The Best Bullpup Shotguns in 2022

What makes for the best bullpup shotguns -- and just what are they? We dive deep into the best puppies around.
Michael Crites

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Bullpup Shotguns - Cover

For those looking for a compact and handy firearm that is still just as capable as a full-length 12 gauge or tactical shotgun, the quick answer that comes to mind is the bullpup shotgun. 

While there are pros and cons to any firearm category, the bullpup shotgun has some interesting characteristics that make them worth exploring beyond the latest FPS video games.

In This Article:

Bullpup Shotgun Comparison

Below is my list of the best bullpup shotguns for 2022. I list the best choices in terms of value, performance, capacity, and cost.

Click on the name to head to the product page, read reviews and check prices or skip ahead to the list of bullpups.

ImageNameRatingPrice
ATI Bulldog
(4.5/5.0)
$499
Black Aces Tactical Pro Series
(4.6/5.0)
$649
Charles Daly N4S
(4.6/5.0)
$549
Crye Precision SIX12
(4.8/5.0)
$1,800
Escort BTS
(4.3/5.0)
$429
G-Force GFY-1
(4.4/5.0)
$599
IWI Tavor TS12
(4.8/5.0)
$1,499
KelTec KSG
(4.5/5.0)
$900
Standard DP-12
(4.7/5.0)
$1,499
UTAS UTS-15
(4.3/5.0)
$1,028

Bullpup Shotgun Reviews

1. ATI Bulldog ATIG12BDB Bullpup Shotgun

Introduced in 2020, this Turkish-made semi-automatic bullpup 12 gauge uses MKA1919-style mags an adjustable cheek rest, and AR12 to include M-LOK rails, flip-up sights, and an AR-style charging handle. 

It also comes with three interchangeable choke tubes and a top Picatinny rail for optics. One neat aspect of the Bulldog is that its magazines have a rail system that allows them to be mounted upside-down on the bottom of the forend as sort of an ersatz forward grip.

2. Black Aces Tactical Semi Auto Bullpup

Florida-based Black Aces Tactical has been on the forefront of shotgun innovation in the past decade, for instance beating both Mossberg and Remington to the punch on non-NFA 12-gauge firearms, a concept the latter two wound up running away with.

Black Aces offers a bullpup design in the Pro Series, which takes MKA 1919 mags and drums. Best yet, it is a semi-automatic that works reliably with both light and heavy loads– something that sometimes hard to find.

3. Charles Daly Semi Auto .410 Bullpup

Another Turkish import, the N4S is brought to American shores by Charles Daly Defense.

As expected, this gas-operated semi-auto uses M1919 mags and drums and includes front and rear flip-up sights. What isn’t expected is that it takes Beretta/Benelli Mobil series choke tubes

4. Crye Precision SIX12 Modular Shotgun

In something totally different, Crye Precision’s SIX12 is no import, being made in America of American-made components. 

Bullpup Shotguns - Crye Six12
Up close and personal with the Crye Precision SIX12

Besides the cry of a bald eagle in the distance, the SIX12 is unique in the respect that it is fed by a six-shot revolving cylinder held to the rear of this bullpupped shotgun. 

This semi-automatic has a reliable mechanical action and the cylindrical magazines are interchangeable if desired, as are the barrels. Furthermore, it is offered with walnut furniture, something no other bullpup shotgun can match. The bad news, it isn’t available…yet.

5. Escort BTS12 12 Gauge Shotgun

Made by Hastan in Turkey, the Escort BTS series of bullpup shotguns have a few things that you don’t see on your typical Anatolian scatterguns. While the layout is like the ATI Bulldog, Charles Daly N4S, and others, the BTS has a detachable carrying handle, giving the guns a very FAMAS-style look. 

Further, besides the basic 12-gauge model, which they sell as well, Hastan makes the BTS in mild-shooting .410 with both a flush-fit 3-shot and an extended 5-shot mag. Did we mention the .410 weighs just 6 pounds?

