Tac­ti­cal En­hance­ments & Ver­sa­til­ity Make Breda’s B12i Shot­gun a Solid Home De­fense Op­tion

Home Defender - - Home Defender - Words and Pho­tos by Gor­don Meehl Lead Photo by Mike Dick­er­man

Fer­rari, Gucci, Dolce & Gab­bana and Ver­sace are all names that rep­re­sent the pin­na­cle of Ital­ian de­sign and lux­ury. Add to that list, Breda (pro­nounced BRAY-duh).

Chances are you’ve never heard of Breda, but it’s def­i­nitely a name you need to learn, es­pe­cially if you’re look­ing to pro­vide a solid line of de­fense against the bad guys for your fam­ily.

Although Breda is a quickly emerg­ing brand in the U.S., it has a long-stand­ing tra­di­tion of mak­ing top-end weapons since the mid-1920s. Euro­peans have long-cher­ished their Breda shot­guns for their qual­ity of ma­te­ri­als, aes­thet­ics and in­no­va­tion. Most im­por­tant for the home de­fender is Breda’s rep­u­ta­tion for the in­no­va­tion, dura­bil­ity and sim­plic­ity of its op­er­at­ing sys­tem. Breda leads the in­dus­try with in­no­va­tions such as in­ter­change­able chokes, semi-au­to­matic shot­guns that can be dis­as­sem­bled and re­assem­bled with­out tools, and the ro­tat­ing head in­er­tia op­er­at­ing sys­tem. Most of these fea­tures are found in prod­ucts of­fered by al­most ev­ery qual­ity brand of shot­gun.

With the his­tory les­son com­plete, let’s ad­dress the ele­phant in the room.


The choice of a shot­gun as your go-to home de­fense weapon is long de­bated. I doubt there will ever be a de­fin­i­tive res­o­lu­tion to the de­bate that will prove one plat­form su­pe­rior over an­other, but there are many unique ad­van­tages to a shot­gun specif­i­cally con­fig­ured for home de­fense. The em­pha­sis is on its proper con­fig­u­ra­tion; for in­stance, a 30-inch shot­gun, break-ac­tion, pur­pose-built for trap shoot­ing will be a ter­ri­ble choice for a home de­fense shot­gun. Though semi-auto shot­guns are great for pro­tec­tion, a lot re­quire sev­eral mod­i­fi­ca­tions to make them more suit­able for the unique re­quire­ments of thwart­ing in­trud­ers with max­i­mum ef­fec­tive­ness. The B12i, how­ever, comes “mis­sion ready” straight out of the box.

The word “cate­nac­cio” is well-known to Ital­ian foot­ball fans. It very loosely means the dead­bolt on a door, and refers to the way the Ital­ians view game strat­egy: de­fense is most im­por­tant el­e­ment. The cate­nac­cio is the last line of de­fense against at­tack­ers and there­fore needs to be the strong­est part of the team. This ex­actly de­scribes how the Breda USA’s B12i fits into your home-de­fense plan. The B12i is a strong last line of de­fense that will al­low you to con­fi­dently keep at­tack­ers at bay.

It’s no se­cret that no mat­ter how much you pre­pare and prac­tice de­fend­ing your fam­ily, when it be­comes a re­al­ity, the stress and adren­a­line di­min­ish your fine mo­tor skills. Be­cause of this, ma­nip­u­lat­ing the firearm must be as easy as pos­si­ble and re­quire as lit­tle thought as pos­si­ble. Ev­ery el­e­ment of the B12i’s 3-gun com­pe­ti­tion-in­spired de­sign make it ideally suited for the stress and anx­i­ety of home de­fense.


In ev­ery as­pect, Breda has paid close at­ten­tion to the er­gonomics re­quired when shoot­ing a shot­gun on the move and un­der pres­sure. Im­me­di­ately upon pick­ing it up, you’ll no­tice how the gun fits in your hands. While I’m sure I could look up the ex­act di­men­sions and tol­er­ances to which ev­ery­thing is de­signed, I’m just as sure you’d find that would make for a snooze-wor­thy ar­ti­cle. Suf­fice it to say that the bal­ance and hand feel of

the B12i is as close to cus­tom as you’ll get, with­out hav­ing to sell an or­gan or two to pay for it.

From your strong hand, ev­ery­thing is im­me­di­ately ac­ces­si­ble. Ex­tend­ing your trig­ger fin­ger very nat­u­rally for­ward takes you to the easy-to-find, over­sized bolt re­lease. When you hear that bump in the night, a smooth, easy touch pushes a round into bat­tery and the bolt into place. Hav­ing shot a wide va­ri­ety of shot­guns, I was pleas­antly sur­prised at how smoothly the ro­tat­ing bolt moved for­ward. Smooth doesn’t mean slow, how­ever. It will take you by sur­prise if you’re used to a weight­ier gun in which the bolt slams for­ward after wrestling with a small, hard-to-find and equally hard-to-press “tra­di­tional” bolt re­lease.

