Smith & Wesson M&P12 Bullpup Shotgun – Too Late To Market?

Jim Grant reviews the Smith & Wesson M&P12 Bullpup Shotgun.

Smith & Wesson M&P12 Bullpup Shotgun
The Smith & Wesson M&P12 Bullpup Shotgun is S&W’s first foray into shotguns in a very long time. IMG Jim Grant

U.S.A. -( I’m a huge fan of bullpups in general, and especially bullpup shotguns like the Smith & Wesson M&P12. I’ve always felt that the bullpup configuration makes a ton of sense for otherwise forward-heavy guns like pump-action shotguns. Instead of the shooter having to wrestle with the weight of a tubular magazine filled with hefty defensive rounds like buckshot, shifting the center of balance rearward can turn an otherwise unwieldy gun into a compact, potent defensive tool.

That said, the pump-action shotgun market is filled with dozens of inexpensive, reliable options. So for this new gun from Smith to really make an impact, it will have to do more than rest of the laurels of the S&W brand, or the benefits of its configuration.

Smith & Wesson M&P12 Bullpup Shotgun Features

Smith’s new M&P12 is a pump-action, magazine-fed 12-gauge bullpup shotgun. It features two separate, parallel tubes that hold six rounds each. Meaning shooters have 12+1 rounds of hard-hitting 12-gauge shotshells at their disposable in a compact, handy package. The M&P12 also features a toggle switch that allows shooters to select which tube they want the next shot to feed from. This is useful if one tube is filled with buckshot and the other with slugs.

Smith & Wesson M&P12 Bullpup Shotgun Mag Tubes
The Smith & Wesson M&P12 Bullpup Shotgun feeds from two independent magazine tubes. IMG Jim Grant

But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s start at the muzzle and work back. The Bullpup M&P sports a 19-inch cylinder bore barrel, but is also threaded for chokes and includes two in the box – a modified and full. So if a shooter’s local hunting laws allow it, the M&P12 could be used for both home defense, and say.. turkey hunting? Maybe not practical but possible.

Above the barrel, the Smith shotgun features a full-length Picatinny optics rail but lacks any sort of traditional iron sights. For our review, we installed a Holosun 507C.

Although the S&W shotgun lacks traditional iron sights, it includes a full-length Picatinny optics rail perfect for mounting reflex sights like this Holosun 507C. IMG Jim Grant

Just beneath the optics rail, the M&P12 comes adorned with the iconic S&W M&P grip texture on the included vertical foregrip. This brings me to my first issue with the gun. The foregrip becomes the first point of impact during the recoil impulse. So a shooter’s support hand actually bears the brunt of the gun’s “kick”. This isn’t terrible with bird or controlled recoil buckshot, but 3-inch slugs beat the ever-living hell out of the support hand. Though in all fairness, the same can be said of basically every pump-action shotgun equipped with a vertical grip.

Speaking of the foregrip, this is the location where S&W decided to place the magazine tube selector. It functions like a crossbar safety, in that the shooter depresses the lever on one side and then protrudes out the other. It’s very positive, and difficult to screw up even under pressure, and is clearly marked, “L” and “R” to designate which tube the gun will feed from next.

Switching between magazine tubes is as easy as pressing this little cross-bolt button. IMG Jim Grant

Behind this, the M&P12 utilizes some excellent ambidextrous fire controls that make the gun comfortable to shoot and manipulate for both left and right-handed shooters. Especially the safety selector, which is very reminiscent of the one found on AR-15 rifles. As far as the action release, it incorporates generous paddles that surround the trigger guard, allowing the shooter to release the pump without shifting their firing grip.

At the back, the stock incorporates dual loading gates (one for each magazine tube) on the bottom side, as well as an inch-thick rubber recoil pad and a pair of ambidextrous QD sling mounts.

M&P12 Bullpup Shotgun Field Strip & Reassembly

M&P Shotgun Performance

I tested the M&P12 with Herter’s low-brass birdshot, Hornady Critical Defense 00 buckshot, and some Federal 1oz slugs. As is expected from a manually-operated shotgun, M&P12 never encountered a single malfunction whatsoever. Recoil is stout with defensive rounds and slugs, but no more so than with a traditionally-configurated shotgun.

Although it features M-Lok rails underneath, the M&P12 ships with a vertical grip pre-installed. IMG Jim Grant

The action too, was easy to manipulate, though it didn’t feel as solid as older Remington 870s – it certainly doesn’t feel cheap at all.

Bullpup Shotgun Verdict

With an MSRP of $1185, the Smith & Wesson M&P12 Bullpup Shotgun is going to be a tough sell for many shooters. Sure, it features a better polymer shell than Kel-Tec’s KSG, but the tipping point for potential buyers will likely be how much weight the name Smith & Wesson carries. If you’re a die-hard Smith fan, and you want an ultra-modern compact shotgun, the M&P12 is a no-brainer.

Smith & Wesson M&P12 Bullpup Shotgun Safety and Trigger
The safety of the Smith & Wesson M&P12 Bullpup Shotgun is very similar to that of an AR-15. IMG Jim Grant

But if you’re looking for an inexpensive versatile pump-action shotgun, there are much cheaper options on the market. That said, the Smith & Wesson M&P12 Bullpup Shotgun is by no means a bad gun, I would argue that in the role it was designed for, it very much excels. It would make an excellent home defense weapon, law enforcement tool, or fun range plinker. But it doesn’t do anything revolutionary enough for owners of the DBS-12, or KSG shotguns to ditch their weapons for.

Product, parts, and Ammo as seen in this review:

About Jim Grant

Jim is one of the elite editors for, who in addition to his mastery of prose, can wield a camera with expert finesse. He loves anything and everything guns but holds firearms from the Cold War in a special place in his heart.

