UTAS UTS-15 Review
Part 1 - Introduction, Specifications and Summary
October 20, 2013
Vice President Joe Biden said
"Buy a shotgun, buy a shotgun...", I agree!
It is hard to dispute the effectiveness of a
shotgun for home defense, and for the first time I think I partly
agree with one of Biden's recommendations, although, I don't
think home defense was the primary role that UTAS had in mind when
they developed their UTS-15 shotgun. Clearly the UTS-15 was
developed for tactical applications where short length, quick
point-ability and high capacity are needed. The UTS-15 bullpup design
with its 15-round capacity clearly meets these needs. Currently
UTAS makes four models of their UTS-15 shotguns; Black, Desert,
Hunting and Marine. UTAS had some nice high resolution images
of these shotguns on their
webpage and I added them below. Clicking on a photo (or
typically any photo in my reviews) will bring up a high resolution
Figure 2 - UTS-15 Black
Figure 3 - UTS-15 Desert
Figure 4 - UTS-15 Hunting
Figure 5 - UTS-15 Marine
The UTS-15 was first developed at the request of Smith & Wesson
back in 2006 when S&W asked UTAS to develop the "ultimate police
shotgun". S&W wanted a shotgun that was 12 gage, pump
action, less than 30" overall length and have at least a 13
round capacity. After four years of development, UTAS
developed the UTS-15 shotgun which is a bullpup design, made
of approximately 85% fiber reinforced polymer and has a full
capacity of 15 (14+1) rounds with 2.75" shells. In the process of
developing this shotgun, UTAS wanted to make it available to the
normal consumer (not just law enforcement), so they kept the
barrel length and overall
length long enough so the shotgun is not considered an NFA item.
The MSRP on the black version shown in this review is $1200
without any accessories. Based on doing a search on the
internet, it looks like the street price for the UTS-15 is near
or above the MSRP which is a statement on this shotgun's
popularity and demand.
During my reviews I like to compare my results
to the manufacturer's claims where possible so the following text in
colored italics was taken directly from the
on 9/8/13 and gives the Key Features and Specifications
for the UTS-15 Pump Shotgun. The
are my way to keep up with details that I have covered in this
review with either photos, commentary or both.
Dual loading port doors and retractable magazine followers allow
for super fast reloading without the hassle and awkwardness
associated with other pump shotguns.
The UTS-15 features a positive bolt lock that locks the action
closed when the locking lugs are fully engaged.
The bolt release
button is located under the rear of the stock well away from the
for added safety when unloading a live round from the
The UTS-15 will fire any 2 ½”, 2 ¾” or 3” 12 gauge shell on the
with complete reliability and safety. No adjustments are
necessary, just load and shoot.
The UTS-15’s patented dual, selectable magazine system feeds
shells alternately from each magazine tube when the selector is
in the center position. Shells can be feed from individual
magazines by moving the selector to the left or right position.
The shell loading carriage is spring operated to provide instant
and positive shell feeding every time no matter how fast or slow
the action is pumped
(I found that cycling the action too fast
would cause feeding issues) or in what position the gun is held; left
side, right side or even upside down
the UTS-15 loads lightning
fast every time.
The optional internally mounted spotlight / laser night sight’s
push button is conveniently and quickly activated with the
shooter moving only their trigger finger.
2.5", 2.75" & 3"
Capacity: 15 (7+7+1)
Overall Length: 28.3"
review shotgun measured 29.5" with the
cylinder choke tube installed
Barrel Length: 18.5"
review shotgun measured 19.8" with choke
removed and 20.53" with cylinder choke installed
Weight: 6.9 lbs
without the sights, laser/light and sling
swivels, but with the cylinder choke tube installed, the shotgun
weighed it at 7.9 pounds
- Choke: Beretta Style
- Width: 2.55"
- MSRP: $1200 for the basic black model
This review is broken down into multiple
parts with this page providing links to each part along with an
overall summary of the specifications, pros and cons, and my final "bottom
comments. Make sure you take time to checkout the other parts
of the review because they contain many photos and
lots of commentary. Also, there is an extreme amount of detail in those
parts which is not covered on this page.
As you read these Pros and Cons below,
keep in mind that it is hard to keep my particular preferences from creeping in the
equation. Therefore, it is important that you take the time to
look at the other parts of this review so you can decide yourself on
items which may be more of a personal preference.
The barrel axis is located at the center of the buttpad which
reduces muzzle rise when fired.
One of the great features about the UTS-15 is that it can have a
combination red laser and 200 Lumen light assembly embedded in
the forearm of the shotgun.
One of the first things I noticed when I shouldered the UTS-15
was the short length of pull (LOP). The LOP on this
shotgun measured about 11.8". At first, I wasn't sure if I
liked the LOP, but after shouldering it many times and getting
used to the compactness of the shotgun, I have grown to like the
The safety is located on the left side of the shotgun in a
position and configuration similar to that of an AR style rifle.
The trigger pull measured measured 4.3 pounds based on an
average of 10 pulls using a Lyman Digital Trigger Pull Scale.
The trigger had some initial take-up (0.04"), no perceivable
creep and then seemed to break crisply at just over 4 pounds.
