The (Real) AR-15 Shotgun – Hot Rodding the RAAC MKA 1919

Tooth and Nail Armory”>

This is the RAAC MKA-1919 after it has been tricked out by Tooth and Nail Armory. The removed pieces are laid out around the updated gun.

This is the RAAC MKA-1919 after it has been tricked out by Tooth and Nail Armory. The removed pieces are laid out around the updated gun.

I was initially enamored with the RAAC MKA-1919, otherwise known as the AR-15 looking shotgun. It was the star of our 2012 SHOT Show coverage, registering over 80,000 readers within the first few days after release. Then I got a review gun, and in August of that year everyone got to read that the gun had some quirks. My review was one of the few that put the gun through its paces, and demonstrated that it failed more than it fired. But at the time, I was excited about a modification company that had exhibited with RAAC at SHOT. Guns can get expensive and the base price of the 1919 wasn’t that high. A couple hundred in mods I felt was reasonable for a niche specialty gun like this, assuming that it works well. That company never got back to me.
Unfortunately, after over $700 in upgrades, the gun still jammed firing #8 low brass birdshot, which is what is required by most competitions

Unfortunately, after over $700 in upgrades, the gun still jammed firing #8 low brass birdshot, which is what is required by most competitions

Fast forward to September of last year when I did our first review of the UTAS 15 round bullpup pump gun. Again, the gun had issues but also a lot of potential, and in my travels (through the comments actually), I found Tooth and Nail Armory. They make a forward rail for the UTAS, and they also completely re-outfit the RAAC gun to more resemble an AR-15, and they make it actually work. Since they actually answered my email, I became very excited, and gave them cart blanche and the gun, just to see what would come of it. Over $700 later, I still had a gun that didn’t work as I had hoped, but now it does. Let me explain.
Tooth and Nail does a  great job with fit and finish on the gun. As you can see, they just use a band saw to cut off the unwanted parts.

Tooth and Nail does a great job with fit and finish on the gun. As you can see, they just use a band saw to cut off the unwanted parts.

To start, I don’t consider the MKA-1919 to be a life and death tactical weapon. Initially I bought the line from RAAC that these guns had a great track record, and that they were much better than the Saiga line because Turkey was more accessible for parts blah blah blah. As you will read the comments on any semi-auto shotgun that we cover here and elsewhere, the Saigas have come a long way and people really swear by them. Moreover, the magazines are very available, and they encompass a large choice of capacities for hunting, self defense, and bunker defense. Nobody could convince me at this point that the 1919 is a better design or choice for any of those things.

It is however a nifty gun, and though out of the box it is a big disappointment as to how much like an actual AR-15 it is, after Tooth and Nail gets done with it the controls are very much just like an AR-15. For casual competition, 3-Gun or otherwise, I think the 1919 is a good choice, especially if you compete to enjoy a day with friends out at the range and not just to win. People do win with tricked out 1919s, but to get the gun to that good really takes a lot of effort, and money.

The last detail that got my gun to run all of these different types of ammo correctly was having Tooth and Nail tune the mags. I hadn't sent my mags with the gun, and it had worked fine with their mags. That explained it.

The last detail that got my gun to run all of these different types of ammo correctly was having Tooth and Nail tune the mags. I hadn’t sent my mags with the gun, and it had worked fine with their mags. That explained it.

The key to semi-auto shotgun reliability is the ability to fire both heavy and light loads equally as well. This presents a challenge, because if you set the gas system too heavy, the light loads won’t cycle, and if you set it to light, the heavy loads will beat the tarnation out of both you and your gun. When I initially sent the gun into Tooth and Nail, I expected to get it back able to do shoot full snot buckshot and #8 low brass birdshot equally as well. The former is a great choice for bunker defense, and the latter is what most competitions will require. After the Tooth and Nail upgrades, the gun shot the buckshot perfect, no hang ups, but the birdshot didn’t work hardly at all. So I emailed them, and they said that I should mail them my magazines, because they had to be tuned. So I did.
The coolest feature of the upgrade is the forward charging handle.

