At SHWAT™ we are frequently asked “What is the best gun for hog hunting?” The answer is always “It depends.” If you are on a budget and need something that will do a wide variety of tasks that a firearm can be called on to do, many will tell you to go with a shotgun. What shotgun can do almost anything from room clearing to hog hunting? There are many, but the UTS-15 from UTAS may be one of the most versatile and well suited guns on the market. Then again it might not be. I’ll do my best to settle this debate for you here.
The shotgun is one of the oldest and most trusted tools of the hunter. From the double barreled guns of western movies, to venerable over and under guns that cost more than my truck, to the latest tactical styles, shotguns have maintained a loyal following second to none.
With the vast selection of ammunition selections and the fact that shotguns are one of the last semi-politically correct guns in the more liberal leaning states, they are by nature powerful and able to handle many jobs. Over time, like other types of guns, individual models have been designed and fine-tuned to do specific jobs. Need a shotgun for duck hunting? Check. Turkey hunting? Check. Deer hunting? Check. Home defense? Check. Taking out doors and bad guys in combat environments? Check. But what about one shotgun to do it all?
That’s a tall order. Like many of you, I wasn’t born with an arsenal waiting for me next to my baby crib. Nor was I born with an unlimited firearms budget. As a young adult, I personally owned exactly zero guns useful for anything but getting a rabbit or a squirrel. That simply wasn’t something I could live with. Again, like many others, I began searching for the one gun to rule them all. That’s a futile quest that results in a lot of hard earned money being transferred to other’s wallets. However, while participating in a three-gun match at Tac Pro Shooting Center more than10 years ago, I heard Bill Davison talk about his love of the shotgun and its versatility.
A few years and a few guns since, I now have on hand a UTAS UTS-15 shotgun. This isn’t your dad’s shotgun. This is a bullpup, pump action with two magazine tubes, and a built in light and laser, made mostly of polymer type materials. It has a capacity or 14+1 when using 2 ¾ inch shells or 12+1 with 3 inch shells. The user can choose which magazine tube to feed from via a thumb activated selector lever. Three positions of the lever enable left tube feeding, alternating left – right feeding, or right tube feeding Each tube has vents that allow for a clear view of how may rounds remain in the magazine. The light and laser are simple and quick to use with the flick of the index finger.
That all sounds good. It functions well too. With one exception. More on that exception in a moment.
The UTS-15 comes with removable iron sights, but I chose to mount an Eotech EXPS-2.0 instead. Visually and functionally, these two were meant for each other. By itself, this gun is easy to run fast. The Eotech makes it that much easier to run fast. The UTAS shotgun is light at just 6.9 pounds. The barrel is mounted underneath the magazine tubes to reduce the muzzle rise produced by most 12 gage guns. Combine those two features with the bullpup configuration and you have a short, fast handling gun – excellent for hog hunting or protecting your loved ones.
The ergonomics are good, if not great. The grip is a standard AR style, which means you can change it to any number of other grips made for AR patterned rifles. The safety is also where you would expect to find it on an AR. The ejection port is on the right side far to the rear, which may not be ideal if you are a lefty. The gun is designed to be short and maneuverable. The resulting short stock is great for me. If you are more than six feet tall, and don’t have short arms, you may feel a bit cramped on this gun.
The only real challenge with the UTS-15 is that it doesn’t feed three inch shells well without some extra force. Quite a bit of extra force. So if you want to use this gun for something where your wellbeing may be at stake, stick to 2 ¾ inch shells. My experience so far is that it will run flawlessly and accurately with them.
The UTAS UTS-15 is a tactical 21st century gun made to solve problems that go back throughout history. Some may say its looks were crafted to entice Hollywood to pick it up for the big screen. It made into the video game Call of Duty under the name Tac 12. Some argue it’s ugly as sin. Whether you’re hunting wild hogs for food or defending your life, this shotgun may be just what you are looking for. It’s short and light. Its recoil is easy to manage. It holds 15 twelve-gage shells. It has an easy to use flashlight and laser. Is it the one gun to rule them all? That doesn’t exist. But it can fill one of the widest variety of roles of any gun out there.