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When Kel Tec came out with their KSG shotgun in 2011 they made a whopping 282 of the guns. As they started getting some media attention and buyers lined up, the production line of the company known primarily for their pistols, carbines, and SU-16 series rifles did as well. By 2012 production had jumped to over 7000 KSG's made. The figures for these guns are not available for 2013 yet, but since they are starting to become obtainable on the market finally, we can only assume that the numbers made have jumped again. Now that you can actually get a KSG, we thought some comparison is in order.

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The KSGs specs, bonuses and problems

When the gun first came out it had some issues in early models. This is largely because the KSG, with its bullpup configuration, totally different loading process and operational method that most pump-shotgun users are used to, and odd ergonomics, requires a good bit of time spent in personal one-on-one training to work out. This is multiplied for those with extensive experience with regular Remington 870s and Mossberg 500s. This can lead to short-shucking the slide, which is going to give you a jam every time.

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On the bright side, once the user becomes one with the gun, they usually fall in love with them. With the choke adapter you can use it for hunting, but it really shines in personal defense situations where its 7+7+1 onboard payload in two different magazine tubes give you lots of firepower. Its super compact 26.1-inch overall length (just one-tenth of an inch over the ATF's minimum legal length for a shotgun not to be considers a Class III weapon), means that you can store it in places that you ordinarily couldn't get a shotgun into. This also means that it can be ported around walls and structure much better than a 40-inch long traditional pump gun.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfsJPEUdERM

The NutNFancy project (you either like em or hate em) gave the gun a 9 out of possible 10 score in this 45-minute long review

This of course has been contrasted by those who have had issues with the gun to include jams (see short shucking), quality control, and other facets, but complaints have been dying down in recent months.


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But hey, they are just cool all day. Red Jacket is making a quick detachable suppressor for the KSG that they exhibited at SHOT 2014 that adds only 9″ to the length of the gun, weighs about 26 ounces, and matches the KSG's frontal profile.(Photo courtesy of The Firearm Blog )

The UTAS-15 compared

Turkish company UTAS has been importing their UTS-15 (after the number of shots it holds) shotgun for the past little while. It's almost a dead-ringer for the KSG and is a bull pup configured shotgun. It is a tad longer (at 28.3 inches) and a good bit wider than the KSG. It accepts Beretta style barrel threading for choke tubes, making it capable of being a hunter like the US-made gun if needed.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xaxGhKLMqY

Hickok concluded that "I have to choose the KSG over the UTAS-15. Both functioned fine in our pre-video shooting and in the videos; however, the KSG just seems better designed and better built."

Standard pump guns compared

The problem when comparing the KSG to a traditional pump-action shotgun, such as a Winchester 1300, Remy 870, Mossberg 500/590, et al, is that the KSG wins hands down in the specs department. It's shorter by far unless you get an AOW-registered shotgun and has 15-rounds in its tube-- something that can't be matched by anything but an extended magazine (read: even longer) traditional pump.

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Where the Mossys, Remy's and Winnies pick up points though is in in availability and in cost (you can get a good one for $300ish while the KSG is still hovering close to $1K.) Odds are every single gun store, pawn shop and big box in your town has a number of these classic old school pumps on the rack-- but you have to hold your breath to get a KSG.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7c8MbrknII

The Late Boy Scout takes a KSG head to head with a Rem 870 tactical. To find out the end result, watch the video. Hint: it goes rather well.

In the end, you have to give it up for the KSG in its concept, give it a hat tip over the UTAS in the fact that it's made in Florida rather than in Turkey, and admit that spec-wise it beats almost anything out there in terms of size and mag capacity.
If only they were more available and more affordable.

Those KSG owners out there, please feel free to comment below about your experiences.
 

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I have fondled & fired both the UTS-15 and the KSG...that's why I own a KSG. The auto-switching feed feature is the only practical advantage of the UTS. They both point well. The UTS is only moderately bigger on paper, but in the hand it feels huge and clunky while the KSG is intuitive and much more easily wielded or stashed away. Also, for some reason 7 of the tall-brass 2 3/4 cases won't fit into the UTS mag tubes (I've both read this and experienced it), but they do just fine in the KSG. Finally, the most disturbing thing...if you hold the UTS at the wrong angle and pause while cycling the actionun, unfired shells fall out of the tube magazine.
 

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I've had my KSG now for about a year. I have never had any problems, but to date have only fired about 100 rounds through it. I have installed a recoil pad and muzzle break on mine with the muzzle break just making the KSG look more finished, like it should have come from the manufacturer that way. The only thing I would change if I could would be the barrel selector, it's a little difficult sometimes to use, but this is a minor complaint.
 

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I have had my KSG for about 6 months. I got it from my local gun club, and with tax it was just over $1000. Honestly, having putting about 350 rounds through it at this point, I would not hesitate to buy another one. I have MAGPUL flip up sights and my KSG has performed perfectly with them. Yes, getting used to the slide distance, and selector switch does take a bit of getting used to, but once you do, it's incredibly simple and easy to use. I have heard some people saying they can just put a magazine extender on their Remington. But having that much weight hanging on the end of the barrel makes it pretty unsteady and difficult to aim. The bullpup design of the KSG keeps the center of gravity close to the center of the gun which allows you to have both tubes full and one in the pipe while keeping the barrel on target. Of course I hope that the supply goes up, and the price goes down, but I say, if you have been thinking about it and you find one for sale, buy it!
 

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Thanks for the article though it does seem a little like a sales brochure or a Keltec press release. I really like my KSG and last night I finished adding all of my toys, the last being the Keltec single point sling attachment(s) and a SPS. I selected the KSG over the UTS because it is smaller and seemed easier to handle but it was a close call. Objectively speaking the KSG has thus far proven to be unreliable, therefore unavailable, therefore no practical points. Based on my 35 years of 870 experience, it can not touch the 870 in reliability; they are not even on the same planet. My KSG out of the box truthfully was a failure with many malfunctions so I could not take advantage of its on-paper specs that made me buy it. My KSG has been returned from the factory. It has run fine thus far after about 75 rounds. When that changes to 750 or 7,500 rounds then we can see, objectively, how many real points the KSG can earn, and how it compares with an 870. Just keeping it real.
 

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@TurboWarp 7,500 rounds? KT gives their firearms a 6,000 round expected lifetime. Peace favor your sword, Kirk
 

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Brand newbie here today, just got mine, and haven't even had it to the range yet. Attempted loading 14 Estate 2 3/4 shells in the tubes, only got 6 in each? What's up with that? I measured the shells and they measure 1/16 under 2 1/2. Figure I'll load up and let the springs relax some, and of course run some shells through it. We'll see.
 
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