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
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.
order quality shotgun ammunition, go to www.midsouthshooters.com
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