Standard Manufacturing's SKO-12 — An American-Made AR-15 Style 12 Gauge - GunsAmerica Digest

Standard Manufacturing’s SKO-12 — An American-Made AR-15 Style 12 Gauge

The Holy Grail of tactical shotguns has always been a detachable magazine feeding system. Several have come to market, but none of them worked well. Even those based on the ultra-reliable AK-47 fell short. For some reason, scaling up to 12 gauge just doesn’t feed the way it should. This week, we got our hands on the latest attempt to reach this bar. We have good news. For once, someone may have solved it.

Standard Manufacturing made waves at SHOT SHOW last year, with a prototype SKO 12. The SKO-12 features AR-15 style controls, is magazine fed, and a very attractive price at $1,100. We have all been anxiously waiting, and this week my test sample showed up. To be 100 % honest, I have a pre-production model, but they should be on store shelves at any minute.


  • Type:  Gas-operated semiauto magazine-fed shotgun
  • Gauge12
  • Capacity: 2+1 rds.; 5+1 rds.; 10+1 rds.
  • Weight: 7 lbs., 10 oz.
  • Overall Length:  38 in.
  • Barrel Length: 18.875 in.
  • Stock: 7075 aircraft grade aluminum
  • ButtStock: 6-position collapsible AR-style
  • MSRP: $1,100
  • Manufacturer: Standard Manufacturing Mfg. Co.

Initial Impressions

Standard Manufacturing is based in Connecticut and their products are American-made. Famous for their double-barreled DP-12, Standard has delivered on another semiautomatic 12 gauge. Normally, I am skeptical of any magazine-fed shotgun, I have seen too many fail. How do you spot the mag fed shotgun guys at a 3-Gun match? They are the ones performing a full tier down and clean between every stage.

That being said, I looked forward to testing this scattergun, but also dreaded it. What if it failed too? Is a mag-fed shotgun too much too ask, in an age when we put a rover on Mars? I would go so far as to say a functional detachable magazine is enough to change a lot of my opinion about a shotgun being a horrible tactical choice. And I am extremely happy to report, the SKO-12 ran like a champ. I even violated the hell out of the manufacturers recommended break-in period. Standard Manufacturing is man enough to tell you it takes recoil to make this shotgun work, and low recoil/ light rounds might require a break in of 100 rounds first. I shot 5 slugs, then a magazine of buckshot, both of which performed flawlessly. Skipping right past the guidelines, I tossed in a magazine of light birdshot and ran the magazine no issue. I even got bolt lock.

In the course of shooting, I quickly ran through the provided Federal ammunition and switched to what I call my trash bucket. Over many years of shooting, I have managed to fill up a 5-gallon bucket with random loads. This includes stuff left in my truck by other shooters, off-brand cheap stuff only useful in training, test rounds — you name it and I probably have it. The only hang-ups I had during testing came from military surplus buckshot, probably left over from Vietnam, which is notoriously junk. I can’t fault the shotgun on that one. In just a few days, I have shot over 500 rounds of sub-par ammunition and miscellaneous loads, and I have come away impressed. The SKO-12 is a shooter.


The SKO-12 features similar controls of an AR-15. The trigger is amazing for a shotgun, and better than most factory AR rifles. If you’ve run AR-style rifles, then you will appreciate the familiarity of the selector (which is ambidextrous) and bolt latch. The learning curve is nonexistent. The magazine release is in the same spot, but a bit larger than an AR, which I liked. Even the 6-position collapsible buttstock is AR standard. The one that came on the shotgun works fine, but you can swap to any Mil-Spec version you desire. Thes shotgun is a bit on the heavy side, but that comes with the territory in a semi-auto shotgun. The weight does help dampen recoil, which you will appreciate when you see how fast you can shoot this monster.

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The upper and lower receiver is machined from 7075 aircraft grade aluminum. The barrel is 18.875 inches long, made of 4140 steel and comes threaded to accept a wide variety of choke tubes, including door breacher, stiletto and tactical chokes. It features a 22-inch Picatinny rail that proves ideal for mounting lights or a red dot. It’s a gas-operated semiauto and the internal parts are salt-nitride coated to increase lubricity. I put this shotgun through its paces without cleaning or oil and it continued to eat almost every load I shoved in the magazine. Shooters will be pleased to know that it comes in 2, 5 and 10 round capacities and a 15-round drum and 25-round drum are currently in development. This is one of those guns, you can feel the quality when you pick it up. The machining is second to none, with attention to fit and finish you would expect from a more expensive gun.  This is a great option for iron sights if you choose that route. I opted to pair mine with a Vortex Sparc AR. A red dot felt like the way to go, and I recommend this one if you end up with an SKO-12.

