Review text and images by Mark "Blondie" Ormerod.
The M1100 was in essence an impulse purchase. For some time I've been considering a shotgun - the Capuchin has been a possible item on my shopping list - for CQB. The Maruzen M1100 defender persuaded me for three reasons - its looks, the cheap magazines and its cheap price point.
So how does it hold up ?
Well first the good. It's a heavy and realistic looking piece. It even has its own unique serial number stamped on the side. Whilst purists may dislike the lack of ejecting shells I have neither the time nor patience in an intense CQB fight to bother with them.
The M1100 comes with 2 adapters allowing you to set the fire either as single shot or triple. As I'm intending 100% to use it as a CQB piece I haven't investigated this option yet. It operates as a semi auto piece firing 3 rounds in a single burst. The cycle rate is very impressive - its possible to empty all six shots in around a second. Especially in an enclosed building the M1100 makes an impressive noise as it fires and the side cocking pin slams back. The first time I used it in the bunker complex a series of loud bangs resulted in some very satisfying 'What the Hell was that ?' calls from the opposition as it went off. Make no mistake, this is a gun which places a big sappy grin on your face whenever you use it.
The hop is set for .25g BB's - with these you get good grouping at up to 25 metres in warm weather with effective range dropping to 20 as the temperature drops. Power is reported at .8joules and we'll shortly be chrono'ing my piece.
The small capacity of the magazines means that you're essentially using a complete one to clear a room - something the M1100 is very effective at. Swapping the mags is simple and takes seconds and with their cheap price I always carry a pouch full of them.
Of equal importance is a spare gas tank - although I average 5 mags from a single tank which is normally more than enough for a game - your spare is easily and quickly swapped. Its also nice to see that if your gas tank goes your gun is still functional.
The second thing you should do after you get your M1100 (the first clearly being to unwrap and hold the thing in your hands!) is to throw the plastic loading tool out of the window. Without it, loading the mags is simple and can be easily performed in the field - with it it's a different story and a whole world of pain!
I've have also skirmished efffectively in the field with my M1100 - and whilst it does suffer from a lack of range when compared to its primary QCB function it is lethal for snap shooting and removing the ubiquitous 'player in the bush'.
It is however a CQB weapon above all else and as such performs spectacularly well, especially for room clearance or taking on multiple opponents at close range.
So the down side ?
As mentioned earlier, the mags are comparitively small, especially given the rate of fire, necessitating frequent swaps. However, you're generally swapping after clearing a room and the process is quick enough so that if any one tries to rush you, chances are you'll be ready for them at very close range when they pile into your room.
The second point is that we bought a pair of M1100's. Whilst mine has performed admirably without any issues whatsoever its twin failed completely on the second outing - with the internals shattering and dropping out of the gun completely. We've yet to hear of any other M1100 performing in a similar way - but ever since I've erred on the cautious side and limited my M1100 to HFC134 just to be safe.
The M1100 will not suit everyone's tastes. Purists will prefer the shell ejecting version with a greater shot capacity. Equally valid are those who prefer the 10 shot 'pump' action TM system. Due to necessity to use HFC 134a the range is also strictly limited - meaning that it really is suited to a pure CQB role.