A 41-Round Shotgun? Kel-Tec KSG-25 — Full Review

When the original KSG hit the streets so many years ago, it set the firearms world ablaze. It was the must-have new toy for a variety of reasons. I had a friend at SHOT Show that year seek it out for me, to see if it was real or just a unicorn dream. I wanted one so badly that I could taste it. It seemed to be everything I ever wanted in a truck gun. It’s 14-plus-one rounds of buckshot and slugs made it ideal. There aren’t many problems that you can’t solve with that kind of capacity. How could they possibly improve on that design? Enter SHOT Show 2017 and Kel-Tec has done it again. Now the KSG-25 offers 24-plus-one shells of buckshot and slugs at your fingertips! An entire box of shells onboard, with the reliability of a pump shotgun. Yes, please! I will take one.

The Kel-Tec KSG-25 could be the ultimate home-defense shotgun. It’s 24-plus-one round capacity makes it ideal for things that go bump in the night.

  • Type: bullpup pump action shotgun

    The Vortex Sparc will fit on any Picatinny rail. It’s 2-MOA diameter is fast to acquire and provides an effective sight picture.

  • Gauge: 12
  • Capacity: 24+1 rds. (41 Aguila mini shells)
  • Magazine: Dual tube fed
  • Trigger: 6 lbs.
  • Stock: Synthetic
  • Barrel Length: 30.5 in.
  • Sights: Iron sights
  • Weight:9.25 lbs.
  • Overall Length: 38 in.
  • MSRP: $1,400
  • Manufacturer: Kel-Tec

Origins

The original KSG was a bull pup design and was engineered from the ground up for the U.S. market to get a maximum shotgun with minimum legal barrel length. The overall package was extremely compact. Shooters had all that firepower with an overall length of 26.1 inches. You can read our review of the original KSG shotgun here.

The Magpul MBUS flip-up iron sights allow a longs sight radius and the dual magazine tubes allow for increased capacity.

So what is the story with this new model? Why, given the originally stated goals, would Kel-Tec design the same gun with a 30½-inch barrel? Kel-Tec has a long history of innovative guns such as the PF9, SU-16 Series, and the PMR-30. Why take an extremely compact, bull pup design and make it huge? The original answer was to take care of the European market. The KSG was selling like wild fire, but the poor European peasants in less free countries had a problem. Many nations on the other side of the pond had a very different set of restrictions on barrels and overall length.  Kel-Tec, being red-blooded American Capitalists, set out to build something acceptable to the European market. Once the specs met the prohibitions set on the serfs, some engineer thought, “If we have to extend the barrel, why not extend the magazine tubes.” It was a happy accident that the overall length of 38 inches resulted in a capacity of 25 shells. The engineers at Kel-Tec thought the finished package was so cool that they decided to release a limited run for the U.S. market.

Advantages

So, to the reader who lives in a free state, why would you possibly want this plus sized model instead of the original? It depends. The original KSG is more compact, and the ergonomics are the same. That is to say that the new KSG-25 shoulders like a bull pup, pumps like a bull pup, and the trigger/safety remain in the same spot. Loading and switching the tube to feed from is identical. There are a few very real advantages to the new model though, which bears some scrutiny.

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First is obviously capacity. A 25-shell capacity is nothing to sneeze at. If that won’t handle the problem, you need a belt fed and a gunship. That is so much ammo it makes my usual argument about shotguns being slow to reload a moot point. If you decide to use Aguila mini shells, you get a capacity of 41. The mini shells are much more of a viable option than I thought they would be, and they ran reliably in the KSG. Plagiarizing myself, this is what I learned about the mini shells when I measured velocity through my chronograph for another review last year.

The Kel-Tec KSG-25 fed the Federal loads and Aguila mini shells reliably.

“The slugs are a 7/8th ounce size, which is more than plenty for home-defense purposes. In testing, they chronographed slower than a standard slug, but still fast enough to count. If a slug that size at 900 feet per second won’t kill it, you have problems. The buckshot is the really strange one in this equation though. Rather than cram less pellets in, Aguila opted for two different sizes of pellets in the same shell. This works quite well, and produced an acceptable pattern at home-defense range.“

Forty-one shells is an insane capacity for a shotgun, and without question gives it the “hand held claymore” designation.