When he’s not reviewing guns or shooting for fun and competition, Jim can be found hiking and hunting with his wife Kimberly, and their dog Peanut in the South Carolina low country.


Notify of
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
IN Dave

The last sentence is pretty much the only sentence that you need to read. As someone who owns a KSG there is nothing here that justifies making the jump. Now if they designed it to run the shorty shells and bring the price down 100-200 then……maybe, at best. It also helps to remember that if you add another $214 you are at the tavor 12 semi auto MSRP.


wait for black Friday and get the tavor ts12


that is said by someone with more than 45 years using a sweet sixteen for skeet and this is better ,weight on your shoulder not your forearm 16 rounds not 5 any choke I like not fixed only thing took getting used to was no ball site may take half moon off of an ar10 for a front quick point

Last edited 8 months ago by swmft

Before you buy a Tavor, try it,
I did,
no sale.


I did that is why I bought it
have only put a little over 500 rounds through it( covid closings )with no problems ,i did make my own charging handle but im prone to tweaking things to my liking

Last edited 8 months ago by swmft

other reason was I dont like the drop magazine that many of the competitors have and i can get 12 clays in a fast string for me it is a hoot
I looked at a typhoon but did not like the Ballance

Last edited 8 months ago by swmft

I agree, the ts12 is awesome, My buddy has one and I’ve got to spend a lot of trigger time on his.
the only downside is that it’s picky about ammo and will not reliably feed minis and some other rounds.They will tell you it will, but I am speaking from experience. It wont. Thats why I went with a pump for my house gun.


Smith & Wesson says it “accepts a combination of standard 2 ¾”, 3” magnum, and mini-shell loads.”


Or the Standard Manufacturing DP-12…


Shotguns are the ideal compliance weapon! Affordable, dependable and 100% effective! They make aggressors QUIT!

Watch um

Sorry sir, but one in the chamber, safety on. Rack sounds great until you have a failure to feed (jam) when you need to be shooting.
any firearm without one round in the chamber is really nothing but a potential failure. You learn that quick in combat or you are dead or wounded. As my son says “trust me “


You can say what you like, I have one and I love it. I have either owned, or have serious trigger time on all the ‘Traditional’ 12’s and bullpup 12 gauges out there (except a couple of the Turks offerings). Each has its +’s and -‘s; but for me, the Smith addresses every issue I had with both traditional shotguns and bullpups. I have trained defensive urban, shot trap and gone hunting with it. I can even ‘speedload’ this thing, and clear jams. No, I cannot ‘combat load’ a shell, but thats the only thing on my list. The others… Read more »


Jim how was the accuracy with slugs? What is the weight unloaded? Does it shoot tge mini 1 /12” or 1 3/4” shells?


Is S$W offering this weapon in 20ga or .410??
12ga is all good but some customers might like more control by using smaller gauges


there would have to be a lot of people asking to make changes fo a 410 , even the ar 410 upper is not common and that requires no change to the lower so demand is what dictates manufacture ati has a nitch with ar 410 cant see anyone doing a 410 bullpup unless it was a colt45 that would take shotgun shells


A good question, but I would ask you to try one out, it is heavy enough and well-designed for recoil, kicks less than my 870.
And it will feed (proverbial) ‘broken glass’.


Also, most of the ‘Shoot Straight’ gun ranges have these in stock as a rental.


If you’ve gotten to the part about the cracked barrel recall, or the part about whether or not one of these will reliably feed shorty shells, you’ve already read too far. All you need to know is “Smith & Wesson.” In 2000, the then owners of the Smith & Wesson brand climbed into bed with the Clinton administration and in so doing stabbed all RKBA defenders in the back. I’m well aware that in response to Smith & Wesson’s betrayal, the RKBA community drove the company into near bankruptcy and the brand was bought by the current owners. But… Read more »

Wild Bill

Ok, I can respect your decision. I would like to point out, however, that the new management is entirely different. Smith and Wesson Brands, Inc. has a strong P/E ration, much better than the average on the NYSW. Positive earnings per share; pays a consistent and conservative dividend. It is almost like the new management is taking care of his family.


Right you are DDS. Just like Bill Ruger’s sell out back in the day, I’ve scratched both Ruger & S&W off my buying list. Might as well add Colt to that mix too when they made the stupid decision not to sell the AR to civilians any longer. That didn’t last long did it!!! Now my go to manufacturers are FN & IWI, both who aren’t timid about supporting the 2nd Amendment. To hell with S&W’s built-in handgun locks. I’LL BE THE ONE WHO DECIDES WHAT I DO & DON’T WANT INCLUDED IN MY FIREARMS!!!


You might want to fact check your bs about colt, they stopped civilian sales because they needed all manufacturing capability to meet a government contract deadline, afterwards they resumed civilian sales.
Stop watching lamestreem news.
It was covered in multiple firearms websites about what happened.

Big George

That looks like a good stout vertical grip S&W included. But as a pump, I’m surprised though from a liability standpoint that S&W would have avoided a factory foreward grip after people were blowing their hands off on bullpup shotguns by installing cheap vertical grips. I’m glad I read that article and saw the pictures right after I bought my KSG!




That’s one of the butt-ugliest weapons I’ve ever seen.


I’ll stick with my Tavor. The S&W is too little, too late. (My opinion only)


This now my one and only house gun.
To me, It’s a vast improvement over the KSG and DP12 (I’ve owned both).


Cracked barrels… already recalled… NO SALE!!!


Cracked barrels ? Can you explain ?


got to s&w website and look up recalls , they are checking guns made in 2021


Yep,that’s what I did. That is very surprising to me about recalls on those shotgun barrels. Thanks.


Disregard. I just saw on S&W their website that all barrels mfg.before 10-15-21 recalled over cracked barrel concerns. That is very surprising to me.