THE 15-SHOT UTAS UTS-15 SHOTGUN
From ultimate police shotgun to dinosaur slayer
Ryland Jaans was a warrior working in a zoo. Born in post-apartheid South Africa, Jaans had enlisted in the SADF (South African Defence Force) as soon as he was eligible. After a fruitful stint in the South African Special Forces, he had plied his trade across the expanse of the Dark Continent. The contacts he had made had taken him from Cape Town to Kandahar.
When he got the text from an ex-british SAS mate about serious money to be had running security on an island full of dinosaurs, he made the call. Now six months into his stint with Ingen, the dinosaur-growing subsidiary of Masrani Global, he found he was turning the easiest cash of his brief hard life. Tasked with containment should any of the bitier dinos escape their lodgings, Ryland had spent a little time training and a lot of time in front of Call of Duty.
Indominus rex was the apex predator. Genetically-engineered to be the nastiest terrestrial organism ever to draw breath, this hybrid carnosaur stood fully fifteen meters long. For a variety of reasons, the details of which now seemed fairly insignificant, the Indominus was now roaming free. As part of the Animal Containment Unit or ACU, it was now time for Ryland to earn his keep.
In minutes, Jaans was in his gear and had his primary weapon charged. The gun he carried was a UTAS UTS-15, a twin-magazine Information Age 12-bore with an integral white light illuminator, a laser designator, and fifteen rounds of sabot slug chaos onboard. If anything would stop Indominus it should be this.
The ACU squad had the advantage of technology and communications, but that didn’t count for much. Indominus burst out of the jungle foliage with a mass and ferocity that exceeded literally
THE UTS-15 BEGAN IN 2006 AS A REQUEST ON BEHALF OF SMITH & WESSON TO TURKISH COMPANY UTAS TO PRODUCE THE “ULTIMATE POLICE SHOTGUN.” SIX YEARS LATER, THE UTS-15 PRODUCTION MODELS FIRST DREW BREATH, AND THEY WERE RADICAL SMOKE POLES, INDEED.
anything else on earth. True to his constitution, Ryland stood his ground while others ran, cycling through fully half a dozen heavy 12-gauge rounds. However, this creature weighed as much as a respectable whale and moved with the grace and speed of a jungle feline. The thing shrugged off the 12-gauge slugs with ease before dipping its head and biting Ryland Jaans in half.
And now, back to the real world … .
Michael Crichton’s seminal work, Jurassic Park, notwithstanding, it has been at least a week or two since real flesh-and-blood dinosaurs roamed the plains. However, the concept of resurrecting extinct predators via the newly refined art of cloning has spawned no less than four big budget movies. The 2015 hit, Jurassic World, was,
AS IS THE CASE WITH ANY ADVANCED WEAPON, LEARN THE GUN AND RESPECT ITS UNIQUE CHARACTER.
for a time, the most lucrative movie in history not helmed by James Cameron. It was in this awesome flick that our fictional character, Ryland Jaans, wielded his UTS-15 in an ill-fated effort at managing the liberated Indominus.
But while the Indominus rex is pure fiction, the UTS-15 is not.
The UTS-15 is a radical application of some storied technology. The shotgun as a combat weapon dates back to the 1700s. James Fennimore Cooper, the author of The Last of the Mohicans, first coined the term. British Redcoats packed their .75-caliber Brown Bess muskets with a little buckshot from time to time, and the venerable scattergun helped establish the American colonies. Now, some two and a half centuries later, the state of the art has evolved significantly.
The UTS-15 began in 2006 as a request on behalf of Smith & Wesson to Turkish company UTAS to produce the “ultimate police shotgun.” Six years later, the UTS-15 production models first drew breath, and they were radical smoke poles, indeed. And while the road has been a bit rocky, the UTS-15 offers some unique capabilities.
The UTS-15 is all fiber-reinforced polymer and Information Age tech. The gun feeds from a brace of seven-round tubular magazines and incorporates into its chassis both an integral white light illuminator and red laser sight. The light puts out about 200 lumens, and both the light and laser feed from common batteries.
The action is a manual pump-driven bullpup of novel architecture. The gun’s twin magazine tubes ride above the barrel. They feed either one at a time or alternately, based on the position of a pivoting magazine selection lever located atop the gun. While in theory, this would allow the operator to load one tube with one sort of ammo and the other with something else, the practicalities of armed combat make it unlikely that most of us could keep track of such details once the lead starts flying.
There is a full-length Picatinny rail up top for optics, and the pistol grip nicely mimics that of an M4 in familiarity and utility. The widespread use of environment-resistant polymers keeps the empty weight of the gun at a mere 6.9 pounds. Despite the gun’s fulllength and nonrestricted 18.5-inch barrel, the bullpup design keeps the overall length less than most otherwise unadorned black rifles.
To load the gun, pop open the two loading gate covers that protect the rear aspect of each loading tube and insert rounds, one at a time. This is a tedious process, as is the case with any tube-fed shotgun. However, the tubes are more easily accessed on the top than the bottom. Additionally, with 15 rounds on board, you don’t have to do as much reloading as might be the case with a lesser shotgun.
Once the magazine tubes are topped off, you snap the loading doors shut. There
THE GUN EJECTS OUT OF THE RIGHT SIDE ONLY, BUT THE PORT IS SO LOW THAT I CAN RUN THE GUN LEFT HANDED WITHOUT THROWING EMPTY HULLS DOWN MY SHIRT OR INTO MY FACE.
are slots cut in the magazines that will let you keep track of the rounds remaining at a glance. The bolt-release button is located on the bottom rear of the gun underneath the buttstock. Depress this catch and cycle the gun vigorously via the reciprocating forearm.