Barrel length adds velocity, and the KSG-25’s full 30½-inch barrel should give optimal velocity in all shotgun rounds. Shotguns are more susceptible than most guns to lost velocity in barrel length reduction. I am not an expert on shotgun powder burn rates, but this is the observed truth from 3-Gun. All other things being equal, barrel length doesn’t change your pattern much. But it does matter for velocity. If you are doing a type of shooting that means maximizing speed, this is a better option for you.

The Kel-Tec KSG-25 ejects from the bottom, which makes it ambidextrous.

At an overall length of 38 inches, the new KSG-25 is still ¾ inches shorter than a Remington 870 Tactical. Hard as that is to believe, it is true. Using specs from Remington’s own website, the KSG is shorter overall, with four times the capacity. Wow. Just wow.

Range Time

It feeds from two magazine tubes and the selector switch allows shooters to swap whenever the first runs dry.

I have been looking forward to this since SHOT Show, and I wasn’t disappointed. This is meant to be a tactical shotgun and comes out of the box with Magpul folding sights. I decided to up the game and added a Vortex Sparc red dot. I like red dots for CQB range engagements, and with how out of practice I am, I shoot slugs better with them. Slugs are pricey, and I can zero a red dot in fewer rounds. I mounted the Sparc pretty far forward, though the top rail extends the full length of the barrel. You could put it on the end if that is your fancy. It proved to be a good combination, one that I would recommend highly.

The KSG-25 ran flawlessly with both 2¾-inch shells and the mini shells, as long as I did my job. There is a bit of a learning curve with a bull pup if you come from a traditional pump action shotgun. I had a tendency to short stroke the scattergun, a bad habit from years of heavy metal 3-Gun with one platform. This would result in an empty chamber and a click, which fortunately you can rectify easily. You also want to run the pump on this gun hard. It’s no princess or ’70s era Wingmaster, you need to slam this thing around. Like a 1911, it will respond to this.

Both the 25-round and 41-round magazine dumps were tiring, but that’s expected. The stroke of the pump is a different movement than anything else, and with training time this would undoubtedly go away. I really wanted the tubes to be empty when I was filming this segment, that is an unholy amount of shotgun rounds to try and dump in one setting. The balance of a full load of 25 is a little odd, but if you are carrying a tactical shotgun that is a minor issue.

The author sent several magazine dumps downrange Kel-Tec KSG-25 and it continued to function reliably.

Overall, I think this is a great scattergun. Kel-Tec continues to impress me with innovation, and the KSG-25 is no different. If you are in the tactical shotgun market, both models of KSG deserve a look.

For more information about the Kel-Tec KSG-25, click https://www.keltecweapons.com/shotguns/ksg-25.

For more information about Aguila Ammunition mini shells, click https://www.aguilaammo.com/shotshell/.

For more information about the Vortex Sparc, click http://www.vortexoptics.com/product/vortex-sparc-ar-red-dot.

To purchase a KSG shotgun on GunsAmerica, click https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?Keyword=Kel-Tec%20KSG.

{ 48 comments… add one }
  • Mark Shean August 8, 2017, 3:03 pm

    Now you need an FTSS switch.

  • Dr. Strangelove August 8, 2017, 3:45 am

    I have a P-11 which works great, a PMR-30 which doesn’t, and I’m still waiting for a SUB-2000 that I ordered a couple years ago. Pardon my lack of enthusiasm for this expensive toy.

  • Shawn August 8, 2017, 12:02 am

    Why not just get a SAIGA or DDI? 10, 15 and 20 round mags and drums are readily available. Semi-auto, too. The only advantage I see here is the ability to switch back and forth between tubes (buckshot or slug).