The coolest feature of the upgrade is the forward charging handle.

When I got the magazines back, lo and behold they worked, and I have had only a few hangups in the several hundred rounds since. The gun now shoots everything fine, with the five round magazines. After failure after failure after failure with this gun, I never did bother to try one of the 10 rounders.

So what did Tooth and Nail do? Their process can be done in pieces or as a package, like I did. The invoice is here in the pictures so you can see how the charges broke out. They basically cut off the stock and grip with a band saw and attach standard AR hardware. Plus they completely revamp the front grip, including a forward charging handle, and they can even install a new trigger group and gas system. Call them if you are on a budget and you need to figure out just how much you want to do to your own gun.

This is the invoice for the work. Many of these things can be purchased for your own installation.

This is the invoice for the work. Many of these things can be purchased for your own installation.

In the pictures you can see part of the process. The guys at Tooth and Nail don’t require that you send the gun to them. Most of the work can be done at home with rudimentary shop tools, and your own gunsmith certainly can do the work if need be as well. Is this gun worth all that? For gun nerds (and we can be a funny lot), sure it is. It’d be tough to the the money back out, but if you plan to use the gun you’ll get your money’s worth out of it. The guys at Tooth and Nail are very pleasant to deal with and they will make sure that your gun works as you expect.

To me, the RAAC gun will always be a big disappointment. Supposedly there is a Gen II that is better, but they have not returned my contacts to get one, probably because mine was one of the few back in the day that reflected what the buyers were out there saying. There was no RAAC booth where it used to be at SHOT this year, so I was not able to speak to them directly either. Ultimately this gun will be relegated as an also ran, but perhaps that is where Turkish shotguns in general belong? In a gunfight I’d take a Mossberg 500 or a KSG any day over this piece of …ahum. But mine’s nice now anyway.

The entire trigger group was replaced.

The entire trigger group was replaced.

The mag release was also replaced.

The mag release was also replaced.

The forend is really slick.

The forend is really slick.

Gas system changes as well.

Gas system changes as well.

One nice thing about this gun is that it has screw in choke tubes, that it comes with.

One nice thing about this gun is that it has screw in choke tubes, that it comes with.

Before and after in this picture.

Before and after in this picture.

{ 33 comments… add one }
  • alan albright October 31, 2016, 1:11 pm

    is a ar-15 or ar-12

  • NevinM Hvarre September 29, 2016, 6:41 pm

    Picked up on a mka 1919 , …. run some slugs through it @1600 ft. Per Sec.
    This thing is great no jams , … I did change out the ring that shipped with it to the higher pressure ring. This firearm really sings, … N M Hvarre , Wisconsin

  • jeff emmert May 7, 2016, 5:59 pm

    I just bought a mka 1919 match took it out the box read the manual and went to town. Everyone was saying cannot shoot low brass through it effectively however of course I wanted to see for myself so I got 2 boxes from Walmart of the Winchester aluminum bargain boxes so that’s 200 rounds and I got two boxes so that’s 50 more rounds of the Supreme low brass and with the two 5 round magazines that it came with I had no hiccups no failure to feed no failure to eject. now I’m just your average guy I love shotguns I have quite a few and Winchesters have always been my favorite I do some Sporting Clays I do some 5 stand. and the occasional skeet. but like I said I’m just your average guy and I was really impressed that I could take it out of the box and run 250 rounds of junk ammo and it did exactly what I wanted it to. cannot wait to run it through a few more paces.

