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Keltec KS7 Bullpup Shotgun

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A Worthy Concept Poorly Executed

Photography by We Plead the 2nd

When KelTec’s KSG shotgun first came out in 2011, most of the hype around it was related to the fact it had dual magazine tubes. The dual magazine tubes made it capable of easily carrying two different types of ammo that the shooter could select between, or just load up with 14+1 rounds for a capacity that even a 28-inch barreled shotgun with an equally long magazine tube couldn’t match.

While the capacity and select loading capabilities were interesting, they weren’t the most useful feature of the shotgun, in my opinion. The major advantage the KSG offered was its short overall length, while remaining a non-NFA weapon. The dual magazine tubes and bullpup design made it more difficult to load than conventional shotguns. Not only did the shooter need to reach deeper into the loading area than a conventional shotgun, they also had to make sure the shells fed into the correct tube without getting hung up on anything else inside the receiver. When I first used the KSG myself in 2012, I immediately thought that it’d be an equally useful design in many roles with a single tube, giving up capacity while also losing some weight and making it easier to load. KelTec released the KS7 at SHOT Show 2019 and after checking it out in their booth, I was eager to try it out. It was essentially a single-tube KSG with some design improvements.


The KS7 does improve several things over the KSG. The first of these is a handstop — the bullpup design leaves the end of the 18.5-inch barrel in very close proximity to the shooter’s support hand. When I was working with the KSG in 2012, one of the things I added to it was a going in front of the muzzle ( The handstop is a necessary safety addition — good on KelTec for incorporating that into the design.

The second improvement is that the single-tube design does in fact make the KS7 easier to load than the KSG. Tilting the gun sideways allows for loading the shotgun with the support hand with minimal fumble factor. Rolling the KS7 over completely is the easiest way to load it that I found. The walls of the loading area act as a chute to catch the shells, and the shooter can easily slide them home into the tube with their thumb.

The final improvement over the KSG is that the KS7 comes with a carry handle with a large fiber optic bead. With the KS7 you don’t need to buy a set of irons or a dot to get shooting. Even though the carry handle is a few inches above the bore, engaging close-range targets with shot with it isn’t bad. The shooter does need to be aware of their bore offset when shooting around barriers and obstacles. While I was able to make slug hits on an USPSA steel target at 50 yards with the carry handle and bead, it wasn’t consistent enough that I’d want to count on being able to do so. As much as I like the cool science fiction appearance, the carry handle gives the KS7 (making it resemble an M41 Pulse Rifle from Aliens), a rail to replace the carry handle is available should one desire it for mounting optics.

The KS7 is lightweight for a 12-gauge shotgun coming in at 5.9 pounds. Most other 18-inch barreled shotguns are 7 pounds or more. The overall length is just over the legal minimum at 26.1 inches. These characteristics would make it handy for a gun that was to be carried a lot more than it would be shot, like backpacking in bear country, so long as it was reliable …


My method for testing shotguns isn’t very scientific; over the course of a year all my leftover shells from shooting three-gun get dumped into a big bin. This will include a wide variety of birdshot, buckshot, and slugs. The bin holds around 500 loose shells. The questions are: Can it make it through the bin without breaking? How many malfunctions occur and with what types of ammo?

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