UPDATE July 21st, 2011
American Tactical Imports is no longer the distributor for this upper. Safir Arms LLC (New Jersey) now handles this product exclusively.
Last month I attended the NASGW
Show in Reno, Nevada. At that show, manufacturers set up
their new products to display to wholesale distributors. I saw a
lot of interesting new products on display, but some of the most
interesting were displayed at the American Tactical Imports
booth. AR-15 rifles are the hottest-selling rifles in the
United States right now, and there are many variations
available. ATI had on display an AR upper that is chambered for
the .410 2.5 inch shotshell, and when I saw it, I knew that I
just had to have one.
The AR system is very user-friendly, and most
anyone can learn to shoot one well. The sights are easy to see,
and placed high, allowing for a straight-comb stock. The recoil
is straight back, with almost no muzzle jump at all. The
controls on an AR are well-placed, and the system is very
reliable. I recommend an AR rifle or carbine to anyone who needs
a good fighting rifle, or just for predator
control around the homestead. However, inside a dwelling,
over penetration is often a concern using high velocity bullets.
In such a setting, a shotgun is a great weapon, but most are
limited on magazine capacity, especially those like a .410
shotgun, which is often a good choice for those who want light
recoil, but still need a defensive shotgun. Using buckshot or
large birdshot, a .410 shoots the projectiles just as hard and
fast as a twelve gauge, it just doesn’t throw as many shot. A
.410 on an AR is a very interesting concept to me. It would
deliver low recoil, allowing fast follow-up shots on a target or
multiple targets. At close range, it hits plenty hard, yet will
not penetrate walls and then continue on into the house next
door. After penetrating a wall, the velocity of the shot falls
off quickly, yet at across-the-room distances, even a load of
small birdshot is a very effective stopper.
The ATI upper has a twenty-inch smooth bore
barrel with a birdcage flash suppressor. It is a straight
cylinder bore, meaning that the barrel has no choke
constriction. The A-3 style upper has a flattop receiver with
integral Picatinny rail, and a standard A-2 front sight. There
is no rear sight, but the rail will accept many variations of
rear aperture or optical sights. The upper comes with a
five-round magazine, but a thirteen-round mag is an available
option, and is definitely my choice, offering a lot of firepower
for close-quarters fighting.
The operating system is different from an AR.
There is no gas tube running atop the barrel underneath the hand
guard as is on an AR-15 rifle. The gas system is more like that
on a traditional gas-operated shotgun. The ATI upper is
chambered for the 2.5 inch .410 shotshell, but
cartridge-overall-length is important. Winchester shells are too
long. ATI shotshells, of course, work perfectly, as do the
excellent Federal Personal Defense .410 number four shot
shotshells. The Federal four-pellet buckshot loads do not feed
well unless modified. They are slightly too long, but I modified
a few that then worked very well. The ATI .410 slug loads
function perfectly, but I have not yet tried their buckshot
loads. The American Tactical slug shell has a 115 grain Foster
type slug, and should be very effective at close range, yet has
almost no felt recoil when fired from the AR carbine.
Shooting the ATI .410 was a real pleasure.
Recoil is almost unnoticeable, and it is easy to keep the target
in the sight picture, a very important thing in a fight.
The shotgun functions smoothly, and the ammo fed perfectly from
the thirteen-shot magazine. I mounted a Trijicon
Reflex sight atop the receiver. The Reflex uses a
tritium-illuminated dot. It is always on, and never needs
batteries. It is a very rugged and reliable optical sight, works
perfectly in all lighting conditions, and allows the user to
keep both eyes open and focused upon the target. At
across-the-room distances, the Federal number four shot loads do
a wonderful job, and the group size can be covered with my hand.
The American Tactical slug loads are plenty accurate for social
work at ranges from a few feet out to fifty yards, and hits upon
the target are easy.
The American Tactical T-14 shotgun is a very
reliable, efficient, and effective weapon for close-quarters
combat, and would serve well for harvesting small game at short
distances if needed. It can throw a lot of shot rapidly
for defensive purposes, or fire the rifled slugs as the
situation warrants. It works well on the AR-15 platform, and is
available as the upper receiver unit shown here, or as a
Federal's Number 4 shot load is excellent for
Shot pattern of Federal's Number 4 shot load at 21
Federal's 000 Buck load.
ATI (top) and Federal (bottom) loads work well
through the T-14, but Winchester (center) loads are too
long to function properly.
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