The KSG ejects spent shells out the bottom and forward of the receiver very much like the Ithaca Models 37 and 87. Typical police shotguns employ a right-side ejection port on the receiver. Bottom ejection of expended shells means officers standing next to you won't be showered with your hot empties and the spent shells won't be bouncing off the walls onto the entry team members. This ejection system will also please the left-handed shooters who have had to deal with the right-side ejection ports in most pump guns.
I really like the ergonomics of the KSG. With my primary hand on the pistol grip, activation of the Action Bar Lock lever and safety is easily accomplished. Switching from one magazine tube to another, however, required some thought as to which hand to use.
I elected to keep my primary hand on the pistol grip in the firing position to control the weapon and used my support hand to reach back and move the Magazine Selector lever over toward the opposite side of the ejection port. I set the KSG up to use the right magazine tube first so the tube select lever was toward the left side of the loading/ejection port, where I could easily reach it with my support hand when I emptied the right magazine tube.
After a few repetitions using this method my movements got smoother and my speed increased with minimal lag. And I also began to realize that this may not be a big concern. After all, before I needed to switch the magazine tubes in a gunfight, I would have fired seven rounds of buckshot downrange. Seven rounds of buck is a lot for most officer-involved shootings.
Loading and Unloading
Loading the KSG is easy. You rotate the shotgun upside down and cant it on its axis slightly to one side to access either magazine tube. During the loading process the Magazine Selector is pushed opposite of the magazine tube you want to access for loading. This in effect blocks the other magazine tube. The shell stops work well and are positive, both in bypassing the stop for loading and for retaining the shells under firing conditions.
The unloading procedure is almost the reverse of loading. The shotgun is inverted to access the shell stops. Pressing the shell stop will release one shell at a time into the loading/ejection port.
Kel-Tec says you can rack the action to empty the magazine tubes in the KSG's manual. Since this is an administrative function I prefer to take one shell out at a time by releasing the shell stop. Again, the magazine tube selector lever will determine which tube you can unload first.
Downloading, the process of removing a shell from the firing chamber, is performed by placing the Magazine Selector lever in the center of both tubes where there is a detent, activating the Action Bar Lock (in front of the trigger guard) with your trigger finger, then using the primary hand to cup over the ejection port and slowly bring the action open with your support hand while bracing the butt of the KSG against your chest or shoulder with muzzle up. This may sound complicated but it's not.
Chamber checking the KSG is simple. All you have to do is bring the loading/ejection port up to eye level, rotating the port toward you, releasing the Action Bar Lock and retracting the slide back about a half inch to see the brass base of the shell. Finish by closing the action sharply.
The twin magazine tubes that feed the firing chamber have small slots cut in the top and bottom of the tubes to provide a visual check of your shot shells. I could easily see brass in each of the slots when the tubes were full. If you lose count loading the KSG tubes, you can check the magazine tube slots and follow the brass. The magazine tube slot nearest the muzzle will show the white tube follower when the tube is fully loaded.
The KSG was very reliable during my evaluation. It worked with Winchester, Remington, and Federal slug, buck, and bird shot. I experienced zero malfunctions out of the box with no additional lube all day on a dusty range. The pump action was positive and the KSG's compact size made it easy to operate without short stroking.
It's also ruggedly constructed. There are numerous fasteners holding the KSG together and they are recessed, which should protect them during daily use. The rail on top is secured with two screws, front and back. The screws maintained their integrity after a long day of shooting. If the rail were somehow to sustain damage, it could be easy replaced.
The KSG's recoil pad is a hard rubber material that should hold up well to frequent use. But at first I wasn't a fan, as the recoil pad toe edge tended to dig into my shoulder area during shooting without a tac vest. I considered using a file to radius the toe or even using a different type of recoil pad. I soon forgot about the toe's edge because I was having so much fun shooting the KSG.