UTAS UTS-15 Twin-Tube 12 Gauge Bullpup Pump-Action Fighting Shotgun

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

September 15th, 2013


Click pictures for a larger version.



UTS-15 holds 15 rounds of 2.75-inch 12-gauge power.



Magazine tube selector.



Loading port for magazine tubes.





Loading/ejection port.



Safety rotates ninety degrees.



Optional breaching tube and barrel extension.



Ports allow the operator to see number of shells in mag tubes.



The UTAS UTS-15 is currently one of the most sought-after fighting shotguns in the US. The UTAS design has been around for a few years now, and I first had the opportunity to handle and play with one a bit several months ago. The design uses twin side-by-side magazine tubes superimposed above a single twelve gauge smoothbore shotgun barrel. Placing the mag tubes above the barrel keeps the recoil straight back into the shoulder, for a more-comfortable shooting experience, eliminating cheek-slap when firing the weapon, and allowing the shooter to get the shotgun back on target faster.

The UTS-15 is made largely of reinforced polymers and lightweight alloys.  The original production models used a polymer top Picatinny rail, but this latest version uses a magnesium alloy top rail, which offers better rigidity than did the original. Also, the screw which holds the magazine tube selector has been increased in size from four millimeters to five millimeters diameter, for added strength over the original.

The UTS-15 is chambered for twelve gauge shotgun shells. Each magazine tube holds seven two-and-three-quarters inch shells, or six three-inch shells. The shotgun also reportedly works well with two and one-half inch shells, but I have not tried any of that length in this gun. The selector at the rear of the magazine tubes is attached to the magnesium alloy monobloc. The selector can be positioned either to the left or the right, to feed shells from either side, or positioned in the middle, to feed alternately from both tubes. The selector makes it quick and easy to select different types of shells, if each tube is loaded with different ammunition. For instance, one tube could be loaded with slugs and the other with buckshot. The selector could be positioned to feed whichever type of ammo is desired for the situation, or placed in the middle to feed alternating slug and buck. Of course, both magazine tubes can be loaded with the same type of ammunition, if desired.

UTAS lists a spec of 18.5 inches for the barrel length, but the barrel on mine measures 19.75 inches from bolt face to muzzle, not including the addition of another three-quarters of an inch for the extended cylinder-bore choke tube. They also list the overall length as 28.3 inches, but the overall length on this test gun measures 29.5 inches. It is a very handy weapon, and balances and handles well in tight quarters. The barrel is threaded to accept choke tubes that are compatible with Beretta shotguns, so if desired, other choke constrictions can be used. UTAS also offers a barrel extension, for those desiring a longer tube, and a breaching choke which is vented and heavily-toothed at the end, for a good hold on wooden door jambs and such. UTAS lists the weight of the UTS-15 as 6.9 pounds, but the test gun weighs in at 8.26 pounds unloaded. However, the test gun has installed the optional white light/laser module, which is designed to install under the barrel, and is as unobtrusive as any could be. The laser and light worked perfectly, and is a very good option to buy. The wiring hides within the weapon, and is rugged and very handy to operate.

The UTS-15 has a semi-vertical grip that is like the grip on an AR-15. The trigger released with just four pounds of resistance, making the weapon easy to shoot, and to shoot accurately. The UTS-15 is a bullpup design, with ejection on the right side. I was concerned that shooting the weapon from my left shoulder might be a problem, but it proved to work well for both left-handed and right-handed shooters. I installed the optional UTAS adjustable sights atop the Picatinny rail, and they proved to be high enough to see through easily, despite the straight stock. The barrel sits relatively low in the UTS-15, making what recoil there is to go straight back into the shooter’s shoulder, with no cheek slap at all. It is one of the most-comfortable 12 gauge pump shotguns that I have ever fired, even when shooting magnum buckshot loads.

Loading the twin magazine tubes is easily done, dropping each shell into the loading port on either side, and pushing it forward into the magazine tube. This is repeated until each tube is filled. Closing the door over the loading ports releases the shells to move rearward into position to be loaded into the chamber. There is a magnetic dust cover over the ejection port, which pops open as the action is cycled, and remains open until manually closed. The release for the slide is on the bottom of the buttstock, about three and three-quarters of an inch forward of the toe of the stock. Pushing in on this button releases the slide to be moved rearward when the action is cocked. Pulling the trigger fires the weapon, and releases the slide to be cycled, feeding another shell into the chamber from one of the magazine tubes, This is repeated until the weapon runs out of ammunition. Windows alongside of each mag tube allows the operator to see a count for the number of shells remaining in each tube.

I tried out the UTS-15 using several different types of 12 gauge shells, from light target loads to magnum buckshot and slugs. Every shell fed, fired, and ejected perfectly. The weapon was easy to operate, and also easy to disassemble for cleaning and maintenance. The top rail proved to be very handy for mounting an optical sight, such as the excellent Trijicon Reflex shown. I love the Reflex for a dot sight, as it never needs batteries, and is always “on”. The fiber-optic unit on top gathers light, intensifying the brightness of the dot in various lighting conditions, and tritium lights the dot in the dark. Perfect.

The UTAS UTS-15 shotgun proved to be an excellent weapon; very handy to bring on target quickly, with relatively light recoil, and holding a high capacity of ammunition in its twin magazine tubes. The test gun was perfectly reliable throughout all phases of shooting, never failing nor stuttering at any time. The action pumps smoothly and quickly, allowing a pretty fast rate of fire, if needed.  At the time of this review, the black-finished version of the UTS-15 has a suggested retail price of $1200 US. The other versions of the UTS-15 in various finishes are priced higher. See the UTAS website for details.

Check out the UTS-15 shotgun and accessories online at www.utas-usa.com.

Check out the extensive line of quality Trijicon optics at www.trijicon.com.

To order quality shotgun ammunition, go to www.midsouthshooters.com and www.luckygunner.com.

Jeff Quinn

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Click pictures for a larger version.



Size comparison: Kel-Tec KSG shotgun (left), UTAS UTS-15 (right).





Switch for optional laser/flashlight unit.



Optional adjustable sights attach to rail.





Trijicon Reflex dot sight is always "on", and never needs batteries.



One of the author's favorite buckshot loads.



Fifteen-yard pattern: two shots of 9-pellet 00 Buckshot.



Seven-yard pattern: 9-pellet 00 Buckshot (bottom), slug load (top).



Seven-yard pattern: 1-1/8 ounce #8 Birdshot.



Basic disassembly for maintenance is quick, easy, and requires no tools.