Review: Panzer Arms BP-12 Bullpup Shotgun

man shooting panzer arms bp-12 shotgun

Sometimes nostalgia corrupts your remembrances. Things I enjoyed in my youth are fondly remembered, but I no longer have to deal with them.

My new six-speed automatic Jeep is so much more reliable and easier to drive than my Dad’s old Jeep panel truck, but I fondly remember the old jeep.

I grew up with double-barrel and pump-action shotguns. While they were useful and still are, the Panzer Arms BP-12 Bullpup is something from a different century.

Standout Features

This shotgun is a self-loader with a five-round detachable box magazine. I have several shotguns that do not even accept a light or optics mount of any type.

The BP-12 has several inches of real estate for mounting lights or optics. The bullpup configuration was first used in rifles and only much later has it become popular in shotguns.

The design places the receiver behind the shooter’s face and the firing grip forward. This allows for a relatively long barrel in a short package.

The BP-12 doesn’t point like a standard shotgun, as the balance of the piece is very different than a standard-design shotgun. The shotgun’s natural point is quite different than a bullpup.

The bullpup must be handled like a rifle and driven toward the target like a rifle and aimed with more care than the usual shotgun.

While modern and effective, a bullpup must be learned and handled decisively to be effective.

Panzer Arms BP-12 Specifications:

Action: Self-Loading
Chamber: 12-Gauge, Three-Inch
Overall Length: 30.7 Inches
Capacity: 5+1 (10rd Magazines Available)
Weight Unloaded: 7.8 lbs
Weight Loaded: 8.6 lbs
Barrel Length: 20 Inches
Finish: Blued
Panzer Arms BP-12 shotgun
This is one interesting and formidable shotgun.

How It Shoots

When you are firing the shotgun, your cheek is closer to the receiver than with most shotguns. Muzzle signature is more evident.

The Panzer Arms BP-12 shotgun isn’t difficult to use well, but these differences simply must be understood. The person who learns to use the shotgun well will find it a very effective firearm.

Those who do not care to practice and learn should choose a simpler firearm. The primary difference between this shotgun and others is that the firing grip is far ahead of the action.

The trigger bar goes through some tangents and this means the trigger will never be as nice as a standard-design shotgun, but then a crisp trigger is part of very few shotgun designs.

Learning to use the bolt release and magazine release isn’t difficult. Simply put aside time for dry-fire practice.

A few words on the shotgun’s quality of manufacture: the fit, finish and machining impress. The hardware fits well and the finish is always even.

The shotgun is delivered with AR-15 type sights, two magazines that hold five 12-gauge shells, and a cheek riser to allow the use of optical sights.

If you are using iron sights, then remove the cheek riser. There are two adjustment rings supplied with the shotgun that must be fitted after partial disassembly in order to change between standard and high-velocity loads.

The cocking handle may be reversed to allow racking from either side. Most right-handed shooters will have the cocking handle on the left side of the receiver.

The bolt handle allows plenty of leverage, racking the bolt isn’t difficult at all.

Panzer Arms BP-12 bullpup shotgun
The fit, finish and function of the shotgun are all impressive.

Other Performance Notes

Simply load the magazine with shells, slipping the shells under the feel lips and pressing them straight to the rear. I always tap magazines on a boot heel or hard surface to seat the shells.

This ensures feed reliability. Then, angle the magazines in the magazine well and be certain it is properly seated. Rack bolt to load the first shell and you are good to go for firing.

The safety lever is easy enough to manipulate. When firing the shotgun, it seems recoil is easier to manage than with a standard-configuration shotgun.

Fire, get the sights back on target and hit the target again. The large peep sights make for excellent high probability. The shotgun was fired with a variety of loads.

Some did not function properly. Panzer Arms states that a break-in period of up to 100 full-power shells may be needed. This seems reasonable.

Winchester PDX 12-Gauge Ammo
There are a number of truly formidable 12-gauge shotgun loadings.

Other tightly-fitted firearms require a modest break-in. Some full-power shells did not function properly, with the occasional short cycle, while some types came out of the box running.

Fiocchi full-power Aero slugs functioned and so did Remington full-power buckshot. Reduced-recoil loads will not function, at least with the full-power ring installed and during the initial break-in period.

Incidentally, during the test, I dropped a fully-loaded all-steel magazine on the concrete walk of the firing range. The magazine was scuffed of course, but not dented and it never failed to feed properly.

