The Mesa Tactical SureShell Carrier for the Kel-Tec KSG amps up the sci-fi scattergun's practicality and wow factor.
By pairing a bullpup design with an innovative dual magazine-tube design, the Kel-Tec Shotgun (KSG) boasts a staggering capacity of up to 13 rounds of 3-inch shotshells (six per tube, plus one in the chamber), despite having a truncated overall length of a mere 26.1 inches. Once you factor in its other contemporary, ergonomic features, such as Picatinny rails for integrating accessories and optics, a bottom-ejection port to facilitate ambidextrous use, integral eyelets for mounting a sling and an ample rubber buttpad to offset the negative effects of recoil, it's easy to see why some believe the designers at Kel-Tec not only redefined the pump-shotgun platform, but perceive the KSG as possessing everything needed to serve as the ideal close-quarter scattergun for home defense. Unfortunately, only the first half of that statement is true. I believe the absence of a sidesaddle shell carrier to facilitate the onboard storage of spare ammunition is the one feature keeping the KSG from that honor.
Thankfully, Mesa Tactical now offers four-, six-, eight- or 12-round configurations as part of the company's latest addition to its SureShell product line. Machined from anodized aircraft aluminum, this accessory is designed to replace the KSG's OEM accessory rail across the top of the shotgun. The Mesa Tactical unit sports one or two machined shell-carrying yokes, spanning down either one or both sides of the rail assembly. For those accessoritus-afflicted mavens in need of additional real estate for gadgets, small flanges located on the 3- and 9-o'clock positions of the main rail can accommodate additional short rail sections. Adding these supplementary rails—which are sold separately—should be done prior to the initial installation of the product.
For the most part, installation is simple: After removing the shotgun's OEM rail (with the supplied wrench), be sure to remove the small plastic recoil lug, located the rear mounting pillar. Then install the two steel recoil blocks in the KSG's rail-mount pillars, which are held in place with the two provided M4 button-head cap screws. Next, place the SureShell Carrier atop the recoil blocks and secure it using the four remaining slotted-head screws and conical washers. Afterward, use the supplied blue-colored hex keys to tighten the M4 button-head cap screws and angled setscrews. Finally,retighten all four slotted, top-rail mounting screws.
Once complete, the company recommends adding Blue Loctite 242 to the setscrews to ensure the rail assembly is securely mounted to the shotgun. Considering the substantial amount of force associated with a 12-gauge recoil, think of it a worthwhile ounce of prevention.
Why install a sidesaddle on a shotgun that already has a capacity that exceeds traditional models? Consider the manner with which a home-defense shotgun is employed. When you're jarred awake from a blissful slumber by the dreaded sound of breaking glass followed by footsteps at o'dark thirty, there won't be time to don your robe and stuff spare ammo in the pockets. By the same token, unless your last name is Tackleberry, the thought of procuring an assault-style vest laden with your spare ammo and keeping it at the ready is equally impractical. You could be dealing with a single intruder or multiple members of a home-invasion crew—which news reports tend to suggest is the trend these days—so spare ammo is essential. With the role of the home-defense shotgun, rapid deployment is vital. You must know where it is at all times and able to get to it in seconds, despite the dark, despite the sleep-induced stupor and don't forget the mounting level of stress at the sudden realization you and your family are in a potentially life-threatening situation. This is hardly the time to be fumbling with or worrying about spare ammo.
Despite the numerous benefits of a shotgun for home defense, its biggest disadvantage is being slow to reload. Therefore, you must make do with what is already in the shotgun, and mounted to it. That's where the beauty of the sidesaddle comes into play. By combining firearm and fodder together, you arm yourself in minuteman-like fashion when seconds count, and should you need to reload, the shotshells are inches away, easy to access and you keep your eyes and shotgun's sights trained on the threat. In the case of the KSG, in addition to what's already in the shotgun, adding the company's 12-round SureShell Carrier places one complete reload at your fingertips—a staggering confrontation-ending complement of 24 rounds. Granted, it significantly boosts the shotgun's weight, but remember, that extra mass will help to offset muzzle rise, which many consider a plus.
The arrival of the Kel-Tec KSG redefined the pump shotgun both in terms of design and capacity. Adding the new Mesa Tactical SureShell Carrier to the KSG makes a good home-defense shotgun even better.