Gun Review: Kel-Tec KSG

Every now and then an invention completely redefines a genre. The iPhone. The microwave oven. Snuggies. The Kel-Tec KSG. While the 14+1 round shotgun doesn’t instantly render current home defense scatterguns obsolete—wait. There’s no getting around it. It does. The KSG has at least three major advantages over any other home defense/tactical shotgun currently on sale to U.S. consumers. For one thing, the Kel-Tec KSG sends a message to all other home defense shotguns: get small or go home . . .

Thanks to its bullpup design (the action sits behind the trigger group) the KSG is one seriously short shotgun. The Floridian firearm stretches a scant 26.1 inches from stem-to-stern. For comparison, The Remington 887 Nitro Mag Tactical is a 39″ gun. O.F. Mossberg’s shortest tactical scattergun is the 590 Special Purpose (fans of The Jerk need apply). That piece tapes-in at 38 and 3/8″. The least length-challenged Benelli SuperNova measures 45″ tip to tail.

Unless we’re including stockless shotguns or the Mossberg “chainsaw”—both of which are better suited for cinematic bartenders than besieged homeowners—the Kel-Tec KSG is roughly half as long as your garden variety one-shot stopper. The obvious indeed unassailable advantage: negotiating tight spaces in your home. Which is made of tight spaces: narrow hallways, stairs, rooms filled with obstacles and doorways. Especially doorways.

With a traditional home defense shotgun, going around a corner sucks. Either you’ve got to lower the barrel (raising your response time) or risk having the bad guy grab that big tube and disarm you. Violently. Gabe Suarez recommends removing that threat, violently, by shooting the BG off the end of your gun. Good advise but good luck. You’re better off forestalling that possibility by simply running through the “funnel of death” as fast as possible. Sound like fun? I didn’t think so.

If you want to walk around your house holding a shotgun, you want the KSG. You need the KSG. You can “pie” a corner (gradually cutting off slices of the visual angle by moving across the space) with your gun ready to rock and roll. You never have to lower the barrel. There’s also a psychological advantage; you tend to move a lot faster and more nimbly shouldering a shorter shotgun. Equipped with an “eyes open” red dot scope like the Aimpoint PRO below you can clear your house while maintaining maximum situational awareness. How great is that? Um . . .

Ideally, you shouldn’t be “clearing” your house. In the event of a home invasion, you should take a defensive position with your shotgun with your loved ones behind you. If you have to retrieve said loved ones before assuming said defensive position, a handgun is a better companion. It leaves a hand free to open doors, gather kiddies, dial 911, fend off or strike a blow, or do the New York Times crossword puzzle while you wait for the police to arrive.

Then again, as my man Phil Fear says, a shotgun is the most devastating close quarters combat (CQB) weapon known to man. Even if we discount the accuracy advantages of a long gun over a handgun, the difference in stopping power is enormous. There are very few meth heads or Mexican cartel soldiers who can withstand a direct hit from a shotgun blast (assuming proper self-defense shells). Two? Gilding the lilly.

So how about fourteen rounds? Make that fifteen.

It’s hard to imagine a self-defense problem whose solution requires fifteen shotgun blasts. But one man’s excess is another man’s reassurance. Besides, the way extra ammo capacity doesn’t cost you anything (other than range ammo and cleaning). Or does it?

I’m sure no member of TTAG’s Armed Intelligentsia would ever short-stroke (i.e. jam) a pump action shotgun in the heat of battle by failing to vigorously cycle the action through its full range of motion. But people do. All the time. If you don’t place your support hand at the very end of the KSG’s forward grip (unlike the pic at the top of this post) you WILL short-stroke this shotgun. At that point it doesn’t matter how many rounds you loaded before the SHTF. You’re screwed.

Kel-Tec’s molding a plastic “stopper” to idiot-proof the gun. This idiot short-stroked the KSG even with my support hand in the proper position. When attempting to unload the KSG for transport, I somehow managed to get a shell behind the ramp that feeds the shells into the barrel(s). I sorted it out by tipping the KSG on its nose, prising the feed ramp away from the back of the gun with a knife, and shoving the shell back into the tube from whence it sprang with my index finger. Not a combat-friendly process.

Some gun gurus warn that running the KSG is a generally complicated business. I find the behind-the-trigger thumb safety completely intuitive and ergonomically sound. Loading the KSG is simple enough: turn the gun over, insert seven rounds in one tube, flick the tube selector switch and shove in seven more. If you want that 15th round, rack the slide before loading the first tube.

And here’s where things get a little complicated . . .

Let’s assume you keep one in the pipe, as God intended. When it comes time to fire, you turn off (push in) the KSG’s safety, aim and pull the trigger. You rack the slide the eighth time and pull the trigger. The gun goes click. You reach back with your strong hand or reach over with your support hand (see: demo below), flick the tube selector and . . . nothing. You need to rack again. As in rack, flick, rack, fire. If you’ve fired a “normal” pump action shotgun all your life, it’s a thousand-round reeducation process.

For some reason, everyone who “plays” with a KSG feels the need to loose all fifteen rounds as quickly as possible. When I joined the quick-as-you-can mega-munitions club, an acrid (if sweet smelling) cloud of spent gasses wafted straight into my face, causing me to tear up. “You poor baby” or “a challenge to tactical awareness and a long-term health hazard.” We report, you deride.

There’s one more compensatory—if equally fantastic—-bonus: the ability to load slugs in one of the KSG’s tubes. If you need to switch from close-in to long distance love (or lack thereof), a flick of a switch and you’re good to go. As long as you remember to rack the slide. You could load the KSG with a mix of lethal and less lethal rounds. What are you meshugga?

You’d have to be crazy to fail to see that the KSG rewrites the rule book for home defense shotguns. There’s only one real reason not to buy this shotgun: Kel-Tec’s well-earned rep for questionable reliability. OK that and price. $880 is a large chunk of change in a genre known for cheap and cheerful.

But that’s about it in the “why not” department. The KSG makes sense on so many levels it’s a “why” gun. As in “why have such a long, heavy, ammo-limited shotgun for home defense when you can have a short, lightweight mondo-ammo firearm?”


