At the end of last year, Tom and I went to a shoot hosted by Asgard Defense and BMC Tactical. Asgard Defense was demoing their new 12 gauge semi-automatic shotgun, the Kriger, which they had promoted as one of the fastest shooting 12 gauge shotguns on the market. They also made the claim of low recoil and coolest running. Pretty steep promises when all added together.
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TFB Review: Asgard Defense Kriger M127 Shotgun
It was barely 30 degrees F out and I prepared my shoulder for the abuse of dozens of the shotgun rounds I anticipated firing on the cold morning. My fears were to be unjustified – later, when we left the range, my shoulder felt fine. After multiple round dumps. Oh, did I mention I did multiple ONE-HANDED dumps? The Kriger is really a unique tactical shotgun, unlike anything I have fired.
We met with Jason Heston, one of the owners of Asgard Defense, and Noah, their marketing guy. He gave us the rundown of the Kriger and a short history of Asgard Defense. Based out of Flagstaff Arizona, they proudly make all the parts with the exception of the stock/brace, grip, and one pin in Flagstaff. Like many innovations, it started as a side project and has evolved into a team of people who believe in their product.
The Kriger is a semi-automatic, short-stroke, dual-piston machine. It features a two-piece receiver to allow the user to swap the upper for different configurations. The Kriger comes with a top Picatinny rail for whatever you want to run. It also has rails on the sides and bottom. It will accept any “mil-spec” AR-15 components, like grips, stocks/braces, buffer tubes, and springs.
The Kriger is tube fed, providing six (plus one) when using three-inch magnum rounds, seven plus one if shooting 2.75-inch rounds (with the 18.5” barrel). Asgard decided to go with a tube magazine rather than a box magazine because of reliability issues with most box magazines. They were more concerned with making a highly reliable shotgun with a lot of modularity than with round count. That is a problem to solve at a later time. It can accommodate everything from light birdshot to heavy magnum loads to breaching rounds. Unfortunately, we did not get the opportunity to try out breaching with it. Different rounds require a buffer spring change (which is pretty easy to do).
The recoil system is based on the recoil system of an AR-15. Although tinkered to where it is a bit different, it still uses the same tube and spring. A small bumper is installed on the rear of the receiver to prevent the bolt carrier from bottoming out to the rear when firing more powerful rounds. The BCG has a replaceable weight on the rear, to help keep recoil to a minimum.
The upper and lower receivers are machined from a 7075 aluminum billet. The bore axis is in line with the shooter’s shoulder which is another feature that helps to manage recoil.
The barrel is 4140 steel and can accommodate different choke tubes. It comes with an improved cylinder, modified, and full choke tubes. They gave a strong reminder to not shoot slugs through a full choke… Also, if you intend to breach with the Kriger, it is recommended to use a breaching choke (which is not provided with the initial purchase).
The trigger pack is custom and is not compatible with AR drop-in triggers. Their in-house trigger is nickel-Teflon coated and is tuned to be somewhere around 6.5 pounds – plenty good for a shot thrower.
Through the course of the day, we shot hundreds of shells (a strong flex given the cost and availability of ammo at the time). We were able to shoot all of the main barrel length configurations – my favorite was the 18.5” barrel. It had the largest capacity and was just fun to shoot. That said, the shorter configurations were, paradoxically, just as light shooting as the 18.5”- we’d expected the 12.25” to be “thumpier”. This is a testament to the buffering system and bore axis that reduces that recoil.
The Kriger is blazing fast. As the video shows, it cycles quickly, consistently, and easily. This shotgun literally fires as fast as you can pull the trigger. In fact, toward the end of the shoot, we started holding informal competitions to who could dump the magazine the fastest. Clearly, the Asgard staff were the fastest but we won’t hold that against them.
The action is fast enough to begin opening the chamber prior to the projectile exiting the barrel. This causes a venturi effect pulling in cold air. The unintentional byproduct is a shotgun that does not heat up as fast as expected. Many mag dumps, even with a suppressor kept the barrel warm to the touch. So it is fast and cool!
The trigger is smooth and crisp and is better than most stock triggers on other shotguns. We could not confirm that it was 6.5 pounds, but, really, who cares – it’s a tactical shotgun.
As I mentioned earlier, the Kriger is so forgiving with recoil that one-handed mag dumps are easily performed. During the shoot, most people did the one-handed dumps over and over.
- Action type: Semi-auto, short-stroke, dual-piston
- Chambering: 12 gauge 2.75”/3”
- Receiver: 7075 aluminum alloy
- Upper Assembly: 7075 aluminum alloy
- Stock: AR-15 compatible/mil-spec buffer tube
- Barrel: 416 steel nitrided finish, Threaded muzzle for screw-in choke tubes
- Barrel Lengths: 18.5” sporting purpose
- Sights: Low profile Picatinny rail-mounted ghost ring, 7075 aluminum alloy
- Trigger: 6.5 pounds
- Overall Length: Measured with stock retracted to the first lock position, 36.75” (18.5” barrel)
- Length of Pull: Adjustable 11.75” to 14.625”
- Magazine: Tube fed, 6 plus 1 round capacity 3” magnum/ 7 plus 1 round capacity 2.75” (18.5” barrel)
- MSRP: $2600 (18.5” barrel), $2400 (12.25” barrel, NFA), $2200 (12.25” barrel, braced)
- Website: https://asgarddefense.com/product/m127k/
The Kriger is a modern shotgun that shoots fast, keeps cool, and has superbly light recoil. The Kriger can be handled by even the smaller shooters, even those who may have shied away from a 12 gauge shotgun in the past. The light recoil, along with the fast cycling of the action, allows someone to easily take a follow-up shot if needed.
I did find the manual of arms a bit unusual, though nothing that training would not overcome. I think a small difference to overcome for the huge benefit of an amazingly manageable 12-gauge.
While the price tag of the Kriger will certainly make a few people cringe, I recommend shooting one before passing judgment. The capabilities of this tactical shotgun are very impressive. It is also soft enough shooting that it could be used by everyone in your household – burliest lumberjack to most petite (though probably not a toddler – they are better suited to manage crew-served weapons). And with the ability to manage it one-handed, it gives shooters with disabilities one more firearm that they have the ability to shoot.