SHOT Show Shotgun update

Looks like the BATFE have killed two of the guns on display at SHOT, the Taurus 28 Gauge Raging Judge and a really neat little gun, the Rossi Trail Judge. I talked a little bit about the Trail Judge in my coverage of SHOT over at Shooting Illustrated.

A little more on the Kel-Tec KSG – after we detailed a dangerous malfunction in the gun’s design, a lot of people have asked a couple of questions, so I want to clear those up.  First off, the gun does not slamfire, and it SHOULD NOT slamfire.  The Remington 870 and Mossberg 500 operate in such a way that if you hold the trigger to the rear while running the slide, it will chamber another round and the trigger will reset when you let it go.  If you do that with the Kel-Tec KSG, the trigger goes dead.  This is bad.  However, the really, really hilariously bad part is that when asked about this, Kel-Tec reps have said that the “LEO Models” (which are presently vaporware) will slamfire and the “civilian” models are the ones at the show.  So, yes you read that correctly: Kel-Tec is saying that a slamfiring shotgun is a “feature” that will be marketed to LEOs.  Meanwhile, the “civilian” version will apparently retain its functionally broken trigger.

We’ve gotten a ton of questions about the Kel-Tec shotgun since we published that video.  I cannot in its present form recommend it for any sort of serious defensive or competition use.  The trigger issue is troubleing, the fact that you have to break your firing grip to change mag tubes is also a problem.  If you are in the market for a defensive shotgun, we live in a wonderful world of Mossbergs and Remingtons that are tried and proven in battlefield and law enforcement use.  You might even want to get a Saiga, since there’s a chance the ATF is going to make them go away.


  1. What would one use a Trail Judge for? Just curious.

    Too bad BATFE exists, life would be so much more fun without those assholes.

    1. So what is the arbitrary distinction between the Trail Judge and the normal judge that makes one legal and the other not?

        1. They’re both .410 guns, the 28ga is the “Raging Judge.”

          I have a feeling it may have something to do with the stub of a stock sticking out the back of the Rossi.

  2. The Keltec trigger is good information. I am not entirely clear as to what you mean by “the trigger goes dead.” . Is the trigger broken a this point ?

    As far as breaking your grip to throw a switch that reloads your pump shotgun, that is a lot faster than having to manually push rounds in a tube (comparing Pump vs. Pump).

    1. Frank – watch the video. If you run the action while holding the trigger to the rear, the trigger stops working. You have to release the trigger and run the action again, ejecting a live round out of the gun to get back in the fight. That’s dangerous on a gun that’s marketed for self-defense.

      And I agree that it is faster than manually pushing rounds into a shotgun, but if you look at where the chamber is and how you load the KSG, it’s set up to be loaded in a way that only a proctologist would love. I would be willing to bet that averaged out over 50 rounds, you could shoot AND reload an 870 much faster.

      1. I think reloading with your right hand rather than the left might work well. I couldn’t say for sure without trying it, of course.

        As for breaking your firing grip – you have to do that to reload a conventional shotgun, too – I don’t know about you, but I’m not pulling the trigger on any shotgun without both hands on it. With this, that’s a much shorter break that allows more shots between reloads.

        If they fix the trigger issue, I’ll certainly be interested.

  3. “Meanwhile, the “civilian” version will apparently retain its functionally broken trigger.”

    WTF?! Whatever the frick the Taurus R&D team is smoking they’ve apparently shared with Kel-Tec.

  4. Caleb, you’ve got a bit more clout than the rest of us. Are you able to get in contact with KelTec at a higher level than “trade show rep” and get the skinny on this?

    The KSG is a very interesting design, I know the trigger isn’t a simple fix, but it is a basic feature of other shotguns and I’d like to see KelTec address it.

  5. Speaking of Mossberg, I heard they’re supposed to have a new 20 gauge semi-auto shotgun designed with home defense in mind. Any sign of that? Is it just a 20 ga version of the 930? I could dig that…

    1. The floor for USPSA Major in shotguns is 20 gauge, but finding a decent competition gun in that size can be a challenge. If Mossberg comes out with a 20 gauge version of the 930 it could really take off for home defence and 3 gun.

  6. Winchester used to make a 9410, a 1894 in .410 shotshell. They started in 2001 and it only lasted a few years for some reason.

  7. Huh… When we asked Kel-Tec about the trigger we were told that it would be fixed to reset before the KSG enters production.

    I just can’t see Kel-Tec putting out a shotgun with a trigger problem like that.

    1. That’s really good to hear – I was at “Turbo facepalm” mode when I heard the “LEO guns will slamfire” line, and I’m just hoping that the guy I talked to was an abberation.

      1. Thanks for birddogging this, Caleb.Hopefully Kel-Tec will have this all sorted out by the time it hits market, I’m hoping the SHOT show reps this year are just a bit addled.

        1. Slamfire used to be a common feature on pump shotguns. All the great classics: the Winchester 1897, the Winchester model 1912/12 and the Ithica 37 all had it. It is not at all dangerous the guns work like machine guns where they hammer will not fall unless the chamber is closed/locked..

