Tested: Standard Mfg. Co. DP-12 Shotgun

posted on September 1, 2017

A sea change in defensive shotgun design has occurred during the past decade. Beyond upgrading existing platforms, the trend has been to find unconventional ways to maximize firepower from a small platform. One such firearm that embodies this movement is the subject of this review, the Standard Mfg. Co. DP-12.

The DP-12 is a bullpup-style, pump-action, side-by-side, 12-ga. shotgun with dual magazine tubes. Essentially, it combines the handiness and rapid firing of a Western-style “coach gun” with the sure functioning and firepower of a pump-action shotgun. Since the action is located behind the trigger group and integral with the buttstock, the gun measures only 291/2" long while featuring twin 1878" barrels.

The DP-12’s barrels are machined from round bar stock, and they flare considerably approaching the aluminum muzzle support. Chambered for 12-ga., 3" shells, the barrels are threaded to accept Tru-Choke-pattern choke tubes. A “Max Spreader” choke tube is provided for each barrel. Shells measuring less than 2¾" in length are safe to use in the DP-12; however, the company recommends testing for functionality before pressing these diminutive loads into service. Tubular magazines that facilitate in-line feeding are located beneath the barrels. Each magazine holds seven 2¾", 12-ga. shells, bringing the total capacity to 16 rounds when two rounds are chambered. Shell indicator windows in the magazines permit visual confirmation of the rounds remaining. The oversize loading/ejection port is located behind the pistol grip and forward of the butt.

The DP-12’s receiver is machined from aircraft-grade 7075 aluminum. Company literature reports that it has a thermal coating, too—given the DP-12’s potential high rate of fire, that’s a prudent decision. Since the bolts lock up with steel barrel extensions, and thus the receiver is subject to minimal stress, the use of aluminum there is justified. At the front of the receiver is a black, two-piece, polymer shroud to protect the shooter from heat. Extending from the top of the receiver to the shroud is an aluminum rail that provides rear support for a 13¾" (34-slot) section of Picatinny rail. The latter, which is also crafted from aluminum, is secured at the front to the muzzle support. Open sights aren’t provided.

The DP-12’s twin tubular magazines each have space for seven 23/4" shells, and are loaded via a port behind the grip assembly.

Beneath the receiver—and extending from the pump pad shroud forward more than half the gun’s length—is the grip assembly, which, like the shroud, is made from two halves. In addition to the ejection/loading port, the grip assembly contains the fire controls. The bilateral, two-position safety mimics that on AR-pattern rifles. Creep of the single-stage trigger was nonexistent, and reset was surprisingly short, too; however, the pull weight was exceptionally heavy, as is often the case with bullpup designs. Whereas the trigger broke on the right barrel at 11 lbs., 10 ozs., the left barrel exceeded the 12-lb. limit of the trigger-pull gauge. The action release lever is located on the front of the trigger guard and is actuated by pulling down.

The thinness of the DP-12’s pistol grip and flaring nearing its bottom enable a solid purchase. Further enhancing grip are raised sections on each side of the pistol grip and urethane strips adjoined to the backstrap. The gun’s center of gravity is located directly above the pistol grip. At the bottom of the two-piece, polymer fore-end is a seven-slot, 338" section of Picatinny rail to which a composite grip handle is attached. Thanks to the six slots on the fore-end, there are 18 total slots on the gun to add Magpul Original Equipment (MOE) rails.

Beneath the thin, rubber recoil pad are dual recoil springs. Given the gun’s 9-lb., 12-oz. empty weight, recoil-mitigating enhancements probably aren’t necessary for anything but the stoutest 3" loads. Operationally, the DP-12 isn’t too unlike single-barrel pump-action shotguns. Once the DP-12’s magazines are charged, the action bar release is pressed, permitting the fore-end to travel rearward, extracting and ejecting empties downward (if present) and allowing fresh rounds to slide onto the carrier. Pushing the fore-end forward advances the new shells into the chambers and then completes lock-up.

Pulling the trigger fires the right barrel, and a subsequent press discharges the left tube. Instant access to a second round is assured; should the first shell (in the right barrel) fail to discharge, the left barrel is prepared to fire.

To test the DP-12 we topped it with a TruGlo multi-reticle/dual-color, open-dot-style sight and utilized the provided 0.725" “Max Spreader” tubes. Due to the DP-12’s primary use as a defensive arm, we opted to pattern test it using Suprema 12-ga., 2¾" 00 Buck, which featured nine lead pellets. The results are tabulated nearby, and were impressively tight given the distance to the target.

With patterning completed, we then fed the DP-12 a diet of shells from myriad makers—ranging from 1¾" Aguila Minishells to 3" Remington Nitro Magnum waterfowl loads. Regardless of the order in which they were loaded, the DP-12 fed, fired, extracted and ejected all shells tested flawlessly. As with other pump-action shotguns, the action should be cycled with vigor.

As can be expected from a shotgun weighing nearly 10 lbs. and measuring nearly 3" wide, the DP-12 is not as fast on target as is a single-barrel shotgun. Immediate access to a second round and greater capacity, however, more than offset that negative. Lastly, even ardent pump-action shotgunners may struggle with the DP-12 at first; used to working the slide after each shot, doing so on the DP-12 is an act of futility. Only through practice will the ingrained habit change.

Standard Mfg. Co. has created a compact shotgun with unparalleled firepower that’s sure to be appreciated by the defensive-minded homeowner. Beyond personal protection, the shotgun would excel for feral hog hunting and pursuing snow geese during the conservation season, too.



Rifleman Q&A: Bullet & Primer Sealant

From the archives of American Rifleman, one NRA member questions the importance of the colorful or black-colored paint-like coating around the cartridge necks and primer pockets of surplus ammunition.

Preview: Zero Tolerance Knives 0357BW

The U.S.-made Zero Tolerance 0357 Black Wash liner lock features a 3.25" blade of hard, wear-resistant CPM 20CV steel treated with a scratch-hiding blackwash finish best suited for everyday carry.

The French FR F2 Sniper Rifle

Conceived during the Cold War and after thirty years of service, the French are beginning to phase out the FR F2 bolt-action sniper rifle, with the surplus rifles available for sale from Navy Arms.

SIG Sauer P210: The Long-Lived Swiss Service Pistol

First designed in 1947, and formerly the official sidearm of the Swiss Army, the SIG Sauer P210 is still in production today, with a few modern upgrades.

The Winchester Model 94: History & Disassembly

Compact, reliable and powerful, Winchester's Model 1894 lever-actions may not have the popularity it once had with Western settlers, prospectors, law enforcement officers, hunters and ranchers, but its legacy remains today and is a fan favorite in Winchester's current product line.

NRA Gun of the Week: Fabarm USA Autumn

On this week’s “Gun of the Week” video preview, American Rifleman examines a first from Fabarm, a side-by-side break-action shotgun called the Autumn.


Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.