Historically the fighting shotgun has more often than not been merely a converted sporting gun modified slightly for duty use. There have been exceptions, of course, the SPAS-12 and the USAS-12 come immediately to mind as does the Striker from South Africa. Despite mechanical and capacity advantages over converted fowling pieces, none of the above ever caught on with the American law enforcement community.
Once known only for inexpensive, polymer framed pistols, Kel-Tec has given their image a facelift during the last few years. The .308 Winchester RFB turned the gun world on its head by offering a .308 semi-automatic rifle that was as compact as an M4. This year they turned the shotgun world on its head by introducing the KSG (Kel-Tec ShotGun).
Capitalizing on his bull-pup success, George Kelgren designed a bull-pup shotgun unlike any that had been introduced previously. The traditional bull-pup template has been merely to remove the traditional stock and replace it with a stubby shoulder pad. The action of the rifle or shotgun is generally unchanged. Consider all the bull-pup guns you’ve seen before, most all of them placed the gun’s ejection port right next to the shooters face. Old bull-pup designs were essentially right-hand only designs. A lefty would have gas and brass ejecting into their face.
There are so many unique features on the KSG that it’s difficult to decide where to begin. Let’s start with the ambidextrous design. The KSG is ambidextrous from a feeding and ejecting standpoint. Twelve gauge shotgun shells are fed up into the twin magazine tubes from underneath and ejected from the same point. The slide release lever is located at the forward edge of the triggerguard and can be operated with either hand. I suppose the only control on the gun that is not ambi is the crossbolt safety button. When the button protrudes from the left side the gun is on “safe”, from the right it is on “fire”.
The barrel and twin magazines tubes form a stacked triangle, with the barrel on top. Each tube holds seven 2 and ¾ inch shotshells and you can top off the chamber to bring your total load to 15. At the base of the gun in the ejection/loading port there is a magazine tube selector lever. Switching it to the left or right changes the tube from which the gun is fed. The only drawback to this entire design is that the tubes do not automatically switch from one to another when they’ve run dry. However, with practice you can rapidly switch tubes by using your support hand.
Regarding specifics, the KSG employs an 18 inch cylinder bore barrel and the overall length is 26.1 inches. Empty weight is right around 6.9 pounds. A 2 and ¾ inch chamber is used. The action is a pump/slide action mechanism. Polymer, aluminum and steel are all found in the construction of the KSG and the stock color is black.
*Public Safety Announcement
I’ve already heard suggestions about loading magazine tube ‘A’ with buckshot and ‘B’ with less-than-lethal shotshells. The fact that someone actually brought that up is pretty scary. Under the intense physical and psychological stress of personal combat I can easily see the end user getting mixed up and switching from one tube to another in error.
For whatever reason, American shooters love to salt and pepper their shotgun loads. When I was a young cop I knew of police officers that deliberately mixed slugs and buckshot in the magazine tubes of their guns. Granted, these are both lethal but expecting to remember which round is coming next during a life and death fight is extremely optimistic to say the least.
Rails, rails, rails.
Yes, the KSG has rails, top and bottom. The gun arrives sans any sights and this really isn’t all that big of a deal. Half of the folks will but iron sights on them and the other half will install a red dot optic of some sort. Of course you can co-witness both an optic and back-up iron sights.