The UTS-15 can be disassembled (field stripping) for cleaning in
less than 30 seconds (after you are familiar and have done it once or twice) and
reassembly is also fast and easy.
The look of the shotgun along with the 15-round capacity makes
the shotgun something that immediately draws the interest of
your shooting buddies.
Pro/Con/Comment (you decide)?:
The barrel measured 19.8"
with choke removed and 20.53" with cylinder choke installed.
This is different than the advertised 18.5" and I feel that UTAS
needs to update their literature on this shotgun.
If you remove the weight of the laser/light and sling swivels,
4.90 and 1.85 ounces respectively, the shotgun weighs in at 7.90
pounds which is different that the 6.9 pounds shown at the UTAS
The texturing on the sides, rear and front of the grip really do
reduce the slick feel of the polymer grip and it would be a nice
addition if UTAS could include this type of texturing on their
I actually received two different shotguns for review. The bolt
on the first shotgun didn't seem to be locking into place as
consistently as I thought it should. You can check for this in the store by opening the upper stock and pressing the trigger
plate to allow the mouse trap spoon to rotate down as you cycle the
bolt. If you do this a couple of times and the bolt is not
locking every time, ask the clerk to bring you another shotgun so you
can check that one out. The bolt locked perfectly on the
second shotgun I received and this should be the case for a properly
I'm still a little surprised that the receiver is all polymer
and only time will tell if this part will be able to handle the
long term use. I'm sure UTAS has done some endurance
testing and they feel polymer materials will work.
It is possible to pull the trigger and release the hammer prior
to the bolt being locked in place. Since the firing pin
cannot reach the primer until the bolt is locked in place, there
shouldn't be any safety issues, but if you pull the trigger too
soon in a rapid fire sequence, you may need to cycle the action
and eject a live shell to re-cock the hammer.
Throughout my range tests, I put around 200
rounds through the UTS-15. Clearly this number of rounds was not enough to test
the durability of the shotgun, but I feel it was enough to give me a
good idea on reliability. With 2.75" shells, I found the
shotgun to be very reliable as long as you cycle the action in a
deliberate fast rear stroke all the way to the stop, hesitate/pause
for a fraction of a second in the rear action position, and then with a
deliberate stroke push the action forward until the bolt locks. A fraction of a
second pause at the rear stop for 2.75" shells and slightly longer
for 3" shells seems to be what the shotgun likes to allow the timing
of the shells to get into the proper position on the loading ramp.
I wouldn't be too concerned with this pause because if you watch
some of the cycle rates in the video, you will see that the
shotgun can still feed fast.
The spring that flips the door open on this shotgun did
not have enough force/travel to press the door against the stock
when in the open position and the door
would rattle when open. Potentially a different spring or
second magnet on the lower portion of the stock could correct
this rattle. I'm not sure if this is unique to this
shotgun or if all are this way.
At the rear of the lower surface of the stock is the bolt
release button. I found this location to be a little
awkward to use.
Although the UTAS UTS-15 shotgun started
development back in 2006, the USA production line didn't start until
2012. As with any new production line and product, I feel that
some bugs will always need to be worked out. There are several
reviews that show some UTS-15 shotguns may not be reliable. I
can't speak for those reviews, but in full disclosure I did send
back the first shotgun I received for review because I didn't think
the bolt was locking in place to my satisfaction. I can only
speak about what I have seen first hand during this review and my
overall opinion is that the second UTS-15 shotgun I tested "can be" a
reliable shotgun. The reason I'm saying "can be" reliable is
that this shotgun is not very forgiving if you slow stroke, short
stroke or overly fast stroke the action, and this may have been the
real issue behind some other negative reviews. If you take the
time to learn how to shoot the UTS-15, it can be very reliable.
Prior to me making my first shot, I studied the shotgun to
understand how it worked and what might be potential issues for
operation. During my range test using 2.75" shells, I only had
one feed issue with a 2.75" shell not feeding into the shotgun and I
believe this was because I cycled the action too fast.
When you consider the uniqueness, capacity and
compactness of the UTS-15, I expect that this shotgun will be
around for many more years. As UTAS receives more feedback
from consumers, UTAS will continue to improve upon this platform and
hopefully achieve a robust platform that is not as sensitive to how
you cycle the action. Would I purchase this shotgun and expect
my wife or daughters to use it for home defense? No.
Would I purchase this shotgun for its uniqueness, capacity and
compactness after having tested it and knowing its characteristics?
Oh yes! For me, the UTS-15 makes a great range gun and is an
impressive shotgun platform that will always gather a crowd.
If I were to consider utilizing this shotgun in true tactical
situations where my life depended on the shotgun, I would need to do
some training under stress to become confident that I have trained
my muscle memory to cycle the action at a reliable rate every time.
If you are in the market for a high capacity
shotgun that breaks away from the traditional standards, I would
definitely take the time to consider the UTS-15. As always, do
your research, read and watch other reviews, and check out a UTAS UTS-15
the next time you are at the gun store.
If you would like to be notified about future Gunsumer
Reports reviews via Facebook, make sure "You Like This" by clicking the Facebook "Like" button
at the bottom or top of this page. If it already says "You Like This"
beside the button, clicking it again will uncheck the "Like" status and you will not be notified.