Lightning Review: Dissident Arms KL-12 Race Gun Vepr12

My friend Vadim brought over his friend Ryan who recently acquired a Dissident Arms KL-12. The KL-12 is Dissident Arms’ flagship race gun. It is a tuned Vepr12 with a hefty price tag at $3500.


Vadim brought out a stock Vepr12 and a slightly modified Vepr12 that he had done to compare against the KL-12.

Right off the bat, the overall feel of the KL-12 is apparent. The moment you put the magazine into the mag well and pull the left side charging handle you can feel everything has been smoothed out and made to race. Racking the charging handle is effortless and smooth through out the entire stroke travel. Even the safety is effortless. You can see in the photo below, there is some added material that has been curved. The Vepr12 come standard with a safety that can be actuated with the firing index finger. However it is a simple bent piece of steel. While shooting the stock Vepr12 I immediately noticed the corners of the metal dug into my index finger.  The modification by DA alleviates that issue.

The extended mag release is more convenient however the actual paddles that your index finger pushes on are somewhat smaller than I would like and the corners are not as rounded as they should be. Ryan, the owner of this gun, said he cut his finger a couple to times trying to hit the mag release. All DA needs to do is add a larger curved piece of metal like they did with the safety.


The left side charging handle is one of the better improvements on the KL-12. Normally you would have to either reach under or roll the gun over to rack the charging handle with your left hand. Or you could rack it with your right hand. But with the left side charging handle you don’t need to waste time moving anything other than your left hand. As an added bonus you can see into the the gun with your left eye, similar to the Faxon ARAK21 you can spot malfunctions faster and easier from the left side.

DA also modifies an ALG Defense AK trigger and gets it down to 2lbs. World of difference from the factory trigger.

Close up of #Vepr12trigger vs #racegun triggers. @algdefense #aktetrigger #Vepr12 @dissidentarms @deemzansky

A post shared by Nick Chen (@solscud007) on


Another huge feature is the use of Briley Internal Choke system. For regular Vepr12 shotguns, your options for chokes are limited. The Vepr12 barrel is threaded externally and so you need to add a choke tube to the outside of the barrel. Some choke tubes, like the SGM Tactical choke tubes are threaded to add a muzzle brake. However, you can imagine trying to change the choke tube with a muzzle brake on is tedious. With the Briley Internal Choke system, you can swap out choke tubes just like any regular shotgun.



Here is a video of Vadim shooting the KL-12 with a little stage we set up with some clay stands, the club’s plate rack and my Shoot Steel popper/clay thrower.


You will notice he is using a 28 round extended Vepr12 magazine. Unofficially dubbed “The Mammoth Tusk”


For fun I dumped an SGM Tactical drum mag out of Vadim’s Vepr-12. One issue with the KL-12 is that the flared magwell is not compatible with drum mags. However, I have been told they are working on a new design that will b compatible.

Here is the build sheet for the K12

DA makes a slightly more affordable competition ready shotgun, their CR-12. Here is the comparison sheet.


If you buy the KL-12 you save $250 over the CR-12 and adding the extra features.

Nicholas C

Co-Founder of KRISSTALK forums, an owner’s support group and all things KRISS Vector related. Nick found his passion through competitive shooting while living in NY. He participates in USPSA and 3Gun. He loves all things that shoots and flashlights. Really really bright flashlights.

Any questions please email him at


  • BrandonAKsALot

    I normally can’t stand tacticooled AK’s, but that thing looks bad ass. I don’t even mind the AR stock. It all has a nice flow. The Vepr 12 is such a fun gun. Mine comes to the range nearly every trip.

    • supergun

      The AR stock probably helps out on the recoil? I wish they made an AR stock for the 930.

  • Ed Ward

    That is a competition shotgun of which all others will strive to even reach much less beat. The tube fed guns can hang provided respective mag tube is double the length of the barrel ;)…

    • USMC03Vet

      Jerry hangs with the Mossberg 930 and it’s much cheaper.

      • Vadim Igorevich

        “The rules” don’t apply to Jerry. He wrote the rules. And he gets paid a loottttttta money to shoot that gun. That being said, he got beat by a Dissident Arms Vepr 12 at the Southeast 3GunNation regional this year. So did Daniel Horner.

        • supergun

          You right, but the 930 is the gun for the money. I wonder what a tricked out, custom tuned 930 with extended magazine or drum would compare dollar wise and competitive wise.

      • supergun

        I have the Mossberg 930. Love that gun. This gun is nice also, and expensive.

  • supergun

    Dam, that is a nice shot gun. Anyone duck hunting?

  • jcitizen

    Sorry but that Chauchat machine gun looking clip is hilarious! I’d feel like I had to wear a clown suit to shoot with that thing hanging under my shotgun! ROTFLOL

  • Pat Harrington

    What is that Badass Muzzle Brake on there? its not listed in the item breakdown. It really seems to hold the shotgun level?

    • Vadim Igorevich

      That there is a Bad Boy Gunz V6 muzzle brake. Very very effective

      • Rick Esler

        well must get one for my VEPR

  • Pat Harrington

    I mean in the last video?

  • BigR

    I’ll just keep my Mossberg and my $3,500.00!!

  • BigR

    Excuse me, my Mossberg and my $3,750.00!!!!

    • Vadim Igorevich

      Vepr 12s have a lot less recoil and are far more versatile than any mossberg. If you don’t want to spend $3750 then start with a $750 base model and make it into what you need. Sell that Mossberg and ride the lightning!

      • Rick Esler

        Get one of each…..Life’s short

  • Lobo Rojo

    What’s the MOA coming out of that baby?