KRX Tactical: Shotgun Powerful, AR Fun

The TriStar KRX Tactical Shotgun is a serious player. With AR ergonomics and a box magazine, it is easy to load and simple to shoot. No matter what your sport, the KRX is ready to play. The advanced self-adjusting gas system feeds any shotgun ammo reliably and the removable choke system (Beretta/Benelli Mobile Threads) lets you pick your pattern, including extended tactical chokes.

When the rep from Tristar told me that had a new semi-auto shotgun, I asked him two things; Does it run? Can I get more magazines for it? If the answers are yes to both, I can write about it. The good news is that the KRX is very reliable and loaded with advanced features. Tristar sells all the magazines a boy could ever want. I was in.

The first thing you notice about the KRK is the weight. It’s light. At 7.4 pounds it feels more like an AR than a shotgun and it points and balances very nicely. The stock and forearm are made of injection molded polymer.  The built-in rubber recoil pad is a nice touch. The overall fit and finish of the shotgun are good. One of my pet peeves is wiggle in guns where the stock or grips move. The KRX feels solid and well made. stock and forearm are made of injection molded polymer and it features a full-length top rail, removable carrying handle, a bridge front sight, and a rubber recoil pad.

The heart of the KRX is a self-regulating gas system. Many guns can run well with a specific load. KRX has two barrel ports which impinge a self-adjusting piston. This means that light loads get more gas and heavy loads get less ensuring that all loads get the right amount of energy to cycle and excess gas is vented so you don’t beat up the gun and the shooter. I tried over a dozen types of ammo and it fed them all.

I have been searching for a reliable magazine fed shotgun for a long time. The Russian Siaga was available, but the cost of custom builds was prohibitive and the stock guns had many functional issues. It has no bolt hold open and does not allow a tactical reload with a full magazine. Remington and Mossberg have recently released great magazine fed pump guns, but those are pump guns. I wanted a box feed semi-auto.

The KRX runs like a modern semi-automatic, that is to say, an AR. You don’t have to shoot like a 1950’s communist. The bolt holds open on the last round, you can exchange magazines in a tactical reload. Like a pump shotgun, you can load a single round through the ejection port if you are empty and don’t have a magazine or time to load one. In competition and in life, options are often important.

KRX Tactical 12ga. Flat Dark Earth Semi-Auto :

  • Semi-automatic Gas Operated Shotgun (Two barrel ports impinge a self-adjusting piston)
  • 5 Round Magazine (Optional 10 Round Magazines Available)
  • Full-length 1913 Picatinny Rail Along Top, Partial Accessory Rail at 6 o’clock
  • Removable Adjustable Mechanical Sights (Bridge Front Fiber Optic, Rear Carry Handle)
  • 20 Inch Chrome-lined Barrel with 3 inch Chamber
  • Sling Swivel Studs
  • Ported Open Cylinder Choke Tube With Removable Choke System (Beretta/Benelli Mobile Threads)

There are a number of performance features I did not expect at this price. Two barrel ports impinge a self-adjusting piston 3-inch chamber. This automatically regulates the amount of gas used to cycle the gun with any ammo. The 20″ chrome lined barrel is threaded for the popular Beretta Benelli Mobil Style chokes. It came with an open cylinder which provided impressive groups.

Sights are important.  There is a trend to put rifle sights on shotguns for slugs. This is great at 100 yards, but up close, where the shotgun excels, these sights are slow. A red dot or fiber optic is the best, they promote shooting with both eyes open and point fast. The KRX sights do both. The front bead is a red fiber optic which grabs the eye. The rear sight is fully adjustable and provides three sight options, a post, a U notch and a peep sight. The sights are removable and made of polymer. They are fine and fun for range games but if you intend to take this gun to the field, you probably want to throw a red dot on those rails.

The trigger is crisp with no slack. Shotgun triggers are usually slapped, but the KRX lets you shoot fast and smooth. Trigger reset is very short allowing for rapid follow-up shots.  This is fun, but the practical purpose is to re-access quickly and fire again if necessary.

The safety is positive and placed where you expect to find it on an AR. If the safety is in the “on” position and the hammer is de-cocked (ie. you pulled the trigger after you cleared it), the bolt carrier will not move to the rear. Thus locked in place, it cannot be snagged opening the bolt and possibly chambering a round if you have a mag inserted.

Shooting the KRX was a joy. The recoil was forceful but not violent. I prefer reduced recoil shells, but they do not cycle most semi-autos. KRX does not care, it eats them all. I was able to control the gun and fire very quick split times when required. The self-adjusting gas system mitigates the recoil and the rubber butt plate does a good job. I shot 300 rounds in one afternoon with no discomfort.

Most experienced shooters recommend that you shoot 100 rounds of heavy loads before you shoot birdshot or reduced recoil loads. This gives the springs in the gun a break in period. I had a random case of odd shotgun shells from many donors. That proved the perfect source of break in rounds.

