Kel Tec Shotgun (KSG) Review

The KSG has been ridiculed repeatedly since the first shipment went out. There were claims of feed issues, jamming and regular malfunctions. Looking at these claims, I will be the first to say that most come from sources that need to try harder, train harder and understand that it does not operate like every other gun, but we will get back to that in a bit.

The one true fault of the design

The KSG in concept is a gun that I have only one problem with and I will start off with my one gripe. This gun is one that requires gear-based training. You can’t pick up a Mossberg, Berreta, or any other name brand shotgun and practice to operate the KSG, it just isn’t possible. Because this is a new design that operates differently than your average shotgun you have to train with the KSG to get better at operating the KSG. I don’t think this makes it a bad gun in any way, shape or form but it is something to consider and it is my only real “issue” with it.

The design

The KSG is one of a kind when it comes to a pump action shotgun, I am not saying Kel Tec reinvented the wheel, but there is no other pump action shotgun like it. This shotgun was built with two main things in mind, ammo capacity and being able to use two different types of ammunition on the fly without having a cumbersome method of changing the ammunition type from one load to another. The options are nearly limitless for law enforcement, military and even home defense.

Reliability

Here is the part you have been waiting for… Reliability. We put the KSG through a torture test over the past 6 weeks that I have yet to do with any other shotgun that I have owned or tested. We put two thousand rounds of ammunition of all shapes and sizes through this shotgun, we did not clean the factory grease out of it or apply any lubricant to our testing model – which I am sure Kel Tec will be thrilled to hear. With two thousand rounds we had no jams, no failure to feeds, and only one failure to eject. This gun shot like a champ for the duration of our testing with no love and tenderness at all. We locked it in the closet, neglected it, called it names that I wouldn’t say in the presence of my mother, put really cheap ammo through it, shot it sideways while laying on the ground in the dirt and still could not get this gun to malfunction.

The issues with the issues

I have watched video after video of people talking about the issues that they have had with this shotgun and I took them into consideration when operating it. I will take this opportunity to list the issues that have been experienced by others with the KSG and their causes.

  1. Failure to feed – The action slides all the way back on every shotgun, a shell pops out of the magazine and is then fed into the chamber when the action goes forward. If you treat the KSG like you are on a first date, going slow and gentle, taking it easy and hoping you don’t break it, it will not feed a round.

    Solution to problem – Welcome to Shotgun 101, It’s not fragile, throw it around, it isn’t going to break. Pull the action back lightly and you end up with no shell loading. Treat it like a shotgun and put some muscle behind it and this will literally never happen again. When you slide the pump action back, the last 1/4 inch needs a little more oomph to eject the shell. Three of us had this issue, realized why we had this issue and never had it happen again.

  2. Jamming – This gun has the ability to jam every time you fire it, I mean that with all my heart. I can get 100% of the rounds put through this to look like they have an ejection issue causing a malfunction.

    Solution to problem – Don’t cover up the ejection port = No issues with ejection. The ejection port is right above where your elbow sits, so if you cover up the ejection port the gun will jam. You can try this with some dummy rounds on your favorite shotgun. I promise you, you can cover the ejection port with your hand, foot or anything you want to use in the privacy of your own home and replicate the same issue with every shotgun.

The field strip

  • Two pins and the lower comes off
  • Butt pad comes off after pins are removed
  • Everything slides out of the back

If you do encounter an issue with this gun that requires a field strip, it’s really that simple to take apart the KSG on location. Given the design, it’s pretty impressive to be able to take a shotgun apart in less than 30 seconds.

The Summary

I personally found no issues with this gun in regards to reliability or design. If you need a shotgun for home defense, law enforcement, military use, looking completely bad @$$, turning heads at the range or shooting for fun, then I have no hesitation telling you to get one of these as soon as you can. This has been a solid gun that was a blast to review. Don’t forget to check out the video, and don’t worry, Kel Tec will forgive you for all the things you said about the KSG that you learned from velcro ninjas on YouTube, I promise.

  • farragutmrg

    My experience (limited though it is): I purchased my KSG a week ago (Aug2017) and finally found time to visit the range. I got the model chambered for both 2 3/4″ and 3″ shells because I liked having the versatility. Everything went as expected. I got the KSG for all the reasons others have mentioned, so I won’t discuss that. It’s light and balanced, and it’s a fun gun to shoot. But, I encountered two problems: one expected, one not. First, when firing the 3″ shells, approx one third of the empties got hung up in the ejection area, which seemed to be a pretty tight space to handle the longer shells (the shorter shells ejected flawlessly, by the way). They’re easily cleared with a hooked finger inserted into the open end followed by a pull downward–but nonetheless–it’s an issue about which potential owners should be aware. The second issue I was already aware of, given my pre-purchase research: the ejection port is directly above the wrist of your trigger hand. Ejected shells come out hot & fast, and hit an area about 1 inch behind the base of your thumb. No big deal if you’re just shooting a box or two, but I can imagine it would get very sore for sessions lasting longer than that. A long-sleeve jacket or shirt should resolve the problem. Overall, I’m very happy with the KSG.