Caliber: 12 gauge
Barrel length: 18.5″
Capacity: 7+7+1
Weight empty: 6.9lbs
Weight loaded: 8.5lbs
Length: 26.1″
Height: 7″
Price: $880
Availability: Promised “the end of 2011″

RATINGS (out of five stars)

Style * * 
It’s ugly—especially for those of us raised on the mucho macho stylings of combat shotguns. But like a Citroen DS, it’s so ugly it’s beautiful.

Ergonomics (Carry) * * * * * 
A concealable, 14-round shotgun? What’s not to love?

Ergonomics (Shooting) * * * * * 
No more recoil than a standard shotgun; maybe less perceived recoil due to the fact that you naturally tend to jam it into your shoulder.

Reliability * * *
We experienced a couple of jams and the unloading kerfuffle does not inspire confidence. Nor does Kel-Tec’s rep for quality. Still, the KSG felt a lot more solid than the SHOT Show prototypes and it’s a pretty basic system.

Customizable * * * * *
The rail is your oyster. Or something like that.

Overall Rating * * * *
The advantages of a 26.1″ 15-round shotgun are as obvious as they are profound.


About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

144 Responses to Gun Review: Kel-Tec KSG

  1. avatarPete says:

    Another reason to buy one is that it will drive the anti-gun MAIG/Brady/Obamaites insane with fear and loathing. “OMG, a 14-SHOT SHORT BLACK PLASTIC ASSAULT SHOTGUN! And it doesn’t even have a detachable magazine that we can ban! We’re all gonna DIEEEEE!”

    And that’s nothing to what the NY Slimes will say in their breathless editorials.

    • avatarRagingBull36 says:

      I have been hearing for 4 years Obama is taking away our guns and gutting the military, meanwhile on the none FOX/FAUX News channels o and reality I still have my guns and pretty sure Military spending has gone up… Morons

      • avatarPatrick Hayes says:

        How do feel now ?

      • avatarJan Borko says:

        Who is MORON now bullie?????

      • avatarScreaming_Lead says:

        You are truly an idiot. Obama, like every other libtard has shown an unending and unquenchable desire to strip us of our God-given right to bear arms…to make us unarmed victims (even as criminals will remain armed). All the while knowing that the police have no duty or responsibility to protect you in your own home, as the courts have found. That responsibility is yours. The Left will never, ever stop in trying to strip us of our 2nd amendment rights.

      • avatarVhyrus says:

        Irony: posting a controversial factually true statement six months before it becomes false on one of the most popular gun reviews on the internet.

  2. “There’s only one real reason not to buy this shotgun: reliability. ”

    And that’s the deal breaker for me.

    If I need a shotgun rightthisverysecond, I’ll go with the Mossberg 500 in my bedroom closet.

    If 8 rounds of #2 don’t do it, I have slugs on the sidesaddle, and I can load a pump gun REAL fast.

    If I need to clear my house to get my loved ones to a safe room, I’ll use a pistol because of the need to open doors and/or use a flashlight.

    It’s great idea, and Ruger’s incessant copying of his products proves that George Kelgren is the most innovative designer out there, but innovation doesn’t always mean commercial success (Tucker Torpedo, anyone?)

    • avatarJames says:

      I was about to chime in with something along the lines of, “I’ll keep my Mossberg 500 Persuader with the folding stock” but you beat me to it.

      I keep #4 in mine, with a few slugs and two Dragon’s Breath on the side-saddle.

      Dragon’s Breath?

      Damn right.

      • avatarirock350 says:

        Ha Dragon’s Breath, if you kill ‘em with the slugs, and #4 you can always burn the house down around them.

        • avatarTZH says:

          if all else fails, KILL IT WITH FIRE!

          but honestly, as a safety consultant, I’d have to frown on that mondo fire hazard man

  3. avatarElliotte says:

    I would love to see what refinements could be made, maybe moving the tube selector up right in-front of the trigger guard and making it some kind of a paddle switch hanging down, smack it one way for one tube, and back for the other.

    • Which begs the question: It’s a bullpup, and bullpup triggers suck compared to “standard” layout firearms.

      What’s the trigger like in this one?

      • avatarRobert Farago says:

        Ca marche. Pas de problem. Alright mate.

      • avatarNR says:

        It’s a shotgun. When’s the last time you paid attention to the trigger pull on a shotgun? I understand your curiosity, but I doubt it matters.

        The myth is that with a shotgun you barely have to aim. The truth is that with a shotgun you barely have to worry about trigger management.

  4. avatarDirk Diggler says:

    I want one!

  5. avatarCoyote Gray says:

    I hear over and over, that Kel-Tec has a quality problem. But it seems more and more like they simply have a PR problem.

    If your buying one of their >$200 weapons, then your getting exactly what you paid for.

    But for the most part, they seem to be REALLY innovative. And when you innovate, you have to deal with the headaches of not simply pumping out a more typical design.

    • avatarDannyboy says:

      No. Albeit it is a good though to have more than 7+1 rounds, but with innovation comes IMPROVEMENT on a design. If the reliability and quality are such a problem, then it’s not much of an innovation now is it? I’d thought of buying one of these KSGs, but I think I’ll stick to a platform and company I’m familiar with. Mossberg and remington, here I come.

      • avatarEd says:

        I own one, have about 600 rounds through it. To this day, I have never “short” shucked this weapon, neither has my 14 year old son. Quality and finish are fine. I also have a UTAS-15. While I do like the ability for the magazine tubes to switch automatically (on the UTAS-15), the compactness of the KSG, the capacity, and the overall ability to never have to lower the barrel to manuever, make this shotgun an absolute no brainer for a great home defense weapon. My Mossy and my 870 are relegated to the safe, they will never compare to the KSG for home defense again.

  6. avatarRyan Finn says:

    Short stroking was a big problem for all of us who shot Oleg’s at the blogger shoot. Everyone effed it up the way you described at least once. I think the big thing with this shotgun (as it is with any new weapons system) is going to be re training everyone who is used to 500s and 870s. With that and some actual production, Kel Tec stands to make some serious money. Lord knows they would get mine.

  7. avatarJRP says:

    I can’t believe more rifles and shotguns aren’t bullpups nowadays. The only drawback is the rearranging of the trigger assembly, grip, and (for ARs) lower receiver can be a technical and ergonomic design challenge.

