Gun Review: NATMIL/UZKON ARMS BR-99

Right Side

I recently had the pleasure of testing the BR-99 shotgun. The BR-99 is a 12 Gauge semi-automatic shotgun, manufactured by UZKON ARMS of Turkey and imported by National Military Armament. (NATMIL)  With its box magazine, front sight, carry handle, pistol grip, and butt stock the BR- 99 outwardly appears like an M16 rifle.

Key Features of the BR-99 include:

  • 5+1 magazine capacity
  • 20 inch 4140 steel barrel
  • Weight of 7.7 lbs.
  • Length of 39.5 inches.
  • Shotgun comes with 2, 5 round magazines.
  • Sling attachment points
  • 3 different choke tubes
  • Shotgun will work with 2 ¾ inch shells as well as 3 inch shells.
  • The BR-99 will accept MKA 1919 Ten round magazines
  • The BR-99 has a 1 year warranty
Stock BR-99

BR-99 in factory configuration.

The first thing that becomes apparent when handling the BR-99 is how inadequate the sights are. The sights are made of a low strength plastic and are not attached very well to the firearm. The sights are flimsy and the rear apertures are hard to see. Another deficiency of the BR-99 lies in the Picatinny rail attachments, that can be mounted at the 3 and 9 o’clock positions. While the top rail is very solid, I wouldn’t risk attaching gear to any part of the handguard except for the 12 o’clock rail.  Prior to test firing I removed the factory sights and installed some Magpul MBUS sights, Streamlight TLR-1S and a Bushnell TRS-25 red dot sight. Contrary to popular belief, you have to aim a shotgun, especially when engaging targets at distance with slugs

Size comparison. Ar-15 rifle, BR-99, 20 gauge Remington 870 shotgun.

Size comparison. Ar-15 rifle, BR-99, 20 gauge Remington 870 shotgun.

Shooting impressions and testing
Although the BR-99 looks like an M16, I found the manual of arms more similar to that of a SCAR Heavy/MK-17 with the charging handle configured for right side manipulation. (Travis Haley has an excellent video on how to run the Mk-17/Mk-16/ SCAR series of weapons.) For test firing I used Winchester Blind Side 3 inch shells,  Fiocchi Dove Loads that were 2 ¾ and some Fiocchi 2 ¾ Exacta Aero slugs. Testing was done on BLM land close to my home and targets were engaged from 5 to 100 yards. In order to test reliability, the magazines were loaded with shells picked at random and fired as quickly as possible. I expected feeding issues since I was loading 3 inch shells as well as 2-3/4 inch shells in the same magazine, but no problems were encountered. The first malfunction encountered was when the shotgun was fired “from the hip”. Shooting with the butt stock not tucked in the shoulder pocket will prevent the shotgun from cycling reliably. This is analogous to “limp wristing” a pistol. Though the stock needs to be tucked into the shoulder for the shotgun to function reliably, I found that the stock does not need to be tightly pressed into the shoulder nor is there a need for an aggressive cheek weld. This is significant due to the fact that in order to mitigate shotgun recoil, a shooter can moderately grip the forward handguard and push forward with the support hand while the strong hand is pulling the shotgun reward. (Here is a video of Ken Hackathorn demonstrating the technique.)  Out of 100 shells fired, the only malfunctions encountered were due to not properly shouldering the BR-99 and one slightly deformed plastic shell found on one of the Fiocchi Exacta Aero slugs.

Magazines and Choke tubes

The BR-99 comes with two 5 round box magazines as well as some chokes. A tool is provided to install or remove the chokes.

Because the BR-99 is a magazine fed shotgun, this allows the end user a lot of flexibility in regards to ammunition selection. After establishing a rough 100 yard zero for the red dot sight, targets were set up at 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 and 100 yards. One magazine was loaded with bird and buck shot and another was loaded with slugs. I started the scenario with the shotgun loaded with birdshot/buckshot and engaged targets from 5 to 25 yards. When the magazine was empty, I conducted a speed reload and engaged the 100 yard target with slugs. Due to my familiarity with the Ar-15 and SCAR platforms, magazine changes were very easy. The magazines on the BR-99 did not fall free when the magazine release was engaged. Failures to fire were solved by making sure the magazine was fully seated and cycling the action with the support hand…similar to techniques utilized with the Ak47/Ak74/AKM platforms. Simulated double feed malfunctions were solved by stripping the magazine from the gun and cycling the action until all shells were out of the firearm, reinserting the magazine, then charging the gun with the support hand.

