I have the pleasure of looking through gun listings for a living, and sometimes I see some weird stuff. One of the weirdest guns I’ve ever seen is the Kushnapup. It looked more like it belonged on the set of “Starship Troopers” than it did in the Certified Used Vault. To bullpup aficionados, this Saiga 12 dressed in a funny chassis may be old news, but its striking appearance stuck in my head. 

I couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like to shoot this gun. So, I decided to request the Kushnapup we had on site, knowing full well it could give me one of the strangest experiences I’ve ever had both on the range and in research. 

Table of Contents

Range Time
How It’s Applicable
Pros & Cons




The Kushnapup Series V makes you wonder how long the company worked on the other iterations it got wrong before settling on this design. (Photo: Seth Rodgers/Guns.com)

Kushnapup, from what I can tell, is a company that in 2010 started making a bullpup chassis for a Saiga 12 action. You could either purchase the chassis and convert it yourself from the Saiga Sporter build, or you could buy the full setup from Kushnapup, which is what I appear to have. 

It seemed that the company had a tough time fulfilling orders right from the start, and customer complaints quickly piled up. Although it did fill a good number of orders, the company eventually closed. A visit to its web domain results in a page error, and there seems to be no trace or mention for the last 10 years.

You can see the "Saiga" markings inside the chassis along with the low serial number. It appears the previous owner enjoyed shooting this, as there is a lot of wear on the gun. (Photo: Seth Rodgers/Guns.com)
Like the original Saiga 12, all the controls are meant to mimic the classic AK design. (Photo: Seth Rodgers/Guns.com)

That isn’t to say there is no trace left of the Kushnapup 12-gauge shotgun. The fine folks over at Saiga Custom Works can still make this build happen for you, but it will cost you. That gun and the gun I hold in my hands are two different guns, with two different prices to match.

The Kushnapup in all its glory. (Photo: Seth Rodgers/Guns.com)

This gun seems to be one of the original Kushnapup chassis with a few adjustments, which will run around $1,100 in the Certified Used Vault. The Saiga 12 and Saiga 12 Sporter are legendary for their role in movies, video games, and pop culture, as well as for spawning many imitations. There are many affordable Turkish tactical shotguns in the sub-$300 range that take their aesthetic from the Saiga 12, even if the controls or action may be different.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the features of this Kushnapup.


I’m not going to dive into the Saiga action here but instead focus on the Kushnapup chassis. It’s a simple black plastic clamshell chassis held together with a total of six screws that look like they could be picked up at any local Ace Hardware. I didn’t disassemble this gun because, well – it seemed cumbersome and after doing some reading, that was confirmed. The screws holding this together aren’t captive, so you’ll need to struggle to hold the hex nut with a finger while tightening the screw. Not the end of the world or the most difficult thing to do, but it does seem like a bit of an oversight. 

A closeup of the screws holding this whole thing together. (Photo: Seth Rodgers/Guns.com)

The action has the classic Saiga side charging handle and small silver protrusion for a bolt hold-open. It sounds like the bolt hold-open was already hard enough to use on a normal Saiga 12 Sporter. The Kushnapup chassis isn’t really doing it any favors, so I wouldn’t call this feature easy to use. We’ll get to why this is an important feature more when we’re on the range.

The bolt hold-open isn't the easiest thing to actuate. (Photo: Seth Rodgers/Guns.com)

Just like many of the used guns that arrive every day, some user modifications have occurred, to put it nicely. For starters, nearly every other Kushnapup I’ve seen on the market has a Picatinny rail on the top of the gun for mounting optics and accessories. The previous owner of this gun either ordered the gun sans rail or removed the rail and put traditional shotgun-style sights in its place. Either way, not ideal for sighting in at the range in its current configuration. 

I've seen some aggressive muzzle devices before, but this one might just take the cake. (Photo: Seth Rodgers/Guns.com)

The last feature that I’ll point out that makes this gun a bit unique is the aggressive muzzle brake at the end of the barrel. I’ve never seen one quite like this, and you can tell it was added with the intention of either breaching doors or for a last second self-defense weapon when ammo runs out. It’s chunky and sharp, and there is no way you’d want to catch one to the forehead. Either way, the large brake does work well for helping to mitigate recoil.

Range Time

I was a bit hesitant taking this out to the range. Part of me felt like it was going to blow up, and part of me felt like it just wasn’t going to run, based partially on the reputation of Saiga 12 shotguns. My initial range visit confirmed that the simple shotgun-style sights were not going to work here, and that I’d be firing a bit blindly. At first, I couldn’t get the gun to cycle. It didn’t matter if I was running 00 Buck or slugs, it was essentially a single-shot shotgun. 