  8. Caleb,

    Why don’t you like a shotgun that can be slam fired?
    Weren’t the M12 or Model 1912 capable of doing that?


    1. Because NO modern weapon works like that because loading and shooting are two separate functions!

  9. Thanks for the followups Caleb. Hopefully Kel-Tec will see the light of day and release a KSG that works like every trigger puller I have ever met expects.

  10. I have a good friend who’s an FBI Special Agent. According to him, government LEOs consider the BATFE the “Jerry’s Kids of Federal Law Enforcement.”

    Wonder why?

  11. Kel-Tec, you make me facepalm. The KSG looks so awesome, but this stuff f’s it all up.


    Dear ATF,


  12. I hate (hate hate) to say it, but Kel-Tec might want to add a loaded chamber indicator. I could never figure out a non- annoying way to brass check a bottom ejecting Ithaca.

  13. My friends and I fired a total of about 700 rounds through the KSG I had here for photos. We have not encountered this trigger problem at any point.

    1. So Oleg, if you hold the trigger to the rear on your model while you cycle the action, does the trigger reset? I just re-watched the firing videos you have posted, and all the shooters very deliberately release the trigger before running the action of the gun.

  14. Yes, it worked fine. I always hold down the trigger until the reload cycle is done (with all long guns and auto pistols) and had not a single failure of this type. I brought the KSG with me to the show and left it with Keltec for upgrading with several newer parts. I should have it back in a week and will post a video of this process to settle the question definitively.

    1. Please do. I tried all three of the demo guns on display at the Kel-Tec booth and they all shared this issue with the trigger not resetting. With the mixed reports we’ve gotten from Kel-Tec about this, I’d like to see someone actually shooting the gun and holding the trigger all the way to the rear while cycling the action.

  15. From Toby, one of Kel Tec’s engineers, on KTOG:
    All the KSG’s at SHOT were prototypes. The one in the Law enforcement booth was setup to slam-fire, and also had a different pump lock switch. But that does not mean it was a Law enforcement “feature” (probably just a communication misunderstanding since it was in the law-enforcement area).

    One of the reasons we go to these shows and show off new designs months before they go into production is to get a WHOLE LOT of user feedback, from those in the industry….and we got plenty of it. By the third and fourth day we were already telling people that the trigger will function differently than it was in the guns at SHOT they were playing with.

    The trigger reset issue will get “fixed”, and the pump lock switch will be easier to get to (like on the KSG in the LE booth). But there are more improvements that will likely make it into the production models as well. (I’ll post some more info Tuesday or Wednesday)

  16. Is it me, or do all “Taurus Judge” pistols seem like craptastic works of bizaro art?

    Seriously, I don’t see the point. More than a few reviews make them out to be utterly useless for accuracy beyond 5 yards and VERY expensive, when compared to something worth owning.

    I own a 454 raging bull and it is a useful hunting revolver. More than once I have considered having it “chopped” for a hunting/backup gun. But, its just so darn accurate and fun to shoot already, I can’t see it go under the saw.

    The Judge, on the other hand, is a gun I will never own.To those that love it, congrats.

    1. I shot someone else’s Judge. At 15 yards, 8″ plates were easy to hit with 45Colt ammo. Range with shot seems limited to 4-5 yards, enough for snakes.

  17. “Kel-Tec reps have said that the “LEO Models” (which are presently vaporware) will slamfire and the “civilian” models are the ones at the show.”

    Right. Because that’s what I want my police shotguns doing: firing off rounds before the officer has made sure to focus on the target and made a deliberate effort to fire at it. While I am a huge fan of auto shotguns for police use (and also am a defender of Kel-Tec’s little P3ATs), as my department’s firearms instructor, I will protest vehemently if my chief ever expresses an interest in such a gun with such a “feature.”

    Slamfiring shotguns on old Model 12s and the like may be a fun way to turn a little money into noise at the range, but I have a lot of difficulty conceiving of a situation in which it would be defensible for a police officer to do it on the street.

    George Kelgreen would do well to plan on taking his next product idea, and spend another $30 a unit in R&D before unveiling it. If he’ll do that, he’ll be printing his own money.

  18. “George Kelgr[e]n would do well to plan on taking his next product idea, and spend another $30 a unit in R&D before unveiling it. If he’ll do that, he’ll be printing his own money.”

    You’ve summed up Kel-Tec with near haikulike brevity.

  19. I’d say breaking grip and flipping a switch for 7 additional rounds is much easier than breaking your shoulder position for administrative loading.

  20. Interesting since Kel Tec has already replied to this claim and stated that the flaw shown during the shot show will be fixed prior to release to the general public. No where could I find the “slamfire” claim that the author of this negative blog posted. Perhaps we should actually get our hands on a shotgun before posting comments that are biased.

    Now for the Raging Judge XXVIII. It is a 28 guage pistol. This equates to a .550 ish bore, and exceeds what the BATFE regulates as a destructive weapon. Even if they tapered the barrel i.e. choked the mess out of it, I could not see getting an opening down to .500 The best bet here would be to just make a 28 guage carbine out of it with the minimal barrel length and stock… If you live outside of the U.S. I am sure they will be available…

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