Tokarev USA TX3 12HD Retro Riot Gun Shotgun
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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.

Tokarev USA TX3 12HD Retro Riot Gun Shotgun
Heat shields are always cool. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

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.

Tokarev USA TX3 12HD Retro Riot Gun Shotgun
The wood furniture is rather nice for an inexpensive gun. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

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.

Tokarev USA TX3 12HD Retro Riot Gun Shotgun
An optics rail and ghost ring sight do a great job of modernizing the gun. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

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.

Tokarev USA TX3 12HD Retro Riot Gun Shotgun
The fiber optic front sight makes it easy and quick to engage. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

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.

Tokarev USA TX3 12HD Retro Riot Gun Shotgun
Port loads weren’t too bad. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

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.

Tokarev USA TX3 12HD Retro Riot Gun Shotgun
Shucking away with the TX3 12HD was a fun romp. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

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.

Tokarev USA TX3 12HD Retro Riot Gun Shotgun
Ghost rings rock on shotguns. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

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.

Tokarev USA TX3 12HD Retro Riot Gun Shotgun
Recoil was recoil. The TX3 12HD is neither better or worse than most pump shotguns. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

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
Capacity: 5+1
Caliber: 12 gauge 3 inch chamber
MSRP: $279

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.


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  1. TFBTV did a 500 round endurance test on a Turkish shotgun and it failed. No thanks.

    My maverick 88 was cheaper and has been reliable. 7+1 of reliable goodness.

      • avatar Geoff "A day without an obsessed, obviously brain-damaged and mentally-ill demented troll (who deserves to live in New Jersey) PR

        The only thing stupider than generalizing, is an obsessed, obviously brain-damaged and mentally-ill demented troll (who deserves to live in New Jersey) PR… 🙂

      • Lol, so funny to see the Maverick boys get so jealous. How come the 88 does not have a choked barrel? That is a great feature and how much does Mossberg want to a decent sight? Looks like this gun is true work horse with the right equipment. Looking to get one.

    • Check out TFB torture test of the Maverick88. It did astonishingly great. They were 189 at my LGS on Black Friday. 20″ too.

        • Yup. Have a number of them scattered about the property. That is what they mean by “scattergun” , ain’t it?

      • I like mt Mav88. Completely reliable, cheap enough to add, subtract, and swap out accessories.

        Made in the US except for the bolt (mexico)

    • Watched that, (500 round torture test) think it fell apart after a few hundred rounds. It did fall apart. The Maverick 88 blew thru all 500 rounds. It shed all the accessories, it knows what is needed and what’s not. Buy what you like, I like my Maverick 88 12 ga.

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    • people keep saying this stupid shit like it matters. The test was trash done by a known shotgun elitist, and the “test” was worthless once the whole stupid “hey this gun aint running right, lets not see whats wrong, lets keep forcing shells through it!” this is not even mentioning that the gun reviewed here isnt one of said guns. so you have brainless idiots saying “but muh turkey gun bad cuz utube guy sayz so!” i dont write off chevy because i had a chrysler that sucked. theres a well known youtube goof who claims his larue upper was the “least reliable ar ever!”.. point is, if you want to frame something as junk. you can.

  2. Under the articles “Running the Gun’ section, the second pic in that section, is that rust alongside the rear sight on the shotgun body above the chamber?

      • avatar Geoff "A day without an obsessed, obviously brain-damaged and mentally-ill demented troll (who deserves to live in New Jersey) PR

        You have to find good used Ithacas, first…

      • I thought about that too, but after enlarging the pic and studying it some I don’t see any oil sheen but do see what looks like metal corrosion and pitting.

  3. Due diligence when looking to purchase cheap/low priced Turkish guns. Run into some that were real crap and some that were well made for the price. As good or better than some US, European, or Brazilian guns in the same price range.
    I doubt I will buy another shot gun any time soon, so while nice to see, hear about, etc. not something I need. Already have a Mossberg 500 I’ve had for decades, and an old Winchester model 12 of WWI vintage. complete with US War Dept. markings and bayonet. Don’t know if it ever saw use in the trenches, but records show it was purchased by the government in 1916 and sold as surplus in 1934.From there I have no info until I purchased it at a used gun shop in Wis. in 1988.

