Reviewed: Savage Renegauge Security Shotguns
The latest update to Savage's Renegauge line is built with security and self-defense in mind.
Kudos to Savage for hitting the product development and marketing hard after regaining their independence as a brand and formally splitting from Vista Outdoor in 2019. It was without question the best possible situation for Savage to grow and thrive.
Since the formal split from Vista Outdoor, Savage has introduced many new rifles, shotguns and even the new Stance handguns, sparking a lot of customer interest in the “New Savage.” One of the biggest introductions was Savage jumping into the semi-auto shotgun market with the completely new Renegauge series of gas-valve shotguns. The Renegauge models are delivering very strong, rugged and competitive models for field, competition and security-focused shooters.
The Renegauge was designed from the ground up by Savage and is produced proudly in the USA. We reviewed the new semi-automatic Savage Reneguage Security model, which offers a wide amount of utility for competition and defensive shooters while still keeping options wide open for broader applications and the occasional hunter. Savage just introduced both Defense and Competition models based on the “competition-ready” design all their shotguns are based on.
Where many shotgun brands start with a sporting shotgun as a base and modify it, sometimes awkwardly, for tactical and competition needs, Savage had the luxury of designing with a blank piece of paper. Notably, Savage took a different perspective than many of their competitors and developed a design with all the control and ergonomics customers would expect in a competition-focused shotgun, but included all those features across all their field and, later, competition and defense models. Savage felt that every shooter would want easier and faster reloading, faster shot times, less recoil, lower maintenance intervals, full adjustability, more reliability, oversized and easier-to-manipulate controls, and a reliable gas system that would support nearly any 2¾- to 3-inch shotshell without adjustment. Generally, these are all extras from other manufacturers, but Savage has built them in as base features that all work together instead of being one-off upgrades and potential sources of problems.
With the Reneguage Security model, Savage has obviously taken a hard look at the strongest leaders of defensive shotguns like the Benelli M4, FN SPS, Beretta 1301 Tactical, and Mossberg 940 and focused their Renegauge features to be competitive to those highly regarded defensive shotguns. The Renegauge matches these premier shotguns feature to feature, such as a 6+1 capacity, Tactical LPA Ghost ring sight set, light 7.2-pound weight, Beretta/Benelli style screw-out chokes, and an insanely fast cycle rate comparable or potentially better than the above noted competitors.
Where the Savage Security model really stands apart are some of the ergonomic and fast-handling competition upgrades. Not all Renegauge competitors offer oversized controls, heavily flared loading ports or a fully adjustable stock for length of pull, comb height, and drop and cast (with all the adjustment parts included). Savage also includes three interchangeable flush-mount Beretta/Benelli-style choke tubes in IC, modified and full constrictions; they are tungsten- and steel-shot approved, while other competitors either do not include extra chokes or only offer a fixed-choke system. For a Renegauge Security customer, having the optional utility to swap chokes for use for hunting or other uses is a significant advantage.
The Renegauge features a Benelli CRL — Cartridge Release Lever — located on the forward right sight of the trigger guard. The CRL allows more cartridge feeding control for competition and defensive shotgunners
The Dual Regulating Inline Valve (DRIV) gas system on all Renegauge shotgun is unique and may prove to be one of the most reliable gas shotgun designs on the market. The DRIV system is a self-regulating valve and requires no adjustments or valve swaps between the lightest to heaviest rounds. It dumps all the excess gas out the front dual ports. The DRIV system uses tuned ports and springs on the valves to pass cycling gas or port the excess gas all automatically. The result is less unneeded gas blowback into the action, a cleaner and longer-running overall action, more reliability, softer recoil and the ability to support pretty much any 2¾- to 3-inch shell you can stuff into the loading port.
Another notable benefit of the Savage DRIV gas system dumping all the unneeded gas is that it can run far longer than other gas-operated shotguns without being cleaned, which is important for a defense shotgun. Thankfully, when it is time to field strip and clean the Renegauge, the process is almost completely toolless and fast, with the barrel/magazine assembly and chrome-plated bolt disassembling quickly. For the Security model, the barrel clamp and magazine tube do need to be removed as an added step over their hunting models.
Savage has clearly also put a lot of design thought into ergonomics and utility. The Renegauge Security uses highly durable LPA-style Ghost right sights that are widely regarded as industry standards for defensive shotguns. Another really nice touch is the MLOK slots milled into the heavy-duty billet barrel band — the slots are so well integrated that they almost go unnoticed.
This is a defensive and competition gun which even casual sporting clays shooters would be happy with. A significant amount of time and effort is spent by competitive shotgunners to get the stock adjusted for a perfect fit and natural pointing alignment. This fitting process delivers a shotgun which comes into alignment faster and more naturally and typically increases hits.
The Renegauge provides expansive fitting customization adjustments for shooters to tune length of pull, comb height, and drop and cast. Just as Savage has done with offering competition features to hunters, they are offering those same appreciated features in the Security model — after all, why not have your defensive shotgun shoulder and point as well and as quickly as your high-dollar sporting clays gun?
Savage has proven the reliability of the Renegauge since its introduction in 2020. The reliability has been a well-noted advantage for even the most hard-core shotgunners who are deeply rooted with other brands. During testing, I experienced zero functional issues with hundreds of shells with just about everything I could get my hands on for 2¾- to 3-inch shells. It shot but did not cycle the uber-light less-lethal rubber buckshot or Russian poly buckshot rounds, but really no semi-auto does. The Renegauge is extremely fast cycling, and with the added internal stock recoil buffer, the gun jumps around less and stays on target for impressively fast follow-up shots.
Savage has also done an outstanding job with all the controls. The safety, CRL, bolt handle and safety are all oversized, but not ridiculously huge. Each control is well-placed and naturally ergonomic. Though it has been a while since I have worked a CRL-based action, I did find the CRL, charging handle and bolt release easy to find during cartridge swap drills.
Typically, I do have issues with natural sight alignment with tactical ghost ring sight sets on shotguns. The raised tactical sights usually mean attaching some type of aftermarket cheek riser to increase comb height or heavy practice adjusting an otherwise natural shoulder mount of the shotgun. It was really easy to just snap out one riser and change to the medium height and find my alignment to be perfect. I did also swap out to a medium choke for a lot of clays testing to assure the reliability, and, notably, with a simple shell limiter, this would be a fantastic deer slug or upland hunting gun for the shooter who just wanted one gun.
The only design challenge I experienced was the absence of a forward sling mount. Likely an MLOK swivel could be easily added; however, I did find it a bit off that a defensive shotgun did not include a front sling mount. With most shotguns, a simple sling loop could be attached just forward of the handguard on the mag tube; however, since the dual exhaust ports are there, I am not sure about the heat cooking a sling loop or blocking those ports.
Savage has brought all the expected features to bear in the Renegauge, with many other extras like swappable chokes, fit adjustment, CRL functioning, and the highly reliable DRIV gas valve system. Savage has also done something others really have not, which is deliver a cool, edgy overall design that makes it very clear this is not your Grandpa’s shotgun. The Renegauge Security looks extremely sharp in the gray and black color theme and looks the part for a defensive shotgun — for the customer, it is a design which is cool and different and should stand out on the rack. Savage has really engineered this to be a versatile shotgun.