Overall Performance

I haven’t had this much fun with a gun in a long time. The SKO ran like a sewing machine, which left me to focus on important things. Like pumpkin skeet. It was the only flying object I had handy, but it did prove the point you could use this gun on birds if necessary. On stationary targets, I was amazed at how fast the SKO will shoot. I recommend you purchase the 10-round magazines, you’ll empty the five-rounders in the blink of an eye. Also available are two-round mags, making this gun legal for hunting.

I walked away from this test very impressed. Out of the box, this was a performer, and in a difficult arena. If you have an interest in tactical shotguns, this is the one you want.

For more information about Standard Manufacturing’s SKO-12, click here.

For more information about the Vortex Sparc AR Red Dot, click here.

About the author: Clay Martin is a former Marine and Green Beret, retiring out of 3rd Special Forces Group. He is a multi-decade and -service sniper, as well as 3-Gun competitor and Master ranked shooter in USPSA Production. In addition to writing about guns, he is the author of “Last Son of The War God,” a novel about shooting people that deserve it. You can also follow him on twitter, @offthe_res or his website,

{ 52 comments… add one }
  • NEGOT8R May 15, 2020, 3:00 pm

    This looks like a viable option for those looking for a shotgun for 3 gun, self-defense, or just plain fun. Especially for those who use the Stoner “AR” type rifles for various applications.

    Yes, this is a niche gun, but so in my Remington 3200 which I use for trap & field. Many of the “AR” style shoguns currently on the market have proven to have less reliability than what I would stake my life on. However, there are also some that appear to be very good, options as well.

    Upon researching several other reviews about this gun and the manufacturer, from a variety of sources, it appears Clay’s evaluation is consistent with other evaluations.

    I would certainly consider it as a viable possibility. The manufacturer is now selling 25 round drum mags for this shotgun which could up the fun factor, dependent upon the reliability of that magazine.

    We are so privileged to live in a country where we have the rights so we can each find and enjoy our own particular “niches.”

  • Philip Overtobn November 19, 2019, 10:19 am

    Got my new SKO out to the range this morning for the first time. I had a couple of hang ups the first 2 magazines, but the next 8 magazines functioned perfectly. The recommended break in is 100 rounds of high velocity ammunition, so it only took me 10 rounds to break it in. You can just feel the quality of this firearm. Made in America, I think this firearm is going to take over 3 gun shooting sports in the next 5 years. Highly recommend.

  • Devon James January 22, 2018, 5:48 pm

    Just picked up an SKO 12 last week. First thing is this thing is extremely well built. I went to the lgs to grab one of those cheeta
    12 ga shotguns. I was feeling nostalgic over my original first in country saiga 12 and wanted something similar. The lgs also had one of the new panzers. After playing with them all the SKO came home with me. The feel of the gun is hands down better. Yes it’s twice the price of the cheetah and almost 3x the panzers price tag but it just feels like a serious tool. I don’t care for the rail in its current configuration and have already begun plans to alter it. A few minor changes to some of the controls or aftermarket upgrades and this thing is going to be a hit. I guarantee. To those of you complaining about it having never touched it. Well, shut up. Seriously. You guys are the same guys that are married to a pig or have no partner and you claim you wouldn’t get busy ( if given the chance ) with the hottest chick you have ever seen. People like to complain. Especially when finances won’t allow you to get what you want. I am lucky to have the means to buy guns for many reasons. They don’t all need to fill a role. Sometimes I see something I am curious about or just flat out want and I buy it. Then after trying it out and putting it through its paces I make an honest assessment about it. I don’t judge it from a YouTube video or because some blogger I read doesn’t like it. Get you own opinions and get more money if you need to. It won’t buy happiness but it will buy guns if you like them and want more.

