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
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
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.
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.
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
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!