The Power of a Shotgun: Don’t Doubt Legacy Sports International’s Citadel RS-S1

By Todd Burgreen

The operating standard for the combat shotgun is traditionally that of pump-action, fed via a tube magazine located under the barrel; John Browning showed the way with the Model 1897. There have been lever and bolt action shotguns as well, but these did not threaten the pump action’s dominant status. This is based on the latter’s simplicity of operation, reliability and ability to handle a multitude of ammunition types. While semi-automatic shotguns have showed capability, few have demonstrated the “hell and back” reliability necessary to gain the confidence of users. Leave it to the Russians to adapt their extremely reliable AK operating system to the combat shotgun, thus challenging assumptions of what a combat shotgun should be with a scaled-up, AK-style action fed from detachable magazines.

Unfortunately, politics has again denied access to Russian-manufactured weapons. Fortunately, Legacy Sports International has been able to access a source of Turkish-manufactured AK shotguns in the form of the Citadel RS-S1.

AK-Style Design

The Citadel RS-S1 uses a rotating bolt operated by gas-piston à la AK. For clarity’s sake, Gennady Nikonov is the Russian designer responsible for taking Kalashnikov’s AK design and adapting it into shotgun form. Thankfully, not believing in capitalism, the communists neglected to patent-protect designs. Obviously, a 12-gauge shell is much larger than a 7.62x39 rifle round. The 12-gauge’s flat hull design further compounded design adaptation issues, especially in terms of magazine design. In brief, the rear and forward trunnions needed reinforcement, along with shortening of the op-rod piston and modification of the bolt carrier to permit shell clearance during the ejection process in the firing cycle. The bolt head and top cover opening were enlarged to allow the accommodation and clearance, respectively, of the larger 12-gauge shell face.

Though modified to meet import requirements via a mono stock that connects to a pistol grip, an AK operating system is still at the heart of the RS-S1 shotgun. The Citadel RS-S1 is all business with its matte black finished receiver and its enlarged-diameter, chrome-lined, 20-inch barrel, which includes internally threaded Beretta/Benilli-compatible chokes...

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V23N4 (April 2019)
and was posted online on February 22, 2019


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