Gun Review: TriStar KRX Tactical Shotgun

Early August we posted about the new KRX Tactical shotgun, the new box fed 12-gauge by TriStar. The KRX Tactical blends familiar features and controls with a more traditional semi-auto shotgun while remaining at a reasonable price point. Shortly after the press release was posted, we were contacted by the people over at TriStar to set up a review of the AR style shotgun.

The TriStar KRX Tactical showed up at my FFL inside of a rather plain cardboard box with the shotgun, two 5 round magazines, a removable front sight, and a removable carry handle that houses multiple rear sight options. P1080668

The KRX Tactical features familiar AR-15 based controls complete with bolt release. At the range I found switching to the KRX was rather easy since everything seemed to fall into place where you might expect it to be. The only exception to that rule is the charging handle is located in the same place as a standard semi-auto shotgun.

I was a bit annoyed to see that the stock was molded into the receiver like the MKA 1919, I would have rather seen a removable stock fitted, after all, not all shooters are the same size. P1080669 P1080677P1080670

The sights provided with the shotgun are pretty solid given their polymer construction. I probably wouldn’t go around banging them on everything, but for range use they should be just fine. The front bead is a fiber optic number with 3 other front sight options that range from simple black post to a peep front sight. I found myself gravitating to the fiber optic option and used it like a standard bead.

The removable carry handle also features four sighting options that are elevation and windage adjustable. By rotating the rear sight into the handle it reveals two peep sight options, a simple post, and a u notch type sight.

If I were to rely on the KRX for any type of serious use like self-defense or a truck gun I would ditch the factory sights, while they are functional I am unsure that I could trust them to take a beating when things mattered.P1080676P1080673 P1080682P1080684

Fitted to the end of the 20″ barrel is what TriStar calls a “Door Buster” choke. I couldn’t find any indication as to what pattern choke the KRX Tactical takes in the manual, but if I had to guess I would say it is a Beretta/Benelli Mobil style choke. P1080693

When I was looking over the shotgun initially I thought to myself “Cool, they included a way to attach a flashlight on the side.” Wrong. The rail sections on the right and left side of the shotgun are purely cosmetic and aren’t even close to the right dimensions. I found this styling feature a bit strange, I guess it isn’t that big of a deal since there is a 8 slot rail on the bottom of the handguard as well as a full length rail along the top. P1080679 P1080680

After my range day, I took the shotgun apart to give it a quick wipedown and found stripping it for cleaning to be rather easy. Just like you would expect with a shotgun, what would be the magazine cap screws off to release the handguard. There is a second nut that keeps the barrel in place that you need to remove as well to free the barrel and gas system.

Once the magazine cap and barrel nut have been removed you simply pull the shotgun apatr just like any other gas operated semi auto. I did find removing the barrel to be a biy of a bear, but it gave way eventually. P1080685 P1080686

Since I had the trigger gauge out, why not see what the KRX’s trigger pull comes at? I knew it was going to be rather heavy, as my range day went on the trigger went from around 6.5 – 7 pounds up to 10 pounds 6 ounces. Far more stiff than I prefer, it still worked even though it was on the heavy side. P1080694

On the range, the KRX Tactical seemed to work as advertised, unloading five 12-gauge shells as fast as my finger could work the weighty trigger. Once the magazine is empty the bolt locks to the rear then you need to manupulate the magazine release while pulling the mag free since they don’t drop free. Inserting a new magazine was also challangining due to the tight fitment of the magazines to the mag well.

In the photo below I was able to dump all 5 shells onto a man sized steel target rather quickly, then reloaded and fired 5 more. krx-1

The recoil from the 12-gauge birdshot was a bit more stiff than I am used to in a semi-auto shotgun, I believe due to the straight line stock and hard rubber recoil pad. I also noticed that the shotgun seemed to torque in a counter-clockwise direction everytime I pulled the trigger, probably due to how i was holdint the shotgun. krx-2 KRX-3

After about 450 rounds of birdshot I experienced minimal failures, likely due to the shotgun needing to be broken in more. As the range day progressed I found that the shotgun seemed to run smoother while the trigger got heavier. KRX-4


So what do I think about the KRX Tactical? It isn’t bad if you are looking for a magazine fed shotgun that won’t break the bank. The KRX Tactical carries an MSRP of only $595, I expect us to see street prices to hover around the low to mid $400 range. So for a budget semi-auto that also happens to take magazines it does its job pretty well.