6. GForce Arms GFY 1 12 Gauge Bullpup

Another Turk, this one imported by Nevada-based G-Force Arms, the GFY-1 has all you are looking for in a $600ish semi-auto bullpup. 

Using a full 3-inch chamber and standard MKA 1919 mags, it comes with a bunch of Pic rail space and factory-included flip-up sights. With an overall length of just 28.5-inches, this is one handy 12 gauge.

7. IWI Tavor TS12 Bullpup Shotgun

When it comes to setting the bar in bullpup shotguns, Israeli Weapon Industries (IWI) did that in style with their Tavor TS12 in 2018.

Tavor TS12 Bullpup Shotgun
28.5 inches of Israeli innovation

A gas-regulated semi-auto, it uses three underbarrel magazine tubes that give these 12 gauges a 15+1 shot capacity. Loaded with features, it has an oversized pistol grip that balances nicely, M-LOK compatible rails, a continuous accessory rail on top, and Benelli/Beretta choke tube compatibility. 

All this for a gun that is only 28.34-inches overall while keeping an 18.5-inch barrel. We dove deep with our TS12 review if you want more info on the Tavor.

8. Kel-Tek KSG Bullpup Shotgun

Hailing from Florida, the Kel-Tec KSG has a lot going for it that sets it apart. 

Introduced in 2011, it is fully ambidextrous as the surface controls can be accessed by either hand and the ejection port drops empty shells straight downward, much like an old-school Ithaca 37. 

Also, like the Ithaca, it is pump-action, a curious feature compared to most other bullpup shotguns which are autoloaders.

Kel Tec KGS Bullpup Shotguns
The KelTec KSG at a recent SHOT show

However, this beefy and reliable action gives the gun the ability to operate with a wider range of loads– something semi-auto shotguns often cannot vouch for. 

Moreover, KelTec offers the KSG in a standard format, with an 18.5-inch barrel, 26.1-inch overall length, and 14+1 shot capacity, as well as in Tactical (Class III) Compact (Class III) and KSG-25 models.

The latter gets its name as it has a whopping 25-shell magazine capacity and a goose-gun length barrel that runs 30.5-inches. Oof.

9. Standard Manufacturing DP-12

Produced by the Standard Manufacturing Company in Connecticut, the DP-12 is unique as not only is it a bullpup 12 gauge, but it is also a double-barreled pump gun– the latter something that has typically just been the fodder of fictional barkeep Moe Szyslak. 

Providing 16 rounds on tap, Standard says the DP-12 was “Designed for the most discerning shooters who demand extreme firepower and require consistent reliability.”

On the downside, they run about $1,500 and have an often-lengthy waiting list.

10. UTAS UTS-15 Bullpup Shotgun

A Turkish designed shotty that has been around for a decade, the UTAS UTS-12, like the KelTec KSG, is a pump-action bullpup with dual, selectable magazine tubes. 

Originally designed in cooperation with Smith & Wesson as a tactical police shotgun, it has a 14+1 magazine capacity, hence the “15” in its name. Over the years, UTAS has gotten a lot of bugs out of this sometimes-cranky pump gun, and today’s UTS-12s have gained a good reputation. 

They are also available in multiple color schemes, which is a big difference from most other bullpup shotguns that come in any color you want– so long as that color is black.

What exactly is a bullpup shotgun?

Bullpup Shotguns - DP12 bullpup shotgun patent
Patent US9115954 for Paul Joseph Corsi and Antony Galazan of the Connecticut Shotgun company, showing the layout and action of what became the DP12 bullpup shotgun.

Differing from a standard shotgun in layout and overall length, those with a bullpup configuration typically put the action of the gun behind the trigger rather than over or in front of it.

This results in a gun that is much shorter, compared to traditional guns, while keeping a standard-length barrel and magazine. 

