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The Kalashnikov USA KS-12, KS-12T and KS-12T FDE are American produced 12-gauge semi-automatic shotguns that look like and feel like exactly they are, modern updates to the USSR’s legendary Kalashnikov. These intuitive all-purpose everyman shotguns are Made in USA.

The standard KS-12 has the traditional AK-type side-mounted optics rail and backs to a 3” chamber. It can fire 2.75” and 3” shells thanks to an adjustable gas system that can be set for different loads.

Mikhail Kalashnikov’s personal story is remarkable. Much has been written about this genius and his early life of hardship. But to recap quickly, his small stature made him perfect for T-34 tank duty during World War II. Tanks have confined spaces, so tankers tend to prefer short barreled, compact guns they can carry in confined spaces.

Moreover, Kalashnikov was wounded in combat. While recuperating, he overheard other wounded soldiers complain about their unreliable rifles. Using such inputs, he designed guns during the war. None were standardized for production, but they led him to design the original AK-47 assault rifle that was standardized and mass produced. Kalashnikov always said the AK-47 was not for offense, but for defense. While this was his most famous gun, he designed roughly 150 guns in all including the Saiga semi-auto based off the AK-47.

The standard KS-12 comes standard with a 5-round magazine. The 18.25” barrel is fronted by a threaded barrel for muzzle brakes. A fixed-stock bookends the back. Overall length is 38”, and weight is 8.5 pounds. The gun’s design makes it compatible with the Saiga semi-automatic’s accessory portfolio.

Next, the KS-12T has a more sculpted/contoured pistol grip, a longer 10-round magazine, a 6-position lever-adjustable stock and a weight increase to 8.86 pounds. The barrel is still 18.25”. Overall length ranges from 38.5” to 42.25”. It has a rotating bolt lock-up, flash suppressor and a tri-rail forend so you can mount accessories essentially where you want.

The KS-12T FDE is largely the same except the stock is skeletonized with a triangular profile. The stock, pistol grip and handguard are FDE (field dark earth) while the rest of the gun remains matte black.

Kalashnikov USA might sound like an oxymoron, but it’s not. Its legitimate, real and it’s a fascinating product.

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