    From the pictures in the review it looks like the KSG has an adjustable stock, any thoughts on it and the LOP RF?

    • avatarBen Eli says:

      They have some disadvantages. I was talking to a friend about what he thought about using the TAR-21 (Tavor) by IMI and he said he wasn’t a fan, but mostly because it didn’t fit the needs of his unit. The short length didn’t make a difference to him because he didn’t train or fight in urban settings and the M16 suited him fine in the Golan Heights and Negev desert, where he did train.
      He hated reloading a bullpup design because he wanted to keep his eyes and barrel trained on what he wanted to shoot at. Instead, the bullpup design usually necessitates raising the barrel or turning the weapon.
      Another complaint was about how bullpups cannot be ambidextrous. If a left handed soldier lost his weapon or it malfunctioned, he could not pick up another soldier’s weapon so easily. Shell deflectors on AR’s make this a lot easier, and even without deflector’s, a leftie is not guranteed a face full of hot brass.
      Lastly, the complaint was price. He didn’t directly foot the bill for the weapon he was issued, but every time he bought something, the insanely high taxes in Israel (BTW this is an IDF vet I’m talking about) reminded him how much better it is to not incur extra costs on the Govt. This complaint doesn’t apply to this conversation to much, but at $900 bucks a pop for this shotgun, money is a big deal when choosing your arsenal.
      This is just the griping of one grunt.

      My view of the Kel-Tec is that it is pretty cool. I wouldn’t be what I would grab if something when bump in the night, but it is still pretty cool.

      • avatarbiscuitsmcnasty says:

        I just bought the ksg and shot 100 rounds of cheep target ammo through it. Wasnt very impressed at first because of the hard to chaimber issues untill i took the gun apart. 0 lubtication in that thing. Added some good quality gun grease to the main parts and the thing chaimbers like i was chaimbering a cloud while sitting on top of a cloud. Just like God intended. Wasnt nothing a little tlc couldnt fix. After that 0 issues. I also own a keltech prl 16 which doesnt have the best reviews. I have shot at least 800 rds of steel case 100 of old tracers and all kinds of other cheap 223 rds and have never had a malfunction. Go Keltech!

  8. avatarMr. Lion says:

    Yup, need that in my life. If I didn’t know better I’d think they specifically designed the thing to give grabbists the vapors.

  9. avatarJavier says:

    I like it. I’d like it better if it were under 5 bills and in my hands.
    But I probably wouldn’t give up my Mossy just yet.

  10. avatar"Dr."Dave says:

    Lets do a little comparison for what you can get for $900. Pretty much ANY pump action shotgun in the world. Including, if you live in the appropriate state, a pump gun with an NFA short barrel. ($400 for the gun, $200 for the tax stamp, three hundred bucks for the barrel and other goodies.)

    You’re out of your damn mind, by the way, to think that under stress you can switch magazine tubes. It just isn’t going to happen. A much easier solution for switching to slugs (Really? You’re going to shoot some one with a slug in your house? I hope your nehibors are very far away or have some thick brick walls.) is to ghost load a round from a side saddle. No fumbling, no hitting switches, etc. Most of that muscle memory is already used for loading the shotgun in the first place, at least if you are trained right. Dont even get me started on how bad of an idea it is to keep non lethal rounds in a lethal shotgun, ESPECIALLY when half of it is loaded with lethal ammo. That is a tragedy waiting to happen.

    I dont know about the other readers, but when I was in the infantry, I cleared houses. And I used a full sized M16A4 with a damn 4 power ACOG on it. And i’m still here and breathing, and other people aernt.

    If you’re unlucky enough to have to clear your own house, which is a really, really, really dumb idea with out a bunch of friends at your back, it doesn’t matter if you have Grandpas 30” Wingmaster. It matters if you are trained and proficient. Its a bad idea to think that just because a gun is short and handy you’ll be better at playing Rainbow Six in your house at 3AM with a bunch of meth heads.

    And heres the big shocker. People who are professorially trained and know how to clear buildings probably wont chose a Kel Tec. That company is extremely proficient and coming up with novel designs that don’t work, and then not honoring their warranty.

    • avatarJoe Grine says:

      I was in the infantry as well. Fortunately, I never had to clear houses in a real-world situation. We did a lot of MOUT training (the old army acronym for “Military Operations in Urban Terrain”), and remember getting the clear impression that MOUT warfare could be extremely hazardous to your health and it was to be avoided if at all possible. I remember seeing guys do “brave” stuff and thinking that they might have made different choices if they knew that the incoming was real bullets and not just MILES gear.

      • avatar"Dr."Dave says:

        You bet. That shit isn’t as fun as Call of Duty makes it seem.

        M67′s make it a lot easier, though.

    • avatarBLAMMO says:

      You’re out of your damn mind, by the way, to think that under stress you can switch magazine tubes. It just isn’t going to happen.

      It’s an option. One you’ve never had before.

      • avatarLucas D. says:

        I especially enjoy his implication that it’s easier to quickly cram 6 or 7 shells into a tube magazine under stress than it is to simply flip a switch. Gotta love those know-nothing know-it-alls.

    • avatarEd says:

      “And heres the big shocker. People who are professorially trained and know how to clear buildings probably wont chose a Kel Tec.”

      And you’d be very wrong. They’re lining up for these in LEO/SWAT circles. And having cleared facilities as well, you don’t speak for anyone but yourself. I myself wish I had this back when I was, the maneuverability you’re capable of with this weapon cannot be seconded by any traditional shotgun.

      Short shucking, chipped forends, etc., all part of the past. KSG has this weapon very well figured out and has made significant improvements that alleviate any issues with early generation units.

  11. avatarJeff O. says:

    I love how people worry about the selector switch. Yes, it is different. Yes, I’d probably screw it up under pressure. It’s a training things.

    However, for the average homeowner looking to defend their family, that’s probably not a huge issue.

    More than likely they’re not going to be swapping from buckshot to slugs. More than likely they’re not going to live anywhere they’d be involved in a gunbattle and need more than 7+1 rounds.

    If they do, better learn that switch, or move.

    If it’s easy to short stroke, that’s a deal breaker.

  12. avatarWindy says:

    I have 1000s of rounds through a Winchester model12 BlackDiamond grade Trap gun that my grandfather won at a new england regional trap shoot in the 1930s and I have never short stroked it.

