February 24, 2020
By Steve Gash
Guns specifically designed for personal and home defense are extremely popular and so are the various training courses that help shooters learn how to put them to their purpose. One such gun is Remington’s V3 shotgun, and one of the premier training academies is Gunsite. I had the opportunity to try out the new tactical shotgun and experience the comprehensive instruction at Gunsite. Both were quite the revelation.
In a word, the Remington V3 Tactical is innovative. Built from the ground up as the ultimate fight-stopper, the V3 is a no-nonsense piece of hardware that makes a statement, whether or not you fire it.
New this year, the V3 Tactical is a specialized adaptation of Remington’s V3 Sporting gun introduced back in 2010. The V3’s action is gas-operated, but it is totally different from most gas bangers. The V3 shoots all 2¾- and 3-inch shells without adjustment. How does it do that? Simple. Gas regulation is solely dependent on the length of the shotshell. It is so ingenious that it evokes one of those “why didn’t I think of that?” moments.
Instead of gas ports midway on the barrel and a return spring on the magazine tube, the V3 has a total of eight ports in the chamber located at what might be called the 5- and 7-o’clock positions. Inside the receiver are two relatively small springs. When a 2¾-inch shotshell is fired, the crimp unfolds and all eight of the ports remain uncovered. When a 3-inch shotshell is touched off, the unfolding crimp covers up half of the eight ports, thereby regulating the amount of gas bled off to operate the action. This gas flows into a gas block on the bottom of the barrel that then smacks a couple of short-stroke pistons. They travel really fast but less than 0.5 inch, and that imparts enough momentum to unlock the bolthead and send the bolt to the rear of the action.
The rest of the firing cycle is pretty normal. As the bolt reaches the end of its rearward travel, the spent shell is ejected, and the two springs in the receiver push the bolt forward. On its way forward, the bolt picks up a fresh shell delivered by the carrier, and it’s fed into the chamber. The bolthead rotates into battery, locking the action shut like a bank vault, and you’re ready for the next shot. All this happens in the blink of an eye.
Wait! I know what you’re thinking. What about pressure variations of different ammo brands and loads, such as a 2¾-inch magnum? The Remington engineers thought of that, too. The two-chambered gas block has pressure-compensating valves in it that bleed off any excess gas, so the action functions normally. I did say it was ingenious!
Aside from being incredibly simple, this system has other advantages. There is less surface area for parts to accumulate carbon particles, so the action remains cleaner longer, results in more efficient cycling, and requires very little maintenance. Plus, weight distribution—hence, handling—is vastly improved because there is no large and heavy return spring and tube in the buttstock. This keeps most of the weight of the gun right between the shooter’s hands.
The new Remington V3 Tactical has a host of features that makes it especially suited to its intended task. The barrel is 18.5 inches long and has a Cylinder bore. The gun holds six rounds in the magazine, plus one in the chamber. The bolt’s charging handle, bolt release, and safety button are all oversized for fast and easy operation, and the loading port is flared for faster and easier loading.
The V3 Tactical has another pleasant aspect: the availability of XS Low Profile rifle sights. The rear sight is dovetailed to a base welded to the barrel and is adjustable for windage. It has a shallow “V” with a vertical white line at the V’s bottom that aids in quick sight acquisition. The front sight is dovetailed to a base, so it can be replaced with one of a different height for elevation adjustment. Such sights might sound a bit off the bubble for a shotgun, but after firing a V3 so equipped for hundreds of rounds, I’m a convert. A ventilated rib-type bead front sight is also available.
The V3’s buttstock and forearm are made of a sturdy synthetic that has molded-in textured surfaces for a sure grip. The stock has a QD sling-swivel stud, and up front the barrel bracket has an M-LOK slot for a front swivel.
The V3’s recoil can be described only as incredibly soft. Remington says that bleeding off powder gases so close to the chamber means that less pressure is present to be felt as recoil. This feature and the Supercell recoil pad combine to really take the bite out of the recoil, even with heavy loads.
Last July, Remington invited several members of the firearms press to Gunsite Academy near Paulden, Arizona, to wring out the V3 Tactical and receive expert instruction in the handling and use of the shotgun as a defensive tool. Gunsite is rightly called the gold standard for firearms instruction, and after two intense days there, I can attest that the description is well deserved. Our instructors were Training Director Dave Hartman and Chief Operating Officer Ken Campbell. Together they have more than 60 years of law enforcement experience, and they have been instructors at Gunsite for more than 30 years. It was a distinct privilege to have their tutelage.
