AR-15 Style 12 Gauge Shotgun – Akdal MKA-1919 RAAC
(GunsAmerica)- Back in January the Akdal MKA 1919 shotgun rocked GunsAmerica Magazine & Blog with the most reads of any SHOT Show article the first day. It is an AR-15 style design, with an M-16 ‘esque detachable handle, and 5 round box magazine. With the tactical and 3 Gun shotgun market filled with tradition semi-autos and the thought to be fickle Saiga, a new, light (6.5 lbs.) and quick shooting tactical shotgun was big news, especially with AR-15 controls. Six months later we finally got a chance to actually shoot the gun, which is imported from Turkey exclusively by RAAC Firearms. The MSRP is $799 and the street price is slightly under that. Out of the box, our experience with the gun wasn’t very positive, but customized for 3 Gun, the MKA-1919 is said to be a good choice, and a good investment. It is hard to recommend a gun that isn’t always reliable out of the box, but the story on this gun isn’t that simple.
The first thing about the MKA-1919 is that it isn’t really an AR-15 design. The only real similarities to an actual AR-15 are the safety, magazine release and slide lever, and no AR-15 parts fit the gun out of the box. The other thing about the gun is that the out of the box performance hasn’t had a great reputation, and our test gun didn’t work that well either. The MKA-1919 needed a couple boxes of shells to run fairly reliably. Out of the box every magazine had at least one stovepipe or failure to extract until about 40 rounds in, which comes out to 8 magazines. This was with Federal target loads. Now she runs pretty well, but still experiences an occasional stovepipe jam. Once the gun looses up a bit more and comes apart and back together for cleaning, it will probably run reliably, but in today’s American firearms market, you really aren’t going to make it unless you can produce out of the box reliable guns. Our original SHOT article has had over 100,000 reads. If this gun had been all that it promised out of the box it would have garnered a huge following by now.
The MKA 1919 is made in Turkey by Ucyildiz Arms. They are predominantly the makers of blank firing and replica guns, as well as air guns. I wasn’t able to find much else on them, but back at SHOT Show, one of the big stories on this gun was that spare parts were readily available through RAAC, because the manufacturer, Ucyildiz, planned to support the guns as a steady product to the US. For 3 Gun and tactical trainers and shooters, who actually shoot their guns a lot, this is great news. Until the MKA 1919, in the US market, the Saiga 12 has been really the only player in the game for a magazine fed 12 gauge shotgun. Saiga guns are one of those love ‘em or hate ‘em things. If you get a good one, they run really well. If you get a bad one, good luck trying to get it to work right. And if are shooting 3 Gun with it, putting hundreds of rounds through your shotgun in a day, parts wear out, and if you can’t get parts that commonly fail, the gun is of no use. The Russians don’t sell parts. They sell guns, and if you want Saiga parts, you have to buy another Saiga gun. The 3 Gun customizers who have been working on Saiga guns for more than a decade seem to prefer the Akdal MKA-1919, so take that for what is worth. Saigas nearly always need serious work for hard shooting.
This is why, rather than return our MKA 1919 for another gun, or have it worked on by RAAC before putting out a review, we elected to let everyone know that we can confirm what many have heard. The gun doesn’t work so good right out of the box. In their defense though, RAAC could have sent us a slicked up gun to start, but they didn’t. They just grabbed one off the top of the pile and sent it. This gun has a one year warranty. If you can’t get your gun to work well, send it back and they’ll fix it. You might want to shoot it some before you do though. A 100 round brick of 12 gauge 7 1/2 shells will cost you less than it costs to ship the gun back for service, and it’s a heck of a lot more fun to run 20 mags through the old 1919. I think the gun will eventually settle in, or need very little modification. The 3″ shells, though we only shot 5 of them, ran perfect. It may just be a spring extractor issue.