Review: Kel-Tec KSG-25
July 30, 2018
The first firearm I purchased was a Winchester 1300, which I then used to hunt everything from doves to deer. I'm still a fan of slide-action shotguns but, in my opinion, there haven't been a lot of groundbreaking changes to the basic pump design since I bought that 1300. Unless, of course, you consider Kel-Tec's KSG.
Imported pump shotguns are limited to five shells in their tubular magazines, and there are some domestic pump guns that come with nine-shot tubes. Kel-Tec, on the other hand, beat those numbers soundly with the KSG in 2011. The original held seven 23/4-inch, 12-gauge shells each in two tubes with the option of one extra in the chamber for 15. The new KSG-25 holds 24 (plus one) and weighs 9 pounds (2 pounds more than the original). Shells are cleverly held in a pair of tubular magazines that run from the receiver — the top of which doubles as the comb of the stock — to the muzzle.
The design of the KSG series is simple. It feeds from below the barrel, and ejects as the forend is pumped along the dual magazine tubes. Feeding is controlled by a three-position selector switch at the rear of the magazine tubes underneath. This switch allows you to choose whether the shotgun feeds from the right or left tube, or neither if the selector is in the middle. Both magazine tubes have numerous cutouts that keep the shooter informed of the remaining shells available.
When the ambidextrous action release on the front of the triggerguard is placed into the down position and the forearm is retracted, the bolt is pulled rearward through the receiver. Once it reaches the back, a pair of lifter arms drop down to pick up the next shell. The lifter arms ride upward on the return stroke and the shell is then chambered. After firing, the forearm is retracted and as the bolt reaches the rearward position, it ejects the spent shell casing as the lifter arms drop back down to catch the next shell in line.
There's a square crossbolt safety with reverse orientation. Out of the box, the safety must be pushed to the right to fire.
The KSG-25 arrives with two top rails, a long one closer to the receiver for mounting optics and a short one for attaching a front sight above the muzzle. There's also a lower rail on the forearm. The gun's pistol grip and buttplate are polymer, too, and the grip features Kel-Tec's signature square texturing. (Bonus: A vertical grip for the forearm was included in the box.)
The KSG-25 comes factory-equipped with flip-up Magpul MBUS sights, but I removed them and mounted an Aimpoint 9000SC with a 2 MOA red dot for this evaluation. While the Aimpoint proved to be an ideal optic for this shotgun, I would swap out the low rings for something with a bit more elevation. Interestingly, I observed no point of impact shift after firing more than 80, 12-gauge slugs.
There's a bit of slop in pulling the trigger until it breaks at 6.1 pounds. Group sizes landed between 3- to 4-inches on average, but that's the norm at 50 yards. It's worth noting that the metal receiver that doubles as a comb can provide a stiff blow. I suggest some cushioning be placed atop the receiver to protect the facial bones when firing through a full load in both mags.
For defensive use, there are few guns that can match the KSG-25's prodigious capacity and authority. At $1,400, the KSG isn't cheap but that's what you'll pay for a shotgun in a class all by itself.
Type: Pump action
Capacity: 24+1 (2¾ in.), 20+1 (3 in.)
Barrel: 30.5 in.
Overall Length: 38 in.
Weight: 9 lbs., 4 oz. (unloaded)
Finish: Matte black
Sights: Magpul MBUS
Trigger: 6 lbs., 2 oz. (tested)
Manufacturer: Kel-Tec CNC Industries Inc.,