If your shot­gun is stored with an empty cham­ber and the bolt for­ward, no wor­ries. An over­sized charg­ing hand elim­i­nates the need to find a small lever to move the bolt back. Large and knurled for easy tac­tile recog­ni­tion and pos­i­tive grip, you can charge and be ready to en­gage the threat, even with gloves on. Why you’d be wear­ing gloves in­doors is an­other ques­tion, but


if you find your­self in that sit­u­a­tion, charg­ing the Breda will be the last of the wor­ries.

In the stock con­fig­u­ra­tion, the B12i’s round ca­pac­ity is 4 plus one. But one of my fa­vorite stan­dard “en­hanced ease of use” fea­tures is the en­larged load­ing port. For just about ev­ery other home de­fense shot­gun, you’d need to go to an ex­pe­ri­enced gun­smith to open the load­ing port as wide as Breda’s. An en­larged load­ing port al­lows for rapid reload­ing with­out hav­ing to use the fine mo­tor skills needed to in­sert the shells into a nar­row open­ing, which in­cludes stick­ing your thumb in­side the port to make sure they are well into the tube. Again, with the en­larged port, you can reload sin­gle shells or four at a time, even with gloves on, should you so choose. Other stan­dard en­hance­ments show just how at­ten­tive Breda is to mak­ing a shot­gun that is easy and quick to ma­nip­u­late in high-stress sit­u­a­tions. The front of the trig­ger guard slopes di­rectly to the load­ing port to ease reloads. Like­wise, the hand­guard slopes away from the load­ing port so your hand doesn’t get caught on an abrupt edge when mov­ing through the reload. A large tri­an­gu­lar-shaped push-through safety is easy to find with your thumb or in­dex fin­ger po­si­tion, just be­hind the pro-tuned trig­ger. Ad­di­tion­ally, the re­ceiver is predrilled for the ad­di­tion of a rail and op­tics.

Even though the B12i is ready out of the box, I chose to fur­ther en­hance the tac­ti­cal us­abil­ity of it with a few top-end up­grades from TAC­COM. I in­stalled a +2 ex­treme ex­ten­sion tube

to up the ca­pac­ity from 4+1 to 6+1. Be­cause of their unique de­sign, TAC­COM tubes can be used in­di­vid­u­ally or stacked to­gether. Get­ting an ad­di­tional +4 ex­treme tube, my ca­pac­ity op­tions be­came 4+1, 6+1, 8+1 and 10+1. To help cut through the tar­get and make sure the gun is on tar­get, my tac­ti­cal pack­age is­rounded out with a TAC­COM tube-mounted rail on which is mounted a Sight­mark LoPro green laser/ flash­light combo.

An 18.5-inch bar­rel is the pre­ferred choice for a home de­fense or tac­ti­cal con­fig­u­ra­tion. How­ever, Breda also sells in­di­vid­ual bar­rels in 21-, 24-,

28- and 30-inch lengths with a hand-mounted step rib, as well as

24- and 26-inch bar­rels with ri­fle sites. Be­cause re­moval and in­stal­la­tion of bar­rels does not re­quire tools, you can use your B12i not only for home de­fense, but also for com­pe­ti­tion or hunt­ing. Each bar­rel is dili­gently and slowly drilled at the Breda fac­tory, each one tak­ing close to an hour to com­plete to en­sure con­sis­tent and pre­dictable pat­tern­ing with each choice of choke.


Over­all, with Breda, you’re get­ting much more than you’re pay­ing for. High-end tac­ti­cal en­hance­ments straight out of the box, per­for­mance-cen­tered near-cus­tom crafts­man­ship and ver­sa­til­ity promise to make Breda’s de­but tac­ti­cal shot­gun a highly sought-after scat­ter­gun for home de­fense and be­yond. HD


For the ad­di­tion of a rail and op­tics, the re­ceiver is predrilled.

Bot­tom Right: A +4 tube ex­ten­sion from Tac­com not only in­creases your ca­pac­ity to eight rounds, but it is also de­signed to ac­cept ad­di­tional tubes, al­low­ing you to cus­tomize the amount of ammo you have on board.

For rapid reloads, the B12i fea­tures an en­larged load­ing port.

Bot­tom: The large tri­an­gu­lar safety, just be­hind the trig­ger, is quickly re­leased when the time comes to put rounds on tar­get.

Top Right: The B12i comes with fiber op­tic front sights and an 18.5-inch bar­rel, which is the pre­ferred choice for a home de­fense or a tac­ti­cal con­fig­u­ra­tion.

Top: An over­sized charg­ing han­dle and bolt re­lease are eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble in high-stress sit­u­a­tions.

Shown with a Tac­com +2 tube ex­ten­sion, the

Breda B12i 18.5-inch 12 gauge has many fea­tures that are not only well-suited for home de­fense, but for sport­ing use, as well.

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