Using the Mantis X10 to compare recoil on three shotguns

Mossberg M500M MILS, Benelli M1014 Flag Edition, Molot VEPR-12

I’d been telling people that I think my Benelli M1014 has more felt recoil than my other shotguns. I’d been getting responses like, “You must be joking“, “What an idiot“, “a semi would never have more recoil than a pump“, “ur a fuckwit“, etc.

Well lucky for me the people at Mantis asked me to write a review of the X10. I’m working on that. (Spoiler, I like it!) One of the many features of the X10 is a “Recoilmeter”. Now I want to compare my .45 ACP Glock 30 vs my Colt 1911 in recoil. I want to see how the Glock compares to the P320, etc. But I really wanted to see how these shotguns compared.

I was able to use the adapter that comes with the X10 to clamp to to the Mossberg M500’s barrel. This clamp also worked on the Benelli’s mag tube. I was able to install the X10 right to the rail on the gas block of the Molot VEPR-12.

I fired four shots of Winchester 00 buckshot from each gun. For our purposes I am going to use the numbers from the first 3 shots of each test. We will throw out the 4th shot as on two of the guns the action locked open and what we really care about is recoil between shots. And. . I didn’t have the clamp tight enough on the Mossberg for the last shot and the whole unit slipped forwards.

It is not really a fair comparison, as one is a pump. I tried to have the Mantis X10 in as similar a position on each gun as possible. I tried to keep things as comparable as possible. Shooting was done at a rapid pace. I use a 8 inch repair bull target at 50 yards for my point of aim. The X10 records and tells us a variety of different info from each shot.

Side note, the grey line you see going off to the upper right on each image is the movement of my last shot, the 4th one, which included moving the gun off target afterwards.

When firing the pump action Mossberg, the muzzle rise record by the Mantis X10 clocked in at 2.40, 2.05, and 1.25 degrees. This is an average of 1.9 degrees of muzzle rise across the three shots. Interestingly enough, the movement of the gun tended to be more up and left vs the up and right as often see with firearms fired right handed. This is shown by the negative “Recoil Angle” that is in the MantisX app.

Shooting 12 gauge buck shot out of a pump action has noticeable recoil. I’m not particularly recoil sensitive, but I have injured both my shoulders in the past, so I tend to prefer not to shoot higher recoiling guns any more. Still I could shoot this Mossberg all day long. You feel the recoil, but double-naught buck is not unpleasant out of this gun.

Firing the Benelli M1014 flag edition clocked in a muzzle rise of 4.30, 4.93, and 4.82 degrees. This is an average of about 4.7 degrees. Over DOUBLE the muzzle flip of the pump action Mossberg.

HA! Who is crazy now?

The Benelli classically recoils up and right like your average longarm for a right handed shooter. About a 30 degree angle up and right as shown by the MantisX app.

This increased muzzle flip is really noticeable as the firearm was coming up and off the 50 yard target between shots. While the Benelli has superior sights, I had to reacquire the target and realign the sights between each shot.

Now to keep things interesting, I also tested my Molot VEPR-12. I’ve often told people how surprisingly pleasant the VEPR-12 is to shoot. I can use lightly loaded shells and 3 inch slugs in the same magazine and it will cycle them all and still be pleasant to shoot. It will reliably cycle lightweight loads that make the M1014 jam.

The X10 recorded muzzle rise of -0.19, 1.07, and -0.22 degrees. This gives up an average of 0.22 degrees of muzzle rise across the three shots. Big difference between shooting this shotgun and others.

Now this shotgun does have a large muzzle brake on it. It was really pleasant to shoot before the brake, and the brake certainly doesn’t hurt. These particular Mossberg and Benelli guns have no accommodations for a choke or brake.

On a tangent, note that after the last shot on the VEPR-12, I was just lowering the muzzle like had I been firing an AR15.

Now I know some of you are saying, “Hey, that recovery time listed is higher on the Vepr-12.” You would be right. The VERP-12 averaged 1.01s over the .89 seconds of the M1014. This is a difference of over a tenth of a second. I’m not sure what happened there. If it was due to the AK style sights or if I was just shooting slower after being abused by the Benelli.

Now this isn’t a definitive test, it is a small sample size of shots with just me as the shooter. We only see the recorded muzzle flip and it says nothing about the overall recoil impulse. But is is nice to have some hard numbers showing that my Benelli moves more during shooting that my other shotguns, even the pump action.

More unnecessary ranting below:

I guess what I am trying to say is. I’m not lying to you, and I know what I am talking about. My M1014 sucks to shoot and that has been a disappointment for me.

I had someone accuse my of bad mouthing Benelli because I was one of the “poors” who couldn’t afford one. It is my own damned gun I’ve been complaining about. I’ve wanted one for something like 16 or so years. I have nothing to gain by saying anything bad about them. When I say I don’t like something, or think it is inferior, that is my honest option.

I think, in the gun community and outside it, we are so used to bullshit that people tend to disparage any comments outside of what is expected. We see so much complete verbal garbage for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it is ignorance or old bias like when we read an old school instructor teach that optics and SBRs are just not reliable enough for “serious use“. Other times we see people spout BS due to jealousy, and we get lines like, “My Highpoint is just as good, nay, better than any Glock. Glock owners are just suckers who over paid.” (Or plug in PSA and Colt in that statement) We also have people who paid way too much for a product and try hard to justify the expense. A personal example, I love my B&T APC9K. But it is a terrible value for the dollar. Their flip up sights are borderline garbage. Their mags are fragile and very expensive. Some of the accessories cost more than an entire cheap firearm. Their GHM9 and APC45 guns are plagued with issues and yet you see some B&T owners try and claim that B&T products are the very best just due to the very high price. The Benelli M4 Super 90 line of guns are seen as premium products. So we are not suppose to say anything bad about a premium product.

Holding the Benelli it feels like a proper fighting firearm. And while a gun should be comforting not necessarily comfortable. Why shouldn’t I demand both? With such a wide variety of gun options available to us, why bother to keep a gun that is not fun to shoot? I’m not going to chuck this thing into a garbage can, but I’m sure if I am going to keep it around either.


  1. That’s a very cool gadget. Will you get a chance to test it with any other weapons?

    I’m mystified why the 1014 would recoil more than the Mossberg, and to such an extent

  2. I have never fired a shotgun with a pistol grip (like your Benelli and your VEPR) that was comfortable. IMHO pretty much all shotguns should have stocks like your Mossberg. I don’t think that difference will show up in your MantisX numbers, but I have definitely felt the difference.

    And speaking of stock design, I’d surmise that the difference in muzzle rise is largely attributable to the stock design and overall geometry differences between the shotguns. It looks like the heel of the Mossberg’s stock is just a hair lower than the bore axis. It looks like the heel of the VEPR’s stock is about level with bore axis, and it looks like the heel of the Benelli’s stock is a good 1-2 inches lower than the bore axis. I’d hypothesize that that would put the VEPR at the least muzzle rise, the Mossberg in the middle, and the Benelli worst, and it looks like that’s what you wound up with experimentally. The Benelli’s stock looks like hot garbage in every respect. I’m no expert on tactical shotguns, but I can’t figure out what it would be good at.

    I also have a MantisX–it’s an older one, just for rifles and pistols. It’s super-slick.

    • Yeah, the Benelli collapsible stock is an odd design. Because the height of the cheek piece changes when you collapse it, it isn’t really useable outside the longest position.


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