The etymology of the word as applied to firearms originally comes from an old term used for custom guns used by wildcat bench rest shooters in the U.S. in the 1930s and 40s, likening such short yet very muscular guns to bulldog puppies. The more you know, right?

Where did they come from?

Bullpup firearm designs date back to at least the 1860s with a patent by English inventor William Joseph Curtis often cited as the earliest known example. By the cusp of the 20th Century, several gun designers had similar such animals in the stable, some of which were more practical than others. 

French Lt. Col. Armand-Frédéric Faucon developed his bullpupped “Fusil équilibré,” or a “balanced rifle” around 1910 to allow soldiers to be able to, if needed, better fire their rifle with a single hand. 

This curiosity was later used briefly in World War I as the Faucon-Meunier rifle in small numbers. Fast forward to WWII and both the Americans and British were fast at work on assorted bullpup rifles by the end of the conflict. 

Despite all this interest and the burning of lean muscle tissue by very smart men for a century, it wasn’t until 1977 that the first readily available bullpup rifle was on the market– the Austrian-made Steyr AUG.

However, a working bullpup shotgun had already been on the commercial market for over a decade when the AUG was debuted.

Enter the Model 10

In the late 1950s, police sergeant Alfred Crouch brainstormed a one-handed semi-auto shotgun that would be ideal for use as a riot gun. 

At first repurposing a Remington 11-48, Crouch later took his design to High Standard Firearms who substituted their Supermatic semi-automatic gas-operated shotgun for the Remy and, sandwiching the action in a three-part plastic stock, the Model 10 bullpup shotgun emerged.

The High Standard Model 10
The High Standard Model 10 was only 27-inches overall with a full-length 18-inch barrel. Capable of firing five shots in less than as many seconds, the compact stock and pistol grip allowed the operator to control the gun with one hand only if needed and was over a foot shorter than a comparable pump-action riot gun.

Mossberg bullpups arrive in the '80s

While the High Standard Model 10 was only in production for about a decade, vaunted shotty maker Mossberg briefly stepped up to bat with a funky but usable bullpup version of their Model 500 and 590 pump-action shotguns in the late 1980s.

The Mossberg 500/590 was offered in factory bullpup variants between 1986 and 1990
The Mossberg 500/590 was offered in factory bullpup variants between 1986 and 1990. Overall length on the 6-shot 500B was 28.5-inches while the 8-shot 590B was only 31-inches long, both while keeping 18.5- and 20-inch barrels, respectively.

Today the bullpup shotgun has fully matured, and, as we show, there are some greats ones on the market.

Essential Features of Bullpup Shotguns

S&W M&P 12 Shotgun
Smith & Wesson's new M&P 12 bullpup checks a lot of the right bullpup boxes.

1. Length & Furniture

The no-brainer of a bullpup is that the compact format makes these guns easy to maneuver, especially indoors or in CQB situations, and the pistol grip– a common trait of the type– makes them much more controllable, particularly in rapid-fire.

Further, they are faster to come up on target while at the same time creating less of a profile, for instance when shooting from cover. 

Since the main benefit is keeping a long barrel in a short package, retaining as long a barrel as possible is something to consider.

While this might not matter too much if all you plan to do is blast paper at the range, we like to have the option to get some decent distance with rifled slugs. Having a long barrel can go a long way to achieving the accuracy goals that we want.

2. Capacity

When it comes to magazine capacity, bullpup shotguns are often superior to traditional 12 gauges, offering either detachable box mags or longer tubes. Such considerations make the bullpup a star when it comes to home defense scenarios, provided the user has proper training.

3. Balance

One big problem to keep in mind on bullpups– either shotguns or rifles– is that they handle differently than standard longarms. 

Whereas a shotgun or rifle in a normal layout is long and by extension front-heavy, with a drooping muzzle that longs to act as a dowsing rod, bullpupped guns, with their shorter barrel length, move the center of gravity towards the rear, making them “tail heavy”. 

