An excellent combat shotgun, and possibly one of the top ten, is Russia’s Saiga-12. The original Saiga-12 was designed in the 1990s (reflecting a number of similarities to the Kalashnikov assault rifles) but a number of variants soon followed. The Saiga-12 has a rotating bolt, is gas-operated feeding from a box magazine. This combat shotgun has a number of features not found on the AK-47 and other similar firearms.
Specifications of the Saiga-12 Combat Shotgun
- Caliber: 12 gauge, 20 gauge, .410
- Weight: 7 lbs. 15 oz.
- Length: 3 feet, 9.1 inches
- Barrel Length: 1 foot, 11 inches
- Height: 7.5 inches
- Action: Gas-operated, rotating bolt
Various configurations of the Saiga-12 were manufactured, including a more standard hunting version and a more military style using AK-47 hardware – all can be easily purchased by Russian civilians as it only requires a ‘smoothbore-gun license’. The smoothbore-gun license - along with a hunting permit – is required for five years before a ‘rifle license’ can be obtained.
Saiga shotguns constructed with the fixed ‘hunting-style’ rifle stock and 5-round magazine are the only ones imported into the United States.
Additional Variants of the Saiga-12
- Saiga-12S – (skladnaya/folding)
- Saiga-12K – (korotkaya/short)
- Saiga-12S EXP-01 – (Military/Law Enforcement Version)
- Saiga-12K-030 – (Swat Model)
- Saiga-12K-040 Taktika (23” or 17” barrels/handguards, folding and non-folding stocks)
Russia’s Saiga-12 combat shotgun is manufactured by Izhmash, the same producer of the AK-47.