Tristar Brings New Auto/Pump Shotgun Option With Tec 12

Tristar, importer of cool looking yet unproven Turkish made shotguns, has released a tactical shotgun that is getting some attention. The Tec 12 appears to be inspired by, if not a direct clone of, the classic Benelli M3. Normally the gun is a semi-automatic, recoil inertia operated 12 gauge, but the user can turn a ring in front of the forend (just like the M3) to convert the gun to pump action. Capacity is 5+1 with standard size 2 3/4 inch shells, but the gun also accepts 3 inch magnum shells.

Tristar Detail

Why would you want to turn a semi-auto shotgun into a pump? The answer lies mostly in ammunition. Most of the self loading shotguns in my gunsmithing shop are there because they aren’t functioning properly with the ammo that the user wants to shoot (usually cheap birdshot). Some “tactical” loads like reduced recoil buckshot or the so-called “beanbag” less lethal loads will fail to cycle most semi-autos regardless of how clean or lubricated they are. Add in the possibility of a fouled or muddy gun in tough real world conditions, and the idea of being able to manually pump a tactical shotgun by flipping a switch starts to make a lot more sense.


The Tec 12 brings a full slew of tactical features– picatinny rails, ghost ring sights, pistol grip buttstock, two different types of sling swivels, external ported cylinder bore choke, chrome lined barrel, and the list just goes on.  J&G Sales has them in stock for $530 at the moment, which certainly compares favorably to the rare Benelli M3’s current MSRP of $1589, but as a new product imported from Turkey, the Tec 12 needs to be put through its paces by some serious shooters before it proves itself worthy of even a $500 price point. Your spec sheet looks good, your design appears solid, now go out there and prove yourself, Tristar!



  • strongarm

    Auto-pump change in inertia operated shotguns are made via stopping the bolt carrier
    forward motion to compress the inertia spring. To achieve this, conventional bolt carrier
    is extended forwardly through two long side bars resuting with a ring, contacting with the
    barrel forend ring for pump action with no gap, and by means of annular key ring, giving
    a gap for auto action.
    Especially on using heavy loads through pump action, though the forward motion of bolt
    carrier being mechanicaly stopped, two side bars providing connection with forward
    contact ring may work as inertia spring and the gun may work in auto mode in pump
    selection. Since heavy loads are preferred in auto mode generally, this flaw may not be
    seen occacionaly. The manufacturing tolerances providing the gap is also very important.
    Besides, inertia operation is more sensitive in tactical uses. Because the speed of recoil
    of whole gun may be effected by added weights as resulting loading flaws.
    Hope this gun is away of these limitations.

  • btmmiller

    For that price its tempting to just pick one up and beat the hell out of it. If it passes muster, put it on the big boy rack. If not…. gun shows exist for a reason.

    • FourString

      Turkish guns seem to fairly good, from what I understand. Whoever puts it through its paces, tell us what you find!

      • floppyscience

        Eh they can be hit or miss… I can’t even count how many no-named Turkish guns have come to the US, failed, and been discontinued inside a year or two.

        • FourString

          I know that they make their pistols in Turkey, but is Stoeger Turkish?

          • floppyscience

            They’re based in the USA and owned by Beretta, though most (if not all) of their guns are made in Turkey.

          • FourString

            Oh okay, that’s what I suspected. I’ve heard decent things about Turkish CZ clones, though. My roommate in college was a Turkish exchange student who was very chill too, haha. Unrelated to the quality of a Turkish firearm, of course. Of course I don’t have personal experience with a Turkish firearm, heh.

  • btmmiller

    On another note…. I wonder if this is compatible with benelli upgrades. Extended tubes, stocks etc. a la Remington Versa max with the M2.

    • Jason Crumbley

      Extended tubes, yes. It also uses Benelli/Beretta chokes. I’m not sure about the stock. I know it’s not a Mossberg/Remington style. I haven’t found any Benelli stocks to compare it to. I bought mine last year and it looks a bit different than this one.

  • btmmiller

    On another note, I wonder if this is compatible with benelli upgrades a la the Remington versamax with the m2.

  • Maverick

    Wow, for that price that is tempting. I have one of those Weatherbys and i am digging the Turkish made guns

  • Max

    Does anyone else think that the distance between the tang of the pistol grip and the trigger looks like a bit of a stretch, even for folks with long fingers?

  • TZH .

    I own a Benelli M3, and was lucky enough to buy it from a friend for around the price of the Tec 12. If not for that, I’d never be able to afford this lovely Italian shotty.

    The Tec 12 has everything I wish my M3 had: the rails, ported barrel, choke, etc. The positive side effect is that the lack of options for the M3 kept me from going stupid on the initial urge to “tacticool” my gun. Flashlight, sling, and rifle sights are all you need on this heavy-ass gun anyway.

    still, if the Tec 12 proves to be as reliable as mine, w/c has had no malfunction even after hundreds of shots fired in both modes, I’d be happy for the nod towards the somewhat unpopular world of pump/semi-auto shotguns at a very competitive price.

    here’s hoping to a review or seeing it in the wild soon.



  • YBNormal

    I bought one. The conversion from pump to semi is simple, quick and easy. The gun has a bit of a bite when shooting, but nothing outlandish. It did take some getting used to the button release for chambering after loading… if you use the release, the gun will attempt to double feed, but a quick insertion of something slim pops the shell out easily for reloading. The sights are excellent, putting on target at 80 yards with rifled slugs. This is a very solid gun, with excellent sling locations, durable butt stock and hand grip, and perfect trigger position imho. I’m looking around to see if I can convert the butt stock though, as it does have a nice kick on firing. I’ve only had one missfeed in hundreds of rounds using some cheap bird shot, so to date, I’m very, very happy with it. My buddies are all looking to buy one too…..that says enough in my opinion.

  • Don Dial

    I have two Turkish Shotguns. A Yildiz SBS 410, & a 28 ga TriStar Viper 2. Both are good guns and worth the money. Being a L/H shooter I had to glue the safety on the 28 so I wouldn’t engage each shot. But it’s well made solid and I kill birds with it.

  • locstar

    I just bought a tec 12. 2 things to no.. if you are firing the gun on semi auto shooting heavy loads will result in little to no jams on the ejection. 2. If firing light loads such as bird shot it is suggested to leave on pump action. I failed to read the directions and thought i had one with a problem but i was shooting a bird load on semi auto. My only other question is.. is the gun already set up to take a choke for turkey and bird hunting or is that something a machine shop would have to do?

  • Gmann

    I bought mine used $350 at a pawn shop. Took it to my smith to look it over. Had extensive use but nothing wrong with it. I’ve had it about a year so far and shoot regularly still works great no issues. Best $350 I ever spent. I enjoy it. Not to mention at ranges most people want to know what it is great conversation piece