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The KS-23 (Karabin Spetsialniy, "Special Carbine") is a Russian shotgun, and the most powerful shoulder-fired shotgun in use today, firing 23mm shells which are equivalent to 6.27 gauge (or 4 gauge in the metric bore system used in some parts of Europe); the guns themselves are made from cut-down rejected 2A7 antiaircraft gun barrels, intended for ZSU-23-4 self-propelled AA guns. Since it uses a rifled antiaircraft gun barrel it is officially designated by the Russian military as a carbine, but in functional terms is a pump-action shotgun. It is able to fire a variety of loads including shot and slugs, and is also used with a cup adaptor and blanks to fire rifle grenades.

The KS-23 was designed in 1970s based on the Winchester Model 1200, for suppressing prison riots. The first serial guns were produced in 1981, and KS-23 was officially adopted for use by Soviet police in 1985. It was largely replaced in police use by the KS-23M (modernized) in 1990. In 1995 a new magazine-fed bullpup version, the KS-23K, was developed for use by the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs.

A civilian version, the TOZ-123 "Drake," was designed by Tulsky Oruzheiny Zavod in 1996. This variant features a smoothbore barrel. Imports of the TOZ-123 to the United States were banned during the Clinton Administration.

Another civilian version, chambered for 12 & 16 gauge, is a Molot Bekas.

KS-23 with a fixed wooden stock - 23mm
KS-23M - 23mm
KS-23K - 23mm


(1981 - present)

  • Type: Shotgun
  • Caliber: 23mm (6.27 gauge)
  • Weight: 8.49 lbs (3.85 kg)
  • Length: 41 in (104 cm)
  • Barrel length: 20 in (51 cm)
  • Capacity: 3+1* (KS-23 & KS-23M) , 7 (KS-23K)
  • Fire Modes: Pump-Action

Extended tubes also exists, but it not seen in real use, apparently due to the heavy weight even with a standard magazine.

The KS-23 and variants can be seen in the following films, television series, video games, and anime used by the following actors:


Title Actor Character Note Date
Living Target (Zhivaja mishen) A criminal KS-23 1990
Sheriff's Star (Zvezda sherifa) Police KS-23 1992
Antikiller 2: Antiterror SOBR personnel KS-23M, firing tear gas grenades 2003

Video Games

Game Title Appears as Mods Notation Release Date
7.62 High Calibre KS-23M 2008
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2010
Firearms: Source 2011
Hot Dogs, Horseshoes & Hand Grenades KS-23 w/ Soviet dovetail mount KS-23M 2016
Survarium KS-23 & KS-23M 2017

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