    The gun shoots nice. A few jams here and there but it was during initial break in. And result of various ammo and diff mags. The factory mags load and feed the best from my limited experience. A bit pricey. Bought 4 extra five rounders and ordered 4 tens. Out of stock on the tens until eom. Also grabbed 5 of some Turkish made 5 round mags that fed semi reliably but were a female dog to load.

    If you are a simple no nonsense guy, like me, that enjoys guns that work and don’t care about what purpose a certain firearm serves then I am certain you will like this gun. But if you don’t then try something different. It’s a good time to be a gun enthusiast. Allahu akbar !

  • Pickles January 21, 2018, 2:02 pm

    How is this thing to clean? Is breakdown as tedious as their DP12? How does the gas system look after 150 shots or so?
    Not much detailed information out there for this one.

  • MO December 4, 2017, 10:32 am

    So another gun that solves a problem that doesnt exist.

    For Clay and those that dont know…Genesis GEN12 is a TRUE AR 12GA (Not “AR Style”), that uses a milspec DPMS pattern AR10 complete lower. It uses proprietary magazines but runs 100% on 3 dram low brass 2-3/4 birdshot up to high brass 3″ mag. Only thing I havnt tried (and wont) is the 1.75-2″ mini loads. Also has the benefit of using any AR10 FCG, and buffers to control break and cyclic rate. So if you can tune an AR10….you can tune a GEN12. OH and the best part…you can switch between 12ga and 308 as fast as you can pull the pins, swap the upper, and insert the mag.

    Just saying these “wanna be AR Style” guns may “look and feel” like ARs, but for those that want the real deal it exists and these are just filling a void (or need) that doesnt really exist.

    Also, Clay I think your reviews are usually pretty spot on, but I have to diasgree on the AKs falling short…yes there are a lot of bad conversions on the market, but a solid VEPR-12 with the right mags is 100%. Sure there are parallax issues with the sights if your running trap/skeet (which a lot of my ranges dont allow anyway with detachable mag fed shotguns), but from a reliabilty standpoint you either havnt had the right gun or the right magazines to feel it fell short in the reliabilty area.

    In summary, check out the GEN-12 if you want a real AR 12ga, or pick up a Molot VEPR and some known good mags and you will have a rock solid, detachable mag 12ga.

  • mikelasnicov October 31, 2017, 10:16 pm

    I like it and Clay does a pretty good review. I don’t know how he was able to recruit Darth Vader for his camera man.

  • Mjorin October 31, 2017, 1:26 am

    Thoroughly enjoyed the review. Clay seems to genuinely enjoy what he’s doing and I believe gives honest reviews. He ripped big green on it’s junker R9 pistol. I used to shoot three gun regularly and most of the box feds jammed, but that was early on. They still seem to have their issues. Good to see American made arms being made.

  • Kyle October 30, 2017, 10:52 pm

    I’m not against the idea of it at all, but that picatinny rail is not going into my safe. Horrid.

  • Mike G. October 30, 2017, 10:08 pm

    EXCELLANT. For those of us who shot 3 Gun Competitions….this is what we have been waiting for. For those gun collectors who just “want something” that nobody else has…you too will be happy.

  • Smitty October 30, 2017, 5:50 pm

    Clay, Thanks for the video man.

  • nathan fryer October 30, 2017, 3:05 pm

    Hell No!….My Mossy 930 HDSA will get the job done…ALL DAY! for 1/3 of the cost spread out over a year.

  • Capn Stefano October 30, 2017, 11:49 am

    Let’s see, you are touting a “pre production” cherry picked gun as being “reliable” while bashing the imported AR shotguns like my MKA 1919, which has been 100% reliable in well over 750 full house shells as well as some light birdshot, and cost me a whopping dealer cost of $500

  • Mike H. October 30, 2017, 10:46 am

    Oh Boy! An AR Shotgun! Now I can go out and buy my bird-dog a tactical vest and we can climb these mountains and assault these dangerous grouse! Maybe if I can’t hit them I can scare them to death! What kind of Bullshit will they come up with next?

    • Robert October 30, 2017, 12:28 pm

      Keep in mind, for every gun, there’s a customer LOOKING for it. This isn’t my thing. I have a Browning for bird hunting, an 870 for home defense and that’s all the shotgun I need. BUT there are plenty, always looking for something else. And those in the 3 gun sport world, this may be what they NEED. Especially if they started as AR shooters, who now have to adjust to the other two aspects.