Before adjusting the gas port, the Kushnapup was essentially a single-shot shotgun. (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)

After some additional research, I realized I should have tried opening the gas port. There are two settings on this, and the adjustment is easily done with a finger. Once I adjusted the gas, it functioned flawlessly. It was like a totally different shotgun! Granted, I only put another 50-60 rounds through the gun before ending the review, but it ate through it all without issue. Again, I fed it a steady diet of 00 Buck and slugs. 

The Kushnapup has a two-position gas port, which was easily adjusted without the need for tools. The gas port adjustment made all the difference in the world. (Photo: Seth Rodgers/Guns.com)

The best part about shooting this gun was the easy recoil, and surprisingly, the trigger. Normally, bullpups are known for long, heavy, and clunky triggers. I won’t say this trigger is going to win any awards or take the place of your hunting shotgun, but it was a surprisingly nice trigger for a bullpup that made shooting a bit more fun. 

The trigger is surprisingly nice. (Photo: Seth Rodgers/Guns.com)

The issue shooting it now became acquiring any sort of sight picture and reloading, which I’ll touch on in a minute. You can look and point and get close to the intended target, but without any real sights, it just seems like flying blind. That’s why I started shooting from the hip. It’s always fun to let loose shooting from the hip a bit, and the soft recoil combined with the unique way of gripping the gun made it easy and fun. 

Here is the first and biggest problem with this current Kushnapup. Either the previous owner who did this either needs to be committed, or they are a prankster with very few friends. (Photo: Seth Rodgers/Guns.com)
Even getting as low of a cheek weld as I could didn't really give me a good sight picture. (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)
There we go, finally got a good sight picture... should I pull the trigger? (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)


Yeah, that'll buff right out.  (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)

how it's applicable

I can see the case for a bullpup as a home defense gun. They are wieldy and absorb a lot of recoil when shooting. Though there are people who’ve written on it that would absolutely say I’m wrong, I’m not sure I would ever consider this or any Kushnapup my home defense gun. My biggest qualm with it is the reloading process.

I’ll be the first to admit that while I love shooting AKs, I’m by no means an expert, so I’m already behind the curve on the unique loading process for the platform. But on the Kushnapup, not only do you have to rock the magazine in, you must also invert the gun to do so. I’m sure someone in the comments out there has trained on their Kushnapup long enough to avoid this, but it’s going to take some serious time to learn that muscle memory.

Not only do you have to invert the gun to reload, but you also must hold the bolt open to reload, and the bolt doesn’t hold open after last shot. There are people who claim you can reload on a closed bolt, but I could never get it to work properly. Again, this could just be due to my lack of familiarity with the AK platform, or maybe it’s just really hard on a Kushnapup.

Either way, you’re going to need to pull the bolt back. Then while holding the bolt back and the gun against your body, use your other hand to actuate the tiny bolt hold-open lever. It’s no easy task, and it’s extremely time-consuming. Now, you may be thinking that 10 rounds of shotshell – or more if you want to try a drum mag with this – is enough for a home defense situation. Just be forewarned, you should expect to be out of the fight for upward of a minute if you have to reload. 

After all the research and shooting, it's hard to know where the Kushnapup falls in line. Is it a futuristic attempt to make a reliable bullpup home defense AK-style shotgun? Or is it good riddance to a bad relic from years past? Or,  is it like this 5-year-old's blanket, complete nonsense? (Photo: Seth Rodgers/Guns.com)

I think the perfect place for a Kushnapup is at the range being enjoyed. If you like making friends at the range with an unusual gun, then this is for you. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to unbox it on a crowded range, but the guys at the gun store counter all hunkered around the open case when I was filling out my paperwork. It’s a gun that makes you scratch your head, but it’s also a lot of fun to shoot and would be even more fun with an optic.

Pros & Cons


  • Unique look will turn heads
  • Nice trigger for a bullpup
  • Low recoil
  • Wieldy for tight quarters


  • Loading and reloading process is slow and cumbersome
  • Difficult to disassemble
  • Bolt hold open is small and tough to use


The Kushnapup is an odd duck, but it’s proven to me that there is beauty and fun in even the ugliest of ducklings. If I had money for $1,000 range buddies, I don’t think I would send this one back – but then again, I wouldn’t send much back. If you’re looking to make a splash with your friends at the range or if you’re into unique guns, maybe the Kushnapup should be next on your list. 

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revolver barrel loading graphic