Named by its acronym “Ultimate Tactical Shotgun, 15 round” this Turkish 12 gauge pump-action from Utas Defense stands out in the market with its unique look and performance. I was excited to be given the recent opportunity to test the UTS-15 and interested to see how it would perform.
One thing was clear straight away; this premium shotgun has some really interesting features to tell you about.
One development on test day was no surprise whatsoever, the UTS-15 is accurate and deadly. Tested on my CQB course and the 50-yard range, with ammo from expected and reliable manufacturers such as Federal and Winchester, my targets consistently resulted in 3-6” inch groupings with ease. Slugs at 50 were strong performers, and it was nice to see the longer distance accuracy on a shotgun that is designed to be best at small quarters.
The UTS-15 is delivered with notch and post sights to install. The included irons are adjustable and for the sake of testing, I stuck with them. There is an integrated top Picatinny rail to mount your favorite optic for a shotgun, and if I weren’t just enjoying a day, I’d definitely be adding one. The UTS is meant to be pointed, and a good pair of eyes would be better.
A beneficial feature that made my accuracy range testing easier was the ability to operate the mag tubes independently as needed. The two magazine tubes can be fed with different rounds, so I’d feed buckshot to one side with slugs on the other. A mechanical switch is within easy reach on the top of the gun. I’d either allow the bullpup to go back and forth, using both tubes simultaneously or I’d isolate my rounds to all come from one tube. The flexibility there was handy for a long day with various targets on the course.
Many bullpups get knocked for reliability and the UTS-15 does not escape this reputation for many. However, just like some of the other shotguns in this category, the UTS is a shotgun that needs consistently high slide speed for positive ejection. If you aren’t aggressive with your pulls, you are more likely to have trouble. That’s not a failure, that’s how this shotgun was intended to operate.
A fast shooter, the UTS can keep up with me and refire as fast as I can feed through the fifteen rounds. It draws attention and I had several interested compatriots that insisted on a turn. For that speed and reliability, the UTS-15 does quite well with 2 ¾” birdshot and lighter target loads. There was more difficulty in operation with the slugs in testing, but my muscle fatigue coming into play has me forgiving the trouble. It was a long day, and I’m pretty sure the shotgun held up better than I did.
Having gotten used to the configuration and changes in body position that are required when shooting a bullpup, I can say that I quite like the way the UTS-15 handles. Being a bit taller, the UTS fits well as a pointed shotgun. The extra height is due to one of the most unique features of this shotgun; both magazine chambers are situated above the barrel. A tube beneath the barrel is not just wasted space either, Utas Defense has included an integrated light/laser accessory with illumination directly under the muzzle. For any low light shooting, I can activate the light or laser with a switch on the right side.
As is expected, the ejection port is located behind a standard AR-15 style grip. That feature is not the best for left-handed shooters, but that is a common issue with bullpups. Another feature designed for right-handed only is the safety, located to the left within easy reach. If you are a lefty and all-around shotgun is what you need, this unique weapon may not be the best choice.
Some unique qualities here are the port dust cover with a magnet to close after ejection. A handy feature in most circumstances. Another feature is significantly practical; the UT-15 is extremely easy to disassemble for cleaning, with only one part to unscrew to break down.
The trigger for the UTS-15 is just as you’d expect from a tactical shotgun and it is nice that all of the switches and release are located within easy reach. The switches are also easy to operate with gloves on, a bonus that not all shotguns can attest to.
Magazine & Reloading
Part of why the UTS-15 appeals to many homeowners, looking for the best shotgun for home defense, is this is a fantastically high-capacity shotgun. The UTS holds 14 + 1 rounds in two 7 round mag tubes. That much firepower without the need to reload makes this a great choice for sport and home defense.
With those magazine tubes above the barrel, Utas Defense has reversed the lifter mechanism to load the rounds down instead of up. There is also a slot that allows you to easily see how many cartridges are loaded. Loading is done at two flap openings for the mag tube on the top of the shotgun Better than the Kel-Tech KSG’s blind loading port, the UTS-15’s is clear and easy to locate. Easy to load from the left or right side, it’s nice to see an ambidextrous feature on a relatively right-handed shotgun.
Length & Weight
The UTS-15’s unique appearance with the top dual tubes encasing barrel within the lower accessory tube is due completely to the compact nature of the bullpup configuration. Its 18.5” smoothbore barrel is packed into an overall length of only 28.3.” I expected the shorter 12” length of pull and was easily able to get comfortable shooting.
With sights installed, there is a considerable 8.5” height. I was concerned when I first got a good look at the UTS in person that it would be too ungainly with its boxy appearance and tall stature. I was happy to be proven wrong and had an enjoyable time without noticing any work-around for the extra bulk. In fact, I found that the short and squat build is good for work within tight spaces. Part of that ease was also definitely thanks to its lack of weight. Only 6.9 lbs empty, the UTS was made much lighter with the use of fiber-reinforced polymers.
A big surprise was the remarkable difference in recoil with the UTS-15. Due to unique position of the mag tubes, the force on firing was designed to be more direct to shooter’s shoulder, similar to an AR-15 firing position. It made the long day significantly easier thanks to the adjustments in the design. The change in the trajectory of force also kept the muzzle lift to a minimum for follow up shots on target.
Ironically, one of the features making the UTS-15 shotgun more desirable also affects its image in the price category. The construction with the polymers to make the weapon significantly lighter, create an odd problem of a potentially high-priced $1,200 plastic shotgun. I can assure you, this is so much more than meets the eye. High-quality materials have been assembled to create this undeniably unique weapon. The advantage of the multiple included and integrated accessories also adds value to the investment.
The UTS-15 is a one-of-a-kind premium bullpup shotgun that can be used and enjoyed by many. The incredibly high-capacity, combined with unique features in styling and handling make this an excellent choice for interested gun owners. There are more affordable bullpups on the market, but there is only one UTS-15. Without hesitation, I can say that if you are looking for a showstopper of a shotgun, this is the one for you.
Richard Douglas is a long time shooter, outdoor enthusiast and technologist. He is the founder and editor of Scopes Field, and a columnist at The National Interest, Cheaper Than Dirt, Daily Caller and other publications.