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The Gun Safe

The KelTec KS7 Shotgun Looks Like a Plasma Rifle From Aliens

KelTec KS7

The first slide action patent for a shotgun was issued in 1854 and for years there was little that changed in the basic design. It could be argued that if it wasn’t broken there was no reason to mess with a proven formula – yet a few companies including Tavor, Mossberg, UTAS and KelTec have attempted to go far more radical. These companies understood that adhering to convention shouldn’t trump innovation.

The results have either been loved and embraced or completely loathed. One reason is that some seemed to be too specific to a particular role – such as the KelTec KSG Tactical Shotgun. It was no doubt ideal for use in tactical situations and close-quarters combat, but not exactly ideal for most “daily” situations we hope to find ourselves in.

However, KelTec was certainly on to something with its bullpup design, and for its 2020 line-up, the company introduced the KS7, which featured a radically different take on the traditional pump action. It is a modern-looking gun in every sense of the word, and easy to see how one reviewer compared it to the “Plasma Rifle” from the science fiction film Aliens.

It featured a bullpup design where the 18.5-inch internal magazine, which could hold seven rounds of 12 gauge, is located to the rear of the receiver in the buttstock. This provided all the benefits of a bullpup rifle including a compact profile that is just over two feet in length, yet still offers a full-length 18.5-inch barrel. The tube’s design featured a series of cuts that allowed shooters to see the bright white follower, which made it easy to monitor and maintain ammo supply.

The KS7 utilized rear loading and downward ejection, making it completely ambidextrous. The large square cross-bolt safety has been positioned right above the pistol grip. The pump was designed with a larger integrated handguard – no doubt to ensure that one doesn’t make the unfortunate mistake of placing his/her hand in front of this compact weapon. It also included an assault rifle-style carry handle, which doubled as sighting solution with green fiber optic bead sight.

Its intuitive, simple design included a polymer Gator textured handle, optional Picatinny-style rail, and M-LOK accessory mounting. For those who want more options, Kel Tec has offered an aftermarket KSG rail, which replaces the Cold War-style assault weapon carry handle.

By no means was the KS7 introduced on the market as a hunting shotgun, but unlike the KSG Tactical, this could serve as a home defense and still head out to the trails for taking down light game or target shooting.  As the company noted on its website, “It’s not your grandpa’s shotgun, unless you buy it for him.”

 KelTec KS7

Image: Creative Commons.

Quick Specs:

Caliber: 12 gauge

Total Length: 26.1-inches

Barrel Length: 18.5-inches

Weight: 5.9 pounds

Length of Pull: 13-inches

Sights: Green fiber optic front bead

Magazine Capacity: 6+1 w/3″ shells or 7+1 with 2 3/4 shells

Color: Black, Green or Tan

MSRP: $580

Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military small arms, and is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on

Written By

Expert Biography: A Senior Editor for 1945, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,000 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.