TSD Tactical M1014 Shotgun review by Booligan
Table of Contents:
Real Steel History
Basic Gun Information
It's no secret that I love a good airsoft shotgun. They're a very large part of my airsoft collection, and multiple projectile firing models are especially appealing to me. I'm also a huge fan of the M1014 design, but unfortunately, there was no real option available for me to have one that fired multiple projectiles. I have the Echo 1/CAW model, but it is a single projectile model, and basically a pump action sniper rifle. Well, TSD just threw their hat in the ring, capitalizing on the success of their M3 designed multishot shotguns, and released this, the multishot M1014. I'm officially in love!
Real Steel History:
On May 4, 1998, the U.S. Army Armaments Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) at Picatinny Arsenal, NJ issued Solicitation #DAAE30-98-R-0401 requesting submission for a new 12 gauge, semi-automatic combat shotgun for the US Armed Services. In response to the request, Benelli Armi S.P.A. of Urbino, Italy designed and built the Benelli M4 Super 90 Combat Shotgun. On the 4th of August, 1998, five samples of the M4 were delivered to Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland for testing. After an intense testing, the Benelli M4 beat the competition. In early 1999, the U. S. Army ARDEC awarded the M1014 Joint Service Combat Shotgun contract to Beretta USA Inc. for importation of the Benelli M4 Combat Shotgun. The first units (count of 20,000) were delivered to the U. S. Marine Corps in 1999.
The M4 was the first gas-operated shotgun produced by Benelli. Its function is designed around an entirely new method called the "auto regulating gas operated" (ARGO) system. The design uses two stainless-steel self-cleaning pistons located just ahead of the chamber to function opposite the rotating bolt, thereby eliminating the need for the complex mechanisms found on other gas-actuated automatics. It is also self-regulating for cartridges of varying length and power levels. It can fire 2.75 and 3 inch shells of differing power-levels without any operator adjustments and in any combination. Low-power rounds, such as less-lethal rubber pellets, must be cycled manually. The sights are military-style ghost ring and are adjustable in the field using only a cartridge rim. The accessory rail on top allows use of both conventional and night-vision sights, while retaining use of the original sights.
Info and pic courtesy of Wikipedia.com
TSD asked me if I would be interested in reviewing their new M1014 shotgun, and of course I said yes! As mentioned above, I love shotguns, especially the M1014, so there's no way I could say no to that offer. At the time of this review, the model has been on the market for a month or so, and is currently priced at about $75 at most major airsoft retailers. There is also the DE M1014, which may or may not be the same gun, but it will not include the extras that TSD includes.
Basic Gun Information
The TSD Tactical M1014 is a pump action, 3 barreled shotgun, using shells as its magazine. It fires 3 BBs per shot, and offers true shotgun like spread at CQB ranges. It's not particularly suited for long range work, but serves as a backup weapon quite nicely. It has higher metal content than the Echo 1/CAW model that I reviewed last year, but they are two totally different beasts in function. This isn't really a clone of any other gun, as there are no other multishot, 3 barreled M1014 shotguns out on the market.
The M1014 arrived in the normal TSD Tactical box, with subdued colors and a picture of the gun on the front. There is also some information about the performance and specifications on the box as well.
From here on, click all pictures to enlarge
Specs and info
Inside this box was a cardboard covered foam base, which housed the gun itself and the included accessories. Included are the gun, four 30 round shells, a pistol mag style speed loader, a sling, shell holder, cleaning/unjamming rod, manual, and a bag of questionable BBs that I wouldn't use in this gun. Everything is nice and secure in their little sections in the box.
Contents of the box
The manual is from TSD's M3 series, and covers basic functioning and maintenance info on the gun.
Everything nice and laid out
Weight: About 5 lbs
Width: 2" @ Pump
Height: 8" (Sight to grip)
Sight Radius: 23"
Pump Length: 2.5"
Externally, the materials used in this gun are a mixed bag. There are plastic parts and there are metal parts, and there are two different finishes applied to the plastics. The metal parts included the stock tube, outer barrel, magazine tube, front sling mount, shell door, trigger, safety, shell release lever, and the stock adjustment button. The rest is matte black plastic, with the pump handle, pistol grip, and cheek rest having a rubberized grayish coating.
The stock is one of the M1014's trademark features. It is adjustable for length of pull, from 9.5' to 14' in 4 steps, which makes its use as a backup weapon a very nice option. The tube that it mounts to is metal, and has a unique spring rotated system to turn the stock about 45 degrees to clear the grip when extending. On mine, the stock tube was loose, but I was able to tighten it using a 4mm hex bit taped to a cleaning rod. Crude, but effective. The butt is made of rubber, and the cheek rest is rubberized, making it very comfortable to shoulder. A word of caution; when extending the stock, you can pull it clean off the stock tube, so be careful with that. TSD included a Velcro mounted shell holder, which can mount on the stock, but not the receiver. If you try to mount it on the receiver, the shell door will be blocked, plus the Velcro mounting straps are not long enough to reach, mostly due to the top rail.
Rotate to clear the grip...
...and extend the stock, while pushing the button
Hole in tube, attachment screw is WAY in there
The pistol grip is similar to the M3, and is very comfortable to hold with its ribbed texture and rubberized coating. It is secured to the receiver by the stock attachment screw, so if the grip is loose, tighten that screw up.