  4. If you are a pump person it’s definitely something to consider. Most low budget Made in Turkey Shotguns are not so good to go out of the box. Generally they are a DIY Gunsmith way to save money and in the end have a good dependable shotgun. The writer noted the sight rail that came loose during testing. The rail was also loose on my Citadel Warthog semi as was the front sight. Such things as the sharp edges along the shell opening needed rounding along with other tricks to improve loading, etc. I paid $299.00 with no T and low shipping which I was happy with considering the time of purchase.
    Today GunPrime has the pistol grip Warthog semi model I purchased for $219.00. Out of the box some are a bit better than others but that should not matter to a DIYer who sees potential and a good deal. When ordering any firearm online set it up with the seller and your FFL for return privileges prior to signing your 4473.

  5. I bought a Turkish benelli M4 clone and had had it fail miserably within 50 rnds. One of the two op rods was machined incorrectly, and was striking the edge of the bolt instead of the face of it. Knocked a burr off and seized the gun completely. Last one I’ll ever buy.

    Fortunately my LGS made good on the deal when a real M4 came through the door. Much happier.

  6. I have been seriously wanting a shotgun with a rear sight and a blade front sight. This particular shotgun piqued my interest. Some commenters are worried about the long-term reliability of Turkish shotguns–what is the least expensive reliable shotgun with sights?

    Bonus: what is the least expensive reliable shotgun with sights and a tube magazine capacity greater than 5?

    • Benelli Nova or SuperNova Tactical. Ghost ring sights. 5+1 but extensions are not expensive. Supernova is also tapped for a sight rail.

    • Consider the “ace in the hole” by Williams. Went on mossberg 500 easy, although the mounting screws were too short.

  7. Nice concise review of an 870 clone. Wood furniture does look nice on it.

    I’m guessing it’s just me but I think that every review of an imported Turkish shotgun should be required to list the Turkish manufacturer of said shotgun. It’s printed on the receiver or barrel. Examples:
    Winchester SXP – Istanbul Silah
    Mossberg Reserve series – Kahn Arms
    Tokarev USA TX3 12HD – ???

    Reviews seem to be 50/50 on Turkish import shotguns. Including this little bit of info could go a long ways in trying to figure out which Turkish manufacturers are producing quality and which ones are producing crap (along with what importers are going for quality vs. going for a quick buck).

      • Thank you for hitting me with the obvious. I deserve it. Reading comprehension is something I need to work on when reading articles on a cellular phone. I’ll go sit in the corner now.

        • Take my chair, I’m allowed back out into general populace now but it’s prob temporary.

  8. Bought an 88 with an 18 1/2 barrel and plastic stock about 9 years ago from Dick’s back when Dick’s weren’t such Dick’s. Never a problem. Over the years I’ve put a wood butt stock and corn cob forend from Numrichs back when they had them, I think it was 50 bucks for the set. Of course that meant a steel slide tube and nut and heat shield and 1907 sling and I wound up spending more on all the changes than I did for the original shotgun. Sure looks good though and it’s gone boom every time I’ve wanted it to.

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  10. @Travis Pike

    Thanks for the review! I actually picked up a TX3 12HD last Friday. After seeing some SHOT 2022 videos of this shotgun it hard to pass one up as a inexpensive beat around shotgun. If it proves to be durable and reliable after a few hundred round I may but on home defense duty.

    BTW, would you be able to tell how to get the +1 extension tube? My dealer did not have one and I can not seem to find them on sale anywhere online. I emailed both SDS and Tokarov USA and have heard back.


  11. I saw the headline “Tokarev” and jumped right into it… Alas there is nothing “tokarev” about this B-grade shotgun besides the pirated name. I’m full-up on extended-mag shotguns anyway, one especially accurate with slugs, and another with tritium sights. This gun is no great shakes! Check out mossberg 500 series if you want proven quality for not a lot of money..
    My next shottie will be a 20ga semi, should I ever need one…

  12. @Travis Pike

    Great review! Now I want one but I’m with Chris G I want that +1 extension tube and my dealer doesn’t have them; any idea how a ‘non-dealer’ can get one?

  13. No thank you to Turkey. The dictator there is hardly on our side, is barely holding onto being a NATO member.

    My Mossberg 590A1 is all I need anyway.

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