Range Report: Kel-Tec KSG Bullpup Shotgun

With new manufacturing technology and materials speeding weapons evolution, it’s no surprise that Kel-Tec took another look at the tactical shotgun. Kel-Tec’s KSG Bullpup shotgun stormed the SHOT show like the Red Army into Berlin, championing its 14-round capacity, diminutive configuration and radical ergonomics. Sounds great on paper, but what’s it like in real life? Our favorite Russian émigré Oleg Volk, brought one to the Lucky Gunner Blogger shoot over Memorial Day weekend . . .

Kel-Tec has a bit of a rep for cheap-feeling weapons whose fit and finish makes a pre-C11 GM product seem like a Swiss watch. Volk’s pre-production KSG was a welcome departure from the stereotype. The KSG wasn’t overly “plasticky.” The polymer bits seem solid enough for government work. The bullpup shotgun was devoid of telltale rattles or loose parts; the controls and action feel as if they’re capable of long term service.

This BUIS and Aimpoint M4 red dot-topped model was ergonomically sound—to say the least. As you’d expect, the KSG’s light weight makes it easy to point, even with all 14 shells in situ. The Kel-Tec was noticeably more maneuverable and lightweight than a comparable Mossberg 500. With a perfect spot for a rock solid cheek weld, the KSG provides an unparalleled level of ergonomic comfort.

You load the Kel-Tec KSG as you would any other shotgun—provided you remember to you load the ammo behind the trigger guard. After filling one tube with seven rounds of your ammo of choice, you flip the switch at the rear (bottom) of the gun and load seven more shells into the next tube. Speaking of ammo; when Kel Tec says only use 2 ¾” shells they really mean it.

Michael of EvylRobot had some serious trouble trying to run the gun with Sellier and Bellot 2 ¾” buckshot and slugs. Double feeds and an action that wouldn’t cycle without serious persuasion caused much consternation. Turns out that S&B’s shot shells were slightly larger than advertised. Oleg diagnosed the problem and produced some Winchester ammo for TTAG’s test.

With birdshot, muzzle rise and felt recoil were close to nil. With heavier loads, the KSG maintains its shootability, although your shoulder knows exactly what you’re doing.  Accuracy was a little hard to establish; we were shooting at some pretty beat-up targets. I can’t comment on that beyond saying I hit what I was aiming at.

If you’re looking for a plug-and-play shotgun that functions like your daddy’s Wingmaster; the KSG ain’t it. I engaged the KSG’s safety accidentally after a couple of rounds, terminating slide function. The safety’s located above the trigger guard: a prime piece of real estate when it came to my hand slipping upwards. As RF reported from the gun’s debut, the tube change switch is also in an awkward position. I wasn’t confident that I could switch to the second tube without taking my eyes off target and confirming swithc activation.

Bottom line: don’t expect to be able to pull the Kel-Tec KSG straight out of the box and blast zombies with impunity. You’re going to learn how to run the gun before you’re fit to take on the undead. Should a well-trained infantryman or a police officer need over a dozen 12-gauge rounds for a day at the office; the Kel-Tec KSG may well be the optimal choice. Stay tuned for a full review.