When it comes to searching for a practical backpacking shotgun or even reliable home defense, many firearms enthusiasts took to our KS7 for it’s lightweight configuration and ability to incorporate a variety of M-LOK slots back in 2019. This year we couldn’t be more honored to announce that our very own KS7 has been chosen as the 2020 American Rifleman Golden Bullseye Shotgun of the Year.
While we’ve been moving full steam with our production and new projects, we wanted to take the time to celebrate this award as a team and sit with Ryan Williams, the engineer behind George Kellgren’s bullpup innovation, to give you a better look behind the creation of this pistol-grip, single-tube, 12-gauge shotgun.
Question 1#: KSG was a fan-favorite. Why Create The KS7?
Ryan: “The KSG has a unique application for high capacity and ammo selection all within a compact frame with its two magazine tube design; despite this, some end-users may not need all of this ammo so this weapon would be like having a “single stack handgun magazine” (KS7) compared to a “double stack handgun magazine” (KSG); less ammo than the KSG but still more ammo than the competition with a more compact size.”
Question #2: Which Features Did You Know It Needed?
Ryan: “We knew we wanted the KS7 to feel less “tactical” in the hands of our customers. So, we ventured out to make the KS7 simpler and smoother with a unique and integrated sighting system. This way, when they purchase the weapon, it's literally ready to use.”
Question #3: What Challenges Did You Most Foresee Happening When Engineering the KS7 Design?
Ryan: “To keep the design simple and have as many interchangeable parts with the KSG as possible, was going to be the most work. That may not seem important, but we strive for lean in-house manufacturing here and knowing that we have simplified part design to be backwards compatible with the KSG, allows for less machine time, less machine set-up, less warehousing space, less assembly prints, less overhead and list goes on; Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.”
Question #4: How Soon After The Release Of The KSG Did You Decide To Design The KS7?
Ryan: “The basic CAD design of the KS7 was actually started around the same time as the KSG, but prototyping of the KS7 started about five years later.”
Question 5#: Who On The Team Helped You Come Up With The Prototype?
Ryan: “Once I received the “go-ahead” from George for working on this project, he let me run with a lot of ideas with full support. None of these ideas would have moved forward without our solid development team; from prototype CNC operators, other engineers for brainstorming sessions, and our engineer tech that would lead with testing, data-collection and validation of designs. Literally, this design would just be ideas if it was not for all of their work and testing on this project.”
Question #6: Is There Another Name You Would Have Chosen For The KS7?
Ryan: “A few different names were looked at but KS7 just stuck.”
Question #7: How Did It Feel When You First Shot The KS7?
Ryan: “Having tested the KSG a lot over the years, I cheated and loaded some lighter recoil rounds into the KS7 for the first time when I shot this weapon. But seriously, when I pulled the trigger for the first time and the weapon fired, it felt very rewarding that the weapon, with all of the help from the development team, was working… and yes, recoil is not that bad.”
Question #8: What Accessory Do You Believe All KS7 Owners Need?
Ryan: “Despite the Carry Handle coming standard on the KS7, some end-users will still want to use a sling or a red dot sighting system, both would be good upgrades for the weapons. We also make an extended buttpad, which assists in damping some recoil on the heavier shot loads.”
Question #9: When Did You First Begin Working At Keltec?
Ryan: “There’s that saying, that when you find a job that you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. I was hired in February of 2011, or nearly 10 years ago, and time has flown by and it's been awesome.”
Question #10: Do You Have Any Plans In The Future For Any New Firearms?
Ryan: “Always. We have a ton of exciting projects in the works, but I will have to run with the standard response of “No Comment” (lol).”
For more information on the KS7, head over to our site to learn about its features, carry handle, and specs and then stop by our shop to pick up some new accessories for your KS7 today. Get em while we got em, these aren’t going to last forever.