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Ah well. It looks like too few law enforcement agencies are TTAG readers. If they were, they might have read Foghorn’s review of the Saiga-12 shotgun. Nick’s advice: avoid ’em like the plague. But what the hell, they’re not spending their own money, they’re spending yours and mine. In any case, according to an English language story at the Russki news site, the SHOT Show was very good to Izhmash, the maker of the semi-auto scatterguns. . .

Izhmash, the manufacturer of the legendary Kalashnikov AK-47, will supply Saiga-12 semi-automatic smoothbore shotguns to a number of police forces in the U.S., Izhmash reported on its web site on Tuesday.

The contracts were signed at the Shot Show exhibition in Las Vegas on January 17-20. “The first Saiga-12 deliveries to U.S. law enforcement were already made in January 2012,” Izhmash General Director Maxim Kuzyuk said.

Nick’s in the middle of a move from Virginia to the Texas hill country, so he probably hasn’t seen this yet. In his place, then, I’ll pass along what I feel confident would be his advice to all of the cops who will be training and relying on these things in the near future – good luck with that.

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  1. It is my understanding that Izhmash has fixed several of the “issues” Nick had with his example of the Saiga. Perhaps a follow-up piece could be done with a more recent example?

    • I remember hearing some reports of needing to fiddle wiith the gas system to get the gun to work properly with some light loads like Birdshot. That is about it. Explains why a “modified” Saiga will cost you twice as much as the OOTB gun.

  2. I don’t understand why anyone would want an unreliable at best Saiga12 when they can get an M1024, a USAS12 or an AA12. All of which will be more reliable than the Saiga out of the box.

    I guess its that whole “Ak’s are bad ass” syndrome.

    • As I understand it, the USAS-12 is still considered a destructive device by the ATF. Do you have recent information to the contrary?

        • Well you did say “anyone”. There are plenty of reasons why anyone can’t or won’t get a USAS-12 and I haven’t seen the AA12 for sale to civilians yet, have you?

          • “There are plenty of reasons why anyone can’t or won’t get a USAS-12 and I haven’t seen the AA12 for sale to civilians yet, have you?”

            Cost, I think, would be the #1 reason – even setting aside the #2 reason (the BATFE) and the #3 reason (civilian availability).

  3. Nick tried to use an off the shelf $500 S-12 to reproduce what people who had $3400 highly customized S-12s did. And he didn’t even do the most basic of modifications to make the gun work or do the break-in work required. And because he failed to do the minimal modifications that anyone who knows anything about the gun could have told him, he also ended up violating 922r when he loaded an extended magazine in a foreign weapon.

    Essentially he demonstrated how showing up for the Indy 500 in your Ford Focus often leads to heartbreak.

    • You shouldn’t have to dump money into a SAIGA-12 to make it function, enhance performance sure.

      6/8 Saiga-12s I’ve owned either didn’t work period or required serious reworking to make them work. Crooked gas ports or not enough gas ports, gas block misaligned. The guns simply didn’t work out of the box.

      One of the guns I had that did work and was my primary competition required constant maintenance; polishing the bolt where it peened over, frequent replacing of recoil springs. I retired that gun at 9,000 rounds fired.

      When Saigas were $350 or less, I was willing to put up with this nonsense. Now that stock guns sell for $650-$700, they’re really not worth it. I also question investing $2,000 in gunsmithing into a gun that won’t last past 10,000 rounds.

      I still have one Saiga-12 that works, but I don’t shoot it a lot, saving it for competitions where using one actually makes a difference. In the mean time I’m waiting for the next mag-fed 12 gauge to come out that is hopefully more durable.

    • Read the review…..
      but I’ll leave this nice quote
      “Luckily all we needed to do was replace the major components of the gas system and the guns started running just fine. As an added bonus, since the new parts were Made in the USA the gun was now 922r compliant and legal to use with the larger capacity magazines.”

    • Well Said! I bought a Saigia-12 a few years back, and waited for Tony Rumore of Tromix to do the Mods. Let’s just say, there are no questions about reliability! It shots anything I throw into it! Very Happy with my weapon!

  4. Why would anybody buy a weapon they would have to make “basic modifications” to, in order for it to work?? Off the shelf for $500, but, $3400 to fine tune?? Gee, buy junk, make a Cadillac. I have three price ranges: cheap, inexpensive, and that which I can not afford. It may be inexpensive, but it should work out of the box.

  5. Nothing like a batch of sales to two-man PD’s in the Ozarks to boost the Saiga image. Selling like hot-cakes! Blini, maybe. And I’m buying a pellet umbrella. If they’re missing at an 87% rate with a 9 mm (or .9, whatever), the coming hail of 00 buck from these Saigas is going to get very irritating for the perp’s neighbors.

  6. After reading the review, I now understand why there are so many used Saiga shotguns in the gun stores.

  7. Of the half-dozen Saiga-12s I’ve seen or shot at various ranges or quarries, I’ve never talked to an owner who *didn’t* report serious reliability issues.

    And blaming Leghorn (or any shooter) for not doing enough Bubba gunsmithinto BEFORE firing a new weapon? Denied! OOTB problems are the factory’s fault, not the shooter’s.

  8. The wheel is such a basic concept. It simply amazes me that some folks constantly see a need to just mess with it. If Deputy Dan and his cohorts need anything more than an 870 Express, then they have already lost.
    The Saiga is a novelty while the tried and true pump guns of old are serious weapons. No more Call of Duty for these guys, it is eating their brains.

  9. I understand the “it should work out of the box” complaint, and I agree. Mine worked great right out of the box.

    At the same time, some of the “you didn’t convert it!” complaints are spot on. The “sporting configuration” required for US import is NOT how it was designed, so complaining about things like the crappy plastic stock, some of the ergonomics, the grip, or the trigger grit have EVERYTHING to do with the fact that you’re using a stock/grip/trigger that was added on to keep the US happy.

    With mine converted ($300 in parts, something like an hour with screwdriver/pliers/allen wrenches/dremel), the ergonomics aren’t bad (it’s no AR, but not bad), it’s comfortable to shoot, it’s got low recoil, and the only jams I’ve had were the time I shot walmart bulk pack birdshot and forgot to change the gas block setting to birdshot. My fault.

    It is a turnoff that the QC is hit or miss. I’m lucky I got a perfect one….but I still rely on it as my primary HD weapon (backed up by an AR).

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