Armscor VRF14 12 Gauge

The VRF14 performed well, but there is a lot of muzzle flip due to the design. Shooting from the hip, the receiver extension whacked us in the wrist.


The ATF refers to the Remington V3 TAC-13, Garaysar Fear-118, and Armscor VRF14 as “firearms.” Technically speaking, the Remington, Armscor, and Garaysar are not pistols, nor rifles, nor shotguns. What makes them a firearm and not a rifle, pistol, or shotgun is the overall length. If the overall length of a gun is 26 inches or less, it becomes just a firearm. So humor us and we’ll call them firearms, though in our world, if it shoots shotgun shells, it’s a shotgun.

Our three firearms have barrels that range from 14 to 14.5 inches, are chambered in 12 gauge, and use a gas-piston-driven semi-automatic action. The Garaysar and Remington look like an abbreviated bird gun with the short barrel, bird’s head grip, and tube magazine. In hand, these two firearms are like a big stick, and loaded with 00 Buck, that stick weighs more than 6 pounds. Firing these guns most effectively requires two hands. But because the bird’s head grip is almost parallel with the action, you can fire these guns one handed. However, your follow-up shot may be more skyward than on target. With these firearms, the shooter points rather than aims them with a shooting hand on the grip and pulling in rearward. The front support hand on the fore end curls the thumb over the top of the barrel, pushing forward. This push/pull technique allows recoil to come straight back, and the shooter can easily manage muzzle flip, even with the hot Hornady Critical Defense loads that have 1600 fps muzzle velocity. Because of their linear profile, the V3 and Fear-118 are more concealable than the Armscor and are easier to maneuver in a vehicle or in a narrow hallway and around doors.

In contrast, the VRF14 is designed like an AR pistol with a removable box magazine, AR-style pistol grip, and Picatinny rails. It is heavy — and that’s a good thing for controlling this 12-gauge beast — and less compact, though still concealable. This shotgun also requires more technique to shoot effectively, which we’ll get into.

The rail on the VRF14 protected our support hand during extensive firing.

We wanted to look at these firearms, aka shotguns, through the lens of a home-defense gun and vehicle gun. A 5.11 LV M4 Shorty ($125; was used as a discreet, low-visibility vehicle case. All three shotguns fit in the case, and the case can be worn as a backpack or as a crossbody bag plus. It also has a grab handle, so you can carry it like a typical long-gun bag. A strap attached to MOLLE webbing inside the case keeps the weapon in place. There is a large and small outside pocket to store other EDC go-bag-type gear. The large pocket has MOLLE webbing in it so you can add magazine pouches. This bag can also be used to carry a disassembled AR. We attached two 5.11 five-round shotgun carriers ($39). These two strips attached to the MOLLE inside the case and gave us 10 additional shells for reloading without fumbling for loose rounds in pockets. We found that, with practice, we could draw the Remington and Garaysar from the bag relatively fast. With the Armscor, we had to take off the bag, remove the gun, and insert a magazine. For a less discreet carry, we opted for a 19-inch Tactical Shotgun Scabbard ($32;, which has MOLLE webbing on both sides so you can attach it to the sides or back of a backpack or, with the sling, you can wear it crossbody. It has four shell holders, and it worked with the Garaysar and Remington, but not the Armscor. Slung over the shoulder, the scabbard slid down our backs so the grip was not accessible for an over-the-shoulder draw. We found that if we held the bottom of the scabbard or sling with our support hand, we could pull the shotguns out with our shooting hand over the shoulder. The scabbard is less secure than a holster, but it allows the shooter to easily transport the tube-magazine guns with a reload. Notably, the Fear-118 fit the scabbard, even with its extended charging handle.

The Armscor had a much larger patterning size with the birdshot load, 21 inches.

Test ammo consisted of all 23⁄4-inch shells with 00 buckshot loads from Hornady Critical Defense, Aguila, and Sellier & Bellot. We also tested bird shot in a high-velocity load with No. 71⁄2 shot from Fiocchi. We wanted to see if a less penetrating load like the bird shot would produce tight patterns in the event of a home invasion. Bird shot offers less penetration than buck shot and that could be a consideration if you have family living with you. Sheetrock acts like tissue paper when buck shot passes through it, and the shot still has power to inflict grave injuries. We also used some light target loads to see if any of the gas system would choke. The Armscor did, but only because we had the high-velocity gas piston and spring installed.

Our first round of tests was fired on a tombstone target set on a stand about five feet off the ground. We fired one and two handed and from the hip with all shotguns. We also shot for speed to see how recoil impacted our ability to control these beasts for follow-up shots. The Remington and Garaysar were easier to shoot. The Armscor took more technique.

The second series of tests looked at shot patterns. As much as it sounds cool to say these shotguns are hallway sweepers, they can surgically deliver loads, and depending on the load and distance, keep that pattern well within an 18-inch-wide target, such as the average width of the human torso. Read on to get more details on these shotshell firearms.

Gun Tests Grade: B-


The VRF14 uses a single gas piston operating system and is fed from a box magazine. It came with a five-round and a nine-round steel magazine. The firearm is set up like an AR with an AR-style pistol grip, safety selector on the left side, a bolt hold-open catch, and magazine release on the right side. While it may look like an AR with upper and lower receivers, it is not.

Action TypeSemi-auto, gas operated
Chamber Size3.0 in.
Overall Length26.5 in.
Weight Unloaded5.9 lbs.
Weight Loaded6.4 lbs.
Barrel Length14.0 in.
FinishMatte black
ChokeCylinder Bore
GripTextured AR-style pistol grip
Fore EndPolymer rail w/Picatinny-style rails
SightsFlip up rear/front AR-style
Trigger Pull Weight6.5 lbs.
SafetyManual trigger block
WarrantyLimited lifetime
Telephone(775) 537-1444
Made InPhilippines
Steel mags for the Armscor offer a variety of capacity options; those are a 9- and 5-round magazines, respectively.

The Armscor features a rail-style polymer fore end that is grooved as well as ventilated with cut-outs for cooling and a sure grip. The 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock positions also offer lengths of Picatinny-style rail. Because the rail is molded plastic, it is grippy but not cheese-grater sharp like a quad rail for an AR rifle. A set of polymer flip-up folding sights come with the VRF14, but we didn’t bother installing them. We would have rather had a sling in lieu of the sights. The barrel sheathed in the polymer rail protects your hand from a hot barrel. The Cylinder choke is fixed. The receiver is an aluminum alloy.

A loop attached at the end of the Armscor allows use with a sling.

The lower portion is polymer and consists of the pistol grip, magazine well, and receiver extension. The pistol grip has finger grooves and is a bit slick in the hand under recoil. The operating handle is oversized and round, so it is comfortable to operate. Protruding out of the rear of the receiver is a receiver extension that holds a buffer-style assembly to slow the bolt’s rearward movement after the bang. It does help to tame the recoil somewhat, but when shooting from the hip, the extension whacked the wrist of our shooting hand. Not fun nor comfortable to shoot from the hip. The extension has a sling loop attached, which works well when shooting the VRF14 with the push/pull technique. We used a Braudel Metal Clip Hook ($8; with the Blue Force Vickers 221 Sling to adapt the sling to the metal loop at the rear of the VRF14, and it worked well to carry the Armscor.

The Armscor features a rail-style polymer fore end that is grooved as well as ventilated with cut-outs for cooling and a sure grip. It is grippy but not cheese-grater sharp like a quad rail on an AR.

Two gas pistons and recoil springs are provided with the VRF14, one set for low-power loads and the other set for high-power loads. Swapping the gas pistons and springs is easy, but the disassembly process has a lot more steps than we anticipated.

Magazines are inserted straight into the magwell, the same way you insert a magazine in an AR rifle. After the last round in the magazine is fired, the magazine holds the bolt open. A magazine-fed shotgun is odd for those who have used tube-fed shotguns. On one hand, the magazine allows for a higher magazine capacity and fast reloading, but on the other hand, spare loaded magazines are big and heavy and barely fit in the rear pocket of your pants. The protruding magazine — especially the nine-round mag — sticks out like a black banana and makes the firearm less maneuverable in confined environments.

The business end of the VRF14 had a fixed Cylinder choke. A sling swivel is attached to the magazine cap (arrow).

At the range, we found the Armscor’s action to be slick in operation. The VRF14 patterned the Hornady Critical Defense 00 buckshot in a tight 3-inch pattern at 15 yards. It was more disappointing with the Sellier & Bellot and Aguila, which patterned 9 and 7 inches, respectively. The Fiocchi birdshot also produced a wide 21-inch pattern. Recoil was more pronounced with this firearm. There were no issues other than the low-velocity load using the high-velocity gas piston/spring set up.

