KelTec KS7 Shotgun Review: Futuristic Pump-Action Power
KelTec, based out of Cocoa, Florida, is known for being a leading innovator within the firearms industry. The majority of its firearms are polymer based, allowing it to introduce some designs very different from the rest of the manufacturers.
In 2008, KelTec jumped into the shotgun world when it introduced the KSG, a dual-tube, 14-shell variant that made its way into a few editions of the “Call of Duty” video games. Fast forward to 2020, and KelTec took the next step and released the KS7, a slimmed-down version of its now popular scattergun. It won the award as the Shotgun of the Year from American Rifleman and an NRA Golden Bullseye for its fresh take on the bullpup design.
I’ve had some time with a KSG years ago. With both tubes fully loaded and a red-dot optic on top, it’s not nearly as agile as the KS7.
While it is cheaper than the KSG and features one magazine tube, it would be a mistake to think of the KS7 as the budget version of the KSG. In fact, it’s more like it improves on the KSG premise.
KelTec chose to base this around the same 18.5-inch barrel, keeping it squarely in the tactical shotgun realm. That’s not to say it couldn’t hold other roles, but I don’t think you’re going to see many popping up from a duck blind next season.
Pros & Cons
Only having one magazine tube means the capacity is a bit lower on the KS7 compared to the KSG, with the former carrying 6+1 3-inch shells instead of the maximum 14+1 2.75-inch shells held inside the KSG. That capacity can be increased to at least 10+1 by running mini shells, which is a popular choice within the KelTec owners’ community.
A key difference in both the styling and function of the KS7 is the carry handle and integrated sights up top. It gives the gun a “space blaster” appearance based on the opinions of those who went with me to the range. I’m not particularly fond of it myself, but I can certainly appreciate the utility and the simplicity of it. From what I’ve read, it can easily be swapped out for a KSG Picatinny rail
When I took the gun out for testing, I have to say that the bullpup design certainly makes it a great companion riding shotgun. Its shorter nature allowed it to be deployed from a vehicle much quicker than my personal Remington 870 Marine Magnum.
I put the KS7 through its paces with some tests to note some key characteristics. Some hand-thrown skeet got vaporized with prejudice within about a 50-yard range. Moving past that, the pattern opened up a bit and required more effort.
I decided to try another drill called the “Kick the Can,” where a can is tossed out. You take the first shot where it lands, and then you make a follow-up shot before it settles down and stops moving. The point of this is to rapidly shift direction to adjust for an erratic response. Again, the shorter overall length of the KS7 really shined here and felt like I was pushing an AR pistol versus swinging a long-barreled shotgun.
I loaded up some Remington slugs to see how the KS7 reached out. Settled in on the tripod, I appreciated the fiber-optic front sight post. Admittedly, I had to walk two shots in, but on the third slug, I rang steel at 100 yards.
Through my testing I ran Remington slugs, Federal 00 Buck, and Winchester Super X turkey loads. That’s a lot of capability coming from one firearm. Even with those various types of ammo, I never ran into any feeding issues. That’s worth noting because this gun had not yet crossed my standard break-in point.
Reliability & Final Thoughts
Overall functionality was great on the KS7. I was happy with the trigger and the action of the pump. The shotgun is fully ambidextrous with the safety and bolt release, while shells eject downward from the back of the bullpup design. This makes it a suitable pickup for southpaws who always seem to get the short straw on left-handed options.
I think the KS7 hits the ball out of the park. It’s a great general purpose 12 gauge that works in a number of scenarios. It may not be tailored to some specific tasks, but it can still get the job done, and it is certainly a conversation piece!