Right Side

The trigger on the BR-99 is excellent. Manipulation of the shotgun was closer to a SCAR Heavy/Mk-17 then an Ar-15.

Left Side

The grip on the BR-99 was very comfortable. The safety was easy to manipulate when coming on or off target.

TLR1S Magpul BUIS

The Streamlight TLR-1S would be an excellent accessory for the BR-99.

 

Bushnell TRS-25

For low light shooting or engaging targets at distance with slugs, a red dot sight would be a great addition. Attached to the BR-99 is a Bushnell TRS-25.

 

After shooting one hundred shells through the BR- 99 I came to the following conclusions.

  • I prefer a Ruger Red Label for shooting clay pigeons.
  • The BR-99 is very reliable with 2 ¾ or 3 inch shells.
  • The sights need to be replaced if the End User is going to use the Shotgun for hunting, sporting, competition or law enforcement use.
  • The gun will not reliably function if the shotgun is not moderately pressed into the shoulder.
  • The provided magazines did not drop free when the magazine release was engaged.
  • Recoil is similar to that of a 20 gauge Remington 870 pump action shotgun.
  • With its multiple chokes and pistol grip, the BR-99 would make an excellent shotgun for hunting turkeys.
  •  The shotgun would be great for deer hunting if you live in a jurisdiction that does not allow rifles.
  • Magpul MBUS sights with a red dot sight are great accessories to have. The red dot can be zeroed for long work and the Magpul MBUS sights zeroed for close work…or vice versa.
  • The shotgun would be a great asset for a SWAT or SRT team. The box magazines allow specific ammunition to be used as needed. For example one magazine could be loaded with breaching rounds, another with buckshot for CQB and another magazine loaded with slugs for distance work.
  • The shotgun would make an excellent companion for a hunting or fishing guide who spends a lot of time in Alaska or Canada.
  • The only malfunctions encountered were failures to feed and failures to extract due to not shouldering the shotgun.
  • The Magpul B.A.D lever will not work on the BR-99
BR-99

A good configuration for personal defense against aggressive animals or threats to person, family or property. Spec Ops sling, Magpul MBUS sights, Bushnell TRS-25 and a Streamlight TLR-1S.

Winter is Coming

The BR-99 would be an awesome companion for a hunting or fishing guide working in Alaska. The BR-99 was subjected to lots of snow in the receiver during testing. The shotgun performed very well.

TRS-25 and Snow

Bushnell TRS-25. I have found this sight to be tough as nails. I truly believe you get what you pay for but this optic has taken a lot of abuse and has performed flawlessly. If you are on a budget this sight would work great for home defense, hunting or law enforcement work. If you are jumping out of airplanes or helicopters, or riding around in Humvees….get an Aimpoint, Trijicon, Browe or and EOTech.

 

Final Thoughts
The BR-99 is an incredibly versatile platform. The only thing I didn’t like about the shotgun was the sights. Since I run red dots and Magpul MBUS sights on my Ar-15′s, even if I had liked the BR-99′s sights, I would in all likelihood still have swapped them out for Magpul MBUS sights and a red dot.  The BR-99 can be purchased from Atlantic Firearms or directly from NATMIL. NATMIL is asking $579 for the BR-99…which I think is a very fair price. The BR-99 is reliable, accurate at distance with slugs, and could fill a multitude of roles.  The BR-99 was a lot of fun to test and I began to miss it the moment I dropped it off at my local UPS Store.

Thank you, NATMIL, for providing The Firearmblog with a test sample. Happy Mothers Day to all the Moms out there! A special thanks to my mother for all her love and support. Thank you, Mother, for teaching me how to write.

Do you have any experience with semi-automatic shotguns? Tips, questions, sarcasm, cadology, gripes and jokes are welcome in the comments below!

Load that bipod…stay safe!

Related

Thomas Gomez

Thomas Gomez currently resides in central New Mexico. He holds an Ar-15/M16/M4 armorer certification from Specialized Armament Warehouse as well as a Glock armorer certification. Aside from writing for The Firearm Blog he works as a computer Analyst for a large Hospital. He spends his free time farming, ranching, fly-fishing and hunting in the beautiful forests and prairies of New Mexico. He can be reached at LOADTHATBIPOD@gmail.com


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  • Nick

    So many semi auto shotguns… this, VEPR 12, Mossberg 930… and which one to get first?

    • ColaBox

      Saiga. That is all.

    • Vinnie

      VEPR 12 best AK pattern shotgun on the market.

    • Thomas Gomez

      It seems the VEPR 12 is starting to get quite the reputation as a reliable shotgun.

