Review: Citadel RS-S1 Shotgun

I’m a big fan of shotguns.  While I regularly shoot pump guns, I never branched out into the AK-style 12 Gauge guns like the Saiga and Vepr- both of which, for political reasons, have been recently banned from import into the USA.  Fortunately, Legacy Sports International noticed the hole in the market and started importing a Turkish 12-Gauge AK variant, the Citadel RS-S1.

The RS-S1 looks a lot like an AK-pattern rifle, only it is bigger.  The sights, majority of the controls and layout are immediately familiar to an AK shooter.  Unlike an AK rifle, the RS-S1 has a bolt hold-open that can be activated with an empty magazine or with a button located behind the magazine well. Similarly, a bolt release is located behind the trigger above the pistol grip to facilitate rapid magazine changes.

Like many modern shotguns, the RS-S1 is equipped with a 20 inch chrome lined barrel that is threaded to accept Beretta-style choke tubes.  It ships with a Modified tube installed from the factory.

The RS-S1 is capable of handling 2 3/4″ and 3″ 12 gauge shotgun shells.  Legacy Sports International recommends loads that are at least 3.25 drams and 1 1/8oz.

Unlike your 30″ duck gun or SBS, the RS-S1 seems to be marketed primarily for competition shooting.  To this end, I decided I’d spend my initial testing time with bird-shot loads.

For testing and evaluation, I headed to the range with an assortment of loads and then to the local shotgun sand pit.  Before we get to the shooting part, let’s take a look at some of its features. 

The RS-S1 includes both an optical mounting rail and iron sights.  The front sight is the typical AK-style front, while the rear sight is a RPK style leaf with a dial to adjust windage.

The Picatinny style rail is bolted to the top cover and attached to the rear sight block. I’d imagine a low mounted RMR style optic would work well here.

The shotgun is equipped with an extended tab on the safety lever.  This helps facilitate rapid manipulation via the shooter’s (right handed shooter) index finger.  Magazine changes are facilitated through an extended magazine paddle (behind the magazine well).  The bolt hold-open button is the small cylinder located above the magazine paddle and the bolt release is located behind the trigger.  When the RS-S1 cycles the last round out of the magazine, the bolt is held open and the tab swings down (and slightly bumps your index finger).

Disassembly of the rifle is typical AK.  Simply clear it, remove the top cover and pull out the piston and bolt.  The bolt (above), just looks like a really big AK-bolt.

Fit and finish on the RS-S1 is decent for an AK.  Like most AK-pattern firearms, the construction is a mix of stamped steel, MIM and machined parts.  To make the gun importable, the RS-S1 has a monolithic “thumb hole” (and I use that term loosely) style stock.  While this type of stock wouldn’t be my first choice, it didn’t look too bad and was acceptable ergonomically.

I ended up shooting a little over 200 rounds of bird-shot on my first trip to the range.   The ammunition ranged in brand, quality and power.  All of it worked in the RS-S1 to some level, with the ammunition of the recommended power feeding the best.

The RS-S1 comes with two, 5-round magazines.  Each has a polymer magazine body with a metal insert towards the top.  Adjacent to the right sided feed lip is a small button that activates the magazine hold-open on the last shot.  Unlike an AK-style rifle, the magazines on an RS-S1 simply insert straight in and out of the gun through a flared magazine well.

Shooting the RS-S1 was a hoot.  After 2 failures to fully eject in the first 25 rounds of use (break-in period), the shotgun began to operate well.  The recoil impulse was different than a conventional sporting shotgun, with a more “AK” feel to it.  In short, it was fast and fun to shoot.

In many ways, it is far easier to evaluate a rifle than a shotgun.  Rifles give you objective data in the form of group size and velocity, while the shotgun pushes into subjective territory.  To that end, in addition to simply blasting away with the shotgun, I wanted to run a few drills.

To get an idea of how fast the RS-S1 would be to bring on target I set up an IPSC silhouette at 7 yards and grabbed the shot timer.  I ran a series of drills starting with the RS-S1 on Safe and either at Low, or High Ready position.  My average time in second follows each drill.

  • Low Ready, fire one: .84 seconds
  • High Ready, fire one: 1.13 seconds
  • Low Ready, fire two: 1.06 seconds

I’m not the speedy shooter I once was, but the gun was certainly quick, especially on rapid follow up shots.

This is a cool picture of the top round about to be fed into the chamber!

So what do I think of the RS-S1 shotgun?

  • Fun gun to shoot.  The RS-S1 isn’t a duck gun and you most likely aren’t taking it to the sporting clays shoot; however, it is a blast to shoot.  Pure fun!
  • Use the right ammo.  I tested some lighter loads, both weight and powder wise in the RS-S1, and while they cycled more often then not, they didn’t work as well as the 1 1/8 ounce 3.25 dram loads recommended by Legacy Sports International.
  • Quick reloads.  The extended magazine release, coupled with the straight insertion of the magazine and with the bolt release located behind the trigger, make for lightning-fast reloads.
  • Hold onto it.  Whenever I shoot a semiautomatic shotgun, I always like to see how recoil sensitive they are.  Some gas operated guns like the 11-87P can cycle with an extremely loose to non existent grip, while others, like the Benelli M2 and RS-S1, are more sensitive to being held loosely.
  • Can’t wait to customize it.  I ordered a few parts from Brownells, I’ll be back with another post showing off my tricked out RS-S1!

You can learn more about the RS-S1 by visiting Legacy Sports International’s website.

You can purchase the RS-S1 from Brownells by clicking here.

A big thank you to Tuffy Security Products for getting the RS-S1 safely to the range!