You can learn more about the TriStar KRX Tactical 12-gauge shotgun over at the TriStar website HERE.


  • JustAHologram

    Good lord, did you look down and noticed that all these reviews were just unsubmitted drafts and send them all at once?

    • Sunshine_Shooter

      I noticed a lack of editing as well.

    • Patrick R. – Senior Writer

      Nope, just some time to get the reviews done that were on my plate. Thankfully I should be all caught up soon.

  • thedonn007

    Well, I guess I should have waited a little longer before buying my current 12ga and bought one of these instead.

    • Patrick R. – Senior Writer

      That depends on what you bought.

      • thedonn007

        A different Turkish shotgun. Linberta SA01LSTAC20.

        • Patrick R. – Senior Writer

          It probably is a bit more reliable due to the tube mag. You should feel good about your buy, it looks like a nice gun.

  • Flounder

    Minimal malfunctions?! A malfunction is like the meat and potatoes of a review! Why no pictures of these malfunctions?

    • Patrick R. – Senior Writer

      TriStar says that you should shoot some heavy recoiling ammo before moving to birdshot. I started with birdshot, the malfunctions were a result of me not breaking the gun in therefore not worth putting in the review.

  • TDog

    Overall, it sounds like a gun that needs a few more revisions before it’s ready for prime time. For example, it has a trigger that gets heavier the more you use it? That sounds like a gun control advocate’s dream to be honest. “It stops working once you fire ten rounds!”

    And the “minimal” malfunctions. Without providing any details, it sounds like the gun version of telling your girlfriend that her dress is “flattering.”

    And it’s ugly. There. I said it. It looks like an AR-15 overdosed on horse steroids and then hit itself in the face with a hatchet. And the one-piece non-adjustable stock is kinda dumb in this day and age. Do hinges and/or springs cost that much or did some dude in Turkey get a killer deal on his injection molding machinery? Either which way, it’s ugly and its stock doesn’t fold or collapse… that’s a home run of poor design if I ever saw it.

    • Patrick R. – Senior Writer

      Minimal means 3 malfunctions total, all of those were magazine issues.

      • TDog

        Cool. Thanks for clearing that up.

  • Sasquatch

    Think I will stick with getting a DDI shotgun.

  • Christian Hedegaard-Schou

    Regarding the stock being molded into the “receiver”, if it’s anything like the MKA1919, the receiver is actually the upper (receiver here being the legal term, meaning the firearm by law and the serial’ed part).

    If it’s like the MKA1919, then you can simply swap out the lower to one with a different stock.

  • Major Tom

    Clean looking semi-auto box fed shotgun and they had to guff it up by going with AR everything. NOT EVERY GUN HAS TO BE AR!

    It had interest from me, but now has lost it. Feh.

    • JustAHologram

      For whatever reason people either want AR or AK controls

      • Major Tom

        Which is the problem in firearms these days. Innovation must be dead or manufacturers are more risk-averse than anything. Probably both.

        • JustAHologram

          I blame the Tacticool crowd for demanding the same controls so it all becomes “operator friendly”.

        • tts

          Eeeeeeh when it comes to controls I actually don’t really see much need for innovation.

          Its like wanting to mess with the gas and brake pedal position on a car just to get a fraction of a second better improvement on some paper test when in the real world you have to go and relearn all your muscle memory now.

          A whole lotta frustration and practice time for little to no pay off makes no sense to me.

          Now good quality innovation in the weapon action, magazine, or ammo is something I’d like to see.

    • Billy Jack

      No 30 round mag! That’s no AR! And it also has lost my interest. 5 rounds in a mag? Is this Canada or Hungary or sumthin?

  • jay

    People keep pimping turkish firearms. I’ll stick with American, Russian, or Israeli. I don’t support terrorism. ;-}

    • VanDiemensLand

      Russians might make good firearms, but they’re becoming increasingly aggressive and belligerent.