  • CHARLIE March 29, 2016, 2:16 am

    I have a MKA1919 and the mag release wont release the five round mag.I bought the ten round mags and they wont stay in just fall out empty.Shoots like a dream with five round mag as fast as I can pull trigger less than 1second.How do I fix mag release and get 10round mags to stay in? PLEASE HELP

    • Allen Stout April 5, 2017, 3:33 pm

      i have a 10 round mag that will fall out after one round help

  • James April 2, 2015, 2:06 pm

    If you have any of the take off factory parts lying around I’d love to have them. Thanks

  • Ken Birdsell December 30, 2014, 4:10 pm

    I have competed with mostly all the Hot & New models over the past four years. I have owned a Saga, Benelli, Mossberg, Winchester, and a couple more. I currently shoot a Remington Versa Max. Not stock my any imagination, in fact Benny Hill of Triangle shooting sports made this gun the finest I have ever shot. Except for the Benelli M2 which was a good gun but kicked the hell out of you, the rest were POS. Sorry just saying ! So, yes I also was intrigued over a AR Shotgun. My plan was to wait and see. Now two years down the road and I have put it on my permanent wait list.

    Was a cool looking gun though.


  • Michael September 16, 2014, 9:30 pm

    I bought the MKA-1919 XN over the Russian models, 1st I think it is a better shotgun and I did all the mods myself. I even designed and built mag clips for the 10 round mags. I have extras for sale. I just couldn’t see paying $30.00 for one clip when I can make and sell them at $25.00 a set, that’s two mag clips. I am also Working on a 19 round rotatory mag as well. If there is enough interest in it drop me a line at I would like to send some pictures of my beast the (KNOCK KNOCK). I have fired everything with the ten round mags and did a mix up mag, never any issues at all. But like I said I tore the gun down completely and rebuilt it. My son has an Saga AK-12 And sent it to me to do the AK mods But When you are shooting I don’t want to take time to switch the gas system especially when you are shooting a mix mag.

    • Charles Mercer December 2, 2016, 7:40 am

      I would like tonpurchase a set od MPA 1919 10 rd mag’s from you. Thanks,
      Charlie Mercer
      US Army Retired

    • vincent October 8, 2017, 6:44 pm

      would like to talk about some mags for 1919

  • deebar September 9, 2014, 11:28 pm

    First must say it is a very bad looking piece however I don’t want bad ass looking I want dependability . This won’t do it for me . And why anyone would want an AR look a like is beyond me .
    There is a reason shotguns look the way they do . They are built to point and swing and having a pistol grip isn’t going to make it better .
    There are shotguns available that shoot more rounds and aren’t too interested in what you feed it , they just go bang plus they point , which these are awkward at best .
    As one mentioned here his 1100 was 30 years old as are some of mine and I’ve never had a miss feed or misfire ever and I’ve shot competition for many years . I cannot handle anything that I have “any” doubt in.

  • Lou Gots September 8, 2014, 5:37 pm

    Great piece of gear. I have shot both Trap and Skeet with mine, with the appropriate choke tubes. It took a break-in period of about 200 rounds, to function reliably, as the owner’s manual warns. It wants full power loads for doubles. 1200 fps 1 oz. practice loads won’t quite do it..

  • chris September 8, 2014, 3:25 pm

    I recently bought a XN model, it did have ita quirks. The 5 round mags would come apart when shooting and were really easy to over seat them. I bought some 10 round mags and they wouldnt lock in place. Nest was the forend, it was flimsy and separated at its seem. However i took it home and fixed all of the issues with a hand file and some super glue. I have had it out a few times since and am able to run low bras birdshot to slugs with no issues. I have to thank the haters for keeping the price on these low. I was able to pick mine up for a steal i didnt pay much more than one would for a mossberg 500.

  • Bobby September 8, 2014, 1:05 pm

    Yeah try shooting a first Gen Saiga out the box now, that’s a piece of junk.It took a long time for the Saiga to get to where it is now. Your review seemed to lump the first and second Gen together with out ever even trying the second Gen. Some how thou even if you got a second Gen you would probably find some way of nit picking it apart because alot of your reviews are biased. I have a stock second Gen as well as a few of my buddies do and we have never had a single jam. I’ll put my stock second Gen 1919 against a tricked out or stock Saiga any day. The one down side to this gun is like you mentioned before is cleaning it. There’s no way of field stripping it in a hurry that’s for sure.