This can take a while to get used to for those more experienced with standard firearms due to a greater degree of muzzle rise.

4. Reliability

With bullpups, reliability is incredibly important. This is especially true in the case of the semi-auto options.

To us, even to be a range toy, a firearm has to work consistently and reliably. Luckily, the ones we recommend here are getting lots of user testing, and are have been proven performers over time. 

Reliability isn’t easy to master without time in market, as the new M&P12 from Smith & Wesson came on the market only to be hit with a recall after just a few months. Even proven brands can experience teething problems with new products.

When in doubt, take a look at relevant forums if you’re having trouble with ammunition and failure to cycle. By now, someone has probably figured out the secret sauce to getting a semi-auto shotgun running correctly.

5. Accessory Support

This is where the semi-auto guns shine. In our ideal setup, we’d begin with a quality sling. From there, a red dot sight is a must on one of these guns since we probably wouldn’t bother with iron sights on these kinds of guns.

A light for use in home defense is also handy, as is a foregrip for helping to keep recoil as manageable as possible. If a particular shotgun has the rail space for all of those accessories, we think it’s well on the way to becoming a serious tactical firearm for self-defense.

Why a Bullpup Shotgun?

Aside from their futuristic looks, bullpup shotguns have some benefits that make them worth considering for their unique functionality.

  • Full-Length Barrels. First and foremost is the overall length relative to the size of the barrel. Moving the action behind the trigger makes for a much shorter overall length than a standard shotgun without sacrificing barrel length. This means that you get a shorter, handier overall package that can still get rounds up to their full velocity, something shorter barreled standard configuration shotguns can’t offer
  • Cutting-Edge Design. Secondly, bullpups are fantastic for people who want to be on the cutting edge of shotgun design. Except for polymers and eclectic optics, the shotgun has not changed much in the past century. For some, this meant that shotguns were antiquated pieces of hunting equipment that had not yet been updated to the needs for 21st-century combat and self-defense.
  • Feature-Rich. With a bullpup, you’ll get every new feature you can think of in a shotgun, including some rather creative feed mechanisms, that bring the shotgun well and truly into the 21st century. We expect that much like bullpup rifles such as the AUG, Barrett Model 95, IWI Tavor X95, many militaries, and law enforcement agencies will be considering bullpup shotguns in the years to come.
  • Cool Factor. We have to admit that, for most people, buying a bullpup shotgun is at least as much about the cool factors as getting the best shotgun money. That’s why, for us, the IWI Tavor 12 stands out: aside from all of the remarkable features, it looks super cool and is a blast to use. In guns like these, where most of the use it’s going to see is likely at the range, being the firearm that brings a smile to your face even before you pull the trigger matters a great deal.

Types of Bullpup Shotguns

We think the best way to distinguish between different kinds of bullpup shotguns is by their feeding mechanisms & type of action.

Magazine-Fed Bullpups

First, we have magazine-fed shotguns, for example, the ATI Bulldog. These reasonably closely resemble the bullpup rifles that inspired this trend, such as the French FAMAS. The major benefits of these are twofold. First, the magazines are behind the trigger, which keeps the gun feeling comparatively light. Second, they also tend to be much faster to reload than shotguns with standard tubular magazines. The downside is that the magazine’s placement behind the action makes for an awkward reload sequence relative to common magazine placements.

Rotary Magazine Bullpups

Second, some of these bullpups feed from rotary magazines, such as the IWI Tavor TS12. The main benefit of these is sheer capacity.

Depending on the shell length used in the rotary magazine options, you can get nearly an entire box of shells into the shotgun at once. This does add weight, but something is reassuring about having that much medicine on board. The weight problem is made somewhat worse because the tubes usually run parallel to the barrel, which makes the nose of the weapon feel heavy. However, it can help to balance the inherent tail-heaviness of the bullpup design.

Semi-Automatics

While not a strict category on its own — many of the shotguns on this list are semi-automatic: the ATI Bulldog fits the bill here — semi-auto shotguns are great for putting a ton of firepower downrange at once, and they have gotten much more reliable over the years.