  • Mikial August 7, 2017, 8:10 pm

    I never cease to be amazed at the vitriolic hatred some people spew on what is, in the end, an inanimate object. This applies to items like Glock, the AR platform, Kel Tec and of course the infamous High Point. But I have owned Kel Tecs (and all the other aforementioned brands/types)for a very long time and have never been disappointed, They’re great guns and the ones I’ve owned have worked as well or better than a lot of high end Gee Whiz wonder guns. This is a great gun, and as soon as I can afford one (after all my other recent purchases) I will be adding it to my collection/armory.

  • LJ August 7, 2017, 7:34 pm

    So let me get this straight; the damn thing weighs 9 1/4 lbs. and if you load it up with a box of shells you’re looking at over 10 1/2 lbs? And you’re going to walk around in the field looking for zombies (or Angelina Jolie) dragging that beast around?

    Not me – If I want shotgun fire power I’m using a Saiga 12 with a couple extra topped off magazines tucked in my pockets. If THAT’S not enough firepower then I need to get my sorry arse back to the range and practice some more!

  • Ken Pocus August 7, 2017, 5:58 pm

    You

    lost me when you said Kel Tec See the trouble he had with it,Typical K T

  • Tenbones August 7, 2017, 5:16 pm

    24+1, are you kidding me!? That gun has absolutely no practical value….this is not Iraqia or Afganastein.

    • Area 52 August 9, 2017, 12:39 pm

      AR 15 rifles come with at least one 30 round mag. ( in free states) . Are you saying the american citizens can’t own them either. What is your round limitation?

  • Area 52 August 7, 2017, 2:56 pm

    Range toy/ gimmick who knows if it will work ; stand the test of time. . If one wants a serious shotgun look into remmington 870, mossberg 590, or benelli. Why get heckled on the range with this thing.

  • Lon August 7, 2017, 1:53 pm

    Split the difference.
    Shorten the new tube length by half and I’ll buy one.

  • 101st ABN August 7, 2017, 1:25 pm

    does anyone seriously think this is a good idea? 24+1? seriously? after the first (7) 00-buckshots you won’t have a shoulder left. I love the comments from these armchair commandos who have never fired a shotgun in their lives. get a grip on reality. try using that beast (which is impossible to manuever inside your home) and the DA will be all over you. try to explain in court why you thought you needed a 24+1 capacity to defend your home. ha! they will throw away the key on your sorry ass and not look back. As a member of the 101st ABN who WAS in combat, think before you speak…. stop watching the Hollywood movies and pretend you are an “operator”….. the real life version is completely different. and come back down to earth, Rambo.

    • Lon August 7, 2017, 2:11 pm

      LOL.
      1. I shoot way more than 7 rounds of buckshot (and slugs) all the time, as do a lot of the guys I shoot with…. maybe we should have a doc look at our shoulders and see if they are still there.
      2. You really need to do a little legal research before you blather on about a DA throwing away the key based on the weapon you use in a home defense scenario. I think that myth has been spewed and debunked ad nauseam.

    • Sudden August 7, 2017, 2:43 pm

      What is it with some guys who must be anti-social? YOU, rambo; come back down to earth.
      Wouldn’t we, all shooting and firearm enthusiasts, be ahead of the game if we went easy on the keyboard commando tactics?
      Yeah, sure, you’ll fire back with a heated response but relax, I won’t respond to you. As is true with differences of opinions, it is not worth it.
      Btw, we all served. We were shot at & missed…..spit on and hit. That was a lifetime ago; let go.

    • Batman August 7, 2017, 4:27 pm

      Well said! I’ll bet 90% of the guys are this forum are overweight tired old ass bags.

    • Pseudo August 7, 2017, 6:24 pm

      You might be having rotor cuff issues? I have many more than 7 rounds of 3 inch 00 buck with the Kel-Tec Bull Pup and had no issues. I shot 25 rounds in a matter of a few minutes and no issues. Just saying it could be another issue perhaps

    • clay martin August 18, 2017, 1:32 pm

      easy there ninja. I am a combat veteran too, and I wrote this article. Now STFU before I start talking about dope on a rope.