  • D. Hicks September 8, 2014, 11:46 am

    The AR platform moves on,I’d like to see a 20gauge

  • DanB September 8, 2014, 10:51 am

    I have had one for two years and I love it. It prefers full power 3inch shells, but you can buy a “kit” that allows it to shoot low power shot flawlessly. The kit consists of a washer that is easily place on one side of the gas port for low power, then moved to the front of the gas port (out of the way) for storage.

  • Bo September 8, 2014, 10:06 am

    Too bad it will be illegal to own in New Jersey or New York. Too many of those “evil features.”

  • Ringo September 8, 2014, 10:01 am

    I own THREE MKA 1919’s and as long as you shoot Hi Powered 00 buck or slugs, all is well and the gun needs NOTHING. I use the MKA1919 as the ultimate SHTF CROWD CONTROL no nonsense tactical shotgun. It shoots 10 rounds of buckshot or slugs in a little over 1 second (try that with your wimpy Mossberg or Remington kiddees). If you people want to shoot little birdees, get a cheapo Stevens or Mossberg and stop trying to make the MKA into a Benelli or Remington 1100. The manufacturer did supply me with a washer insert that they claim will allow you to shoot low pressure rounds like birdshot, but I have never tried it. The only thing I’ve added to the gun is the “Shark”(about $80) which does help keep down the recoil and a DOZEN 10 Round Magazines which all work flawlessly.

    • Russ September 9, 2014, 5:08 pm

      OK Ringo, your making me want one now.
      I like what I see and now hear from experience.

    • HECKLER January 28, 2016, 6:45 am

      10 rounds in a little over 1 second?!? When I first read that I almost bust my gut from laughing so hard, I thought it was meant to be a W.A. comment or joke. As I read on I realized you were serious. At that point I started thinking,
      “No this is no W.A. comment this is just flat outright lie.” So I did some investigating of my own by reading tons of reviews by other MKA owners, I didn’t purchase one because I fell into the trap….the trap that was set to mislead people to thinking this was a lousy weapon from the get go with “all of its quirks as they called it”. More reading, more investigating, talking to owners of the weapon at the range and watching….lots and lots of watching. The fact that I didn’t need to change my shorts a after watching these rigs perform is beyond me. I fell in love with it.
      I’m am going to purchase a MKA as soon as I’m financially able to purchase another weapon.
      All because of you Ringo making that WA comment…..10 rounds in a little over 1 second.
      Yup I’m still laughing like crazy…just not at you….I’m laughing now at the Haters.
      Thanks man for for throwing out those WA comments for without them I never would have investigated this weapon so thoroughly.

  • dennis taylor September 8, 2014, 9:48 am

    This gun sounds like a problem child,I’ll just stay with my win model 12 and my Mossberg 500,reliability is more important than looks.

    • Ringo September 8, 2014, 10:13 am

      Dennis? Does your Win model 12 and Mossberg 500 shoot 10 rounds of slugs or 00 buck in under 2 seconds? You are comparing a racing Porsche or Ferrari with a Yugo. The only problem with the MKA is low pressure ammo like birdshot and who the heck wants to shoot birds with this military style, near full auto shotgun? I would chose the MKA in a second in a wartime situation, especially if dealing with a crowd of bad guys (not bad birds).

  • JJJ September 8, 2014, 9:32 am

    I also have the XN model and never had one jam yet!!! 3 inch mags BB loads to 2 3/4 inch 8 shot all work fine. Using the 2, 5 and 10 round magazines and all work great.

    • Herb November 4, 2016, 1:38 pm

      Where did you find the two round mags? I’ve been looking.

      • brendan June 8, 2020, 9:19 am

        hello greetings from Ireland. I know a lot about the MKA 1919 ACCESORIES WISE let me know if you need any info 2 round magazines : akdal /mka/web tac./typhoon f12 all the same magazines I fitted a 2x round magazine to run legal for hunting. try the typhoon f12 2x round mag for sale in the UK England it needs a bit of filing -sanding down as with all magazines .

