First Look: Kel-Tec KSG

It was going to be a typical Thursday evening at the range. But my old friend and former TTAG contributor Capt. John Raguso was able to procure a testing and evaluation sample of the much-anticipated Kel-Tec KSG. That would be the gunmaker’s plastic fantastic bullpup shotgun—the prototypical star of last year’s SHOT Show. Note: Capt. John, now scribing for Gun World magazine, is not a sales rep for Kel Tec. He just sounds that way. The net effect is the same (so to speak) . . .

I only confided in one person that the special guest and firearm would be making an appearance. It was kept off the interwebs, but the text message world went ablaze. Fanboys are attracted to the KSG like Star Wars fans to George Lucas trailer of Episode 7 at the El Capitan. What was supposed to be me, the Captain and one other dude turned into a full-on can’t-keep-their-hands-off demo.

My impressions?  Once I learned the battery of arms, the KSG is super sweet. The large guy in the audience said he couldn’t believe the lack of movement on my small frame when I pressed play. “Brett that thing did not knock you over and I was expecting it to hit you like Roy Jones Jr.” Because of the inherent balance of the bullpup design, the recoil was no worse than my AK without a padded stock. I didn’t get enough shots, but the trigger seemed up to the job, considering the application.

I shot 12 gauge 2 3/4″ Remington slugs. Hakuna mutata. My friend Glenn loaded the Kel-Tec KSG with some 3″ weird non-SAMMI-spec euro loads. They clogged the beast after he short-stroked the gun. Glenn with your Eurotrash! That stopped the fun for the evening.

Capt. John (in full salesman mode) assured the group of gun guys that pre-production models are more sensitive to clogging than the eventual production models will be. A leap of faith? Probably. It wouldn’t be the first time an innovative firearm created pre-emptive loyalty.

When it works, the Kel-Tec KSG is one Badass Mutha Riot Pump! I can think of nothing more devastating for home defense. Or evil looking. New York will probably add another law on the books to make sure the KSG is banned before release. It’s that good—at least in theory.


  1. avatar TTACer says:

    Is this going to take as long to get to market as the RFB?

    1. avatar matt says:

      RFB owner here, and I bet it will take even longer before it is available for a semi-reasonable price on gunbroker, its half the price of the RFB opening a larger market, was featured in Call Of Duty, and is being marketed to LEOs who will probably get their own special allocation of KSGs not available to the public.

      1. avatar TTACer says:

        Review plz.

    2. avatar HSR47 says:

      It really boils down to KelTec’s thought process behind what they bring to SHOT Show — Everyone else brings their full-production guns to SHOT and tells us what they have decided we want; Kel Tec brings their early prototypes to SHOT and asks us how they can improve them.

      This means that instead of the gun being production ready at SHOT, it might be a full year before it’s actually ready to be produced in quantity.

      Those of us who are impatient might not like the wait, but I’d rather wait a bit longer for a better gun.

      1. avatar Robert Farago says:

        That’s one theory.

        1. avatar sdog says:

          +1 I watched nutnfancy’s review of this with the kel tec employee, this this has problems (or at least the one they were testing), it does look cool however.

  2. avatar GS650G says:

    They need to get various state legislatures to ban it first before it can be produced.
    It does seem complicated to operate compared to all other shotguns but like everything else training equalizes confusion right out.

  3. avatar Brett Solomon says:

    You definitely will need to practice the battery of arms, but I really see this thing being a winner. I hate to use the obligatory and cliche ‘Fun to Shoot,’ but it is! I even caught myself doing a poor man’s FPSRussia impression of an impression “Now that is what the **** I am talking about!”

  4. avatar Todd says:

    “Battery” of arms? Really??

    1. avatar TTACer says:

      Is there another term?

      1. avatar Todd says:

        Manual of arms.

        1. avatar Brett Solomon says:

          I thought it was a pretty common colloquialism. Hope I don’t start a highbrow magazine vs. clip debate.

  5. avatar Wingman31K says:

    Looking forward to a full hands-on review Brett when you do get your hands on a production version. I’ve been eyeing this thing since first hearing about it a year ago, but concerns – similar to what everyone typically has with a new prototype – Concerns about reliability, durability, and ability to handle most any kind of ammo, conditions, and handling, keeps me from being among the 1st to buy. The more thorough your review, the better – and thank you in advance!

  6. avatar fanfare ends says:


    Less talking, more booming…

  7. avatar Tim says:

    I have fired this shotgun repeatedly since March ’11. It ate 300+ rounds as fast as I could load/shoot them in the first sitting, with no malfunctions that weren’t ammo related. I shoot left handed, and this weapon worked flawlessly for me. I shot it in a 3-gun match in April ’11, and the only hiccup was a short-stroke pump which was my fault. If you train with a weapon, you will be proficient with that weapon…but even without a great deal of practice I could work this weapon accurately and competitively the first time I touched it. My law enforcement agency has been given one for T&E, and if the boss would allow me to carry one on the clock I’d buy it in a New York minute. GREAT tactical possibilities for it, and I hope to make it into a house gun my small-statured wife can operate easily.

  8. avatar Il Mostro says:

    Slapdick demonstrator.

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