    • Bennyd October 10, 2017, 9:59 am

      While I appreciate your service, and no I’ve never served, I’ve most certainly handled a shotgun before. I’ve also done well over 7 rounds of 00 buck. Its really not that bad Obviously this is a novelty, and if you’re a shotgun enthusiast, it might be cool. I think it is, obviously these guys do too. Just cool it with your keyboard fire and let people be happy with their hobbies

  • Gene August 7, 2017, 12:21 pm

    This weapon would be great for ‘suppressive fire’ except for the aerobic factor which slowed the shooter down significantly.
    So , I leave Kel-Tec with one word of advice ; “semi-automatic.

    • 101st ABN August 7, 2017, 1:29 pm

      have you ever experienced suppressive fire? do you seriously think a shotgun is ever used in a suppressive fire situation in a real combat scenario? shotguns have a specialized and limited purpose and suppressive fire is not one of those purposes.

  • Lester August 7, 2017, 12:08 pm

    It would be a “cold day in Hell” before I paid 1400 bucks for any Kel-Tec,,

    Don’t care if it carried a tractor trailer load of ammo,,,,,

  • Sanders August 7, 2017, 11:32 am

    Someone is always coming along with a better gadget. I just had to have a Franchi SPAS-12, back in the late 80’s. Got one and shot it several times, but just could not fall in love with it. Wound up swapping it straight across for a Springfield Loaded Model 1911A1. The banned SPAS-12 was booking around $1,200 at the time. The 1911 was $700 and I felt like I got the better end of the deal.

    I’m sure this is a fun gun, and that a lot of people will enjoy it. I hope Keltec sells a mess of them.

  • Bob Bell August 7, 2017, 10:37 am

    Would this be banned in NY because of our SAFER act? or is that only for pistols and rifles? Was very impressive and you cover every question i had!

  • David August 7, 2017, 10:25 am

    It would be nice if there was an adaptation kit for the existing KSG’s to change the barrel and the loading tubes. That is something I would be interested in.

  • Brian August 7, 2017, 10:22 am

    I would live to see this in a semi automatic. Then you are in AA 12 territory. The pump look awkward.

  • Tom August 7, 2017, 9:22 am

    I must have some emotional bias also, I was wondering the same thing? Also amazed at all the confusion between a clip and a magazine!

  • Aidan August 7, 2017, 9:20 am

    Kel-tech wasn’t innovative with the PMR 30. Grendel did it first with the P30.

    • Leighton Cavendish August 7, 2017, 9:57 am

      Believe it was the same designer…double check that one.

  • Ernest Wayne Toney August 7, 2017, 9:03 am

    That is bad ass shotgun, I would like to had one those when I was in Vietnam in 1968 and 1969. If I ever get the money I am gong to buy me one.

  • Mike August 7, 2017, 8:05 am

    It could have a 100rnd capacity, but it won’t be anymore effective than an 870. All these years later and it still feeds like a sloppy lever action.

    • Cyrus August 7, 2017, 8:20 am

      Take a look at the last picture – look at the size of that gun. Who is going to run around their house with that effectively? Like Mike said above – I will stick to my 870 or even better my pistol grip Mossberg Persuader. The scariest thing in the pitch black is the sound of any pump shotgun sliding a shell into the tube . . . my 870 or Persuader will be more than enough! Kel-Tec can press the No Sale Button on this for me!

  • Jeffrey L. Frischkorn August 7, 2017, 7:51 am

    Ugh.. Worthless – and expensive – toy…

  • Lloyd Dumas August 7, 2017, 5:54 am

    Seems Kel Tec is good at innovation and advertising but short on delivery. I remember ordering the PMR-30 and a year later I did not have one, to satisfy my thirst for a 22 Mag I found an AMT with the longer 6 inch barrel, I’m a happy camper.