  • Vanns40 September 8, 2014, 9:13 am

    Why would I EVER buy a gun that I know I’m going to have to dump serious money into to get it to run right? I don’t own a single gun that won’t fire every single time I squeeze the trigger, from my Enfield revolver to my FAL, right up to my Glocks and 1911’s, they shoot every load I put in them and not a SINGLE one has required one penny in modifications or gunsmithing.

    So again I ask, why would ANYONE buy this piece of crap?

    • Ringo September 8, 2014, 10:08 am

      You remind me of a movie critic that puts thumbs down on a movie he has never seen. I’ve had more than one Glock jam at times (and I own 7 glocks). I’ve had Rugers jam, PTR’s jamming and crushing shell casings, Springfield XDS’s jam etc. You have to work through problems with ALL guns until they are broken in and comfortable. Do NOT call the MKA1919 a piece of crap unless you actually own and have used this gun. FYI the MKA is extremely well built and solid. It’s fit and finish is flawless and makes the SAIGA (yes, I own one) look like a piece of crap.

    • deebar September 9, 2014, 11:47 pm

      Vanns , I agree with you completely . I’ve shot more than 90% of people have . Have shot competitively since I was 11 and now 69 . Have owned scores of rifles , shotguns and just a few handguns (6) . Had an M16 and twin 60’s and a ma deuce and have never had a misfeed or misfire out of any one of them . Some of this is just luck as being good guns but it is also knowing your weapon and being able to take care of it .

  • Kevin Bearden September 8, 2014, 8:18 am

    So happens that I bought the MKA 1919 over a year ago. I had read that the gun didn’t run good right out of the box. But my fetish for a shotgun that looks more like an AR than a shotgun got the best of me. The best part of the story is that my particular RAAC MKA 1919 had never failed – not even once. Did I get lucky? Perhaps. Regardless, you won’t hear a negative word out of my mouth about this gun. I love shooting it. In the future, I may do some upgrades, but it won’t be to make it run better – it’ll be just to make it look even more badass than it already does!

  • SM September 8, 2014, 6:40 am

    Yeah I have the generation 2, it’s called the XN model. Yes the XN is more reliable. Also to be fair, you were running Winchester Universal which is known to have a weak powder load and many Semi-Autos are known to hate that ammo. Try the Federal value pack #8 shot low brass ammo, it cycles through mine all the time.
    Also the mags will jam if you seat the mag too high, if you give it a good tap on the bottom like I do to make sure a mag (even if it’s a rifle.) is locked in, train to grab the mag base pad and pull down, it will reseat the mag if it’s too high.

  • John L September 8, 2014, 6:12 am

    I have a 35 year old Remington 1100 and wonder if the guys at Tooth and Nail could turn it into an AR. At the least, it fires every time ( assuming I didn’t screw up my reloads ). I’m kidding of course. Thanks for a great article, funny and sad at the same time. I remember your first review, and that was pretty brutal. We all like to see new concepts succeed, but do appreciate honest reviews. You saved people a lot of money and disappointment. Thanks.

  • Arthur Panick September 8, 2014, 6:03 am

    I thought it was fun to shoot however the rounds did jam more than I would have been expecting. And the tear down was a real pain. I couldn’t figure out how to separate the upper and lower without special tools like a 10 inch alenwrench. I am up for suggestions if anyone has them. All hassles aside I am happy with my MKA-1919. The upgrades may come in the future but my wife wants an SR-45 and a Harley first, she wins. Anyway, hope to hear some feedback on cleaning this gun.

    • Russ September 8, 2014, 12:17 pm

      Hey Arthur, I’m more into VEPR SGs but that MKA is a real nice platform to shoot from, and I really like it’s quickness.
      I’m going to take an educated guess that your jams came from running light loads through it. Run 00 Buck, it’s more fun anyway.
      How about check this gunsmith out to solve your MKA 1919 take down problems;
      Marriage is a give and take thing. Don’t let your lovely wife take too much.
      I say you get her that Ruger, then you go get your upgrades.
      If you get the Harley, dam, a new rifle is definitely in your future.

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