Shotguns remain valuable tools for tactical teams, patrol officers and other law enforcement roles. Many still use them for SWAT entry operations, and they remain the primary firearm for breaching. Shotguns are versatile tools, allowing teams to deploy various gas, beanbag and other less-than-lethal projectiles on non-compliant subjects. While the rifle has largely supplanted the shotgun, several tasks requiring a solid and reliable 12 gauge remain. Arguments continue as to whether semi-auto or pump-action shotguns are best. Setting aside the typical brand loyalty or personal preferences, it really depends on the task.
When it comes to general entry details, it is hard to beat a semi-automatic. They are fast, accurate and can deliver significant firepower. Add box-fed designs to that mix, and the semi-auto category looks even stronger. Well-made AK-based shotguns are devastating entry weapons that operate much the same as a rifle, making transition training easy. But, while well suited to dedicated entry, semi-automatics simply will not reliably run breaching, gas, frangible or other specialty rounds. This area remains the purview of the pump action, and likely always will.
Given the low velocity of most specialty rounds, the shorter the barrel, the better—especially for breaching. Shortened shotguns with pistol-grip stocks and forends have long been the most popular breaching shotguns for tactical teams. Breaching rounds are deployed at muzzle contact, so barrel length is less relevant. More importantly, you need to work into small places to access hinges and locking mechanisms, and long barrels make that a problem. As a rule, breaching shotguns are dedicated to this task alone.
Generally, the breacher shoulders the shotgun and accesses a primary rifle or pistol before making entry. This can be cumbersome and time consuming. But what if you could have a shorter shotgun with the ability to switch to lethal ammunition for entry?
One of the latest bullpups designs, the Kel-Tec KSG, has sparked some considerable interest and discussion because it has two magazine tubes, allowing you to switch between lethal and specialty rounds. In its standard configuration, the KSG is very handy. But taken to its extreme, the SBS (Short-Barreled Shotgun) version is one of the shortest shoulder-fired shotguns you can get.
Kel-Tec KSG Details
Bullpup designs really shorten things up, and the SBS definitely earns its moniker. At only 21.5 inches long overall, it is incredibly short. The KSG SBS starts with the same base as the standard KSG, but utilizes a 13.7-inch barrel instead of the original’s 18.5-inch barrel. The KSG SBS’ magazine tubes hold five shells each, for a 10+1 total capacity. The pump forend features an integral vertical foregrip with a built-in tactical light powered by a single CR123 battery.