      • Patrick Bateman

        I have one and it’s extremely well built. I made the mistake of picking up an MKA-1919 last year and it was an absolute dog. Even if the MKA-1919 were reliable the VEPR 12 trumps it in one particular aspect, it is immeasurably easier to take apart and clean.

        • DiverEngrSL17K

          Excellent comment on the VEPR-12. Not many firearms enthusiasts really begin to understand and appreciate the sheer quality and performance of the VEPR-12 until they have owned and used one over the long term. It might be much more expensive initially than its rivals, but it more than pays off over time.

        • Thomas Gomez

          Hey Patrick. Thanks for sharing your experiences with both platforms. Hope this finds you well!

    • DiverEngrSL17K

      I have a VEPR-12, and I would very strongly recommend it.

  • dan citizen

    Another remington 1100 knockoff in an AR costume.

    Sadly this weapon will probably be popular like muzzlelite mossbergs and tapco decked out 10/22s, because we all know that if it looks kinda like an AR, it will sell.

    I could still get behind an AR style shotgun if it had a more appropriate action and had the AR’s versatility, especially interchangeable upper/lower receivers, rather than this and the akdal’s fatal flaw of only looking like it has a separable upper/lower.

    I guess I’m spoiled as a saiga 12 owner.

  • Steve Truffer

    Come on, (Manufacturers, not TFB). You can get .410 conversions for an AR15. 8 12 gauge shells fit in a modified G3 mag (extra clearance at front for shell in/ out), and we have magpul AR10 mags. Why are is it that only 1 manufacturer is making a 12 gauge AR platform, and why isn’t someone like PTRS making a 12 gauge G3 (or a sub – $2K MP5)?
    The success of the Saiga S12 was a massive sign – people like rifle patterned shotguns.

    • Shotty

      There are five of them that have been sitting in my local gun store for over a year. Around here nobody, I mean nobody, wants these shotguns.

      • iksnilol

        Did they try selling to gangbangers? Just say it is an AK and a shottie, that way you can spray buckshot while drive-bying. Never face the problem of choosing “ratatata” or “BLAM….Tscick-tshick BLAM” for your next drive-by.

        They would be sold in like two minutes, just saying.

      • Steve Truffer

        Saigas, or these turkish abominations? I know that the two years or so prior to consolidation, there were issues with the gas ports being spotty.

        • Shotty

          These Turkish AR shotgun things. Saigas don’t stick around long.

        • Thomas Gomez

          Turkish abominations? Have you shot one? Was it that bad? From what I have researched the BR-99 is an improved version of the MKA 1919.

          • Steve Truffer

            The Akdal. Tried two of them. One of them fired one round, and the extractor went with the spent shell casing. The second one had a messed up mag release, and required a gunsmith to remove the mag. He tried again, and it still locked up. Both were supposedly fresh out of the box. Not exactly stellar reliability or quality.

          • Thomas Gomez

            Hello Steve. Wow…thanks for the feedback. I hope the BR-99 proves to have a better track record then the MKA 1919.

            Hope this finds you well!

      • Thomas Gomez

        Hello Shotty? Is there a specific reason why people are not interested in the BR-99? Is it the BR-99 or the older MKA 1919?

    • Thomas Gomez

      Hello Steve. Thanks for the comment. Hope this finds you well!

  • Cymond

    It seems like a lot of box-magazine fed guns have come and gone in the last few years. The Saiga seems to be the one with the most endurance. Personal opinion: If you buy one, stock up on everything you might need someday, you can’t guarantee the parts will still be available in 10 years.

  • Nimrod

    These types of shotguns/Saiga 12s were fun to play with when they were cheap and no one wanted them. I bought mine for < $200 around 1999. No real point to them other than a range toy. At the prices the Saiga and BR99 are now, it kind of takes all the fun out of it.

  • Dangermouse

    I have one and love it. It has a Tooth & Nail fore end and they supplied a BAD lever, pre shaped, that does work as well as a great looking door breacher style choke.10 round magazines are relatively cheap as well. The mag well is plastic so removing a little to let the mags drop is no great job. All in all I now have a fully tricked shotgun and magazines for less than a standard Saiga.

    • Thomas Gomez

      Thank you for the comment Dangermouse. I think the BR-99 is an extremely versatile and reliable shotgun. Looking forward to what the future brings for this platform. Have you had any notable malfunctions? Hope this finds you well!

  • Thomas Gomez

    Sorry…having an issue with DISQUS…The BR-99 is very similar to the Remington 1100…the lower receiver/fire control was very similar to a SCAR-H.