After the initial test, I would load full-power Remington Power Piston loads and rest easy. The shotgun is supplied with three choke tubes for open, modified and full choke use.

I like this option in a combat shotgun. I like to have a shotgun that delivers a solid hit with the buckshot load to at least 20 yards. These choke tubes are Mobil types and are nice to have.

Conclusion: Panzer Arms BP-12

I like the Panzer Arms shotgun. It is well-made and should prove to be a formidable defender for the home or ranch.

What do you think of the Panzer Arms BP-12? Do you like bullpup shotguns? Let us know in the comments below!

(Like this shotgun? You might also like the Kel-Tec KSG Pump-Action Shotgun. Read our range report on the firearm here.)

About the Author:

Wilburn Roberts

When Wilburn Roberts was a young peace officer, he adopted his present pen name at the suggestion of his chief, as some of the brass was leery of what he might write. This was also adopted out of respect for families of both victims and criminals. The pen name is the same and the man remains an outspoken proponent of using enough gun for the job.

He has been on the hit list of a well-known hate group, traveled in a dozen countries and written on many subjects, including investigating hate crimes and adopting the patrol carbine. He graduated second in his class with a degree in Police Science. It took him 20 years to work himself from Lieutenant to Sergeant and he calls it as he sees it.
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (28)

  1. I recently purchased the twelve pro and see it shoots 2 3/4 or 3″ mag. I was wondering what y’all would recommend shells to run through for breaking it in and what to get for home defense. Will l have to use high brass on this shot gun.

  2. I bought the BP 12 having used bull pups of various caliber in the past. There is no mistaking the fact that this is a home defense weapon! At least mine. Mine has proven to be a reliable tool. I’ve had mine for the better part of a year, and once I spent some time getting used to the fit, feel, and function, I simply love this weapon!

  3. Well, I started the break in. It will not cycle the 1300FPS slugs or the 1300FPS 7shot. But, I didn’t expect it would until I loosened the old girl up with some 2000FPS slugs and some 1450 FPS 00 buck. The range my buddy took me to didn’t allow buck shot – Bummer! So, it still isn’t thoroughly broken in. It did start to cycle a few of the slow slugs toward the end. Any who, I put about 50 rounds through it and sighted in the Insight R-spec reflex optic. Now this was un-expected. After, a few shots I had a fine 1 inch group at 30Meters. This was supposed to be a fun gun and a home defense gun, but I think it would be a comfortable gun to take on a pig Hunt or a deer hunt while the foliage is thick.
    I’ll slam 100 rounds of that high velocity buck shot through it this weekend and let ya’ll know how it goes.

  4. The previous comment was misleading … I am still putzing around trying to find a place to mount the light SWITCH … there is PLENTY of picatinny rail to mount all sorts of stuff almost anywhere you might want to. There are also m-lock and picatinny rail mounted switches … I just don’t happen to own one. (yet)

  5. Oddly enough, the same day I took delivery of my BP-12, my son came home (2,000 miles away) with the VX-80. No discussion beforehand. 😉 While I haven’t had mine out to the range yet (ammo is hard to come by and I want to get at least the break-in quantity PLUS a couple of boxes before I load the van), it cycles 2.75″ shells extremely smoothly.
    The only “drawback” I see so far is that the buttstock rubber might be a bit too grippy. I suspect some talcum powder might be in order. Also, I’m having trouble finding a landing place for my light. But that’s a minor thing.

  6. I own the cousin, the Radikal Arms NK-1 bullpup 12 gauge. As I understand it, the partners, a brother I believe, split off and formed Radikal from Panzer with the same design. In fact the NK-1 uses the BP12 Manual. 10 round mags and 20-25 round drum mags are available and a joy to shoot. The real benefit is home defense. Around corners you still have the 16.5″ barrel, but short in configuration, much like an SBR, but, unlike SBRs and pistol AR configurations, missing and going through a wall or window is less likely with bird or buckshot. Also, it is much harder for a hiding-around-the-corner threat to grab your barrel, which, believe it or has happened with a pump home defense shotgun. Unlike the Benelli and Mauser HD style shotguns, when you are empty you don’t have to turn over the shotgun and load the tube, the action is twice as fast as pump, and a 1200 lumen Olight and laser makes identifying the threat and getting on target instantly a plus. You can “suppress” the threat, make him run, and not have to be concerned about going empty. (If you don’t mind shooting up your home.)

