KelTec KSG Review [2021]: Legit or a Dud?

by Roy Chesson

January 11, 2021

5 comments

4.1
(43)

If you’re interested in the Kel Tec KSG, read on to discover how this firearm measures up. We’ll look at the spec for this bullpup 12 gauge shotgun, check out what it does well, and provide some extra resources for the KSG.

Kel Tec KSG Specs

  • Barrel Length 18.5″
  • Caliber 12 Gauge
  • Sights Rail Mounted
  • Action Pump Action
  • Overall Length 10.75’’

WHAT IS THE KEL TEC KSG?

If you’re familiar with Kel Tec as a brand, you know that they produce weapons with a sleek, futuristic look, that are often available in short supply and hard to get your hands on.

The KSG is Kel Tec’s first foray into the shotgun market. In fact, the gun is so significant to the company that KSG simply stands for Kel Tec Shotgun. It is very much a signature product accordingly.

So how does the Kel Tec KSG Bullpup shotgun stack up?

As you’d expect from a brand that is a byword for innovation, the KSG contains a number of unique and interesting features that sets it apart from the more standard shotgun. These include dual tube magazines, which allows you to load different types of projectile into the weapon.

In a home defense scenario, this grants a number of advantages. You can easily switch between projectile types according to how the situation develops. Also, the Kel Tec KSG has been created in the bullpup style. This is a more compact form of shotgun which allows for greater maneuverability and is easier to handle.

Although the KSG may sound great on paper, it’s not without its problems.

Therefore, before you go ahead and settle on the KSG as your next purchase, it’s vital to read on and get the full picture. 

KEL TEC KSG FEATURES REVIEW

1 Strap Vents In Stock

Gives you better transportability. The KSG is better with a strap.

2 Upper and Lower Picatinny Rails

There is a 12” 1913 mil-spec rail on top for sights and optics and a 6” rail on the bottom for a vertical grip and/or flashlight.

3 Round Detachable Polymer Magazine

Allows for quick change of two different magazine tubes by engaging this lever.

KEL TEC KSG REVIEW: OUR TAKE

The Kel Tec KSG looks cool, seems cool, heck, we’ll admit it, it’s cool.

But, it left a bit to be desired once we spent some time shooting it.

First off, the high capacity and bull-pup design is amazing. Kudos to Kel Tec!

However, like many Kel Tec products, it is high on innovation and low on execution. What I mean is this… Kel Tec really knows how to think outside the box but their firearms always seemed to be “budget-level” guns.

The plastic on the KSG, of which much of it is, feels cheap. And, the cross-bolt safety. although effective, is also on the cheap-end of things (at least in perception).

The biggest issue I had with this gun is this: it literally causes me an injury to shoot it. That’s right, I can not shoot more than 3-5 rounds out of this gun without blood coming from my right wrist.

The Kel Tec KSG ejects the shotshells down and slightly right behind the main pistol grip… that’s exactly where the bone in my right wrist sits. Talking with others, they’ve shown where the KSG cuts them open too.

If you want a pump action shotgun with high capacity and short overall length, then this is it! The KSG really is an awesome gun.

However, it has some ergonomic issues that could be improved.

Kel Tec KSG Review: Pros and Cons

  • High Capacity
  • Short Length
  • Ability to Switch Magazines
  • Awkward Ergonomics
  • Minor Reliability Issues

Report Card

Reliability

The KSG works…mostly. Occassionally it hangs up on loading and operating the gun.

B
Accuracy

As accurate as a shotgun can be.

A
Customization

There’s not much to add but the full length top rail makes adding accessories easy.

A
Ergonomics

This gun is awkward to operate and in many cases, down-right painful.

D
Value

You get a lot from the low price of this shotgun.

A

Our Grade

B+

Reviewed by Roy Chesson

Reader’s Grade

B

Based on 1 Reviews

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There are some must-haves when purchasing any shotgun. And the KelTec KSG is no exception. We’ve put together a list of what you need to get started.

After you the basics have been acquired, it’s time to check out the cool stuff you can get to optimize your KSG.

Best Sights for the Kel Tec KSG

There’s just something about putting a quality set of optics on your firearm. Gives you the warm and fuzzies–not to mention the desire to start slinging steel downrange. And that definitely holds true for a pump action bullpup like the KelTec KSG. Here’s are favorite selections:

Now don’t get me wrong, we love a good red dot like the rest of you. But sometimes you just gotta stick with your irons. As our Editor’s Choice, we choose the Magpul MBUS Pro Sights. Their all-steel construction mounts on any Picatinny rail and can easily be stowed (folded) when not in use. And to make things easy, Magpul has placed an adjustment knob right on the side so there’s no tools needed to make adjustments. CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

h. The EXPS3 by EOTech is one of the best optics available on the market today. It’s purposefully designed to take up less space on the rail, but still has the capability to make any adjustment desirable. It also comes with 20 different daylight settings and 10 night vision variations so you’re prepared in any environment. Maybe this is why the USSOCOM has designated this as the standard optic for close quarter combat.

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Best Chokes for the Kel Tec KSG

What’s the easiest way to extend the versatility of your scattergun? Choke tubes, of course! The standard shot pattern of the KSG might not be suitable for all situations. As a matter of fact, it isn’t at all. However, a relatively cheap remedy is getting different chokes.

 What’s the easiest way to extend the versatility of your scattergun? Choke tubes, of course! The standard shot pattern of the KSG might not be suitable for all situations. As a matter of fact, it isn’t at all. However, a relatively cheap remedy is getting different chokes. 

Looking to go break some clay with your KSG? You might want something with a tighter grouping than something like the breaching choke above. Minimize your shot deformation by opting for this Carlson’s Sporting Clay choke. Not only are they great chokes, but they can handle steel shot as well.

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Other Tactical Shotguns of its Class to Check Out

As far as KelTec weapons go, we’re a bit biased. We think they have amazing designs and great innovative thinking…but the execution doesn’t quite do it for us. That’s not to say that KSG is a terrible bullpup shotty. There are definitely some true fans of it out there. However, if you’re looking for some alternatives… there are definitely some good options available.

#1 IWI Tavor TS12

IWI Tavor TS12

Sold at Palmetto State ArmoryGuns.com

Shotguns have always had capacity limitations. The TS12 by IWI aims to help solve this. Love this firearm.

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  • Shootability B+
  • Ergonomics A+
  • Reliability A+
  • Value A
  • Accuracy A

Our Grade

A

Reviewed by Roy Chesson

Reader’s Grade

A+

Based on 5 Reviews

Your Grade

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Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

Let’s start with the IWI Tavor TS-12. This is by far the best bullpup shotgun we’ve tested at Gun University. And we’ve stated so on our best bullpup rifles and shotguns article. It’s really hard to name one negative thing about this gun’s design, function, and ability. The biggest drawback is its premium price. But hey, you get what you pay for…READ MORE

#2 EAA MKA 1923

EAA MKA 1923

Sold at PalmettoStateArmory

The purpose behind the MKA 1923 was to bring the quality associated with MKA weaponry to a new bullpup shotgun packed with innovation and quality.

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  • Shootability B-
  • Ergonomics B
  • Reliability A
  • Value A+
  • Accuracy A

Our Grade

A-

Reviewed by Roy Chesson

Reader’s Grade

B

Based on 1 Reviews

Your Grade

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Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

Now, this is a gun we can get behind. We like to say here that this gun really isn’t the best at anything. But don’t let it fool you. It’s really not bad at anything either. It’s a good solid average to compare other similar guns to. However, unlike the KSG, it’s a semi-auto. So if you’re willing to substitute your pump action for a decent semi-auto budget gun, this could be your best option...READ MORE 

How to Care for Your Kel Tec KSG

Got a quarter? Call someone who cares–or take care of your KelTec KSG. In this YouTube video, you’ll learn how to completely disassemble your KSG for maintenance using only the most technical of tools. A quarter.

Important Links And Manuals For Your KelTec KSG

Now, if you’re looking for more info on the KelTec KSG, we’ve compiled a list of extra resources sure to satisfy.

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About Roy Chesson

Roy Chesson is prior Navy with a specialty in international arms dealing for the US government across multiple countries. Having traveled the world and abided by ATF and ITAR, Roy has a unique background in legal as well as practical capabilities of weapons deployment and use.

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5 COMMENTS

    1. Hey Bruce, great catch. We shifted over to a new web layout and I think that one sentence got carried over from a different template. Fixed, and if we meet, I owe you a beer.

    1. Not the point. I’m reviewing the gun as-is.

      If I reviewed a car that didn’t come with a gas tank, I could always put one in myself. However, the review of the car from the factory would include a negative point about a missing gas tank.

  1. I own a KSG and have spent lots of time with it. Bottom line is that I would never trust a stock KSG with my life. The springs and followers in the tubes are terrible, and I have had both of them jam multiple times.

    I replaced both tubes with stronger wolf springs ($6 a piece) and aluminum followers ($25 a piece). I rate both these replacements as an absolute must. I was shocked at how cheap and sticky the stock followers were when I took them out, and I had cleaned recently (although without taking out the stoppers).

    I now trust the KSG with my life. But I also make sure I keep the gun clean and lubricated. She is a high maintenance girl.

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