The UTS-15, a Forgotten Turkish Shotgun
The UTS-15, made by the Turkish company UTAS, came about as a desire for a modern tactical military and law enforcement shotgun. With a high magazine capacity designed for urban engagements, each barrel in the side by side configuration holds 7 rounds, for a total of 14+1.
On paper, the UTS-15 delivered everything that was asked of it; Its bullpup design gave it an overall length of 28 inches with an 18.5 inch barrel, and it is a compact, lightweight design. Additionally, it also came standard with a lever that allowed operators to choose which barrel would feed, or alternate between the two in the case of the operator choosing to load different shells in each barrel.
It was supposedly engineered this way initially in order to be useful for Turkish police in riot quelling, as it would allow them to switch between lethal and non-lethal rounds. However, when the first generation gun was finally released in 2012, it was not picked up by the Turkish military or police, and was plagued by reliability problems that killed it in the civilian market.
Short stroking, failure to feed, failure to extract, as well as the action assembly falling out when held upside down, left people with a bad taste in their mouth and its main competitor at the time, the Kel-Tec KSG, ended up taking the spotlight. For most people, that was the end of the UTS-15, but UTAS did not give up on their space shotgun. The company looked at all the problems that were occurring with their gun and set out to fix them, replacing many of the plastic parts with more durable magnesium ones on the second generation.
While this adds some weight, the magnesium parts help a great deal with the reliability issues, and the lever that controls which magazine feeds no longer switches randomly under recoil. Nevertheless, not all problems were fixed as the UTS-15 was still plagued by how easy it was to short stroke, which is due in large part to its design. The third generation fixes this by adding in a piston driven pump action. It also added in the ability to mount an internal 200 lumen flashlight/laser combo straight from the factory a-la Halo. While I do not personally own this firearm due to having no where to store it legally on the campus I reside, and It being illegal in my home state, I have fired a 3rd generation model a number of times using standard 2 3/4 ammo from the likes of Winchester and Federal with no problems.
In terms of handling, the shotgun is a bit front heavy, and the bulky design seems like something out of a video game rather than something meant for the modern battlefield, but it gets the job done. While bullpup designs are generally awkward to learn for those used to more mainstream platforms like the AR-15, these problems are usually overcome with training. In terms of viability in today’s market, while other shotguns do exist on the market that offer the similar qualities to the UTS-15, such as the KSG, the UTS-15 still offers a unique look that has yet to be replicated by any other company. While another modern spacey looking shotgun like the DP-12 could theoretically hold 00 buckshot in one barrel and slugs in the other, you could not actively switch between the two, and both would be fired at the same time. The only other shotgun to my knowledge that offers the ability to switch the type of rounds being fired, in the way the UTS-15 does it, is the KSG.
The UTS-15 still remains unique today in regards to its ability to move past this problem, and I think due to this, makes an excellent self-defense choice. Going for a stroll in the woods and some drunk hippie is bothering you? Give him the good ole’ piss off bean bag rounds. Skinwalker decides to get revenge for screwing with the hippie? Give him some 00 buck. I also certainly see the law enforcement applications for this shotgun, and if I were in charge of a department with the funding, I would want my officers to have this. Simply for the shotguns ability to switch ammo types on the go. In the time it takes for a situation to go from ‘unruly suspect’, to ‘shots fired’, lives could be lost by officers having to switch firearms. Additionally, for civilians in home invasion or self-defense type situations, it gives you the option of not having to kill someone, while having the firepower to if necessary.
In conclusion, despite its rocky launch and reliability issues early on, the UTS-15 is now a reliable platform with continued support from the factory, and would make an excellent addition to your collection. On a personal note, I really like the bulky, sci-fi futuristic design, and I wish more arms manufacturers would move towards innovative designs like this, rather than staying with the tried and true model of the AR-15, as this is the only way the weapons industry is going to innovate and bring new things to the table for the civilian and military markets.