by B. Gil Horman - Tuesday, May 8, 2012
RAAC is known for providing Saiga shotguns to American shooters. This year, it is expanding its line of semi-auto shotguns to include the recently imported Akdal MKA 1919 shotgun. While the Saiga models are based on an AK rifle action, the MKA 1919 is designed to mimic the look and most of the operations of an AR-15.
Although the MKA 1919 is new on the U.S. shooting scene, it's not a brand new gun. Ucylidiz Arms AS, located in Istanbul, Turkey, has been producing this gun since 2007. In fact, it’s been adopted by the Turkish military and police for use along with their M16A4 and M4 rifles. This means the Akdal has already been fully field tested with the new-design kinks and problems worked out over the last five years.
The Akdal MKA 1919 is a semi-auto, 12-gauge shotgun featuring a conventional, self-adjusting gas-operated action. It’s designed to look and handle like an AR-15 in order to reduce training time and preserve muscle memory when switching over from an AR rifle. The 19.7-inch chrome-lined barrel is threaded for removable chokes. A cylinder bore, modified and full choke tube set are provided with a choke case and wrench.
The factory sights consist of a polymer, AR-style fixed front sight and a polymer carry handle with a built-in height-adjustable flip sight. The upper receiver is made of aluminum alloy and features an integral flattop Picatinny sight rail. Both the front and rear sights can be easily removed in order to install competition or hunting optics. The lower receiver is a single polymer piece incorporating the grip and shoulder stock. A rubber recoil pad and sling mounts are included.
While the dimensions of the barrel and magazine make it obvious the MKA 1919 is not an AR rifle, most of the controls reflect this popular rifle's design. The bolt release, magazine release and manual safety are all shaped and located in AR fashion. The manual safety functions properly but it feels soft. It would be nice to have a more distinctive "click" and sense of it locking in place as it changes position.
The charging handle, instead of being located on top of the receiver in AR fashion, is attached to the bolt and projects from the right side of the receiver as would be expected with most semi-auto shotguns. The MKA 1919 will safely chamber and fire factory 2 3/4-inch or 3-inch shotshells loaded with birdshot, buckshot or slugs. Ammunition is stored in removable five-shot steel magazines that hold the bolt open after the last round is fired. The gun arrives with one magazine for 2 3/4-inch shells and a second for 3-inch shells. This gun is available in matte black or with a hunting-friendly camouflage finish.
While the MKA 1919 looks a good deal like an AR-15, disassembly shows it to be a semi-auto shotgun at heart. A thread-off hand guard secure cap is loosened to remove the polymer hand guards and expose the recoil and piston assembly. The annual, or ring-type, gas piston and the return spring are fitted around a support tube located below the barrel. Removing the knurled lock nut, gas regulator nut and gas regulator spring allows the barrel to be pulled free of the upper receiver for cleaning like many other shotguns. Because none of the moving parts related to the action are located in the shoulder stock, this shotgun could be fitted with a six-postion or custom stock. It would be nice for smaller framed shooters like me to have the option of a movable stock in order to adjust the length-of-pull. Hopefully this is an option the company will offer in the future.
Form & Function
I have to admit that the first time I saw the MKA 1919 on a showroom floor, I was a bit skeptical. Sometimes the attempt to merge two popular designs into one new product creates less than positive results.
But once I actually got the MKA 1919 into my hands at the range, my concerns quickly evaporated. The finish is good and all the metallic and polymer parts are fitted properly. Although the gun is lightweight, the recoil with a variety of sporting and defensive loads proved to be smooth and manageable. The trigger breaks crisply with no signs of creep. The magazines lock tightly into place and eject properly. The shorter barrel and good balance make the shotgun comfortable to swing for skeet shooting. I found that by looking over the top of the rear sight and using the front sight like a traditional bead sight , it was easy to break clays during a casual round.
The shotgun ran well with Remington Shur Shot No. 8 Heavy Dove Loads. I did experience a single failure to eject during the first 25 rounds of birdshot. The manufacturer recommends at least a three to four box break in period for birdshot loads. Since there were no other malfunctions during this portion of the test, this one failure can be written off as part of breaking in the gun.
With the cylinder bore choke installed, the shotgun was put through some defensive shooting tests. Winchester's new PDX1 Defender segmented rifled slug functioned beautifully. It was easy to cut 2-inch groups into targets at 25 yards from a standing position. With the target moved up to 7 yards, Federal Premium 9-Pellet 00 Buckshot loads produced 4-inch groups. At this same distance, Hornady's Varmint Express 24-Pellet No. 4 Buckshot punched devastating 3- to 4-inch ragged holes into the cardboard targets. All of the defensive loads fired and ejected without any problems.
The time on the range with this shotgun was positive and enjoyable. I handed the MKA 1919 to several of the staff members who work at the range where I conduct testing and they liked it as well. The mix of AR and semi-auto shotgun features balance out well to create a very workable, flexible shotgun. The Akdel MKA 1919 can fill a variety of shot-gunning rolls. Hunters will find this gun ready to go to work out of the box, and those looking for a defensive or competition shotgun will find plenty of reasons to like it as well.
Manufacturer: Akdal Arms
U.S. Importer: RAAC; RAACfirearms.com
Model: MKA 1919
Action: Gas Operated Semi-Automatic
Gauge: 12-Gauge 2 3/4" or 3" Shot Shells
Upper Receiver: Aluminum with Milled-In Picatinny Sight Rail
Lower Receiver: Polymer, Fixed Pistol Grip and Shoulder Stock
Finish: Matte Black or Camouflage
Sights: Removable AR-15 Style, Height Adjustable
Barrel Length: 19.7”
Overall Length: 40.5”
Weight: 6.5 lbs. unloaded
Capacity: 5+1 Rounds
Chokes: Removable, Full, Modified, and Cylinder Bore Provided
Accessories: One 2 3/4-Inch Shell Magazine, One 3-Inch Shell Magazine, Three Choke Tubes With Case and Wrench, Sling Mounts, Owner’s Manual
Suggested Retail Price: $699.95 (Black), $799.95
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