How’s that saying go? One is none and two is one? Two is more than one.
Two years ago the DP-12 made its debut. It is manufactured in Connecticut by Standard Manufacturing. The DP-12 is a bullpup pump shotgun. Now while the Kel-Tec Shotgun aka KSG and UTAS UTS-15 have made names for themselves a couple years before the DP-12 came out, the DP-12 sets itself apart due to the fact that it has double barrels.
The DP-12 is more similar to the KSG than the UTAS UTS-15. The design and lay out of the DP-12 is very reminiscent of the KSG. The barrels sit directly above the twin magazine tubes. The muzzle end of the DP-12 uses male threaded mag tube end caps similar in design to the KSG.
The action bar lock lever is in front of the trigger guard just like the KSG. You can see it below, it is the object that sits on the front of the trigger guard. You index finger sits above it and you push down, just like the KSG.
Here is a Kel-Tec Shotgun grip for comparison. The DP-12 action bar lock lever is very similar in function to the KSG however the KSG lever is more ergonomic than the DP-12.
Even the lifter bars and action of the DP-12 is remarkably similar to the KSG.
Turning the shotguns over, you can really see how similar they are.
Both shotguns have twin magazine tubes that hold seven rounds of 2&3/4″ shotgun shells. The DP-12 has witness holes along the side of the magazine tubes while the KSG has holes at the top of its tubes.
However the guns are different. The DP-12 barrels are internally threaded for chokes. They seem proprietary since my Mossberg/Winchester chokes and Remington chokes do not fit. The DP-12 Chokes are narrower in diameter. The KSG receiver is made from formed steel where the DP-12 receiver is machined from 7075 aircraft aluminum. At the back of the DP-12, they have a spring loaded recoil pad which greatly aids in cutting the recoil of the shotgun.
The QD socket and Sling loop were added by me.
The recoil pad is not the only feature that aids in mitigating recoil. The DP-12 weighs 9lbs 6oz. While that is 2lbs 7 oz heavier than the KSG, it means inertia is on your side when shooting the DP-12. Since it is heavier, it does not want to move as easily under recoil. The weight of the DP-12 is evenly distributed 50/50 so when you hold the DP-12 with one hand, by the pistol grip, it balances very well.
The DP-12 forend has MOE slots for adding Magpul MOE rails and MOE accessories. This adds much more versatility over the KSG since the only way to attach accessories is the top rail or the bottom rail on the forend. My only issue with the MOE rail slots is due to the installation of MOE accessories. MOE accessories uses a threaded backer plate for the accessory or rail to screw into. This means you need to get the threaded plate behind the slot. So the only way to do this is to remove the forend so you have access to install MOE accessories. They should have gone with the newer M-LOK. That way any accessory or rail that you want to attach does not need to have the forend removed first.
Since the DP-12 has two barrels it has two bolts and two chambers. This means you can load the shotgun up to 14+2. Seven in each tube and one in each chamber. Once chambered and loaded you just pull the single trigger twice. The trigger reset is mechanical so even if the first round does not fire, the trigger can still pull and release the second hammer. The DP-12 is setup to fire the right barrel first then the left barrel. There are some idiosyncrasies with this single trigger/dual hammer sear design. First of all you cannot put the safety on if you only fired the right barrel and not the left. So due diligence of trigger finger discipline is required. You can always actuate the action lock bar lever and empty the unfired round to reset the hammers thus allowing you to put the DP-12 back on safe.
The other unique feature of the DP-12 is its ability to slam fire. After you fire the left barrel, keep holding the trigger back and pump the forend. As soon as the bolt closes the hammer is released and the right barrel will fire. You still have to release and pull the trigger again to fire the left barrel.
Firing bird shot and slugs does not seem the differ in terms of recoil. Now I have only shot 2&3/4″ slugs but the recoil is minimal.
Shooting the DP-12 I have noticed that it is extremely easy to empty this shotgun. Part of it is due to the low recoil but also in the mechanical design that is unique to the DP-12. You can shoot 16 rounds faster than any other pump shotgun simply because you only pump half the time. In fact to unload 16 rounds you are only pumping the gun 7 times. At best I can load up a KSG to 15 rounds but I would have to pump 14 times plus I would have to manually flip the mag tube switch lever after the first 8 rounds (assuming the chamber was loaded at the start and both mag tubes are fully loaded).
Another benefit to the unique design of the DP-12 is the dual chambers. In order to ease in feeding and ejection of spent shotgun shells, there is a divider inbetween the two bolts. This allows the user to load two shells at a time into their respective mag tubes, whereas the KSG will only allow one tube to be loaded at a time. So you spend less time loading the DP-12 than you do the KSG or the UTAS UTS-15.
One aspect where the KSG shines is the takedown. The KSG grip assembly is held in with two frame pins. Once removed, you can remove the stock and then the bolt. The DP-12 on the other hand is held together with an assortment of screws.
Both shotguns are about the same size. The KSG is a bit shorter without the choke adapter.
The KSG is lighter but does not have the sprung recoil pad so the recoil is a bit stronger. The controls are almost identical. The 90 degree safety of the DP-12 is more familiar to me than the cross bolt safety of the KSG. DP-12 beats the KSG in its ability to shoot faster than the KSG. Especially since the KSG requires a manual manipulation to switch magazine tubes.
Price wise the DP-12 is a bit more than the KSG. The KSG can be found on average for about $850. The basic DP-12 starts at $1395. Does that make the KSG better? I don’t think so. If you want a well built tank of a shotgun that can dump rounds in half the time as other pump shotguns then the DP-12 is the way to go. The DP-12 is unique and should be in any gun enthusiast’s collection.
Stay tuned for more. Later I will explain why the top photo has two red dots and in another article I will talk about accessories as well as increasing capacity for the DP-12.