Our Team Said: The VRF14 offers high capacity and fast reloading, but it is difficult to shoot well, our shooters said. Shooting from the hip whacked our wrists.

Range Data

All shotshells were 2.75 inches in length. Patterns were measured at 15 yards.
Hornady Critical Defense 00 BuckshotSellier & Bellot 00 BuckshotAguila 00 BuckshotFiocchi No. 71⁄2 shot
Armscor VRF143.0 in.9.0 in.7.0 in.21.0 in.
Garaysar Fear-118 (Full Choke)8.0 in.3.3 in.4.5 in.6.0 in.
Remington V3 TAC-134.5 in.9.0 in.4.0 in.13.0 in.

Value Guide: Self Defense Shotgun Rankings

Gun NameIssueGradeComments
Mossberg 590 50674 12 Gauge, $568Oct. 2022A-Our Pick. The M-Lok fore end was just a bit too slick. The rest of the shotgun worked perfectly.
Tokarev Tx3 12HD 12 Gauge, $250Oct. 2022B+Best Buy. Light and quick to swing. Mimics controls of the Remington 870. Functioned perfectly.
Remington 870 Tactical 12 Gauge, ~$500Oct. 2022BSomewhat picky about ammo. Two different factory rounds failed to eject. Most expensive piece tested.
EAA AKKAR Churchill 612 111375 12 Gauge, $320May. 2022ABest Buy. Has a comfortable pistol grip stock. The Akkar Model 612 has the smoothest operation.
RIA Meriva Chrome MR25-P101-MC 12 Gauge, $230May. 2022BReliable. The chrome finish and the ability to mount a combat light are good features. Rough pump action.
Legacy Sports Citadel PAX FRPAX1220 12 Gauge, $229May. 2022CA heavy trigger action, difficult disassembly, and -1 round capacity put the PAX at the bottom.
Black Aces Tactical Pro Series S Max 12 Gauge, $420Mar. 2021ABest Buy. The lightest shotgun tested. Despite this, recoil was not objectionable.
Toros Copolla T4 12 Gauge, $895Mar. 2021AOur Pick. Compared to a Benelli M4 recently tested, the T4 comes out ahead.
Panzer Arms BP-12 BP12BSSB 12 Gauge, $650Mar. 2021CA robust design. Overall, this is a shotgun we liked less the more we fired it.
Benelli M4 H20 Tactical 11794 12 Gauge, $2000Feb. 2021AOur Pick. The Benelli provided excellent results. It is pricey but very good.
Remington V3 Tactical 83441 12 Gauge, $850Feb. 2021ABest Buy. We liked the extended controls, fast handling, and reliability. XS sights are a plus.
Beretta 1201FP 12 Gauge, $500Feb. 2021BThe 1201FP is fast on target and controllable. Semi-auto inertia action makes for less recoil.
Rock Island Armory VR80 12 Gauge, $600Feb. 2021BThe VR80 may be great for 3-Gun shooters because it will handle the same as the AR-15.
Winchester 1200 Speed Pump 12 Gauge, $225Oct. 2020ABest Buy. The Speed Pump is smooth, reliable, and provided good results.
Remington 870 12 Gauge, $275Oct. 2020AA classic home defender well worth its price on the used market.
Winchester SXP Marine Defender 12 Gauge, $255Oct. 2020BHas many good points, including the chrome finish on major components. Accepts a red-dot sight.
TPS M6 M6-100 22 LR/410 Bore, $487Jan. 2020AThe M6 follows in the footsteps of the previous M6 design and does it better.
Rossi Matched Pair 410/22 22 LR/410 Bore, $182Jan. 2020AThis Matched Pair 410/22 is lightweight and simple to operate.
Savage Model 42 Takedown 22440 22 LR/410 Bore, $425Jan. 2020B+The Model 42 follows Savage’s tradition of combo guns, and this gun has some fine attributes.
Mossberg Retrograde Persuader 50429 12 Ga., $384Sep. 2019AThe Mossberg 500 Retrograde is a beautifully finished shotgun. There are no shortcomings.
Iver Johnson PAS Copperhead 12 Gauge, $401Sep. 2019AHas good features that were overshadowed by the snake scale-like finish.


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