    I do not think you can say ALL pump guns will short stroke jam when handled by someone who has had basic instruction in how to run a pump gun… are some pump guns more prone to the problem than others? Yes.

    If some one as experienced as you are (or you would not have this job right?) managed a train wreck jam such as you described…. well that would take this gun out of the running as a home defense gun for me until these problems are addressed.

    • avatarNR says:

      If your model 12 is like mine, the action is smooth as silk- and mine’s just an ordinary field grade. Hit the slide release (is that what it’s called on a shotgun?) and point it at the sky, and the chamber just falls open.

      I don’t think it’s necessary to expect that degree of refinement from a combat-ready shotgun. Mossberg makes a great gun, but it’s not nearly as smooth as the Winchester. Keep in mind that RF short-stroked it while unloading (if I understand him properly). When you’re in the middle of a string, the need to work the slide quickly is more likely to obviate any problems… I would think.

      • avatarWindy says:

        Yep the model 12 is slicker than deer guts on a doorknob ;)
        When I inherited it I did not even know it was a black diamond grade it was just a vent rib trap gun that had been my grand Dad’s it had a fat wad of dirty old fashioned (even in the 60s when I got it) athletic tape that had turned to concrete warped about the wrist to form a slight pistol grip effect on the straight stock. I like a straight stock on my shotguns and so took a very long time carefully removing the tape to find a bit of whittled pine in the midst of it to give body to faux pistol grip… I ordered a fine line checkering tool to help pick upon the last bits of tape glue form the fine checkering of the wrist and the Black diamond was revealed. I used some boiled linseed oil to touch the finish in that area and headed for the trap range to use up the case of 1950 vintage paper hull federal trap loads that had come with the gun these were slightly swollen and required firmness to chamber and they were the only shotgun shells I ever fired it this gun where you could not do that bolt release trick on the last shot of your station before you move to the next station I also shoot sporting clays with it though the full choke is a bit tight for the close in rabbits I find spreader loads help on them… when I forget and use the normal #8s and do connect all I get is black dust. It is not my favorite gun… that prize goes to My Mom’s field grade Winchester Model 21 straight stock splinter fore end and bored Skeet 1 and skeet 2… you just need to think I want to hit that bird and the gun seems to do the rest…. THe wonderful thing about guns you inherit is that you think about the folks they belonged to and the wonderful times you had shooting with those folk every time you take them out of the safe…. Most of my pistols and rifles were My Dad’s and his Dad’s and the shotguns were Mom’s and her Dad’s and it keeps their memory fresh.

        • avatarNR says:

          Haha! I think somebody’s in love. Don’t forget how every single part (‘cept maybe the bead) is either wood or precision-machined forged steel. :)

  13. avatarMw says:

    Wow. Looks like a really cool looking idea but i already have three kelteks in my safe that don’t work. If my life is on the line I am going with proven reliability and not the next cool design.

  14. avatarAlex says:

    “As in rack, flick, rack, fire.”

    Wouldn’t that be rack, click, flick, rack, boom? |:^}

  15. avatarJoe Wolvie says:

    I like the design.

    I like the idea they are thinking out of the box.

    I like that it has a small profile yet packs enormous capacity.

    That being said, while I’m VERY happy for the design and what it could mean in refinements in the years to come…I’m not about to beta-test the idea with my life on the line. And, to be honest, the company just doesn’t inspire confidence in me.

    No, I’ll happily wait until all the bugs/issues/malfunctions/design flaws/etc. are worked out. Then, once other companies start playing around with the idea, I’ll benefit from the price war and get a better gun, with a better record for less money.

    And that last point is what I’m really excited about.

  16. avatarScuba Steve says:

    +1 – wait until a gun with the same type of design and idea is created by a better company, then buy that.

    I have owned a Kel Tec, but I never want to own another one again. Give me my Remington 870 with ATI folding tactical stock and side saddle, and I will be just fine with that.

  17. avatarLC Judas says:

    Not to be against a new design but…why this at this stage? I love gadgets and innovations. They make firearms more utilitarian and ergonomic but…this description says the opposite.

    Magazine tube swap issue. Ease of short stroking. That weird jam that defies physical logic. While the concept has more pros than the traditional pump gun the drawbacks of the traditional pump gun have already been addressed many times in the last century.

    That and the perks are solutions searching for a problem. They’re AWESOME to be fair but flash over function says mall ninja not home defense. Work the kinks out and when I get it I will learn it for under the bed use instead of as a novelty gadget.

  18. avatarNR says:

    I’m guess that weird jam has to do with the fact that receiver is wider than on a traditional shotgun… more space for the shell to move around while the chamber is open?

    I have two questions. Does the slide on this gun require more force than most pump guns? In youtube videos, it looks like users really have to muscle it.

    Where’s the center of balance? If you had to take on hand off the gun, could you shoot it one handed more effectively than a longer gun?

    I love the idea. However awkward it is to switch tubes, it’s faster than reloading… but I think I’ll wait for Ruger to make one.

    Ok, one more question. Anyone know if Ruger pays Keltec for their designs? Honestly, I’d hate to give my money to Ruger for a design they ripped off.

  19. avatarEric says:

    Great and funny review Robert.

    I have no interest in ever owning another Kel Tec.

  20. avatarJOE MATAFOME says:

    I had a great time shooting this shotgun at the range, and I thing it’ll be real easy to use after a few hours of practice.

  21. avatarChris Dumm says:

    As much as this gun looks like a real game-changer, it has enough ‘issues’ that it doesnt strike me as a viable defensive arm. Yet. I used to be an ‘early adopter’ of new technology, but I’ve since learned to stay away from the first model year of *any* new design. Does the term ‘bleeding-edge technology’ give anyone else the willies?

  22. avatarJoe says:

    The should make a cheaper, single-tube version. It would also be lighter and you wouldn’t have to worry about any potential reliability problems or swapping tubes half-way through.

  23. avatarRon says:

    I will buy one after……
    1. Ruger releases their version .
    2. Ruger sells a few thousand copies.
    3. Ruger issues recall.
    4.Ruger gets it right.
    5. Ruger sells a few thousand more copies.
    I will then own a high quality shotgun, built like a battleship, at a resonable price, by a company that actually cares about their customers satisfaction.