    • dan citizen

      That’s neat, I wondered how they approached the lower construction. I really do think these turk semi auto shotguns are a good thing and hope they continue to evolve. folks are definitely coming through with aftermarket upgrades.

      • Thomas Gomez

        End users have done some really cool things with Saiga’s and the MKA 1919′s. Looking forward to see what folks do with the BR-99. What have you done to your Saiga?

        Hope this finds you well!

        • dan citizen

          other than the base conversion, I have focused on internals. Modded the bolt to be gentle on the first round when kept loaded. I also went over the BCG and FCG polishing and smoothing until It will happily cycle wally world birdshot. I changed the throat profile a little so it wouldn’t hang up on shorter rounds.

          • Thomas Gomez

            Sounds like you have a fine tuned shotgun! Thank you for the knowledge transfer. Hope this finds you well!

  • DiverEngrSL17K

    Hi, Thomas :

    Thank you for the article on the BR-99 ( and, by extension, it’s MKA1919 predecessor. Both weapons are well-made ( good Turkish small-arms quality is usually on par with many more well-known brands ) and work well if one recognizes and understands their limitations. However, having said that, if one is in the market for the ultimate semi-automatic shotgun, nothing comes anywhere near a VEPR-12, period. A good second would be a properly-modified Saiga 12, with the advantage of huge after-market parts availability and lower cost. Neither of the two have the sort of performance, reliability and handling limitations and restrictions that the BR-99, MKA1919 and other semi-automatic shotguns have. If one is not inclined toward semi-automatic shotguns, there is a wide range of completely reliable, well-proven pump-action shotguns on the market. You cannot go wrong with such an extensive range of options.

    • Thomas Gomez

      Hello Sir. Thank you for the comment. You cannot go wrong with a VEPR-12. I think the BR-99 may surprise people. Looking forward to what the future brings for the platform. Hope this finds you well!

      • DiverEngrSL17K

        Hello, Thomas :

        Thank you for the reply, and best wishes to you and yours as well. I will admit that while I am still somewhat skeptical, I am hoping that the BR-99 or its descendants will still prove to be the positive surprise that you envisage since this would be of enormous benefit to the firearms community as a whole while justly rewarding the designers / manufacturers for their due diligence. Only time will tell, of course.

  • 101nomad

    Short take, do not waste your money.

    • Thomas Gomez

      I would give the BR-99 a chance. I would use this shotgun for a variety of roles.

  • JaxD

    How short can you get the barrel?

    • Thomas Gomez

      The configuration I tested was the shortest I have seen them.

  • Lionheart

    Even if it is reliable something about a shotgun shell flying out of a ar-15 platform gun doesn’t do it for me, a ak maybe due to their ruggedness. Ar-15 or a ar-12 shotgun is not the semi auto shotgun were looking for.

    • Thomas Gomez

      Hello. It merely looks like an Ar-15. This shotgun is closer to a Remington 1100 and an FN SCAR. Hope this finds you well!

  • TV-PressPass

    I actually own an Akdal MKA 1919. So far its been a stellar 3 gun shotgun. I’m trying to figure out what the real difference is between it and this. The magazines look interchangeable?

  • Hyok Kim

    Too bad, it wasn’t made in India or China. Well, at least it was made in Turkey.

  • Murrica

    Why so much hate for the BR99? It doesn’t make much sense to trash talk something you haven’t had any experience with. Actually owning one or having fired one would much better qualify you negative nancys to run your mouths about this shotgun.

  • tooth and nail

    We have been building accessories for the MKA and BR99 for 2 years, while both are fine SG’s the MKA lends its self to after market upgrades more-so than the BR99.

    Another common misconception is the BR99 is a better version, the BR99 is INTERNALLY the same as the older version MKA, 2012 and older ONLY the stock, forend and barrel nut/gas relief are not interchangable. The “newer” version MKA 1919-XN has been sold since Dec of 2012 and has had several upgrades over the old style.

    The “problem” people have with these, and most semi auto SG’s are, they buy the absolute cheapest ammo they can buy and expect the GUN to run flawlessly. buy the recommended ammo(we recommend 100rnds of a 1300fps ammo for break-in), break-in the gun then start trying cheaper lower power ammo.

    We shoot Winchester AA 1145fps ammo on a compensated gun, in 3gun matches with 99.9% reliability, of course our guns are broke in, and setup for it.

    These guns are just as reliable as anything out there today.

  • William Burke

    I’m waiting for the BR-549 model.