      • jay

        True. Can it partially be due to obama poking the bear?

        • gusto

          no the bear hibernates naturally, it goes in cycles but Russia is always Russia

          • Major Tom

            A little of A, a little of B. The bear works in cycles, but Obama hasn’t done anything to help relations either. His weak leadership has empowered Putin to be more than he would have been otherwise.

          • VanDiemensLand

            And Putin would be rubbing his hands together in delight with the prospect of a Trump POTUS, the Kremlin has been devising strategies to politically divide NATO for decades……Trump is promising to do exactly that.

          • BravoSeven

            Hmm… What’s this site’s motto?

          • No politics——-

          • VanDiemensLand


          • jay

            Yes and no. The people of Russia will always be the same. They will survive and somewhat flourish. But they have the Dark Horse in command now. Russia will be politically driven on a different path. War? Empire? Economic Empire? The man in the drivers seat is far different than the leaders from the 60’s forward. So, I believe that Russia is done with hibernating for a while.

        • Y-man

          Damned if you do, damned if you don’t…

      • Tassiebush

        If the big guys slug it out at least we’re out of the way?

        • VanDiemensLand

          Amen to that, where you at bro? I’m in Verona Sands, bout an hour South of Hobart 😉

          • Tassiebush

            I’m at the other end of the channel at Margate mate! Haha small world!

          • VanDiemensLand

            Hahaha true that, I lived in Margate for a bit, Crescent Dr. Grew up in Cygnet.

          • Tassiebush

            Haha well I can see crescent drive from my house and my wife’s family were from Cygnet on her mum’s side. I grew up in Howden so pretty much just crossed the bay. Were you at crescent drive on the day of that seige? I shared a class in primary school with that guy lol!

          • VanDiemensLand

            No I wasn’t, what was the siege over do you know?

          • Tassiebush

            My understanding is he was pretty much suffering a psychosis and thought bikies (possibly rebels) were after him. He had a fake bomb in a car boot and fired a cap gun out a door to try to convince police he was armed. I think drugs were involved…. Lucky not to be a Gilewicz really!

          • VanDiemensLand

            Full on! I work in ED at RHH, lots of Ice around!

          • Tassiebush

            Wow that’s quite a commute!
            Yeah it’s pretty prevalent! It really is a hard thing to work around. They get angry and instead of the usual dummy spit and then calming down they keep going and escalating. Totally impervious to reason. I work in the social services sector so come across it.

          • VanDiemensLand

            It is a long drive!! It’s nasty stuff indeed!

    • iksnilol

      If you don’t support terrorism you technically shouldn’t get guns from Americans, Russians or Israelis either.

      • Major Tom

        So therefore Chechen-style homebrew FTW?

        • iksnilol


      • jay

        You may be right. Certainly with this administration (obama). But I still won’t support any other m.e. countries arms companies. Absolutely not any islamist countries.

  • VanDiemensLand

    Seems like a waste to have a non folding or adjustable stock, and no ability to change it out for a different style. I imagine it wouldn’t have been difficult to mould those front rail sections to picatinny spec either. It looks very long!

  • Klaus Von Schmitto

    I just wish there were more options for modern combat shotguns in 20 gauge. The plate in my neck really objects to 12.

  • Mmmtacos

    This gun reminds me of a moped: it works and it does what it was designed to do. But damned if I’ll never be seen with one.

  • Sledgecrowbar

    Unlike some commenters, I like the proliferation of AR-style shotguns, but this style of making it as cheaply as possible by molding the stock and grip together defeats a major point of the modern AR: personalization. These Turkish and Russian manufacturers are missing the point. You could be fitting standard AR grips and stocks and be light years ahead, which is where you need to be now.

    The major thing here that I think detractors are missing is the detachable magazine. This is the innovation that shotgun fans are looking for. A bunch of companies have tried to get 12-gauge AR uppers off the ground and only one seems to be still kicking, and even then they reduced their three or four initial models to one, and they won’t sell just the upper because they have a captive audience so they’re charging an extra grand for an AR-10 lower with it.

  • Bigbigpoopi

    Bet it’s fixed for import reasons

  • Richard

    What other magazines are available for this?