The KS-23 (Karabin Spetsialniy, "Special Carbine") is a Russian shotgun that fires 23mm shells (equivalent to 6.27 gauge or 4 gauge in the metric bore system used in some parts of Europe), making it most powerful shoulder-fired shotgun in use today. The guns themselves are mechanically based on the Winchester Model 1200, and the barrels are made from cut-down rejected 2A7 antiaircraft gun barrels, intended for ZSU-23-4 self-propelled AA guns. Since it uses a rifled AA gun barrel, it is officially designated by the Russian military as a carbine, but in functional terms it is a pump-action shotgun. The KS-23 can fire a variety of loads including shot and slugs, and is also used with a cup adaptor and blanks to fire rifle grenades.
The KS-23 was the final result that appeared in the first half of the 1970s following the request of the USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs for a new multi-functional weapon with the possibility of using non-lethal ammunition suitable for suppressing prison riots and freeing hostages. Initially, the gas cartridges for the SPSh-44 were tested. However, attempts to use a signal pistol for throwing grenades did not give an acceptable result and lengthening the barrel only slightly increased accuracy. Furthermore, a standard 12 gauge pump-action shotgun design was tested (history is silent about which model, but apparently we are talking about one of the models common then). However, the 12 gauge was not recognized as capacious enough for such purposes. As a result of this, it was decided to return to 4 gauge (26mm). The result of this was the experimental smooth-bore pump-action shotgun SSK-26 for the 4 gauge ammunition. The SSK-26 used an atypical "forward-back" pumping, and was fed from a detachable box magazine. However, the SSK-26 was not found to be satisfactory, since it did not provide the specified accuracy of fire; at the same time, it was decided to return to the "classic" pump-action shotgun design. It was decided to equip the subsequent weapon with a rifled barrel, which with a 23mm barrel from the ZSU-23 self-propelled anti-aircraft vehicle being used. And so, the KS-23 form factor appeared.
The KS-23 began development in 1975. The first serial guns were produced in 1981, full development completed in 1983, with a set of muzzle nozzles for throwing gas grenades and a full range of ammunition. The KS-23 was officially adopted by the Soviet police in 1985 (although some sources also refer to 1983). Originally, the KS-23 had a long barrel, blued finish, chrome bolt, and wooden furniture, and also a scope included in the standart kit, what did it more like a high-grade sporting gun, than a combat weapon. Towards the end of the 80s, it received a shorter barrel, simpler finish, and a synthetic forend. It was largely supplemented in police use with the KS-23M (modernized) in 1990. KS-23M was created as a solution to existing shortcomings, in the form of bulkiness and the difficulty of using it in cramped spaces. One of the initial upgrade variants also was to equip the weapon with an extended 4-round magazine tube (this version is referred to as KS-23-2), but in the end it was decided to use the compact version. Another variant was the KS-23-1, which is a version with a fixed stock and short barrel of the KS-23M pattern.
A more conventional version (but under the still unusual 16/35 ammunition) for law enforcement/security purposes was presented by TsNIITochMash by the early 90s, although it did not become successful. Further improvements made to the design by the VPO Molot specialists led to the appearance of the Molot Bekas (although, strictly speaking, this weapon after processing has little in common with the KS-23). An civilian version of the original KS-23, the TOZ-123 "Drake-4," was designed by Tulsky Oruzheiny Zavod in 1996. This variant features a smoothbore barrel. Imports of the TOZ-123 to the United States were banned during the Clinton Administration. Demand for the Drake-4 was low, and its production was soon discontinued.
(1981 - present)
- Type: Shotgun
- Caliber: 23x75mm R (6.27 gauge)
- Weight: 8.49 lbs (3.85 kg)
- Length: 41 in (104 cm)
- Barrel length: 20 in (51 cm)
- Capacity: 3+1 (KS-23 & KS-23M), 7 (KS-23K)
- Fire Modes: Pump-Action
The KS-23 and variants can be seen in the following films, television series, video games, and anime used by the following actors:
|Living Target (Zhivaja mishen)||A criminal||KS-23||1990|
|Sheriff's Star (Zvezda sherifa)||Police||KS-23||1992|
|Antikiller 2: Antiterror||SOBR personnel||KS-23M, firing tear gas grenades||2003|
|Game Title||Appears as||Mods||Notation||Release Date|
|7.62 High Calibre||KS-23M||2008|
|Call of Duty: Black Ops||2010|
|Survarium||KS-23 & KS-23M||2013|
|Hot Dogs, Horseshoes & Hand Grenades||KS-23||w/ Soviet dovetail mount||KS-23M||2016|
|Escape from Tarkov||TOZ KS-23M 23x75mm shotgun||short barrel, pistol grip with wired stock||KS-23, can be converted to actual KS-23M; added in the v0.12.8.9457 patch (2020)||2016|
|Insurgency: Sandstorm||KS-23||KS-23M without stock, added in Update 1.12 (2022)||2018|