With these and any other semi-auto shotgun, you’re going to want to test out specific loadings of ammunition before you trust anything in terms of hunting or self-defense. Semi-autos usually rely on gas or recoil to cycle and thus can be a little finicky with underpowered loadings. Still, doing a magazine dump of 12 gauge buckshot is a sight to behold.

Pump Action

Bullpups like the Kel Tek KSG are pump action. These operate much like the classic format shotguns you’re used to, often with one crucial difference: bullpup shotguns tend to eject out of the bottom instead of one of the sides.

In addition to being small and lightweight, this makes them a superb option for left-handed folks who are sick of catching spent shells in the face while shooting a shotgun. Thus, we’d recommend one of these pumps to anyone who is looking for a left-handed-friendly shotgun.

Shortcomings

Speaking of new things to get used to, with the action being oriented behind the grip, loading, unloading, and reloading a bullpup is altogether different and requires some significant practice to learn to do rapidly. Further, as the action is tucked in the user’s shoulder, longer mags such as drums can get super awkward super fast. 

The first purchase after getting a bullpup shotgun should be to pick up some inert training shells to safely get over that muscle memory hump. During this training, be sure to work those dummy shells through the action to get a feel for the ejection angle. 

This can help make sure your stance doesn’t wind up with smoking ejected hulls to the face once you switch to live ammo.

Building your own

The first bullpupped shotguns simply took existing commercial designs, such as the High Standard Supermatic and Mossberg 500, deleted the existing furniture, and encased the gun in a new, polymer shell that oriented the pistol grip and trigger forward of the action. 

The same can be done today for owners of a popular traditional 12 gauge, as Bullpup Unlimited sells conversion kits that allow quick and easy tabletop conversion of Remington 870s, Mossberg 500s, and Maverick 88s.

No gunsmith needed

These upgrades can be done typically by those without gunsmith knowledge and the conversion is reversible should you want to hit the “reset” button down the line (if you save the original furniture). 

Plus, if you started with a reliable shotgun, to begin with, odds are that you will end up with a reliable, shotgun once the smoke clears– only in a bullpup layout. 

The bad news is that these kits are kind of ugly compared to factory-built models and the cost is comparable to a new bullpup of about mid-shelf quality. Food for thought.

Bullpup Shotgun Pricing

Under $1000, your best here is going to be the KSG 12. While some people deride it for its looks and relatively simple, it is a lot of firearm for the money, and we think it is, thus, a good option for people who are buying one of these for function rather than simply for form in a range toy.

With an affordable red dot sight and a sling, the KSG would be a formidable home defense weapon in its own right.

As far as the rest of the bunch is concerned, bullpups are on the cutting edge of some of the newest design trends in firearms, and, as a first-generation adopter of these kinds of firearms, you’ll be paying a premium for the pleasure. It’s not improbable to end up paying well north of $3000 for some of the rarer models.

But, with that said, if you do choose to go with one of the more expensive, semi-automatic guns, you’ll absolutely be one of the coolest people at the shooting range on any particular day.

In general, bullpup shotguns are kind of pricey, but as more manufacturers are getting into this space, they’re likely to come down in the next few years.

How we selected these products

As much as I would love the put all these bullpups to the test there are times when certain products or categories are a real challenge — be it availability, cost, or simply a lack of resources — we can get stymied going hands-on with all the potential candidates. Rather than present a never-ending list of all the bullpup shotguns on the planet, we selected those which we felt best represent the price points laid out above — giving you a solid representational list to serve as a jumping-off point for your own research (you are going to do you own research, right?)

To avoid disappointment or steering you in the wrong direction, we bolster our own experience with conversations with experts, comb through reviews on retailer sites & sales data, review industry publications, other blogs, and otherwise surface the best information available.

We aim for all thriller, no filler, as they say.

Sources

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