  24. avatarBLAMMO says:

    … , or do the New York Times crossword puzzle while you wait for the police to arrive.

    Considering some response times, what do I do for the remaining 45 minutes?

    Tip from the Kel Tec Owner’s Group forum:
    Since the KSG will chamber and feed both 2-3/4″ and 3″ shells, load each tube first with one 3″ shell. It will “aprise” you of when the tube is empty and you need to throw the switch. No counting or guessing.

    • avatarTom says:

      Assuming the Cops find your address… this has actually happened in real life!

    • avatarVermont Guy says:

      I’m going to notice the recoil differenct in a combat situation that has already gone for 8 rounds? Yeah, right.

      That reminds me that after Gettysburgh they found a rifle with 11 charges stacked one on top of the other.

    • avatarokto says:

      You must not have attempted a NYT crossword recently.

  25. avatarGA Koenig says:

    All the media hype on the part of KelTec (how many Oleg pics do we need?), now seeding gun blogs with T&E units, after having seeded numerous big names these things for “T&D” (read: marketing). They still haven’t answered the most important question:

    When can I buy one?

  26. avatarTim says:

    I’d rather get the tax stamp and a really short MKA 1919 or Saiga 12 and strap two mags together.

  27. avatarTotenglocke says:

    Feel free to explain why I might be wrong, but wouldn’t attaching a grip to the bottom rail fix the issue of hand placement when racking the KSG? Just looking at it (before you mentioned this) it seems like a no-brainer to attach a grip.

    I’m also unsure as to why you find it so difficult to deal with one mag being empty, switching to another mag, and having to rack again. That’s how every pistol / removable magazine rifle works – when you’re empty you switch mags and then rack a round into the chamber.

    My only shotgun is an over-under and I’d definitely like to get my hands on this. The fact that I have a friend who owns his own shop so he’ll get me guns for just a bit over cost is a huge bonus too.

  28. avatarRopingdown says:

    Has it ever been the case that a homeowner needed more than six or seven shells to finish off two zombies who picked the wrong address? You’re only allowed to shoot the armed ones, remember. If there are three armed and ugly you can pump all you want. You’ll be dead anyway. And good luck with such a short gun managing both aim and full-stroking under pressure. I fervidly want one as a conversation piece for political roundtables, like my Rahm Emmanuel Tribute Steak Knife, but wouldn’t dream of clearing a house with it. Speaking of which, no civilian needs to “slice the pie.” That’s strictly for cops, and your chief is going to say “no Kel-Tec for you!”

    • avatarTJ says:

      Aiming ??? who needs to aim a scattergun . . . just point, touch, press. That is all that’s needed.

    • avatarRon says:

      Sir or Mam, I rarely critique others and I certainly do not wish to offend but I am concerned about some of the statements you have made.
      1″.You’re only allowed to shoot the armed ones” I believe in most if not all states you may legaly use deadly force if you truely believe your life or the lives of others to be in grave danger or face the possibilty of serious bodily harm. An unarmed person advancing on another he knows to be armed in a threatining manner or after being warned poses such a threat.If you allow him close enough without defending youself you will most likely become the one who is unarmed and in serious trouble. Also a female confronted by a male is usually considered to be in grave danger if he is unarmed.
      2.” If there are three armed…. You’ll be dead anyway” This depends on what they are armed with and your resolve. If you have decided you are “dead anyway ” you soon will be. If you are determined to live you have a chance. Attack the most heavily armed first, ATTACK do not wait. Punks are usually cowards at heart and watching one of theirs go down may be enough, but even if they are hardened what other choice do you,your wife and children have?
      3. “good luck….full stroking under pressure.” If you are familiar with your equipment and practice regularly you will be just as proficent with it under stress as at the range. It is the unexpected (FTF, FTE, double feeds , stove pipes, etc.) that causes the problems. A malfunction under severe stress is much different than at the range. I am not saying you will not be afraid or shakey. I am saying you will not suddenly forget how to press the trigger or rack the slide. Nor will you remember how to do it. You will simply do it.
      4. “no civilian needs to”slice the pie”. That’s strictly for cops” Many homes have bedrooms that are seperated by other rooms and hallways. If you hear an unusual noise or any noise at an unusual time,you may have to gather your loved ones. You may have to pass through rooms with blind spots, in the dark with a flashlight, unsure of what to expect. Knowing how to pie your way through will be invaluable when you have no choice. If you expect the police to do it for you, and there is a real threat,I can almost guarantee you that they will arrive just in time to draw chalk lines around your bodies and fill out reports. This is not meant to belittle the police. I believe most officers will tell you they spend most of their time investigating crimes and rarely if ever prevent them.
      I will climb off my soap box now. I apologize If I have offended you, but I truely believe these statments to be dangerous to you and others who may read them. So much so that it is now 1:33 AM

      • avatarRopingdown says:

        Ron, no offense taken. Any comment can only represent one or two perspectives. I was just bringing up Cooper’s point of view, that at some point (8 rounds?) the goal has to be becoming faster and more accurate. “Just how many bad guys do you think you can take on at once?” Forgive my skepticism, as I’ve never seen a case in the (PA) reporter in which a homeowner emptied even the full extended magazine of an 870. I look forward to reading how the KSG proves out in use, hoping it does for the buyers what they expect.

        • avatarTom says:

          “Just how many bad guys do you think you can take on at once?”

          As many as need dictates. Home invasions are up nation-wide and where they used to average 1-3 “invaders” per incident, the average is now 5-7 “invaders”.

  29. avatarDave says:

    Probably because I have insomnia, I check about twenty blogs throughout the day. Recently, I’ve added half a dozen about guns. (And I don’t even own a gun–yet!) The rest are about culture, politics, science and the arts. And I just have to say: Robert Farago’s postings in TTAG are among the wittiest and most interesting I read. If I ever get my wife to look favorably on guns it will be because of Robert Farago. (And no, I’m not a friend or family member, just a fan.) P.S. The commenters are pretty interesting and amusing too. Great site!

  30. avatarRecoveringAtheist says:

    Sturm Ruger needs to “borrow” this design.

