the GG&G Zhukov Handguard provides a firm forward grip with ample accessory mounting options and the Nordic Components’ MXT Extension two additional rounds of defensive firepower. But the best upgrades to the 1301 may be Mesa’s RMR footprint sight adapter and our multi-reticle Justice II red dot. Together, they elevate the performance of the entire platform with low-profile, cowitness mounting and red dot speed.

Beretta is the oldest active firearms manufacturer in the world for a multitude of reasons, one of which is the continued development and success of the 1301 Tactical.

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