Safir Arms T-14 .410 Shotgun Upper for the AR-15


by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

December 5th, 2009



YouTube Video

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 complete rifle.

Jeff Quinn


Federal's Number 4 shot load is excellent for defense.



Shot pattern of Federal's Number 4 shot load at 21 feet.



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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Click pictures for a larger version.


ATI T-14 .410 shotgun upper.







Gas system is more like a traditional gas-operated shotgun than an AR.





Bolt and carrier.





American Tactical Imports slug load.



Three quick shots of the ATI slug load at 21 feet.