Fostech Origin 12 Shotgun
Oleg Volk 09.07.15
Every so often, a weapon comes along that’s a game-changer. Kel-Tec P32 was such a gun–the first locked breech pocket pistol. Fostech Origin 12 shotgun, in my opinion, is similarly a breakthrough because it solves all the problems typically associated with shotguns in one design.
The long stroke gas system is adjustable and will work equally well with low-power, low noise shotshells marked “for pump and break open shotguns only” and with magnum slugs. It also stays quite clean.
Extremely concentric smooth bore, good trigger, and mild recoil permit excellent accuracy with slugs: Brenneke magnums cloverleaf at 25 yards with just a 6.5MOA red dot for the sight. Standard magazines hold 5 rounds, but 8 and 10 rounders are available and work reliably.
Besides the long stroke gas system, the reliability is enhanced by the rotating bolt design with multiple beefy extractors.
The entire system takes down for cleaning or transport and can be re-assembled in seconds.The forend with the barrel can be swapped from 18″ to a 9.5″ with gas regulators matched to the barrels. I found that the longer barrel handled better, but the short barrel allowed great balance with sound suppressor installed. With subsonic shotshells, the report is ear safe. With supersonic, it’s a little louder but still greatly reduced from the regular sound.
The barrel and gas system can be removed from the forend easily for detailed cleaning, but we’ve shot 500+ suppressed and 1,500+ unsuppressed without having to clean the firearms.
Thanks to the stock being above the bore line, muzzle flip is absent. Felt recoil is very mild, on par with AR15, so keeping 3-4 empties in the air and still hitting the target is easy.
The manual of arms is very simple and approximates an upgraded competition AR15. All actions can be performed with the strong hand from the pistol grip. Some controls are duplicated on both sides (safety, mag release) but it’s essentially a right-handed firearm. However, the two-pronged safety lever makes it possible for people with big or small hands to reach it, yet doesn’t poke the thumb on the other side.
The stock folds for storage. With the stock folded and the forend taken down, the shotgun and several magazines fit in a large pistol case for air travel.
The rear sight apertures can be folded flat, giving a very fast sight picture for aerial targets. This fighting shotgun would be equally effective for clay games and give stiff competition to the conventional sporting smoothbores.
Typically, photos of shotguns at the moment of firing are blurred even with shutter speeds faster than 1/1000s. This photo was taken at only 1/400s and you can click to see how motionless the weapon is even at full-screen size.
Magazines are easy to insert. They go in straight up just like AR mags. The bolt stays open on the last round, so it’s very quick to drop the empty, insert a full, and hit bolt release to go into battery.
The shotgun isn’t without flaws. The forend heats up much too quickly for my liking. 30 shots rapid fire is enough to warm it up uncomfortably. Vertical foregrip or rail covers would fix that. The charging handle is too small, but that’s being addressed with the option of larger folding L1A1/G3 style control. Sight offset is similar to AR15, something to keep in mind at very close ranges.
Overall conclusion: expensive but worth it. The low recoil and lack of muzzle flip, clean and reliable running, good balance, and high capacity all add up to a competent fighting tool which is also much fun in use. The AR-like manual of arms allows paying more attention to the situation and less to trying to keep the weapon topped off with individual shells. Hard nickel finish upgrade is also worthwhile improvement to simplify maintenance.