By Travis Pike – SOFREP
KelTec goes far and wide in their gun designs. They rarely make something in the boring or normal category, and the KS7 is a testament to that. KelTec got into the shotgun game with the KSG. The KSG is a bullpup shotgun that utilizes a dual-tube design that offers double the capacity of most normal shotguns. The downside was a hefty amount of weight, a complicated manual of arms, and a high price tag. The KS7 simplifies all of that with a bullpup shotgun with a single tube design.
The seven in KS7’s name gives you a clue to how many rounds the shotgun holds. Seven 12-gauge rounds is a respectable amount of ammo for any fighting shotgun. Especially when you consider how short and light this gun is. At 26.25 inches long overall, it’s shorter than the Mossberg Shockwave but comes with a stock and an 18.5-inch barrel. It also holds two more rounds than the Shockwave.
Bullpup shotguns make a lot of sense when you consider that shotguns work best at close range. Close-range fighting guns are best when they are short and light, so they can maximize maneuverability in close-quarters scenarios. At only 5.9 pounds, the KS7 is also nice and lightweight.
By the numbers, the shotgun seems great, but does it hold up when we hit the range? Let’s find out.
Spitting Lead with the KS7
I hit the range with a variety of ammo for the KS7. I brought some cheap birdshot, some standard buckshot, a little reduced-recoil Flitecontrol stuff, and some Hornady slugs. Targets ranged from clay pigeons to steel IPSC targets. I started light and went heavy.
The weapon’s big-carry handle that provides a retro appearance on top of a futuristic shotgun serves a few purposes. One being that’s where your sigh sits. Your sight is a big fiber-optic triangle that’s easy to see and very easy to use with birdshot and buckshot. With slugs, it can be tricky beyond 50 yards. The front sight is quite big, and there isn’t a rear sight to align for those far shots with slugs.
However, I don’t use slugs a lot and prefer the sight to be big for fast engagement with buckshot at close quarters. In reality, I’d want to add an optic, specifically a red dot for fast engagements in close-quarters combat (CQB). As the gun comes from the factory, I can’t add an optic. I’d have to remove the carry handle and then add an aftermarket optic’s rail to do so. That sucks because the KS7 carry handle is rather handy. The carry handle of the KS7 also provides you with M-LOK slots to toss on lights, lasers, and kitchen sinks.
A lightweight bullpup shotgun has some rough recoil, but it can be mitigated with proper recoil control. I pushed forward and pulled rearward and found that does an excellent job of keeping me from a 12-gauge ass kicking. The action is a bit gritty, but it cycles perfectly fine. The cylinder choke does a predictable job of controlling the spread, and the Flitecontrol rounds work perfectly with it.
Short and Sweet
The bullpup design does make it rather easy to maneuver from target to target. Swinging the gun from clay pigeon to clay pigeon as they sat on the berm was easy since the weapon has no weight forward of it. Therefore, it’s easy to move with a simple body shift and get on target rapidly.
Shotguns and speed go together well, and it’s nice to have a gun that moves quickly and gets on target reliably.
The Weapon’s Trigger (Courtesy of author)
The action ejects downwards, and this makes it friendly for lefties and righties. On the flip side, reloads are painfully slow. Reaching rearward and loading around can be a hassle. Bullpup reloads always suck, and the KS7 is no different in that respect. Compared to a normal tube-fed gun, it’s painfully slow.
Ergonomically, it’s a simple gun with a massive push-button safety and an ambidextrous pump release. It’s all very well laid out. The pump does have an integrated hand stop which helps keep things safe. The downside is that if you rest your thumb on that shield, you’ll be a nice thump against your thumb. I learned quickly to orient my thumb upwards to avoid the thump.
In terms of reliability, I’ve yet to find a standard 2.75 or three-inch shell that the KS7 won’t eat. Even the cheap low brass Rio buckshot runs without any issues. Sadly those little short 1.75-inch shells don’t run well in the gun, so don’t get your hopes up if you love mini shells.
The weapon in all its glory (Courtesy of the author)
One neat feature of the gun I like are the visible round-counting holes in the magazine tube. A quick glance can help you see when your ammo count is low and you need to pop a few extra rounds of buckshot in place.
The KS7 brings a dose of new life to the ole pump-action shotgun. It’s short, light, and still finds a way to hold seven rounds of 2.75-inch shells without issue.
KelTec’s little fella simplifies the KSG and, to me, ultimately produces a better shotgun because of it.
Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record setting 11 months at sea. He’s trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines and the Afghan National Army. He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and teaches concealed carry classes.