Regular readers have probably already figured this out by now, but, yes, I want one of these:
Civilian legal (18.5″ barrel, 26″ overall length), 12 gage 2.75″ shells… and 14+1 of them at that, manual switching between two separate magazine tubes (allowing for separate loadouts), bottom ejecting and loading, pump-action, bullpup… yeah, it meets damn near most of my “strange firearm” quirk requirements.
On the plus side, it is a bullpup design, with just over half of its length forward of its pistol grip, which makes it pretty perfectly suited for home-defense (and other tight-space) applications – before, you had to fork over the $200 privilege tax to get an SBS, but this gives you a full shotgun barrel length in a smaller package, and without all of the federally-mandated idiocy. Likewise, 14 rounds out of a shotgun without reloading is pretty damned near awesome, and trumps every other pump-action shotty out there (Saigas can still beat it with their 20-round drums, but those are a kettle of different fish) – I can totally see this being an interesting firearm in three-gun competitions and the like. And, finally, it appears to be fully ambidexterous, which is something that, as far as I am aware, cannot be said for any other semi-automatic or pump-action shotgun.
However, I do have some qualms. First, the ergonomics are going to be an issue – its length-of-pull is fixed, which is fine for single-user firearms, but my wife and I definitely have different preferences when it comes to shotguns (and I want her to be as able to use it as I am), and having the slide so close to the pistol grip is going to be wierd. Second, there appears to be no way to dampen recoil – my Remington 870 is rocking the Blackhawk Specops Recoil Reducing Stock, which, between it and the reduced-recoil loads I use, make the shotty controllable by, and comfortable for, both my wife and I. So far as I can tell or have read, the KSG has no way to mount such a thing, and no recoil reduction systems built into it (other than its rubber buttpads). And, finally, let us face it: this is a Kel-Tec, and while I understand that, by and large, their products generally work, that name comes with a host of problems – deficient QA, intended release dates that were not worth the paper they were written on (*cough*RFB*cough*), and a general “feel” to their firearms that would probably make me cringe every time I pulled the trigger.
Still, assuming this thing ever gets produced (they are saying it will be on the shelves this year, but given the history of the RFB and PMR, I would bet on “by 2015″), and assuming some folks I trust test it, and assuming it does not blow up in their faces, I could probably be talked into expanding my home defense family to include a KSG. At any rate, I would sincerely appreciate a hands-on and some pictures from anyone headed to the impending SHOT Show (aside from the usual haters who are going to hate), since it appears as though this made-for-movies shotgun will be making its first physical appearance there.
And, hell, when you get right down to it, this quasi-announcement/mostly-leak beats the pants off Ruger’s “ZOMG, you WANT this gun” press release today wherein they announced that they were going to start producing a handgun that Walther has been producing for years already (much less Kel-Tec or Kahr), only now with a Bonus Superfluous Safety and an Unnecessary-Complexity-Adding Magazine Disconnect. Welcome to the party, Ruger. I think it is well past time to stop resting on the laurels of your polymer revolver, and maybe work on something original again… or at least dial down the, “Holy CRAP, we are AWESOME!” tone of your publicity department.