Ballistics by the inch

Goodbye Tavor TS12, Hello KS7.

Two years ago, I closed a blog post with this:

Overall, I’m very happy with the Tavor TS12. Altogether I ran about 75 shells through it in an hour, half the light target loads, the other half full-power, high-brass slugs and 00Buck. It’s been decades since I shot a 12 gauge that much in that short a period of time, and my shoulder isn’t the slightest bit sore.

Yeah, the TS12 is a keeper.

Well, it was, up until this week.

Why? What happened?


That’s a friend’s brand-new Kel Tec KS7.

Let me explain: one of the other BBTI guys got this, and brought it out to try … specifically, with 12ga minishells. Both Aguila slugs and Federal 4B defensive loads.

We ran a BUNCH of minishells through it. Not one single misfire, mis-feed, or problem. It just ate ’em all and asked for more. At 25 yards, we shot the sh!t out of targets for the better part of an hour.

And here’s the thing: with the minishells, the gun held 12+1 rounds (12 in the tube, one in the chamber). Recoil was modest, operation was simple and intuitive (as is the case with most pump shotguns), and the basic fiber-optic sight was more than adequate for the distances we were shooting (and for any expected use I would have).

By the time we were done, I knew I wanted one of these, if for no other reason than it would be much easier for my Good Lady Wife to handle if need arose. She had shot the Tavor, but never really took to it, and it was heavier and a little more for her to wrangle than she was really comfortable with.

Now, don’t get me wrong — I like the Tavor TS12. A lot. I still think that it is a hell of a gun, and it handles the full-power, full size 12ga rounds with aplomb. So I had zero qualms about offering it to an old friend, at a decent price, and then rolling that sale over into this:

I could have just kept the Tavor, of course, but I tend to have guns for specific uses, and the 12 shot KS7 filled the same niche as the 15 shot Tavor: home defense. I’ll probably put a light on it, but no optic — it’s just not needed with the standard fiber optic sight — though I may change my mind on that as time goes on. We’ll see.

In looking over reviews of the KS7 before I made the final purchase, one of the things that I read was that while using minishells was fine, loading minishells was a little more tricky than loading standard-sized shells, particularly under stress. And I think that’s a perfectly fair point; loading the slugs in particular was a little tricky.

So my solution will be to load the gun with minishells, but keep standard sized shells in a bandoleer for reloads (if they’re needed). It’s exactly what I planned for the Tavor if I ever needed it, so it’s no change at all for me.

One last thing: why not just get a KSG? That’s the double-tube 12ga predecessor from Kel Tec.

I’ve shot the KSG. Nice gun. But fully loaded, the KSG is closer to the Tavor in terms of weight and overall size. The real advantage of the KS7 is that it is thin, light, and basic. But I think it does come down to personal preference and intended use. YMMV.

Jim Downey

ETA: got a request for pics of the sight on the KS7. Here ya go:

May 6, 2023 Posted by | Anecdotes, Discussion., Shotgun ballistics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments