In dual-magazine,pump action 12ga bullpups, UTAS and Keltec are as close to direct competitors as they can be. They have very similar specifications and almost identical MSRP at just under $1200. Since neither shotgun is common in stores (though my neighborhood store has the elusive KSG in stock now), I’d like to provide a side-by-side comparison of the two.
Capacity: Both shotguns hold seven 2.75″ or six 3″ shells in each of the two magazine tubes. UTS15 tubes are on the top and so more accessible, but the follower has to be manually depressed before the first shell can be loaded. Its magazines cannot be easily topped off while partially loaded. KSG has to be held upright or upside-down for loading, but can be topped off mid-string. During firing, the UTS15 can be fed selectively from the left of the right magazine but can also alternate automatically between the left and right magazines, while KSG feeds from one magazine only and has to be switched manually after the first tube is empty. Both shotguns can be fed directly to the chamber, but it’s easier with the KSG.
Weight: Both guns weigh about 6.5 pounds and carry a full pound of ammunition. Recoil is brisk but moderated by effective rubber pads. The straight stock configuration keeps the muzzle rise to a minimum despite the light weight.
Balance: KSG is easier to control with one hand. More of the weight is centered above the grip, and the center of balance is lower, especially when loaded. That also puts the support hand closer to the strong hand, making it imperative to cycle the slide briskly to ensure reliable functioning. A vertical or angled foregrip is recommended. UTS15 is a little more front-heavy but makes up for it with a longer forend.
Ejection and controls: KSG is completely ambidextrous. It ejects down and all controls are duplicated on both sides or centrally located. The left/right tube selector lever can be reached, with a bit of a stretch, by the thumb of the strong hand. Slide release is in front of the trigger guard, and the safety is a cross-bolt. Downward ejection is a boon to the left-hand users but can lead to ejected empties hitting the shooters wrist. UTS15 ejects to the right only. All of its controls are also ambidextrous. Rotary safety is identical to AR15. The slide release is behind the action on the underside of the stock: it cannot be reached without shifting the strong hand from the pistol grip. UTS15 pistol grip is interchangeable, while KSG is molded integrally with the receiver. The tube selector on the UTS15 is easy to see but it’s located uncomfortably close to the shooter’s face.
Construction: Both guns use polymer outer shells and metal internal components. KSG parts are mostly machined, which adds to the production time, while UTS15 makes very extensive use of stampings. UTS is slightly easier to field strip and the chamber is more easily accessible. Both guns accept screw-in chokes. KSG requires a choke tube adapter that takes Remington-style tubes, while the UTS15 uses Beretta-style chokes. Both are available with breaching devices. UTS15 can be ordered with a 7.5″ barrel extention for turkey hunting, while KSG is available with 16.1″ or 13.7″ barrels (subject to NFA licensing requirements).
Sights: UTS15 ships with non-folding metal sights (aperture/V-notch rear, protected post front). Both shotguns are compatible with all AR15-height iron sights and optics. Recently, UTS15 began including a red laser/white light combination housed in the forend with a controlling switch on the left of the receiver. Only one of the two, either a light or a laser, can be activated at the same time. KSG accepts any standard light and/or laser unit on the forend Picatinny rail. Because of the top-mounted magazines, UTS15 has a greater sight offset (4.5″) than the KSG (2.25″).
What’s the appeal? Both guns have very different manual of arms from the typical pump shotgun. They cost more than most pumps as well. In return, the user gets double the ammunition capacity in a shorter, more meneuvarable gun, plus the ability to run different types of ammunition in the two tubes. A bullpup shotgun can be controlled with one hand when necessary, and straight stock configuration improves recovery time during rapid fire. The shorter length also allows use of less obvious carrying cases, an important consideration in restrictive environments.