The trigger group is plastic, albeit with metal firing controls. The safety is a push button type, which blocks the trigger from being pulled with activated. The shell release lever is located on the right side, just like the M3. Trigger pull is a little heavier than I like, but this is a shotgun, not a sniper rifle, and absolute shooting precision isn't the goal here.
Shell door open after pulling shell release lever
Shot into shell area
The receiver is all plastic, but is very solid nonetheless. There are no screws visible, aside from the ones used to attach the rear sight and the sight rail. The finish is semi-matte black, with a little bit of reflectivity. Some flat black paint could work wonders here.
The pump handle is plastic with the same rubberized coating as the grip. It is located farther back than on the M3, and as such, is a little harder to pump. It pumps back, over the receiver, which may leave some scratches on the receiver over time. Pump force is hard, but loosens up a bit over time. Hop on the M1014 workout plan and build up those muscles! The handle locks after one pump, to prevent overfeeding this and breaking the air nozzle.
Scratches in the receiver after some use
The magazine tube is metal and is just a plain black tube. In front of the pump handle is the front sling mount, which is also made of metal. The large plug at the end of the magazine tube can be unscrewed showing that there's nothing inside the magazine tube at all.
The outer barrel is metal and is tapered at the base, giving a very nice appearance. There are no seam lines, which is an improvement over the CAW model, which has a seamy plastic barrel. The inner barrels do not go to the end of the outer barrel. They are about 6" from the muzzle, giving about a 12" inner barrel length. The muzzle has the orange tip, which is an orange plastic ring glued onto the barrel. The front sight post is also attached to the barrel at this point.
Orange tip and front sight assembly
The sights are a "Ghost Ring" design, and are designed for fast but accurate shooting. The rear is plastic, and is adjustable for windage and elevation using the included allen head wrench. The front is fixed, and, like the rear, is made of plastic. There is also a 20mm plastic rail directly in front of the rear sight, to make mounting various optics a simple affair.
Plastic top rail
Overall, I am very happy with the externals of the TSD Tactical M1014 shotgun. The stock tube wobble was a bit of a downer for me, but was quickly solved. The metal barrel is a very nice touch that makes this solid gun even more so.
There are no trademarks to speak of, only some warning info located where the bolt would be on the real gun.
Like the M3 series, this gun uses the TM clone 30 round shells, offering 10 shots of 3 BBs each. I tested this gun with all 3 versions of the TSD shells, the UTG shells, and a TM shell with no feeding issues. Keep the shells well lubed and they should last the life of the gun.
Loading the gun is a simple affair, only requiring you to pull back on the shell release lever to open the shell door, inserting the shell, locking it in, then closing the door.
Lock in place
Baseline performance after a 20 shell (600 round) break in period is as follows:
Okay, my Madbull chrono doesn't like 3 shot shotguns. I got ratings from 260 FPS up to 800 FPS, just like when I did my UTG and TSD M3s. Being that I KNOW that isn't accurate, I eyeballed it based off of my experience with my other shotguns, and it just plain looks the same. My guesstimate is that it's shooting sub 300 FPS, just like the other models. It is a pump action shotgun, and must be pumped with each shot.
Range and accuracy was also identical to the others, giving about 12" of spread at 50'. Lighter BBs such as .20s spread faster, and carry longer, but with almost no accuracy. Heavier weight BBs, like .23s or .25s seemed to balance range, accuracy, and spread the best, and for outdoor use, I would use .25s. Oddly enough, real buckshot doesn't spread as much as people believe, and .25s replicate the spread of a real shotgun quite well, albeit with less pellets. Like a real shotgun, I wouldn't engage a target farther than 100' away.
As much as I love these things, I don't dare open them to save my life. They are quite complicated, and easily broken if opened, so I advise that, unless the gun is already FUBAR and you're outside your warranty, don't bother.
But, it does look identical to my other 3 shot clones, which means plastic triple cylinder, plastic tri-nozzle that is fragile and susceptible to damage from misfeeds, and three inner barrels with fixed hop-up.
Just pump it fully every time, and it should be fine.
There are a few options for modifying this beast, mostly because of the large magazine tube (for mounting tube mounted accessories), and the top rail (for mounting optics). I mounted an EOTech replica on the top rail, and will be mounting a light on the magazine tube. I also will be getting NiteSiters to put on the iron sights, for low profile night use.
It's a proper M1014!
Real shotgun spread
Nice accessories included
Pump is very stiff
Stock tube can come loose
Fragile feeding system
Inner barrels could be longer
Well, we all asked for a multishot, affordable M1014, and now there is one. Everyone go buy it now! In all honesty, it's the natural evolution of the M3 based 3 shot design, and I'm happy to have it in my collection. It will be strapped to my back on backup duty in upcoming games, and I feel good about that. If you're a fan of the design, a shotgun fan, or if you're going for a USMC loadout, this will be a more or less perfect addition. If you're looking for a unique weapon to kick some CQB butt, then this will work wonders for you as well.
Many thanks again to TSD, Deadrag Airsoft Radio and of course, AirsoftRetreat!