Finally! I waited two whole years from SHOT Show 2011 to SHOT 2013 to fire a Kel-Tec KSG bullpup shotgun. I really wanted to mount it on my shoulder to check out its maneuverability for room clearing. I wanted to test its ergonomics and controls. Mostly, I wanted to stack up with the boys and run a shoot house while wielding this particular shorty shotty. Well, at least I did get to fire the doggone thing.
Cocoa, Florida’s Kel-Tec CNC debuted the KSG (Kel-Tec Shotgun) to the press two years ago. Since then, the KSG’s have been a little hard to come by–much like the KT RFB, which the KSG mimics in shape and materials.
Out at the range, I got a short ground school from the Kel-Tec rep who said it was soooo cold he might have loaded his right thumb instead of a 2 3/4 shell about four reporters ago. Hmmm, they are ’bout the same diameter…
With the dual bomb bays full of ordinance, I lined up for “Rolling Thunder.” I had snapped the 12 ga. rounds into both 7 round tubular magazines. Since I am used to stoking a Remington 870 from in front of my dominant hand, I looked twice at the KSG before racking in the first buckshot into its 18.5″ cylinder bore barrel.
If there is anything I have learned from decades of police shotgun work, it is to show the action who is boss and manipulate the slide with authority. Clack, Clack. Yeah, we were ready to go.
I took the initial trigger pull with a slow steady squeeze to see where it broke. The click was obscured by the boom! KSG’s trigger feel was just a little soft, but it was certainly combat effective. Clack, Clack, Boom! Repeat a dozen more times. With a full 14+1 in the gun, a reload takes place at third of the time you’d need for the average, issued Remington in a Crown Vic. Full capacity is 12+1 rounds with 3″ shells.
I got to shoot a bit more before I relinquished the KSG to the next guy–that may have been Aaron. As other shooters stepped up, I only saw one writer have a failure to feed. He definitely short-stroked the shotgun, so that was on him.
I have heard that with two tubes, the user could switch back and forth between less lethal and lethal rounds. Uh, no. It would be too dangerous to have them both in the gun. We don’t even carry lethal 12 ga. rounds in our cars if we also have a less lethal shotgun. I can see loading one side buck and one side slug, though.
After handling the KSG, I’ll say it feels like an HK MP-5 in length and pointability. It tucks in close. With the loading bay behind your dominant hand, and having two separate tubes, the KSG is not quite as intuitive to load as when shucking shells into an 870, Mossberg 500, or Winchester 1200. But, you won’t have to reload the KSG until you have sent, say, nearly a pound of lead slugs down range. One would be hard pressed to think of a police shoot-out where a cop had to fully re-up his shotgun twice more.
Boom, Boom, Boom. I liked shooting it. A 26.1″ overall length and 6.9 lb. weight make it easy to handle. I think the three position magazine selector switch (left, single load, right) would be fine to use with muscle memory reps. The KSG’s top Picatinny rail allows for irons or optics. The gun ejects spent hulls downward and has a crossbolt safety, so it appeals to left-handlers, too.
I was pleased with the Kel-Tec KSG in operation. But with prices running at $1800.00+ on GunBroker.com, I feel lucky to have touched the Golden Fleece. Not really. Kel-Tec’s website MSRP’s this shotgun at $1197.00. You can find a UTAS UTS-15 bullpup shotgun for that actual amount–and I thought that one shot well, too.. If supply ever comes anywhere near demand and the prices fall, the KSG lead-thrower may be worth the money.