The pump action shotgun goes back 130 years and has worked exceptionally well. The one reason that more modern designs and semi-autos have not supplanted its popularity is because it can handle any shotgun ammunition in the correct length and gauge with impeccable reliability. It remains one of the most versatile and effective firearms there are and as long as you do your part it will not let you down.
That said, there is no reason we can’t allow a bit of modernity to sneak in, or perhaps a lot, and produce a shotgun that retains the impeccable reliability of a pump-action but in a far more tactical and useful package. That is exactly the idea behind the new UTS 15 bullpup shotgun (which stands for UTAS Tactical Shotgun 15-rounds) from UTAS.
The sample UTS 15 I received showed a few distinct improvements over some earlier models. Not having an earlier sample to make a direct comparison I restrict myself to the product at hand and indeed it is quite a product. As stated this is a bullpup design, which paces the action inside the stock at the very rear of the gun. As a result the overall length is made much shorter without having to sacrifice barrel length or effectiveness. The overall length with the short choke tube installed measured 29.5 inches while barrel length measured 20.5 inches.
This 12 gauge pump-action shotgun also boasts dual magazine tubes that ride side-by-side above the barrel with each holding seven rounds of 2¾-inch shells of six rounds or 3-inch magnum shells. With a round in the chamber this provides the shooter with a total capacity of up to 15 rounds with no reloading and firing as fast as you can pump the action.
While the UTS 15 is very short in overall length it does seem a bit overly tall and stout, however it is in fact very lightweight coming in at less than 7 pounds empty. This is thanks to its unique construction. According to UTAS, this is the first shotgun every produced with a receiver made completely from fiber reinforced injection molded polymer. More than 80 percent of the gun is this material, which significantly increases corrosion and wear resistance while reducing weight and providing very strong and durable construction.
The receiver features dual length of cooling holes along each side which, when combined with the bullpup mechanism provide it with a very futuristic look. Above the top row of holes there are white numbers from zero to seven on both sides to provide a round count. These holes also match up with corresponding holes along the steel magazine tubes and the white tip at the front of the magazine followers shows very clearly the number of rounds remaining. You do have to view the side of the shotgun to see the round count however.
At the rear of each magazine tube is a dust cover that must be opened to load and closed for the shotgun to operate. Opening them reveals the follower tube. The top of the receiver has nearly 19 inches of continuous Picatinny rail, which makes it very easy to install the included iron sights or any preferred MBUIS or optic. The included sights are aluminum and very solid with an elevation adjustable front sight and windage adjustable rear sight. The rear sight can also be flipped from a standard large peep aperture to a V notch.
On the left side of the receiver are front and rear removable sling attachment points. These are steel and solidly built. All the steel and aluminum parts on the UTS 15 have a matte black chrome, anodized or black oxide finish which matches well with the matte black non-glare textured finish on all the polymer parts.
At the rear of the Picatinny rail, prominently protruding through an opening in the top of the check rest/action cover is the magazine tube selector switch. Leaving the selector in the middle position causes the action to feed from the magazine tubes in an alternating fashion until the gun runs empty. There is no need to flip the switch between tubes unless a specific tube is desired. I which case orient the selector away from the tube you want to use. If only one tube is loaded you can shut it off from being used. If set to auto select the action will not alternate between the tubes but only draw from the loaded magazine tube.
The polymer cheek rest is actually the action cover and can be easily rotated upwards from the front in order to inspect the rear of the magazine tube, action and chamber area. This really will only need to be done to clear a jam or malfunction and for disassembly. The chamber can be more easily checked with the action open from the right side of the gun. At the rear of the stock an effective rubber energy-absorbing recoil pad is one inch thick.
The model UTS 15 I received is the new Military and Police model which features an integral tactical LED high output light and integrated red laser sight. This light/laser combo features a heavy-duty circuit board, shock absorbing system and is fully water proof. The controls are located on the right side of the receiver just above the trigger guard and easily accessed by the trigger finger.
The 4140 steel barrel is chrome lined and threaded to accept any standard Beretta choke tube. Two knurled choke tubes were included, a short cylinder tube which only extends about 0.75 inches and a tactical door breaching/flash suppressor cylinder choke tube with a standoff spiked end cap and alternating ports. This tube adds two inches to the barrel. A steel tube to extend the barrel an additional 8 inches is included for those who may want to use the UTS 15 for hunting or other shooting sports. The bolt body and head are also precision machined and heat treated from 4140 steel and the bolt head features three locking lugs.
To fire then switch the safety selector to the proper position, pull the trigger and work the slide action to cycle and continue firing. As is the case with any pump action shotgun the pump must be operated aggressively. I found this to be the case especially with the UTS 15. There I little room for error here and none for people who short stroke the pump.
The shell loading and feeding system is also very reliable. A spring loaded carriage guides and pushed the shells from the magazine tube to the chamber for positive feeding even if holding the shotgun upside down. Recoil was extremely manageable and with the low bore axis of the barrel and there was negligible muzzle rise even using heavy hitting slug and buckshot loads. I did limit myself to 2¾-inch shells however.
On the range I did experience an odd malfunction. I seemed to be getting light primer hits and misfires. The cause was apparently a slightly early action release when I squeezed the trigger that was causing the action to unlock and the bolt head to move slight rearward at the same time as the firing pin was moving forwards. This was easily and quickly resolved by aggressively holding the slide in the forward position during firing.
In delivering the UTS 15, UTAS has done American shooters a great service. This is a super-fast shooting lightweight and reliable tactical shotgun with a plethora of special and well thought out features. The extras included make it readily adaptable for home defense, or sport use all in a very compact and easily transportable package. To learn more please visit www.utas-usa.com or call 847-768-1011.