The action is remarkably novel and is protected from the elements by a pivoting polymer cover. The magazine selection switch is a rotating affair located above the rear aspect of the magazine tubes. Point the switch in one direction or the other to select a magazine tube. Leave it in the center, and the gun alternates from each magazine.
The barrel is threaded to accept Beretta-style choke tubes. The gun comes with
THE GUN’S TWIN MAGAZINE TUBES RIDE ABOVE THE BARREL. THEY FEED EITHER ONE AT A TIME OR ALTERNATELY, BASED ON THE POSITION OF A PIVOTING MAGAZINE SELECTION LEVER LOCATED ATOP THE GUN.
a particularly sinister skeletonized version sporting some vicious-looking teeth. And should you wish to be the coolest turkey hunter in the universe, there is even a barrel extension. The light and laser are managed via a rotating bilateral switch located just above the trigger guard. The unilateral safety is in the expected spot and operates like that of an M4. There is a spring-loaded ejection port cover that is held in place with a rare-earth magnet.
The UTS-15 is now on its third production mark, and the latest versions are intended to rectify the purported ills of the previous guns. My copy is an early variant, so it offers an unvarnished review. Having run mine for several years now, I can offer a somewhat informed perspective.
The UTS-15 is an exceptionally advanced combat shotgun. As a result, it has its own quirks. Learn the gun and run it appropriately, and it is reliable and effective. However, much like a Ferrari or a Bugatti, the action is notoriously intolerant of sloth.
The gun is designed to be cycled vigorously. Run it as if you mean it, and I have found that the UTS-15 cycles reliably and well. However, run the slide tepidly or worse, and it will lock up with deplorable regularity. To clear the action, you pivot up the action cover and manually remove the offending round. However, if you operate the gun with authority, you shouldn’t have to.
The light and laser are neat but not as spunky as most dedicated units, such as those from Streamlight or Surefire. At 200 lumens, most current weapon lights are two to three times more powerful. Even so, this means
that batteries do last longer.
Recoil is typical for a 12-gauge, although the broad, soft recoil pad does a splendid job of distributing the gun’s inevitable violence. The gun ejects out of the right side only, but the port is so low that I can run the gun left-handed without throwing empty hulls down my shirt or into my face. With a proper optic in place, the gun will drop slugs right where you want them out to any reasonable shotgun engagement ranges. There is a pair of reversible sling swivels mounted on the side of the gun—where they should be.
So, where does the UTS-15 fall within the pantheon of modern survival firearms? For starters, the gun is just scary as heck. That’s the reason the Jurassic World guys chose to use it to arm their dinosaur-hunting ACU in the movie. Spooky aesthetics will make you either roundly feared ... or the first one shot in a true survival situation.
The gun’s action is typically maligned by those who have not taken the time to train on it and learn its personality. While an AK47 is, indeed, more stupid-proof, I have also had short-stroke failures in my Remington 870s before. Nobody seems to be screaming that this century-old warhorse is anything less than a superlative combat tool. As is the case with any advanced weapon, learn the gun and respect its unique character.
The quality of manufacture and workmanship on my gun is superlative—something I have come to expect from Turkish-made firearms. While the Turks do not enjoy the generational legacy that many more-familiar domestic brands might, they do a bang-up job of making guns. I have yet to encounter a Turkish-made firearm that was not well executed and nicely finished.
Should your survival plan call for a whole lot of firepower in a compact package, the UTS-15 was designed from the outset to answer that call. Handy, maneuverable and hard-hitting, the UTS-15 represents the cutting edge in modern scattergun technology. It also looks like it fell off the set of the latest science fiction blockbuster—which, in point of fact, it did.
THE BARREL IS THREADED TO ACCEPT BERETTA-STYLE CHOKE TUBES. THE GUN COMES WITH A PARTICULARLY SINISTER SKELETONIZED VERSION SPORTING SOME VICIOUSLOOKING TEETH. AND SHOULD YOU WISH TO BE THE COOLEST TURKEY HUNTER IN THE UNIVERSE, THERE IS EVEN A BARREL EXTENSION.
Left, middle: The UTAS UTS-15 sports a full-length Picatinny rail up top for optics. Left, bottom: A pivoting lever selects which of the magazine tubes will feed the action.
Below: The muzzle of the UTS-15 is threaded for Beretta-style choke tubes. The included muzzle device sports scary-looking teeth.
Near right: The fiber-reinforced butt plate has an energy-absorbing recoil pad that is 1 inch thick.
Far right: The safety on the UTS-15 is found in the same spot as that of the M4.
Below: The UTS-15 is arguably the coolest-looking firearm in a decade. Radical, innovative and mean, the UTS-15 is a remarkable piece of engineering.
Above: A pivoting polymer cover protects the action of the UTS-15.
Far right: Numbered slots along the forearm allow you to keep track of rounds remaining at a glance.
Below, right: There are loading ports on both sides of the gun. Spring-loaded covers keep them sealed when not in use.
Winchester’s PDX-1 Defender defensive rounds represent some remarkably fearsome technology. At appropriate ranges, the venerable 12-bore carries more downrange horsepower than any other handheld firearm. This Winchester PDX-1 round did the deed at 15 meters.
At 200 lumens, the weapon light included with the UTAS UTS-15 is not bright by current standards, but the battery life is favorable.