Ever since the Browning Auto-5 came out in 1905, everyone has been gaga over auto-loading semi-automatic shotguns. In the 1980s, the natural evolution took another change when military grade and box-fed semi-auto shotguns with pistol grips appeared on the market. Today this evolution continues and seems like the latest in the bunch is from Turkey.
Recently imported into the United States by RAAC, the MKA 1919 has been married to a number of customized camouflaged finishes for the US market. RAAC was formerly the Russian American Armory Company and is a primary importer of Saiga products into the country. Ucylidiz Arms AS, part of the Zira Silah Group in Istanbul Turkey, builds the MKA 1919 by in an ISO 9001 standard factory.
Tracing their origin back to 1943 they are best known in the west for exporting up to 60,000 products to more than 25 countries around the world per month including Tabanca air guns and their Blow series of blank firing replica guns and starter guns. Since 2003, they have been making shotguns and in 2006 introduced the Akdal MKA 1919 shotgun.
The Turkish Army, fighting an insurgent civil war with Kurdish militants (remember, Turkey shares a border with Iraq) purchased some 1500 of these weapons for their military police force and Special Forces Command (Maroon Berets). As these units used it side by side with M16A4/M4 rifles, the commonality in training is obvious. The Turks put them to good use in the February 2008 Turkish incursion into northern Iraq, code-named Operation Sun (Gunes Harekat.)
- MKA1919 diagram, photo by RAAC.
The MKA 1919 is a lightweight (6.5-pounds) gas operated, semi-automatic shotgun fed via a detachable box magazine. As you can tell by the pictures, the M16/AR15 style rifle inspires it. While it quite obviously is not an AR-platform, it shares the much of the same weapon manipulations as the classic Stoners. This includes magazine release, safe/fire lever, grip etc. The upper receiver is produced from an aluminum alloy. According the distributor the lower receiver, pistol grip, and stock are manufactured as one piece from an impact resistant polymer. The length overall is 38-inches with an 18.5-inch barrel. Inside the shotgun are three internal chokes.
- Note the Remington 1100-style bolt sandwiched between a M16-style pistol grip/magazine and carrying handle. (Photo by Oleg Volk.)
The M16-style carrying handle contains workable diopter sights and can be removed. Once removed it reveals a flattop integral Picatinny rail that can readily accept any number of flip up sights, EOTECH or Aimpoint style reactive sights, or other optical doo-dads.
While browsing around it seems to be the going rate for stock firearms in the box is anywhere from $700-$900 with a few used examples going for only slightly less. Replacement/spare 5-rd magazines run about $40. Optional magazines are in 2, 3, or 10 round capacity. One item of note is that the firearms cycles both 2 and 3-inch shells, but each take a different magazine. Currently RAAC supplies both a 2 and a 3-inch magazine with each MKA 1919.
-Firebird Custom race gun built from MKA1919 (Photo by Firebird Custom)
Firebird Custom, a competition rifle shop well known for their Saiga builds is tweaking out a number of MKAs for competition use with Ergo Grips, Magpul stock, and other bells and whistles. On their site they compare it to the Saiga saying this, "We cut our teeth on the Firebird Saiga line of shotguns, and proved that a mag fed shotgun can be competitive in 3 Gun / Multigun shooting. However, we also discovered that the quality control with the Saiga shotgun is all over the map when they leave Russia. Some shotguns needed 5 hours of work, while others needed over 20. This drastic variation really cut into our time and resources that we have to dedicate to that shotgun line. The MKA 1919 on the other hand seems to be a winner out of the gate."