Russian AK shotguns are banned from import and American-made clones can be pricy, so how does the Chinese JTS M12AK compare?
What Is A JTS M12AK?
- Semi-Auto AK-Style Shotgun
- Chambered for 2.75 And 3-Inch 12-Gauge Shells
- Made In China
- Adjustable Gas System
- Accepts Rem Choke Tubes
- Two Available Models
AK shotguns have several notable advantages over more traditional shotgun designs. They are known for being very reliable for semi-auto shotguns and have the potential for a lot of firepower in a small package. Their magazine-fed nature allows for a high ammunition capacity in conjunction with a short barrel, two things which are mutually exclusive in tube-fed designs. Their adoption by police and military both inside and outside of Russia are a testament to their usefulness in a combat role, and their popularity with sports shooters around the world suggests something similar.
In 2017 the last of the authentic Russian AK shotguns were banned from import, leaving Saigas and Veprs only available on the secondhand market for inflated prices. Kalashnikov USA attempted to capitalize on this void in the market by tooling up to produce domestically made Saiga clones. The resultant KS-12 shotguns were generally regarded as being of very high quality, but their low production numbers and relatively high price left much to be desired. Part of why Saigas originally grew so popular in the U.S. was their affordability, a trait that is now only true for the Chinese and Turkish copies. One such example is the M12AK from JTS.
While most Chinese guns have also been banned from import since 1993, their shotguns are still perfectly legal. Rumor has it that JTS is essentially a rebranding of Norinco, and while most other Chinese products are of questionable quality, Norinco’s guns acquired a positive reputation in the U.S. and are still highly desired. While you may not be able to buy a new Chinese AK rifle anymore, how does the M12AK hold up as an AK shotgun?
While some refer to this shotgun as a Saiga-12 clone, a copy is a more accurate descriptor. It is true that the M12AK and Saiga-12 are functionally just semi-auto AKs chambered in 12-gauge, but there are several differences between their designs. One apparent difference is the presence of a magazine well on the M12AK. While this is reminiscent of the straight-insert magwells found on Veprs, the M12AK uses rock and lock magazines like the Saiga. The magwell was added to the JTS gun to help expedite reloads. Speaking of magazines, these usually ship with 5-rounders, but they also have 10-rounders available.
All the JTS AK shotguns have a 4-position gas regulator so you can tune the gun to your ammunition type. As any semi-auto shotgun does, these prefer high brass loads, but the regulator can help to cycle lower-powered shells as well. Unlike Saigas, the M12AK’s barrel is not externally threaded for flash hiders, but it is internally threaded to accept Rem choke tubes. Also unlike the Saiga, these have no bolt hold open or bolt release button.
This variant is nearly identical to the standard MS12AK. While the standard model’s dust cover has a Picatinny rail on top for mounting optics, the T1 variant has a normal, ribbed AK dust cover. Instead, the T1 has an aluminum tactical handguard with M-LOK slots and rail segments, these allow for mounting optics, flashlights, foregrips, or anything else you desire.
The standard MS12AK has been selling for $400 online while the T1 variant has been going for $499. These prices are certainly attractive when most other AK shotguns have been going for significantly more. Obviously, you get what you pay for, and the general consensus surrounding JTS AK shotguns is that they are decently reliable and have an acceptable fit and finish, but they still fall short of the quality of Russian or American-built examples.
Being a budget-oriented design, it's questionable if the tactical handguard really adds $100 of value to the T1 model. Whether you need a home defense gun or just a new range toy, if you’re in the market for a semi-auto mag-fed 12-gauge, the JTS MS12AK is a decent option. They may not be the best, but they are affordable and even more importantly they are available.
For more information on JTS, please visit jtsgroup.us.
More On AK Shotguns
- Are AK Shotguns The Best Modern Combat 12-Gauge?
- The Russian Izhmash Saiga-12 AK Shotgun
- The Russian Molot Vepr-12 AK Shotgun
- The Kalashnikov USA KS-12 AK Shotgun