Sure, the instructors at Gunsite teach you how to manipulate the firearm, but by far the most important concept emphasized there is achieving and maintaining the “combat mindset.” This is extremely important. Without it, the best training and equipment is mostly for naught.
The combat mindset is widely misunderstood. It does not describe someone looking for a fight. Instead, it describes someone who, if confronted with a deadly threat, has a predetermined plan of action and is physically and mentally prepared to immediately and successfully implement it to save their life—or someone else’s life. Combat mindset also emphasizes situational awareness, knowing the proximity of anyone around you who might become a threat—for example, someone wearing a heavy overcoat in the Arizona heat. Such observations should be a constant during almost all waking hours.
My class’s course number was 260: “Defensive Shotgun,” which teaches the modern technique applied to the shotgun. Hartman and Campbell say the shotgun requires a special set of manipulation skills that make it a “thinking person’s weapon.”
Remington supplied each student with a new V3 Tactical, and we had our choice of either the bead front sight or the XS Low Profile rifle sights. I took one look at the XS setup and quickly decided it was for me. Remington specs for the V3 state that its barrel has a Cylinder bore, but discreetly stamped in the barrel on my gun was “imp. cyl.” Whatever it was, all I can say is that the gun shot great!
Our ammo consisted of Remington’s Managed-Recoil 12-gauge loads with eight pellets of 00 buckshot, 1-ounce rifled slugs, as well as some No. 8 birdshot. (Shooting the slugs was a revelation; more on them later.) In two days, I put more than 400 rounds through the V3, and my shoulder had not a hint of soreness, and the gun never malfunctioned.
Hartman and Campbell were relentless in teaching us the most efficient and effective ways to handle the shotgun and to forge these movements into the implementation of proper tactics. We did it over and over until we did it right. We all wore name tags pinned to the back of our caps, so the instructors could call us out by name to offer…uh…“constructive instruction.”
First, we “patterned” our guns on the plates at 15 yards. Hartman pointed out that some guns don’t necessarily put their shot charges where they’re pointed, and the defensive shooter needs to know this before the balloon goes up.
There were several different drills at various ranges, and all of the targets were steel plates. Starting at 15 yards, we fired first one round, then two; then two, reload, then two more rounds. “Reload” doesn’t mean turning the shotgun over and leisurely stuffing a couple of shells into the magazine while staring at the gun. No sirree, Bub! That casual technique was sure to elicit comments: “This ain’t Elmer Fudd rabbit huntin’ out here, Steve! Keep the gun on your shoulder, pointed at the target, your finger on the receiver above the fire control system, and keep your eyes on the target while loading. Stay in the fight!”
After mastering this drill at 15 yards, we moved back to 20 yards and did it again.
An epiphany came with the switch to rifled slugs. For this, we moved to 50 yards and fired 10 shots at the plates, first five from a sitting position, then five from standing. Frankly, I didn’t expect to hit any of the plates, but I was astonished to hit the plate with all 10 shots and quickly gained a new appreciation for shotgun slugs. The XS sights allowed for precise aiming, and they were very fast to get on target.
The second day found us “rescuing” hostages and learning how to clear a house without getting ambushed. After a desert downpour, we ran the “Scrambler” course with various-size steel targets at 30 to 120 yards with shotgun slugs. Yes, Virginia, you can hit a man-sized target with an open-sighted shotgun with slugs at 120 yards.
After two days of concentrated training, I came away with a real appreciation of the shotgun as a home- or personal-defense gun. It is certainly a fight-stopper, and with the right ammunition, it is not nearly as limited by range as I previously thought. But situations vary. A V3 Tactical would be especially appropriate for my property, since the nearest structure is about a quarter-mile away. However, a shotgun would be problematic for an apartment dweller because of the risk of over-penetration through perhaps several thicknesses of drywall and possibly hitting innocent bystanders.
We live in dangerous times. Being prepared is the key to survival. There’s an old saying: When confronted with a dangerous situation, you’ll rise to the occasion. This is not true. The reality is you’ll sink to the level of your training. Situational awareness, a combat mindset, good equipment, and proper training mean the difference between life and death, and the Remington V3 Tactical certainly fits into an effective home-defense plan.
Remington V3 Tactical Semiautomatic Shotgun SpecsManufacturer:
Remington Arms; remington.comType:
12, 3-in. chamberMagazine Capacity:
18.5 in.Overall Length:
39.5 in.Weight, Empty:
SyntheticLength of Pull:
Black oxide receiver and barrel, black stockSights:
XS Low Profile rifle sightsSafety:
6.03-lb. pull (as tested)MSRP: