As per the last post on the Kel-Tec RDB, I’ve gone bullpup stupid this summer. Prior to picking up the RDB, I got a good price on a KS7 12 gauge shotgun by Kel-Tec that was in my local gun store. I’m not really a longarm guy and shotguns are some of my least favorite…so why buy it? Honestly? It looked really cool, like something out of a sci-fi movie. IT would fit well in the Aliens universe with the weird carrying handle. With a total length of 26 inches and an 18.5″ barrel, it’s a full size shotgun in a tiny package. As the name suggests, it accepts seven 2 3/4″ shells of 12 gauge.

Kel-Tec is pretty proud of this, as the official picture on the website suggests.

Open the cardboard box and you get a weapon that has a lot of plastic…it’s a Kel-Tec. the grip and pump use their “alligator pattern” texturing and it works better than you would think. The KS7 loads from the bottom, behind the grip and it’s a pretty unwieldy set up for the uninitiated. I’ve found that with practice, I can reload pretty quickly, but it’s not as simple as I would like. The body of the weapon is metal, and it’s double lined for safety, should things go wrong. The barrel and magazine tube are well-constructed, though the pump feels a bit rattly. That said, with full-length 12 gauge, it hasn’t malfunctioned. The carrying handle has a trench-style sight with a bright triangular fibre-optic bead in green. The sight works very. Picking up your point of aim is fast and intuitive, and out to 25 yards, it was hitting milk jugs with no issue. It functioned with everything from Fiocchi low-recoil 00-buckshot to Fiocchi #4, Berenicke slugs to Federal 00-buckshot. With a bit of run-in, the pump was much smoother and cycling improved. The key is a strong cycle stroke. The only trouble we had was running the pump less vigorously. That caused a double feed.

Takedown is easy: two pins in the grip assembly pop out, you angle the grip out from the back and pull the buttplate assembly (with the feed tines.) The bolt assembly comes out by racking the pump back and rotating the block 90 degrees. You unscrew the end of the magazine tube and pull the barrel forward. Done with disassembly. Reassembly is easy — reverse the process. The weapon stayed pretty clean through the first hundred rounds of testing, but needed a good takedown after out last trip out, when we had some issues I’ll discuss in a moment.

The good news: it will eat mini-shells. I could get eleven in the pipe and one in the breech for a total of twelve. The bad news: depending on the type, it might not do it reliably. the KS7 ate the Aguila Mini-shells in #7 and slug but if you didn’t firmly run the pump you could get a failure to eject and the next round would jam up — and worse, the shell might rotate. Not a great situation if you were using them for defense. That said, the Federal Shorty shotshells in #4 buckshot have run brilliantly, with no issues. The 00-buck, however, gave up an interest problem this morning: the last two rounds in the tube would spit out together and jam the shotgun. It did not replicate with the #4 nor with ordinary length shells. After disassembly, I found the follower was filthy and did not want to move easily. After cleaning the follower, tube, and oiling the little tooth assembly that catches and holds the shells in the magazine, the issue disappeared. As if as cold and wet, and I hadn’t cleaned that last bit, my suspicion is the follower was binding a bit and the retention hook wasn’t seating quite right. But I could be full of shit.

The good: the KS7 is well made and runs well, provided you aren’t shy about racking the thing. The sighting trench is very good, although you can swap it out for the Piccatinny rail system from the KSG, should you want other optics. It’s lightweight and short, making it an excellent home defense platform. It shoulders and comes on target fast. It transitions from target to target naturally and with ease. It will feed minishells, though I would run a few boxes to make sure which ones it likes before relying on them.

The meh: I found the pump to be a bit rattle-worthy. It’s not awful, but compared to the smooth, solid feel of my Benelli Nova, it’s underwhelming.

The bad: It’s very light. The buttpad is a slim bit of rubber. This equates to intense felt recoil. I’ve never been a big 12 gauge fan, and this KS7 was painful to fire after a few rounds. This was mitigated with a Missouri Tactical buttpad (and Kel-Tec does their own thicker pad), which made the experience much more pleasant. It’s still a 12-gauge, but it’s not painful to put a couple dozen rounds of buckshot through it now.

Trust me — if you’re thinking of buying a KS7, just get one of these and save yourself some pain.

So, is it worth it? MSRP on these is $530 and I found my cheaper than that. If you’re a shotgun person and want a bullpup for the house or vehicle, or for backpacking — it’s a great choice (if you buy the butt pad!); for home defense, it should be a solid choice. For competition and other applications, I’d pass.