Recently I had the opportunity to get my hands on the SDS Imports BLP M12AB. If you’re not in the loop, the M12AB is a semi-automatic bullpup style shotgun. Now, don’t feel bad if you didn’t know what the BLP M12AB was when I first mentioned it, because I didn’t know about this gem of a shotgun either until Professor Paul Markel from Student of the Gun pulled it out of the case. Even then, when I first saw it my initial thought was, Oh cool, Paul got a Tavor. Then, I noticed the ejection port. And the barrel. And the magazine. Boy was I in for a surprise.
For the purpose of this review, we fired the M12AB with a Bushnell TRS-26 Red Dot Optic. We had the flip-up irons on the gun, but the TRS performed quite well. A majority of the ammunition we fired was 2.5″ loads for shooting sporting clays, which was not optimal but still serviceable given the circumstances of the day we pulled the gun out. This will come up a bit later in the review, so I hope you’re taking notes.
Let’s dig into this. We’re going to talk briefly about why you should consider a bullpup, and then we’ll dig into the meat and potatoes of this shotgun. Feel free to use the table of contents below to skip around to the parts you’re most interested in.
Why a Bullpup Shotgun?
Well, first and foremost, let’s get the obvious answer out of the way. With a bullpup design, the overall length of any firearm can be reduced without compromising the length of the firearm’s barrel. This has several advantages. First and foremost, you get to keep the overall length of your barrel which has a myriad of benefits. Second, this makes the weapon much more compact, maneuverable, and in some cases even concealable.
Why a shotgun though? Well, you have a couple of options for having a shorter shotgun. Almost all of them make a sacrifice to either the barrel or the stock. When you sacrifice the length of the barrel, you generally also reduce the magazine-tube capacity of the shotgun. You can get around the magazine restrictions with mini-shells, but unfortunately you still lose the benefits of having a longer barrel, or a more solid stock to stabilize the weapon.
With a bullpup, you get all the benefits of a shorter shotgun, but you don’t need to sacrifice the barrel length, or the stock. In the case of a shotgun, you can also switch to using a detachable magazine system, which also eliminates the need for using an alternative shell like the mini-shell.
In short, a bullpup shotgun is for someone who wants a shorter shotgun, but doesn’t want to sacrifice on anything. The only real disadvantage is that you need to re-learn some core shooting mechanics if you’ve never used a bullpup style firearm before. Of course, for some, bullpup style firearms aren’t aesthetically pleasing to look at either, but this is purely subjective.
Meet the SDS Imports BLP M12AB Semi-Auto Bull Pup Shotgun.
The SDS Imports BLP M12AB shotgun is a semi-automatic bullpup shotgun chambered in 12 gauge. It has a 4140 barrel with a 3″ chamber, and is threaded to accept Benelli-style chokes. On the bullpup stock is an adjustable cheek riser with a rubber buttpad to dampen felt-recoil. The M12AB also features an AR-style safety selector switch, ambidextrous magazine release, and a combination angled foregrip which makes it super easy to maneuver. Included with the SDS Imports BLP M12AB Semi-Auto Bull Pup Shotgun out of the box is a 5-round magazine, 4 tube choke sets, disassembly tools, and a set of flip-up iron sights. All of this comes in at around $360 USD for the MSRP price.
Here’s the specifications of the shotgun as published by SDS Imports.
On the Range with the SDS Imports BLP M12AB.
There’s something to be said about any bullpup style firearm. In my experience, the balance and handling of most of these weapons is on point. The SDS Imports M12AB is no exception to this. The second you get the shotgun up in your shoulder, it just feels right. Tracking targets with it was a breeze, and the shotgun itself handled the recoil very well. The combination of the shotgun’s lack of serious felt-recoil, as well as its overall balance made shooting it an honestly fun experience even if we were using it for something a little non-traditional on the day we shot it.
We shot the shotgun out at the Silver Spur Ranch’s clay range with about five different shooters in total. Out of the five shooters, one was left-handed. Obviously, his only complaint was that the shotgun was ejecting the shells directly past his face. Outside of that, even our left-handed shooter had a pretty fun time with the shotgun. Out of all the shooters together, we encountered zero malfunctions with the M12AB. Our biggest issue was actually a U-S-E-R error, we were loading the magazine, which was intended for 3″ shells, with 2.5″ shells, which caused a little bit of drama until we got into the groove of pre-pushing down the follower in the 5-round magazine that was included.
Overall, if you’re in the market for a bullpup style shotgun, then I highly recommend the SDS Imports BLP M12AB. My only other recommendation would be to outright buy a couple of the 10-round magazines that SDS sells separately from the shotgun. You will not regret spending an extra $30 to $60 picking a couple up.
Shooting Clay Pigeons for Fun.
Now, this is the part of the review where I tell you how we reviewed the shotgun. As mentioned above, we had five shooters on the Silver Spur’s clay range. When we got the bullpup shotgun out, we were actually wrapping up a week long event with Vista Outdoors. Two of the shooters were experienced gun writers, myself included in that. One of the shooters was the brand manager for Bushnell (hence the optic, review coming soon.) The other two shooters were both ranch staff, including our wrong-handed shooter. All of us are decently experienced clay shooters, and I’ll go ahead and put myself on the bottom of the list as probably the worst clay shooter in the group.
When you’re on a clay range, and someone busts out a shotgun of any type, there is only one appropriate response. You sling out some clays and you try to tag as many as you can without embarrassing yourself. I can honestly say, that because of the combination of the TRS-26, and the SDS Imports BLP M12AB, I looked like I belonged in the Olympics shooting clay pigeons, even if it was only for a second and because I was pretty much cheating.
A bullpup style shotgun and a 5 or 10-round magazine with a red dot optic on it will make anyone look like a professional. That said, the M12AB made shooting clay pigeons way too easy. We actually moved the throwers out a bit further and the controller started throwing them at random just to try and get us to miss. It was hard to miss with the combination of the optic and bullpup shotgun being so easy to maneuver and track targets with. You could honestly track, fire, and re-acquire the next clay in the matter of a heart-beat with this setup.
It was a 10/10 experience. I highly recommend letting your hair down and cheating on a couple of clay pigeon throws at least once in your life. You’ll have a blast.
Final Thoughts on the SDS Imports BLP M12AB Semi-Auto Bull Pup Shotgun.
What are my final thoughts on the SDS Imports BLP M12AB Semi-Auto Bull Pup Shotgun? Honestly, I haven’t had this much fun firing a shotgun in a long time. On top of this, the Shotgun has an impressive MSRP at just $360. While we didn’t use the shotgun in any cool-guy tactical fashion, I still got a great feel for the firearm, and got to put some serious rounds down range with it. I am confident that whatever your purpose for needing a bullpup shotgun, the M12AB can get the job done for you. It’s a lightweight, ultra maneuverable bullpup with a smooth action and great controls. All of the functionality you would need out of a shorter barrel shotgun can be fulfilled with this tool. When it comes to getting my stamp of approval, the M12AB has it without question.
As always however, that’s just the opinion of one guy. Go ahead down to the comments section and leave a comment if you’ve had a different experience with this specific SDS Imports bullpup shotgun. As a community, we can always come together to help advise each other on how to make the best purchasing decisions in this industry. Also, if you don’t have any experience with this specific weapon, let me know about your experience with bullpup style firearms in general.