  7. Blackie,
    I too, 69 to 71. Our squad used .17 w/silencers and AK47’s. After the party I came home and joined up w/the Nra and Ted Nugent’s “club .Then when my buddy came back from Afganistan he was as radical about his shot gun as Uncle Ted was of his. Yup, 90% of what I have now are12 gauge. If you need to be effective 12 gauge is the answer. I’m scheming on a DP12 as I wright.

  8. I had the old hi std with flashlight mount on top. It was sweet. Went to a break in one night and I was in good hands.

  9. I , like many others I suspect was introduced to the tactical shotgun while in service an for me while serving in SEA.
    My first was a Winchester pump 12ga that was traded for an 870. Along the way and via a good hand of Poker I acquired a pair of 10ga doubles with pistol grips an 10” barrels. Traded these to a USMC tunnel rat for an M3 GreaseGun. But that’s another story.
    Carried a pump 12 for all my tours in the AO. Liked #1 Buck and Flechette loads as the most effective.
    I managed several other conflicts in service and a pump 12 was always part of the loadout. Worked verious security projects outside of the US over the years and again always found a place for a 12ga.
    As the years progressed I found that i had several 500’s and several 870’s all of tactical configuration. And along comes a US company called BullPup Unlimited.
    My CQ rifle of choice was already the MSAR STG556 as its versatility due to its short stature made it ideal for deployment from inside a vehicle and within a tight urban environment.
    By putting the 870 in a BullPup
    Stock I discovered a new and highly versatile for my work envelope. It’s actually about two inches shorter than an M4.
    Point here is that the BullPup Shotgun allows for a much broader selection of deployment options due to size without sacrificing operation, function or effectiveness.
    I still like a pump over an auto but that’s a personal choice.
    There is no “bad” BullPup 12, pump
    Or auto, that I have had the opportunity to fire. There are just ones who’s designs are better than others. The VR80 comes to mind as several others who have discovered the BP12’s that I work with now carry them at all times.
    The greatest hinderance to ownership seems to be cost and availability.
    The Panzer Arms 12 looks to be a hugged and CQ ready platform. I look forward to putting a few boxs thru one at my first oppertunity.

  10. Rock solid shotgun … took it through a 4 day Front Sight course and it preformed performed flawlessly, digested everything without a hickup. Ar controls we familiar and easy to get used to.

  11. Looks to me that the Panzer Arms BP-12 is almost a duplicate of the Hatsan Escort B12 Bullpup. Have had mine for about 6 months. Awesome weapon. Really needs high volocity rounds to cyclye properly.

  12. How do I know which adjustment ring came installed in the gun?
    Is the adjustment ring supposed to be free-floating when The cocking handle is locked in open position?
    Love the way it handles just want to make sure all is well for longevity‘s purpose.

  13. I really want this shotgun, hopefully it’s allowed for 3 gun as I really don’t want to spend $3,000 + for a custom built competition shotgun.

  14. I picked up the panzer BP12 a little over a year ago, and I love it! As the article states, fit and finish are top notch, and this thing is a blast to shoot. Mine has run perfectly with standard loads out of the box, not a single short cycle or FTF, and recoil is surprisingly low which I attribute to the buffer tube. For comparison, my son has a Kel-Tec that is a great gun, but it wears my shoulder out. I can shoot this BP12 all day without having to find an ice pack in the evening…LOL. The length of the BP12 makes concealment a breeze – with a couple gun magnets it fits easily behind a headboard, under a bedrail, behind a dresser – and this makes it great for home defense. All in all, I highly recommend it.

  15. I purchased a Panzer BP-12 three years ago, and I love the gun. My ONLY complaint is that the company has not made a purpose built drum magazine for it.

  16. In ‘Nam my rifle co. 1stSgt, as he transferred out to become infantry bn SgtMaj, passed to me 12 ga Winchester riot pump w/bayonet in Battle of Hue, loaded alternatively 00-buck-flechette for my CP group close-in defense, highly useful there… Had to use it once when gap in CP security allowed NVA/MFVC bo-doi to charge onto us… Tight quarters could have caused problem but luckily didn’t that time… Self-loading bullpup configuration would have been superior…

    I can envision better handling & results for trap & skeet w.bullpup… May not be allowable for ass’n competitions but would be enjoyable for h*** of it! Worthwhile having for personal use…

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