Stoeger M3k 3-Gun Shotgun Review
The M3K benefits from the competition guns that have come before it, especially those of Benelli from which the gun clearly uses as a stepping off point. While upgrading its control surfaces are recommended to improve time scores at the range, the gun points naturally and easily, is easy to manipulate and offers both shims and recoil pads to alter the length of pull and recoil resistance.
Any lackluster results in this gun’s performance in hitting the target will likely have more to do with the operator than it will for the gun. This is Stoeger’s flag ship for tactical shooting, as it were. If there are any problems they will want to address it if it is found to be with the gun.
It is a relatively new design and for its initial price point has been adopted as a back up by competitors and has not been actively used to replace the Benellis in military and police service. This is also due to the fact that it is distributed under the Beretta umbrella and is only sold by distributors that also sell the Benelli. The result is real world research and testing is slow in catching up, but early results are all overwhelmingly positive.
Again, this is one of the mist customization friendly firearm Stoeger has likely ever produced. The reasons for this are for its primary market: competitive 3-Gun matches. While it still pales next to aftermarket providers for Mossberg and Remington, Stoeger has offered irtually everything conceivably desirable for the configuration of this gun short of actual optics and scopes.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but this product is a sharp looking, handy shotgun that is ready to run and gun with the best of them. Not only does it look the part, it has been shown to do the part. There will always be something that someone would rather instead, but there is nothing “ugly” about the looks or functions at ll.
While not a Benelli “knock off” (it’s made by a sister company under Beretta Corp), the price and styles make the comparison impossible to avoid. That it does everything a Benelli M2 will do for a lower jumping off price point makes it highly attractive. The only people that may complain about that are the ones that can afford an M2 in the first place. For those who have to factor their range days with other things like mortgage, braces and car payments, the Stoeger is really hard to beat.
Shotguns are among the oldest forms of firearms in the world but remain one of the most potent and effective personal defense and sporting gun types to this day. Small wonder then that they have been included into the growing sport of “3 Gun” competitions: it provides an exciting change to rifle and pistol shooting; and demands a reliable gun that refuses to fail under pressure. While self loaders provide an obvious advantage to speed, they can still prove to be finicky to various loads and conditions, and with the clock ticking, just as in high stress defensive scenarios, no one wants to take time to manually cycle the action and/or clear jams when the shotgun fails to run as expected. The obvious solution for reliability is a pump: as long as your arm works, it works, regardless of squibs or under powered shells.
Equally small wonder that Stoeger, a well established - if somewhat under appreciated - name in the world of sporting scatter guns now offers the M3k: a pump gun specifically designed for both tactical defensive and sport shooting scenarios. Stoeger’s reputation for durable construction and dependable performance is exactly what the 3 Gunner needs in their arsenal.
Stoeger M3k Review:
What it Has
Most shotgun users are familiar with the name, if not also the quality of Benelli. Stoeger has been around for a long time but in recent years has been acquired under the Benelli umbrella where it enjoys access to the technological and manufacturing expertise of Beretta (no one has been making guns longer than Beretta). The Stoeger M3k may cut the finer corners that affluent shoppers expect from the Italian names as regards to looks and craftsmanship, but it does not skip any steps in making a reliable functional gun.
How Does it Compare?
Three Gunners are a strange lot: while much focus is put on the end scores, there is a certain, almost social, aspect to how they look at one another: not only how well one shoots but what they shoot. Custom jobs on every firearm is the norm, and while function is prized, there is no denying that looks and brand names factor into the way one is perceived. Such viewers HATE it when a non “premium” brand name is used to outshoot them. That alone makes Stoeger almost priceless!
Getting down to brass tacks, the Stoeger offers reliable service that will match the skill of the shooter. The common self loader comparison will likely be the Mossberg 930: the Stoeger offers Beretta technology in a price point that is about comparable to arguably less than what can be found on a similarly appointed Mossberg. But many will look to the Benelli M2 as a comparison.
Stoger’s gun sports a strong aluminum receiver that comes optic ready. The 24-inch barrel points well and quickly but when compared to the Benelli there are subtle differences to the inertia drive system. The cam location is different, as is the carrier latch; but in use, they are work the same. It would be difficult to find a reason to discount the gun out of hand.
Is it still Dependable?
Dependability is Stoeger’s mantra. However, they do stress the allowance of a 100 round break in period to work out the last kinks from manufacturing. This is a trade for the finer finishing of the Italian siblings, but the cost differential, as well as the opportunity to burn off some more rounds, works enticingly to the shooter’s benefit.
Can it be accessorized?
Stoeger has taken this model to the heights of in house support with a pistol grip option, a bevy of extended choke options, extended tube magazines and a shim kit for adjusting the length of pull for different sized shooters. It is perhaps one of the most option friendly guns the company has ever made. This is hardly surprising because, as stated above, 3 Gun competitors are a particularly unique lot that run a strange mix between military operative and Von Richtoven’s Flying Circus. As referenced above, the M3K invites customization or use out of the box to all comers.
For competitors, the obvious areas of attention would be the mag capacity (which Stoeger offers an upgrade for) and swapping out the control surfaces for larger (easier) access: charging handle, safety, bolt releases can all stand to be updated for competition. For home security, as is will probably serve well enough.
Black is sliming and goes with everything. It also seems to be the baseline of tactical style shooting: this is both because it is a strong finish and easily fits into the commercial advertising of competitive shooters. That said, the M3K is a fine looking firearm, easily equal to the Benelli tactical shotguns from which it clearly draws a line of descent.
Manufacturers’ suggested Retail price for the standard four round model is $669 with $589 often found in online auctions. For those familiar with Stoeger products, this may appear a bit more than anticipated, but this is not a stage coach gun or sporting scatter gun. This is Stoegers contribution to a highly competitive field where brand names play a large part, and the company is clearly aiming to increase its market footprint in the industry. That said, while it is not undercutting its competition in a bloodthirsty manner, it is also well within the price bracket of entry level shotguns for this sport.
This concludes our Stoeger M3k review. This is one of the guns that Stoeger is using to promote their wider line of firearms and it is a wonderful choice. Competitive shooters on a budget (or even just looking for something different and curious to test the comparison) can do far worse than the Stoeger M3K. It has it all: proven design and technological know how, company provided upgrades and a keen desire to take high priced guns on at an affordable price. It dares to be used and abused and has taken all comers to task to date.