I ran 100 rounds of 1350 fps loads and afterward mine has cycled every load I have fed it. I have a box of stray ammo with random shells I use to test with and it all worked. Sometimes people give me stuff and manufacturers occasionally send me stuff. I went through my ammo and pulled as many different 12 gauge rounds as I could find. Perhaps the most sketchy was 50 rounds of skeet reloads in AA hulls of unknown provenance. My partner told me he wouldn’t shoot those in a pump. They fed right through the KRX along with everything else.

The KRX ships with two five round steel magazines with round count cutouts and an anti-tilt follower.  Ten round magazines are sold separately.  All the magazines I used functioned perfectly and held the bolt open. Some high brass ammo had to be wiggled into the magazine to load because the base caught on the brass lip but coming out it was smooth.

I hate to clean guns. I keep them lubricated and shoot them until they require cleaning. After several range days and 500 rounds, I took the shotgun apart. It was running smoothly, but I felt it was probably due for a cleaning. The magazine cap screws off to release the handguard. Once the magazine cap and barrel nut have been removed, the barrel, springs and gas system come apart. It is simple and easy. Cleaning was a breeze. I probably could have gone another 500 rounds.

One of the interesting things about the KRX is the versatile mix of features. Some of this is mandated by the ATF. Any weapon with a bore diameter of more than ½ inch (50 caliber) is considered a destructive device, subject to licensing under the National Firearms Act. A 12-gauge shotgun nominally has a 0.73 inch bore (that is 18.5 mm in the rest of the world). Lucky for us, there is a specific exemption for “a shotgun or shotgun shell which the Secretary finds is generally recognized as particularly suitable for sporting purposes.” That means, if you make a non-sporting shotgun, it could be restricted ($200 tax stamp) under the NFA. But that is not all.

The KRX is imported. A little-known fact, the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA) generally prohibits the importation of firearms into the United States. The only reason Americans can import guns at all is if the gun falls into one of four narrow categories.  We have the KRX because “the Attorney General shall approve applications for importation when the firearms are generally recognized as particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes” (the much-maligned sporting purposes clause).

The sporting features of the KRX, lightweight, five round magazine, adjustable sights, removable choke and self-adjusting gas system make it adaptable and fun. I am not a fan of regulation, but the KRX sporting features make it a better choice than many other single-use shotguns.

The MSRP for this TriStar KRX Tactical is $624. That is an incredible value for a shotgun with these features and functions.  If you look around GunsAmerica, you can certainly beat that price.

TriStar Arms provides a great warranty. They have a dedicated customer service department that will ensure you are happy with your TriStar firearm for many years to come. TriStar’s Five Year Warranty is specific to the function and operation of the guns offered under the TriStar Arms license.

You can learn more about the TriStar KRX Tactical 12-gauge shotgun over at the TriStar website HERE.

***Shop GunsAmerica for a KRX shotgun***

About the author: Mark Miller is a former Customs Agent and a Green Beret who served in Afghanistan and a number of other live fire locations. A student of firearms and shooting, he is an FFL and a SOT. The guiding philosophy of his life is that terrain and situation dictate tactics and the enemy always gets a vote on any plan.

{ 16 comments… add one }
  • Mikial July 30, 2018, 6:47 pm

    Very cool. I love shotguns like this.

    I’m sure this will get me some hate replies, but I love my old Saiga 12. It functions like a Swiss watch, and this looks like the perfect next generation.

  • Dogman197 July 30, 2018, 12:41 pm

    What now, Shotgun Shaming? What has this group lowered itself too?

    • FirstStateMark July 30, 2018, 3:31 pm

      Oh the humanity!

  • JOEL WS July 30, 2018, 11:52 am

    Does it run mini and short shotgun shells and how well?

  • Capn Stefano July 30, 2018, 11:02 am

    I have the MKA 1919 which is the poppa of this shotgun. Mine has run perfectly in over 800 shells. The magazines are compatible and a 20 round factory magazine is promised for 2018. This is my next shottie

    • JOEL WS July 30, 2018, 11:57 am

      Can the MKA 1919 run minis and short shells? Would you think this new TriStar KRX Tactical version could run them as well? TIA.

      • Capn Stefano July 30, 2018, 1:32 pm

        I doubt that any semi auto can be reliable with those specialty rounds. Pumps, revolving types and single/DBL barrels are the way to go if you want to use those

        • JOEL WS July 30, 2018, 7:19 pm

          Thanks for the feedback. It was confirmed that the small rounds will not cycle. Sometimes you just can’t have it all. LOL!

  • John July 30, 2018, 10:51 am

    Does it have an AR bolt head?

  • Daro July 30, 2018, 10:37 am

    I’ll keep my 870 that I bought in 1965

  • Alan July 30, 2018, 8:26 am

    Reliability is the most important feature in any semi auto fed weapon. If the 10 round magazines feed like the 5, this could be the first “Perfect” shotgun.

  • CRAWFORD Tracy T July 30, 2018, 5:06 am

    Very well thought.

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