I’m the shotgun nerd around these parts, and that lead me to the SDS Imports and Tokarev USA booth at SHOT Show’s Range Day 2022. There, I handled their TX3 12HD, aka the Retro Riot Gun. Anytime you slap a bayonet on a shotgun, I’m going to pay attention.
I shot the stainless and standard model and walked away impressed. I exchanged cards with the owner and reached out when I got home. They happily sent along a standard version of the TX3 12HD in its Retro Riot Gun configuration.
Who Is Tokarev USA?
Tokarev USA imports firearms from a company called Tokarev in southwestern Turkey. According to their webpage, the new Tokarev is 1100 miles south of the famed Tula Tokarev factory. They seem to be a subsidiary of SDS imports. Sadly, they don’t seem to be importing TT-33s or 7.62x25mm ammunition.
The TX3 12HD AKA the Retro Riot Gun
Retro riot gun refers to the throwback design. The trench gun we all know and love, the Winchester 1897, famously mounted a bayonet, a heat shield, and wood furniture. That’s the inspiration Tokarev USA drew on for the TX3 12HD shotgun.
These pump-action shotguns come with walnut furniture that looks surprisingly nice. A heat shield is bolted across the barrel, and a bayonet was an option at Range Day. However, I’m not sure if the bayonets used at range day have made it to the states just yet.
It’s not all Retro. The TX3 12HD features a Picatinny rail to mount an optic, a modern rear ghost ring peep sight, and a high visibility green fiber optic front sight. Unlike the M1897, we have a set of dual-action bars and a modern action.
The TX3 12HD has a 3-inch chamber and a five-round magazine tube. Unlike a lot of imported shotguns, Tokarex USA has magazines extensions available, and Tokarev USA sent me one with the gun. The stock mag cap has a sling point, and so does the extension. The gun comes plugged to two rounds for all your bird hunting needs.
Worth a Dang
Budget grade imported Turkish guns are tricky. They can be very nice or giant pieces of crap. At first glance, the gun looks good. The black finish is even and applied well over the entire firearm. The Turkish walnut looks really good, but you can tell it’s a budget-grade shotgun by the lack of any checkering.
The barrel is 18.5 inches long and cut for Benelli/Beretta chokes and comes with full, modified, improved cylinder tubes and a wrench. It seemingly has some very nice features for a shotgun with an MSRP of $279.
Loading Up The TX3 12HD
After a quick install of the +1 tube, I hit the range with a bag full of a range of shell types from various companies. I had ammo as nice as Fioochi and stuff as cheap as Rio. Buckshot, birdshot, and slugs were all on the menu. I’m probably a little meaner to these cheaper shotguns than most name-brand weapons.
Let’s talk reliability since that’s often the issue with poorly made firearms. I’m happy to say I only had one malfunction through several hundred rounds of ammo put through the TX3 12HD. One of those cheap rounds of Rio buckshot failed to move completely out of the tube onto the shell lifter. I’ve seen this issue with this ammo before in my Mossberg 590, so it wasn’t a total surprise. I fired a few dozen of that exact load and only had that malfunction occur once.
Everything else sailed through the gun. This includes some very cheap Greek buckshot, super cheap Sellier and Bellot buck, Federal FliteControl, Federal No.4, Federal Reduced Recoil Slugs, Sterling Buckshot and a ton of low brass Walmart special birdshot. Nothing else gave me malfunctions.
What about mini shells? Well, I only had a handful left over. I loaded the five rounds of Federal Mini birdshot, and every round cycled without a problem. I even ran the action slowly…and it cycled. It was only five rounds but they seemed to work okay.
Running the Gun
I ran the gun til we were both tired. My first impressions were good. The action is crazy smooth, like super-smooth and crisp. The pump slop is very minimal, and the huge pump is quite comfy. You can grip that wood pretty easily, even without checkering. The controls are fairly simple, with a big cross-bolt safety and a forward-mounted pump release.
The TX3 12HD stock’s length of pull is a little over 13 inches. That’s a nice touch in a world where LOPs tend to be crazy long for some ungodly reason. The recoil pad does its job, and the cast and drop are just right to get behind the sights, at least for me.
Recoil is as you’d expect a pump-action shotgun to be. It’s not painful or rough, but not unusually soft, either. Your ammunition will determine the level of felt recoil, and with full-powered buckshot, it’s still plenty comfy with the right recoil mitigation technique.
The ghost ring sights add a degree of precision to the platform. Beads are great, but with slugs or high-end buckshot, those sights make it easier to dial in those precise shots. The bright green high-vis front sight is uber-easy to dial in and turn slug shots into headshots quickly and efficiently.
I fired the Georgia POST Shotgun qual and passed it with flying colors. The qual involves par times, cover, slugs, multiple shots, and more. It’s a good test, albeit one that requires very little ammo, so I ran it a few times and never came too close to dropping a round or missing the par time.
Good Clean Fun
The Tokarev USA TX3 12HD is a rock-solid little shotgun at a killer price. I should note that the optics rail came loose after all my shooting. I removed the screw and noticed it lacked thread locker. A quick application of a little Loctite remedied that quickly
Guns like the Mossberg Maverick 88 might be at the same price point, but won’t have the same features as the TX2 12HD. These Retro Riot Guns are an affordable kind of cool and a ton of fun. It’s my choice for the sleeper hit of SHOT Show 2022. Now I just need a bayonet for it.
Specifications: Tokarev USA TX3 12HD Retro Riot Gun
Barrel Length: 18.5 inches
Caliber: 12 gauge 3 inch chamber
Ratings (Our of Five Stars)
Reliability: * * * *
One malfunction and a loose, un-threadlocked optic mount were the only issues that popped up. It proved to be surprisingly reliable for such an affordable gun.
Accuracy: * * * * *
The ghost ring sights and high-vis sights made headshots a breeze, even when shooting under the clock. It’s a simple setup that works.
Ergonomics: * * * ½
A short LOP, a smooth action, a big safety, and an ambi action make for a very competent platform ergonomically. It could use a little checkering, but overall it’s not too bad, but not surprisingly impressive either.
Overall: * * * *
The TX3 12HD is a neat little shotgun. It looks great, performs well, and is very affordable. It’s not revolutionary or innovative, but it’s functional, ergonomic, and easy to shoot.