Bullpup configurations are nothing new, but Kel Tec’s handling of the design is exceptional. Kel-Tec’s KSG is a double-magazine-tube pump shotgun with a 14-shell magazine capacity. That is a tremendous reserve of firepower. While I am all for high-capacity shotguns, the weight and complication of the KSG isn’t for everyone. These shotguns are not sporting guns but first-class shotguns for home defense and tactical use.
Kel-Tec has recently introduced a version that will make for an ideal home defense shotgun for many. The piece is light, handy, and fast handling, and it maintains a seven-shell magazine capacity. This is also a less expensive shotgun than the formidable KSG.
Kel-Tec has been at the job a long time, and with the K7 they build on production experience with the KSG. The K7 is in essence a single-magazine KSG.
The new shotgun weighs only 5.9 pounds unloaded and about 6.5 pounds loaded with 00 buckshot. The barrel rides over the magazine, and the ejection port and loading port are combined. The KSG featured a magazine selector, necessary to the design, that required the shooter to flip from the empty magazine to a full magazine. A really good hand could even keep one magazine loaded with slugs and change between the buckshot and solid load if need be.
The single-magazine K7 is much simpler. A newly designed carrying handle also incorporates a sighting channel. A green fiber optic front sight makes for fast and easy aiming. The forend is well designed for rapid manipulation. The action must be stroked completely to the rear and back to avoid a short cycle or misfeed.
This isn’t difficult. Using recoil to guide the arm as the piece recoils, slam the forend to the rear and then move it forward briskly.
The action uses the proven dual-action bar system of the KSG. If the action and receiver resemble any proven action, it is the Ithaca Model 37. The safety operates right to left for Safety and left to right for Fire. The safety is surrounded by a ridge that protects the safety from inadvertent operation. An extended ambidextrous slide release is just ahead of the triggerguard.
The magazine loading port is near the buttstock. It isn’t difficult to load seven shells. Be careful not to jam your thumb into the shell retainer. Loading is accomplished in the same port that’s used to eject the spent shells. You cannot load the chamber; all shells must be loaded into the magazine and then racked into the chamber. If you wish, a total of eight shells may be deployed.
The K7 shotgun is only 26 inches overall, a very neat and fast-handling combination. The barrel is 18.5 inches long. The choke is rated open cylinder, which is basically no choke at all.
The shotgun breaks down easily. There are dual pins located at the back and center of the receiver. A neat trick is that there are openings in the pistol grip to hold these pins. The pistol grip now tilts out, and the buttstock simply slides off.
This frees the bolt. Then move to the front and unscrew the slotted magazine release. A coin is used to remove the magazine cover. Next, the spring and follower are removed. The barrel is secured by a spring-loaded detent. It isn’t difficult to fieldstrip the K7 for cleaning.
The K7 holds more shells than most conventional riot guns, yet it is far more compact. The balance is good, making for fast handling. The design is fully ambidextrous, a great advantage. The K7 is easier to handle with one hand that most shotguns. After the first shot, one-hand manipulation is complicated but may be accomplished if you have leverage to rack the forend.
The shotgun operates the same as any other pump-action shotgun. The stock must be held tight to the shoulder, if there is any slack or stand off, recoil is increased. Lean into the shotgun, and rack the action to load. Press the trigger to fire. As the K7 recoils, work the action to the rear. As you bring the forend forward, you also bring the muzzle back on target. Repeat.
Recoil is there, no question. While it’s straight back and manageable, the K7 weighs but 6.5 pounds or so loaded. I began the test fire with Federal’s birdshot load. Function was perfect, and the shells fed, chambered, fired, and ejected normally. This was a pleasant firing experience.
I fired 25 shells without any type of problem. Next, I switched to Federal 00 buckshot. This is a load with an excellent reputation. The buffered shot provided a good pattern on a man-size target at 7 and 10 yards. Recoil is there.
I would recommend using birdshot for practice. Buckshot should be fired for familiarization and deployed for personal defense. The K7 isn’t a bear to control, and the fiber optic front sight made for fast acquisition of the target.
I also fired a magazine of Federal Tru Ball slugs. These are respected for accuracy. The Truball slugs went into a cloverleaf at 7 yards. At 15 yards, I fired a 2-inch group with the remaining three shells going into less than 3 inches and a little low. This 1-ounce slug would prove effective against large animals if need be.
The K7 isn’t for everyone. For those willing to master the piece, and who have a real need for a compact and powerful shotgun, there is nothing quite like the K7. While magazine capacity is halved compared with the KSG, the K7 is lighter and faster handling. Seven 00 buckshot shells should be the measure of any home defense situation. I like the K7 a lot.
Would you prefer the lighter K7 with half the capacity or the full payload of the KSG? Share your answer in the comment section.