Staff Review: Taran Tactical Benelli 3gun competition parts review
By: Kurt Gruber, Staff Writer
If you are familiar at all with the world of Three Gun, then you are no doubt familiar with the name Taran Butler. Taran has one most every match he has entered more than once and is one of the top shooters in the Three Gun community. Taran recently formed a company, Taran Tactical Innovations (http://tarantacticalinnovations.com/), where he is putting his expertise in making guns run as fast as possible to work for the rest of the shooting community. Taran Tactical has a range of products available including full rifles and uppers, as well as magazine accessories and replacement parts for the Benelli shotguns that are prevalent in the Three Gun competition world.
It is these Benelli upgrade parts that I got a chance to install on my Benelli M2, the shotgun I use for Open Three Gun. These parts are all designed to increase the efficiency of the shooter for common weapon manipulations that are important for not only the sport of Three Gun, but for uses beyond that arena. They include an oversized bolt handle, an oversized safety, and an oversized bolt release. These parts from Taran Tactical combined with the reliability of the Benelli Inertia Drive shotguns make for a winning combination for the avid or recreational Three Gun shooter.
The simplest upgrade that can be made to any shotgun, but that is often overlooked, is the oversized charging handle. A common starting condition for the shotgun, unless it is the first gun used in a course of fire, is a condition known as cruiser ready. In the cruiser ready condition, named as such for the condition that many shotguns are kept in police cruisers, the magazine of the shotgun is loaded to division capacity with the bolt forward on an empty chamber. When you retrieve your shotgun, the first move is to chamber a round. This is one of the many times when an oversized charging handle is useful; by providing the competitor with a bigger target to grab for to charge the shotgun. Another time when an oversized charging handle is very important to a competitor is when they are forced to deal with a malfunction. The oversized handle provides the shooter with more leverage on the bolt to quickly clear a malfunction.
The next upgrade part from Taran Tactical that provides the shooter with an edge is the TTI Oversized bolt release. This bolt release provides a great combination of a bolt release that is easy for the shooter to manipulate quickly without being so big that it gets in the shooters way or catches on obstructions. The bolt release provides a simple target for the shooter to hit because of the fact it tilts away from the gun’s receiver when the bolt is locked back. This tilt causes the bolt release to protrude out from the gun. The bolt release does require some specialized tools to install, requiring a tap to drill a hole in the stock bolt release button to allow for a screw to install the oversized release.
The final upgrade part I got a chance to use is the Taran Tactical Ultimate Benelli Safety. This upgrade, in addition to looking great, provides the shooter with more real estate to click the safety on the gun on and off. This particular manipulation plays a crucial role in the shooters ability to negotiate the course of fire. If the shooter fumbles disabling their safety then they will lose precious time, when often seconds mean the difference between finishes on the leaderboard. If the shooter fails to re-engage the safety before putting a gun that still has rounds in it in the dump barrel then their weekend is over as dumping a loaded gun not on safe is generally grounds for a match disqualification. This second thing is of extra consideration to shooters like me who shoot in the Open Division of Three Gun. In the Tactical Optics Division, where the shooter is only allowed to start the stage with 9 rounds in the gun and commonly have a maximum magazine capacity between nine and eleven rounds, it is common for a shooter to run his or her shotgun dry so that they do not have to worry about re-engaging the safety. However, in the Open Division, the shotguns are allowed to hold as many rounds as the shooter can put in it. My Benelli M2 fitted with the Roth Concept Innovations Integrated XRail system holds 25 rounds in the magazine, so I rarely shoot it until it is empty in a stage. Therefore, being able to re-engage the safety quickly is very important to me. The TTI oversized safety adds size not only to the dis-engage side of the safety, but also the re-engage side. It is a simple part to replace and like all Benelli safeties is easily configurable for both right and left-handed shooters. I had never taken apart the Benelli fire control group and it took me about 10 minutes and a simple Google search to replace my stock safety with the Taran Tactical Ultimate Benelli Safety.
There are many upgrades on the market for the Benelli shotguns. This is to be expected because of its prevalence in the game of Three Gun and the need to alter some of the basic components to provide for speed and efficiency. There are few people in the shooting sports, however who are faster and more efficient with a Benelli shotgun than Taran is, so it makes sense that his replacement parts would be some of the better available. I would recommend Taran Tactical parts to any Benelli owner who is looking to improve the shotgun part of his or her Three Gun game.