  31. avatarStacy says:

    It should be a semi auto.If it MUST be a pump, then changing mag tubes should be automatic. I’ll pass until then. My 870 doesn’t cause mag tube confusion.

  32. avatarRon says:

    I guess there must be something I’m not understanding. I have read the paragraph “And here’s where things get a little complicated ” several times and I fail to see whats complicated or confusing.
    KSG – You rack the slide the eighth time and pull the trigger.The gun goes click. You flip the tube selector switch. At this point you rack a shell from tube #2 into the empty chamber and you are back in action.
    “Normal Shotgun” – You rack the slide the eighth (sixth, seventh, whatever) time and press the trigger. The gun goes click. You reload the empty magazine tube. At this point you rack a shell into the empty chamber and you are back in action.( In a gunfight best to chamber the first reload before continuing, but we all know that.)
    Either way you must rack the slide to chamber a round. The only difference I can see is with the KSG you don’t have to mess with any loose shells or tube feeders ( and no fumbling and dropped shells). Just flip a switch. Not more difficult, as some believe, but much easier under stress and most importantly much less time consuming when fractions of secounds count.
    Or you could just reload tube #1 on the KSG as you would a “normal shotgun” if you truely do become confused.
    As for reeducation, how much different is flipping the selector switch from pressing a magazine release or opening a revolver cylinder which most of us are familiar with? Am I not understanding something? NOW THAT PART ABOUT A SHELL BEHIND THE FEED RAMP!!!

  33. avatarDavid says:

    In an e-mail from Fiocchi I was informed that there will be a buckshot version of their Canned Heat ammo out next year. So the first or second round loaded in each mag tube will give you a visual indicator to let you know to switch to the other tube or transition to your sidearm when the mag is empty or almost empty. This seems like a perfect solution to know when to switch tubes or transition.

  34. avatarDyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    Another solution in search of a problem.

    When was the last time a homeowner needed to light off more than six rounds out of any scattergun in a home defense situation?

    Yea, that’s what I thought.

    • avatarTotenglocke says:

      Mrs. Pelosi agrees with you that no one should ever need more than six shots.

    • avatarJeff says:

      Well, EIGHT people were arrested after they invaded the home of Byrd and Melanie Billings. Of course the scum killed the 2 who, in addition to owning local businesses, adopted 14 special needs kids at a time.

      Here (, you’ve got 4 armed gunmen attempting to break into a home. Better have stellar accuracy if all you’ve got is 6 shots.

      • avatarRopingdown says:

        The four punks shown fled the second the homeowner pulled and fired a pistol. I’m looking forward to the video, 2.0, to see how fast they run when a KSG comes out at their next target. Going to be an unofficial world record if they’ve still got legs to run with? As for Pelosi (comment above), she’s right that you only need six rounds….provided you have a bodyguard with a sub gun and can fly over the rough neighborhoods in a Gulfstream jet.

  35. avatarTom says:

    The capability of one tube filled with “bean bag” rounds, backed up with 00 or 000 buck in the other is just about ideal for home defense to my way of thinking. That same versitilty would be handy in the woods as well; using shotshells for small game in one tube (Kel-Tec has said they’re developing interchangable choke tubes for the KSG) with buckshot/slugs in the other for unexpected encounters with feral hogs or dogs while out and about.

    Of course “short shucking” is possible with any pump action, easily avoided with a bit of practice and I’ve never had it happen to me or even seen it happen “in the heat of the moment”; I see so little concern there that it’s a non-issue to me.

    The street price should be a couple hundred less than MSRP and that seems entirely reasonable to me. I’ve heard nothing but glowing reports about Kel-Tec’s customer service and they’re willingness to go the extra mile to satisfy the most persnickety customers so even should there be some issues, I’m confident Kel-Tec will make it right. Yep, I like it and will be getting one when they are released.

  36. avatarRex Ryan says:

    What are some places to discuss QRP with other people? I went to and they have a forum there and has a lot of good information there but I’m looking for more then one or two places. Any recommendations? Thanks :)

  37. avatarAbilene Drifter says:

    I would like to know when they will be available in CA.

  38. avatarRon says:

    There seems to be a lot of debate about how many rounds are needed in a defensive situation.
    Personally I have never know of any situation where having too many rounds was a bad thing or too few was not.

  39. avatarOl' Skool says:

    Ron, I agree wholeheartedly. Among my stable of various ARs/M1As/AR10/handguns, etc….all of which sit in the locked gun safe…stands a lone Mossberg. It is posted in the bedroom, ghost ring sights, TAC light, 8+1/6 in the side saddle/4 more in the pistol grip stock…flanked by a SA EMP. As soon as I can get my hands on one…they will be happily accompanied by a Kel-Tec KSG.

    • avatarRon says:

      Ol’ Skool, Sounds like you’ve done your homework. With all that firepower I hope you have family members who are trained and willing to help you (and themselves) out if, God forbid, the need ever arises.

      As for me , I will wait until I at least get a look at the Ruger RSG.

  40. avatarOl' Skool says:

    My (soon to be 16 year old) daughter is on her schools FFA shooting team (shotgun/rifle/bow). She has 4 rifles and 2 shotguns herself (outshoots most of the boys). The first line of defense…driveway sensors and 2 large indoor dogs rottie/german shep.

  41. avatarNickmo says:

    Love the Porsche Polo. Oh, and great review. I look forward to tryin’ this out and hopefully making a purchase in the not too distant future.

  42. avatarclay says:

    I wanted to order one but they are not legal in Connecticut.
    Can they be made legal???

    • avatarRJTravel says:

      I wonder if a leftie would suffer from right side ejection? I might be interested next time I backpack Alaskan grizzley country, but for home defense it is entirely too heavy. I am accustomed to a 3 lb Snake Charmer that is a mere 4 inches more o/a length – much lighter and faster – and I am confident a .410 with five 000 buck will do what is needed.

    • avatarjoecr says:

      Move to a state where it is legal or tell your local government to change the local laws. It is just over the length requirements where I live so I would like to at least try one out at a local shooting range.

    • avatarMattG says:

      What about it isn’t legal in Connecticut? Both the barrel length (18.5) and overall length (26.1) are OK and I didn’t see anything else in the Connecticut statutes that would be a problem either.

      • avatarWhite Doberman says:

        I tend to agree with MattG.

