Kalashnikov USA Komrad

Making SAIGs Great Again
8

The K-USA Komrad is a non-specific “firearm” by virtue of the sum of its parts —
SBA-3 brace, vertical foregrip, OAL more than 26" and smoothbore 12.5" barrel
— with no Form 4 needed!

At first glance, some might think the Saiga-patterned 12-gauge from Kalashnikov USA (K-USA), dubbed the Komrad, would classify as a shotgun — but it’s not. Others, noticing the adjustable SBA-3 brace, might call it a pistol — nope, try again. “Whatever it is, that barrel only measures 12.5″ long, so you’ll have to fill out a Form 4″ — not even close. Believe it or not, the sum of all its parts — the SB Tactical SBA-3 brace, CAA vertical foregrip, overall length more than 26″and 12.5″ smoothbore barrel — means the Komrad simply classifies as a “firearm” and is part of a growing trend of “shorties” that can legally be purchased sans tax stamp.

A Little History

Kalashnikov USA has been in the business of firearms since 2011, when they got their start with imports. Now strictly a manufacturer, the K-USA product lineup consists of the KS-12 Saiga-patterned shotgun and the KP-9 9mm rifle, pistol and short-barreled rifle (SBR) models patterned off the original Vityaz submachine gun. Based out of Pompano Beach, Fla., K-USA is about as American as it gets and the appropriately named, compact new Komrad packs some serious gusto. We were excited to get some range time with it a few months prior to its launch, and we’ve been just as enthusiastic since then.

The package comes with two 5-round magazines, a gas wrench and various sizes of pistol-grip inserts.

Out Of The Box

If you’re familiar with the Russian Saiga, a lot of what the Komrad brings to the table will be familiar as well. The Komrad feeds both 2¾” and 3″ 12-gauge shot shells from a detachable box magazine. Unlike the similar Vepr-12, there’s no magwell here and bolt hold-open duties have been tasked to the notched safety lever. Other Saiga-esque features of the Komrad include a side-mounted optics rail, smooth top cover, standard bead-and-notch iron sights and a two-position gas regulator with “H” and “L” markings to adjust between high- and low-pressure loads.

The fit and finish of our Komrad gives a nod to its American pedigree. While calling Russian Saiga “rough” would be putting it nicely, our test gun boasts masterfully set rivets topped with a glass-smooth finish — quality craftsmanship also extends to the inside of the gun as well.

The Komrad’s trigger is top shelf. For a moment, we even thought our trigger pull gauge might need to be recalibrated after seeing readings on our test gun. Early versions of the Komrad shipped with the Tapco G2 trigger group, which typically measures around 4 lbs. of pull. However, shortly after the Komrad’s initial release, K-USA moved forward with their own trigger group — one possessing a smooth, moderate amount of travel and topping out just a hair over 2½ lbs. before dropping the hammer. The reset on this trigger is so tactile and audible you can’t miss it. In fact, company CEO Johnathan Mossberg takes quality control so seriously he personally applies the proof mark to K-USA barrels during the assembly process.

Because shotguns were designed to be fired from the shoulder and pistols were designed to be fired one-handed, the inclusion of the SBA-3 brace and CAA’s EVG (Ergonomic Vertical Grip) play a critical role in helping the Komrad achieve status as a “firearm.”
Options for mounting accessories and methods of carry offer nearly as much versatility as the 12-gauge shells it shoots. Quick-detach sling sockets can be found at the 3-, 6- and 9-o’clock positions on the handguard, along with three Picatinny rail sections in the same locations. Another QD point can be found on the SBA-3 brace, which rides on an adjustable six-position tube from TDi Arms that also sports a left-side sling loop.

K-USA rounds out the package with a traditional 10-slot flash hider and supplies two of their own five-round magazines with the gun. K-USA also offers 10-round magazines for purchase and because the Komrad uses the traditional rock-and-lock method of insertion, any Saiga-patterned magazine should work as well.

S&B OO buckshot made a nice dinner-plate pattern at 10 yards from the cylinder-bore barrel.

Range Time

“Never trust a used-car salesman or a semi-automatic shotgun,” is paraphrased life advice a good Army buddy of mine once shared with me. The Russian Saiga is notoriously finicky, especially when it comes to low-recoiling loads. Would we find our Komrad to be as reliable as a sleazy salesman, or would it pass the test and break the mold?

On our first trip to the range, we decided to go straight for the big stuff — a mix of 3″ 546-grain lead slugs, 300-grain Federal Trophy Copper and some 2¾” Hornady Critical Defense 00 Buckshot. As previously noted, the Komrad has an adjustable gas regulator and rotating the gas regulator to the high-pressure setting for the stiff loads we were about to shoot was a simple enough affair. Savvy shooters already know shooting high-pressure loads with the gas regulator in the low-pressure setting is a surefire recipe for premature parts failure of the firearm. Changing settings requires a simple press down on the detent lock with the K-USA provided tool, then rotating the regulator to the appropriate position.

The Komrad weighs less than 8 lbs. thanks to the short barrel length, and it felt downright diminutive when locking in a magazine filled with magnum loads. Because the size of the Komrad and the power it packs lends itself perfectly to the home defense scenario, we set our targets up a mere 10 yards away. Naturally, there were some concerns about the recoil such a compact package would produce.

A Smallish Mule

She kicks — not like a turkey gun, but there’s a decent amount of felt recoil nonetheless. The stiff upper portion of the SBA-3 brace handled the recoil of the magnums nicely and the Komrad cycled every magnum load we fed it like a champ.

With the high-recoiling loads out of the way, it was time to adjust our gas regulator to the low-pressure setting and put the Komrad to the real test with some light target loads. For this part of the evaluation, we selected some standard 2¾” Winchester white box filled with 1 oz. of 7½ shot and were pleased with the results. As long as we maintained a proper stance and held the Komrad tight into the shoulder, she was as reliable as any good 7.62×39 AK. However, it should come as no surprise as soon as we became lazy and relaxed, we’d eventually experience the occasional failure to eject.

Our target loads — sans choke — printed a nice torso-width pattern on paper at 10 yards from the short barrel. Meanwhile, Hornady’s Critical Defense Buckshot loads printed an intimidating fist-sized pattern at the same distance.

The Komrad is a finely assembled, reliable powerhouse packing a serious punch. The compact package points fast and shoots well. Fans of the original Russian design will be thanking K-USA for “Making Saigas Great Again.”

Kalashnikov-USA.com

Subscribe To GUNS Magazine

Purchase A PDF Download Of The GUNS Magazine February 2021 Issue Now!

RELATED ARTICLES

Guns And Reliability

While factors such as weight, accuracy, ammunition availability and cost all factor into the selection of a defensive firearm, reliability is always a prime...
Read Full Article
classic shotgun being used in hunting application
3 Considerations...

When shopping for a classic shotgun, there are three main points that consistently pop up in used gun shops, and they're always worthy of consideration.
Read Full Article
old west replicas revolvers
Old West Replicas

We have Civil War reenactors, Italian movie producers and Cowboy Action shooters to thank for creating a market for replica revolvers, rifles and shotguns.
Read Full Article