  • A. C. August 3, 2017, 10:30 pm

    It’s the best zombie gun ever: zombies travel in large, slow moving herds (various tv shows notwithstanding) so you need lots of capacity to blow away the twenty five nearest zombies to give yourself enough space to reload. Loading a whole box while the next couple of hundred slowly shuffle forward is certain to be nearly heart stopping, until you get the gun into action again and blow away the next twenty five or so (sometimes you can get two with one round). The 12 gauge shells will blow their heads off much more effectively than those measly 55 grain .223 bullets from an AR.

    • deanbob August 7, 2017, 9:06 am

      One could always opt for starting with more capacity using the Aguila min rounds.

    • Retrocon August 7, 2017, 10:28 am

      Exactly the problem, reloading.

      I can carry multiple 20 rd. Drums, 12 round drums, and 10 and 12 round sticks for my 922(r) Saigon-12 and reload in seconds.

      And it’s not as damn heavy.

      S-12 the real zombie gun.

      • What, me worry? August 8, 2017, 9:54 am

        Uh huh, so you’re carrying a few of the 20 and 12 round drums, a few of the 10 and 12 round magazines for your “Saigon”-12, and your point is that your shotgun is not heavy??? I wonder how you can get the damned thing up to your shoulder if you are packing that much backup junk somewhere on your fully flak jacketed, 68 pocket SHTP vest [with Molle no less], double hip holstered Desert Eagles with 500 rnds of extra ammo??

        I sense a need for you and A.C. to seek immediate help with an adjustment of your meds by a qualified medical practitioner. Oh, and both of you need to lay off the reruns of Walking Dead, it’s only a made up show, not real life combat!! Honestly …….

  • Semper Why August 3, 2017, 10:49 am

    I may pick up one of these and take up skeet shooting. That should get me some weird looks at the range.

  • Adam August 3, 2017, 9:02 am

    It’s a Kel-Tec, so whatever level of demand the gun engenders, there will only be enough supply to meet 20% of that demand. Maybe I’ll actually have seen a real one by 2020. But Im not holding my breath.

    • SteveK August 7, 2017, 5:13 am

      You got that RIGHT!

  • Greg August 3, 2017, 8:54 am

    Every one of these I have seen has had feed problems–maybe solved by the slamming the pump action hard? Don’t know, never played around with them enough. When I did fire them, what I didn’t like was the bottom ejector would throw the shells right on to your off hand forearm. Interesting concept–holds as many shells as an X-Rail and more than the Saigas (is there a 25 round mag for the Saigas?).
    Any idea how much one of those weighs fully loaded?

    • Michael August 7, 2017, 9:53 am

      I’ve shot a couple of KSGs quite a few rounds without any kind of problem. One had an Aimpoint t-2 and was very accurate, didn’t matter whether min-shells or not. Two thumbs up for Kel-tec.

    • Ron ingram August 8, 2017, 8:38 am

      I’ve owned a KSG for 5 years now. When I first used it, I did have a feed problem. But I immediately realized I was short stroking the slide. You have to be aggressive with it.
      I believe you are parroting what you said about ejecting shells onto your forearm. I also read this before I bought the gun, but have had no problems. You would need to twist your arm completely under the gun with your elbow pointing directly at your navel for the empty shells to hit your forearm. Uhh..nobody shoots that way.

  • Tracy Hunt August 1, 2017, 1:13 pm

    My favorite weapon is now haven’t sent. As for the pump action being 41 to empty the clip.[walk in the park]
    Thanks to my husband who have me curling 50 pound dumbbells
    Keep the real weapons coming boy’s keep”em coming!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Cyrus August 7, 2017, 8:15 am

      “My favorite weapon is now haven’t sent. ” WTF does this mean?

      • Alan August 7, 2017, 9:02 am

        An obvious typo, (“heaven sent”, most likely) at least to those of those reading this without such emotional bias.

        • Pseudo August 7, 2017, 10:10 am

          Or one missing a spelling conpletion inserted by their input device?

          My message above should read “I believe” and not “I. Elite.” Which I caught after submitting.

      • Dennis August 7, 2017, 9:41 am

        No one types anymore, everyone uses voice to text and that’s what happens.

    • Mikial August 7, 2017, 8:12 pm

      Proofreading before hitting “Send” would be advisable.

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