      • avatarClay says:

        My mistake.
        I was reading on a site which i frequent “not for sale in NY,Cal,Ma,Ct.
        but i just put my name on a waiting list for febuary

      • avatarCanineCasanova says:

        There are numerous articles stating the KSG is/will be legal in 50 states. (That’s all of them) Also, I read a post where a person wrote Keltec and the reply atsted that they will be legal in California so pretty much legal everywhere. ;)

  43. avatarcharles says:

    its basically a remake of the neostead shotgun you can add two different types of ammo and tubes are on the bottom instead of the top and you have rails for your sights instead of the brefcase handle rail. in my opinion there both sweet guns being a shotgun lover and all.

    • avatarDarren says:

      Except the Neostead pumps opposite the standard pump-action, the KSG and pretty much every other pump-action shotgun are backward-forward to work the action, the Neostead is forward-back.

  44. avatarmark says:

    In the first video he says he uses his support (left) hand to operate the tube selector…In the second video he actually uses his strong (right) hand. I guess what I’m saying is if you recommend something to people you might want to actually do it that way yourself!?

    • avatarJames says:

      Wow! You watched the video and read the article…that’s your only comment??? Go take your meds!

      • avatarKSG pending says:

        What laser is suggested, looking for any suggestions or folks with KSG’s who’ve experienced trials and tribulations or found laser combo’s for the top rail that work for them. Also looking to use a magpul angled foregrip, so the laser would need to be top mounted- I saw a post similar to this with no replies to it, consider a bump for visibility.

  45. I want one drop me an e mail give me a price thanks a millon

  46. avatargreg gowen says:

    you forgot the most important rating of all-availability, guns like this, and the NAA Ranger, and so many Marlin lever models, etc, wonderful in theory but, they are products American companies could make and sell but choose to loan to writers instead.

  47. avatarh gee says:

    Looking to get a KSG- what suggested combos are there for preferably green laser set-up, in combination with using mag-pul’s AFG or AFG2 angled foregrip, still figuring which one to choose. Any thoughts or experience?

  48. avatarHBP says:

    Are all the production pieces going to have the 3″ chambers and the threaded muzzle?
    And the $64,000 question – does anyone actually have these in stock, for sale?

    • avatarTyler says:

      Not a chance. I looked all over the country. Anyone that gets it in, sells it immediately. Gun stores are selling at 2-3 times MSRP just because they can.

  49. avatarCapt Joe says:

    These were sopposed to be avl fall 2011. It’s now almost Feb 2012 and I still can’t find one.

  50. avatarFreneticskeptic says:

    Everyone seems to think switching the lever to the second tube is going to be slower and more difficult than reloading a mossberg. I gotta say the first time I practice will probaly not be my eighth shot in a fire fight. Regardless I’m pretty confident that the first time I try to switch to the second tube will be nearly twice as fast as reloading my 590. Sure kel tec is a relatively young company and I would never trade my glock for one of their pistols or opt for one of their 5.56 weapons over a more tested maker but I already sold my 590 in preparation for the ksg release and I have no reservations about it. A pump action shotgun is a blunt instrument. The massive diameter and non-uniform characteristics of various 12ga rounds can be problematic for box magazines and auto-loaders but the pump action is tried and true. There’s user error and there’s personal preference but brand loyalty aside I can see no reason the ksg should function any different or perform less reliably than a 590 or 870 and with practice you’ll be more effective given the undeniable advantages of greater magazine capacity and enhanced maneuverability. As for those saying a pistol is best for bump in the night confrontations, I do go to my pistol first but only because it’s my only firearm equipped with night sights and I’ve never qualified with less than 100% accuracy firing twice as fast as anyone else on the line. I fire 500 rounds a week through a 22 to stay sharp and have set up moving ranges on my property. If you’re not similarly confident in your pistol proficiency or dont have night sights use a shotgun.

    • avatarDarren says:

      Might be slower than loading one round into a 590, but surely not slower than loading an additional seven rounds, which is really the difference. Flip the switch on the KSG and you get 7 more rounds. Maybe a 3-gun champ could load 7 rounds faster and get them in the air faster, but I tend to doubt it. The reach for the first four rounds out of the holder (assuming you have a tactical belt holder) and the return of the hand to the loading gate with shells ready to push is probably as far as the reach back to the selector switch. Throw the switch, support hand back on the forend and rack the gun and you’re ready to go. The 590 shooter MIGHT have all four rounds in by that time, but still isn’t fully ready to go — and you have three additional rounds already in the mag.

  51. avatarRoadwarrior says:

    I really like the looks of this weapon. I’m in the market for a shotgun and was looking at maybe getting a SAIGA with the conversion done already. However, after seeing this new KEL-TEC I’m not so sure. SAIGA is a very large weapon like an AK-47 and I’m in the market for a high capacity home defense shotgun. I really like the looks of that GSG though. Thanks for your review. Very helpful.

    • avatarDarren says:

      There is a review on this site of the Saiga that you might want to check out.

      In short, it’s far less than glowing.

  52. avatarC Young says:

    The lower rail of the forend where a foregrip is recommended is PLASTIC unlike the upper rail which is metal. Within the first 10 shots using a sig sauer stoplight foregrip, the lower rail shattered, fragmented, and broke off. Very very disappointed. Otherwise, the gun shoots great.

  53. avatarBob in Minnesota says:

    Im on a SWAT team and placed an order 9 months ago when these were first announced. I can not find them anywhere!!!!! Gander Mountain told me their national distributor is back ordered over 1400 of them! Great looking gun..would love to have one….but they estimate 1-2 years to delivery! NOT GOOD!

  54. avatarDave J says:

    in the video you switch the tube selector switch then your other hand goes back up to the rear of the rifle again, is there a reason why? Just curious…..

  55. avatarDaevid Vincent says:

    “Style – It’s ugly”?! Are you kidding me? That sci-fi style is one of the main draws for me. Mr. Farago, welcome to the year 2012. Your idea of “beauty” is so antiquated, I bet you find flint-locks sexy too. I think this KSG is super-tech looking and I absolutely think it is sexier than ANY other shotgun I’ve EVER seen. This is also the same reason I got my Walther PPS and P22 — two other very attractive weapons with a futuristic/contemporary/modern styling to them.

