Kalashnikov USA will launch a new non-NFA firearm called the Komrad on April 2. The new gun is similar to the company’s larger KS-12 shotguns but with a shorter 12.5″ barrel and an adjustable length SB Tactical SBA3 pistol brace. It will transfer just as any other firearm without requiring a special tax stamp as would be needed with a short barrel shotgun.
The Kalashnikov USA Komrad is part of the growing trend of non-NFA firearms that avoid specific classification under United States (federal) law. It can be purchased from a normal dealer like any other gun.
It is easy to mistake the Komrad for a shotgun as it is a smoothbore firearm that is chambered for the 12 gauge shell. Nevertheless, it is not a shotgun under federal law.
As it ships, the gun comes with two (2) 5-round magazines. Kalashnikov USA also offers 10-round magazines as an optional accessory. Third party drums and other magazines should all work if they are built to the original Saiga 12 specifications.
Made in the United States, the new Komrad is a semi-automatic gun based on the Russian Saiga series of firearms. It was not designed in Russia, nor is any part of it made in Russia. However, it is compatible with many Saiga parts including the magazines.
The Komrad can handle any 2 3/4″ or 3″ shell from birdshot to slugs. It has an adjustable gas regulator to match your ammunition.
Kalashnikov USA ships the gun with pistol-style sights: post front and a notch rear. The gun does have a side mount for adding a red dot with a rail like this one. Also, the gun has three Picatinny-type rails for the addition of a laser, white light, foregrip or other bits of gear.
According to the company representatives, the guns are now in production. Kalashnikov USA will make an official announcement on April 2 when it will have an ample supply ready to ship to buyers.
|12 gauge (2.75″ & 3″ shells)
|5-round detachable magazine, 10-round mags optional
|semi-auto, adjustable gas regulator
|30.25″ – 33″
|polymer pistol style with interchangeable inserts
I was invited to the Kalashnikov USA factory in Pompano Beach, Florida for an introduction to the gun. I had a chance to shoot a production version of the Komrad with both buckshot at slugs. The staff at K-USA provided unlimited ammo to shoot, and there were a total of six media members on hand that gave the gun a good workout.
The Komrad felt good in my hands with the balance point of the rifle seemingly just forward of the magazine well. It moved and pointed easily. It felt quicker to transition between targets than a traditional shotgun like a Remington 870, but I’d like to do a side-by-side comparison of the guns to get a better feel for this.
Shooting heavy 12 gauge loads is not everyone’s cup of tea. However, I am one of those strange birds that do enjoy it. From this gun, the recoil seemed very similar to a traditional shotgun. If I had to guess, I would say that the felt recoil is slightly more – maybe 5-10% – in the Komrad, but I freely admit this is completely subjective. Another shooter might say more or less.
I experienced no malfunctions with this gun. It fed and shot reliably. However, I did see another writer have an issue with cycling a few rounds. He seemed to fix this problem by changing his stance with a more aggressive shoulder forward position.
Thoughts & Coming Review
Non-NFA firearms like the Kalashnikov Komrad are very interesting to me. The Komrad helps to solidify this style of weapon as a mainstream product, and more guns in common use are a good thing in my opinion.
Beyond the political and legal implications of the Komrad, does it have a practical use? Yes.
A short barrel firearm (as compared to the company’s KS-12 shotgun) is easier to maneuver indoors and when moving in and out of a vehicle. For a dad protecting his family in the middle of the night, this can be a valid choice: 5 or 10 rounds of 12 gauge buck is certainly a time-tested method of repelling violent criminals in a home invasion.
Mix in the ability to add a red dot and white light – this has the potential of being a valid home defense option.
One of the things that I would like to change about the gun is the pistol grip. It’s not bad, and I suspect a lot of people will like it. However, I would rather install a Magpul AK grip on it.
I’ve requested one of these new not-a-shotguns for review, and the folks at Kalashnikov USA stated they will make this happen. Once I get it, I will run a lot of ammo through it and put it up against more traditionally sized scatterguns for a full review. If you have specific questions or things you want me to test, please post your requests in the comments section below.
As I stated previously in the article, I was invited to a special shooting event hosted by Kalashnikov USA. This event was paid for by the company including a one night stay at an oceanfront motel and three meals (dinner, breakfast and lunch.) Since I am within driving distance to the company’s factory, I provided my own transportation. However, the company did provide airfare to other attendees.
Kalashnikov USA did not request, nor did I promise any media coverage. But let’s face it – I’m sure they hope to receive it, and providing news and reviews on guns for you is what I do.
Kalashnikov USA is not an advertiser, nor are we in any talks for them to be one. I do not have any financial interest in K-USA or any other gun manufacturer.
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A special thank you to B. Gil Horman with the American Rifleman for helping out with the range photo shown above. I hope my photos for you turned out as good as yours for me.