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Mike Rogers from Saiga modifier Lone Star Arms has his first USA KS-12 shotgun. Here are his first impressions . . .

Well the UPS guy showed up today with a box, and said “New toy?” “Yep,” I replied. I told him what it was, and we talked guns for a bit before he had to rush off to his next stop.

So, upon getting the box inside, I opened it up and out slid a red hard case with the Kalashnikov USA logo emblazoned on the front. “Nice touch,” I thought. I opened up the case, pulled out the shotgun, and turned it over in my hands.

Everything about it was instantly familiar. Aside from the fire control group being situated where it should be and Kalashnikov USA furniture (which looks pretty good), this is about as close to a dead-on clone of a Saiga 12 IZ-109 as I’ve ever seen.

From the rear trunnion to the end of the threaded barrel, everything about this gun looks feels and operates like a IZ-109, except – its a little crisper, a little smoother, and somehow just feels a little bit cleaner than a typical IZ-109.

Grabbing the charging handle and cycling the action, this impression carries forward. The bolt carrier moves back and forth nicely, and the bolt rotates cleanly in and out of battery.

Sweet! I check to make sure the chamber is clear, and slowly pull the trigger to dry fire. I don’t even have to look inside – Tapco G2 trigger. Stock trigger pull is about what I’d expect from a stock Saiga fire control group.

Once I pulled off the dust cover field stripped the gun and looked at the internals, my initial impression is confirmed.

Bolt, bolt carrier are clones of the stock Saiga parts. Trigger and disconnector appear to be stock Tapco G2 hardware, the left side of the mainspring has walked off the trigger platform just a little to the right, and the hammer appears to be either a copy of the Russian original, or an actual Russian part.

The bolt, while shaped like the original Russian part clearly isn’t.

There are no origin markings or partial serial numbers on the bolt or carrier, which otherwise look like slightly cleaned up versions of the Russian originals. The bolt looks like it might be cast from Russian original, which is fine – as long as the steel is of good quality, and has been hardened and tempered properly.

Looking straight down into the receiver, it is immediately apparent that K-USA has completely ditched the Saiga manual bolt hold open, opting instead for a notched safety. Rear of the receiver is nice and square with a standard AK rear trunnion. The composite stock is mounted with two countersunk torx screws.

Rear notch sight, gas tube, gas block, and front sight bead are exactly the same arrangement as with the IZ-109, but once again, it is striking how good the external fit and finish are on the American gun.

Externally the gas block is extremely clean with none of the characteristic orange peel surface typical of the Russian gas blocks.The K-USA gas block may also have been cast, but the finish and tooling leave the impression that it could just as well been machined from solid billet.

Retaining pins and detente pin are exactly the same as the Russian gun, as are the two setting gas plug, detente pin, and gas piston. Have not yet removed the gas block. Three ports were clearly visible, and I’m betting there is a 4th (.072″).

The barrel is threaded ( M22X.75 RH) with a nice steel thread protector, is honed to an extremely fine finish, and black chrome lined (very nice). Barrel length for my gun measured 18 3/8″ from the end of the barrel to the closed bolt face.

That’s it for tonight. I’ll take the gun out this weekend along with a couple of fresh Vepr 12 builds just off the bench. Watch this space!

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  1. Anybody else hear about the stabbing deaths on the Portland light rail? Would have been a good place for a kalashnikov.

  2. I don’t know about anyone else, but this is kinda exciting. Glad to hear that the gun appears to be assembled properly, with quality parts and excellent finish. Any new projects and there’s bound to be growing pains, but out of the gate, seems promising. Especially because outside of a few gourmet shops, none of the American AK platform guns (particularly rifles) are any good. I’m looking forward to the eventual release of the Alfa. And yes, I’m aware that there’s a possibility that the folks at K-US knew specifically was receiving this gun.

  3. Call me old fashioned, but what the hell is this for? A AK based shotgun seems silly to kill ducks or chase clays with. And the Walking Dead is still fiction…

      • Fudds are going to Fudd. It’s a simple fact of life. Should I tell him that I’ve taken deer, turkeys, ducks and doves with a Vepr 12?

    • I paid $805 retail, delivered to my from (and no, K-USA did not know who was purchasing the gun). Expect to pay whatever the street price is plus FFL transfer fee.

      The guns are at retailers now, and seem to be selling quickly.

      Took the KS-12 out to the range today to test with a full range of ammo. Stay tuned for video.


  4. Hi Mike, thanks for the review. Previously I had been wanting the Keltec KSG (and still do), but now that this bad boy is out, KS-12 might be my next purchase. I see you got the fixed stock option. On these KS-12’s are the stocks (either the fixed or collapsible) removable? I wonder if a bumpfire stock designed for Saiga would work on these?

    • Hi Nick,

      My pleasure. Hope it was helpful.

      The gun has a standard AK rear trunnion. The stock is held in place with a couple of torx screws – so not a big deal to remove and replace with whatever is lawful in your state of residence.

  5. Do these have the automatic bolt hold open when the mag goes empty, like the VEPR? I saw that it has a notched safety, but was not sure if the bolt will stay open when the last round has been fired.

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