  56. avatarKSG in waiting says:

    What laser combo’s have folks tried with success? Looking to prep now for when it arrives-

  57. avatarKirk Fleming says:

    I find it very attractive and stylish, actually. Not that such things are important to me, of course. :)

    I’d contacted Kel-Tec shortly after the ShotShow and asked if they would consider looking into designing the production gun so as to fire the short 1 3/4″ shells, and they promised to send my note to engineering. So, I was curious how things turned out. I was told last month (Feb 2012) it will indeed cycle the short shells (which I believe are actually 1 1/2″ OAL–at least in the case of the Aguilas). To me this would make the gun even more attractive for home defense–the short shells still provide far more punch than any ‘normal’ SD handgun, but make shooting a tiny 12ga just that much more tolerable, and impressive down at the range. Capacity would be 22 rds, I believe.

    Although I’ve not had the pleasure of shooting the KSG in any configuration, I’ve seen it most often with the vertical foregrip–which looks painful to me on any gun. I much prefer to see the KSG in the config shown here–standard no vertical grip.

    I’m happy to wait a couple of years to see if these actually get wrung out and if the price drops at all, but I have to think that if Kel-Tec can actually get this thing produced successfully, it’s going to retain that premium for quite some time.

    Semi-auto with automatic tube advance would be slick. Tubes on top, barrel on bottom would be slick.

  58. avatarjersey jules says:

    This gun is a steaming pile of you know what..It jams constantly and any foregrips attatched to the cheap rail will crack the rail. Junk junk junk…

  59. avatarChad Haire says:

    It looks nice but paying $880 for a Kel-Tech is like paying $50,000 for a FIAT. And in an economy where Remington cant sell their 870 for $350? La la land again!

  60. avatarDan says:

    “Dr. Dave”

    how many Kel-Tecs have you owned?

    I have two that I love, and have never had any issues with. I can’t speak to their warranty support because I ‘ve never needed it!

    I was down at Frontsight putting 1000+ rounds of .308 through my RFB in the desert, while every one else in my heat had AR-15′s were jamming, malfunctioning and had to clean daily. I didn’t have to touch my RFB untill I got back from Vegas.

    nice to have a weapon that is designed with brilliance and ease of use, just because a weapon worked will in WWII or any other situation doesn’t mean it is still the best out there…..

    great weapons, I would love to own one of everything they’ve made but they are hard to get ahold of.

  61. Well i like it and i have one on order …I will comment on it when i get it and tell everyone what i think about ???? But u gotta say it dose look Bad Ass….Lol

  62. avatarTZH says:

    I have a Benelli M3T. that thing that can switch from semi-auto to pump. for about a decade people have been yammering about how tricky it may be to use its switch in the heat of things.

    we’ll get over the KSG thing. the good news is competitors are trying different approaches. we all win in the end

    I also own a KelTec. had minor issues in the beginning. no more problems and I love the little gun that lives in my pocket!

  63. avatarAK47guy says:

    This shotgun is a piece of junk, save yourself the trouble and get a saiga 12 with a drum. KelTec has never made reliable guns, a mossberg500 is only $300 and reliable as hell…

  64. avatarBJK308 says:

    Keltec Ksg – yes you want one….
    Ps90 yep
    Fnfive-seven mhmmm
    Glock 10mm mhmmmmmm m
    Noveske 5.56 yrs yes please – even a decked out Ruger sks 5.56′
    What keltec did wrong – the cheapo1 agreed. I’ll bring my mag research des eagle .44
    Before carryimg a diamondback. But the RFB and KSG annnnnnd PLR-16 are all innovative – fact.
    Funny keltec – a 200 person company- makes weapons on the side guys…. They produce and engineer parts for NASA and lawrence livermore etc. this bad ass was an afterthought. I have shot plenty. KSG kicks butt…. Sorry bout it

  65. avatarbiglou64 says:

    Finally got my KSG after about and year and a half wait. Well worth the wait. Have put 150 rounds through it with no problems what so ever. It’s set up with a red dot sight. I’ve installed the flash suppressor/compensator. Made a big difference in recoil. Have put both slugs and buckshot through it. The slugs do kick some, but the impact is awesome. Installed a vertical grip on the slide. Watch what you install there. Some people are putting huge combination, grip, flashlight, lasers on there and breaking the slide. Just a standard vertical grip does nicely.
    Certainly don’t regret the purchase.

  66. avatarPFCKIM says:

    lol…price set at 880…. if only that were still true today

  67. avatarFrank says:

    You have to hand the innovation to Kel-Tec. If they could up the quality of their production and finishing they would be a monster force in the firearms market. For an example, just look at the quality of Rugers LCP that is Kel-Tecs P-3AT with better production and finishing. Kel-Tec innovated that little pistol a long time ahead of when Ruger started making it and had a winner on thier hands. Of course Kel-Tec has mostly been known for inexpensive pistols and with a lower price does come a reduction in quality typically, but with their innovation I think upping their quality and price would be aceptable to most gun buyers.

  68. avatarFERLING says:

    UTAS UTS-15 12 Ga Pump Action Tactical Shotgun
    Solves all your problems you have with a KelTec!
    Check out video on above link.
    The most expensive firearm purchase I have ever made!
    The first firearm I would grab if things went to Hell!
    Until they come out with a semi-auto, this is my first choice in home protection shotgun!

  69. avatarbhart50 says:

    You need to bump up the reliability stars. I have one of these and EVERY jam or failure to load is HUMAN ERROR. You’re short shanking it.

  70. Pingback: Kel-Tec KSG Home Defense / Tactical Shotgun Review | GunzMart Blog

  71. avatarIlovethisgun says:

    I’ve had my KSG for about a month and so far it has performed flawlessly! I’ve pumped at least 500 rounds of various brands and type through the gun and the only hang up occurred when I failed to fully cycle the slide. I have a forward vertical grip attached which helps tremendously in ensuring I don’t short shuck the gun. I also added a red-dot sight which is outstanding for quickly drawing a bead on target. I can’t wait to try pumping 24+1 Aguila mini slugs through my new favorite gun! Nothing like hitting bullseyes with slugs! In short, I love this gun!

  72. avatarStorm says:

    Was that first video for real….

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