      It’s the great thing about America, I don’t have to understand or even care what other people are into, they’re as free as I am to follow their own ‘pursuit of happiness’.

      • Mike H. October 30, 2017, 1:27 pm

        What the Hell-Ever!

        • Frank October 30, 2017, 9:19 pm

          Mike H., What if we lived in a country where most guns were military style and some company came up with a pussy hunting gun? As a bird hunter, how would you feel about people criticizing it? Just like another person commented, don’t judge what other people want. I like my gas guzzling Shelby mustangs and the Prius driving neighbors blame me for global warming. I will definitely buy one of these and put it in the same safe with my Winchesters and LC Smiths.

      • Smitty October 30, 2017, 5:45 pm

        Yeah Robert! A true freedom of choice patriot. Well put.

    • Warren Wilson October 30, 2017, 2:12 pm

      Wake up, friend.
      This is America.
      We all have different tastes, and this took great ingenuity and will make lots of people happy.
      Like my AR-15 7.62×39 pistol. Home made. Pleased with myself.
      Now go away and be nice.

      • Mike H. October 30, 2017, 2:43 pm

        F—ing Gladly! AR Boys!

        • Area 52 October 30, 2017, 3:37 pm

          Are you saying that we as American citizens should be limited to what type of guns we can own. In your opinion what other types of guns should be banned from private possession?

    • Walleye October 30, 2017, 3:36 pm

      “What kind of Bullshit will they come up with next?”… Who cares, as long as it’s not another gun control law?! Just because you won’t buy something, doesn’t mean the rest of us won’t. Even the great John M. Browning invented a few guns (and cartridges) I would never consider buying. Let the marketplace decide if its a good idea or not.

  • American USMC October 30, 2017, 10:34 am

    Ok Did I miss something ? Lead in title says AR style shotgun takes 1919 mags ?? The 1919 that I can think of is belt fed. The 1918 BAR takes magazines but no mention of that. Interesting article, I liked bringing out the bucket of junk ammo best. Thanks

    • Robert October 30, 2017, 12:23 pm

      MKA 1919 AR style 12ga. Another of these niche guns. Which if this is your thing, great. Not mine, but I’m also not a 3 gun shooter. I followed the link because I was trying to figure out what mags it was running!

  • OldClockguy October 30, 2017, 10:17 am

    I will only say that this new idea seems to speak for itself …… so far. You can’t fake speed, operation, ease of handling (considering the weight of the weapon), or actually price point. You always have to pay high for new technology, whether it is a new type of biscuit mix or a new type of long gun. At least the shotgun appears to function according to “directions”, that’s more than I can say for a new tube of biscuits until one tries to bake them and finds out that they taste like browned cardboard instead of what you expected from a biscuit.
    Need for or no need for, it was only a matter of time before the technology caught up with whatever alleged demand there is for a mag fed auto shotgun. I have little need to buy this weapon as I am quite satisfied with my present setup but need is probably in the eye of the beholder.

    I am just glad that GA took that awful “FFFIIIIIIIRRRRREEEEEE” INTRO MUSIC off their videos. I don’t know if that was requested by Clay Martin or the result of people like myself having to jump up and turn down the volume every time I play a GA video but it is a pleasant change.

  • jj October 30, 2017, 9:55 am

    Vepr-12 Not reliable??? What kind of jacksss makes thst claim????

  • Dustin Eward October 30, 2017, 9:27 am

    “How do you spot the mag fed shotgun guys at a 3-Gun match? They are the ones performing a full tier down and clean between every stage.”


    Also, I’ve got nearl 1000 rounds through my 2 week old Cheetah 12. Using, both, the ProMag 10rd and 20rd drums, as well as the stock 5rd mag.

    Narry a hangup. More reliable than my Glocks.

    • Your mom October 30, 2017, 10:08 am

      Funny you should spell check his write up. You need to focus on yours.
      Narry??-I’m guessing you were stretching for *never*?

      • Dave Hicks October 30, 2017, 10:28 am

        Yes “Narry” is a word we use in the South. It means “never”. As in NARRY a hangup or Never a hang up.

      • George Barry October 30, 2017, 10:44 am

        The word is correct but the spelling is wrong. Correct spelling in “nary”.

        • David Hamilton October 30, 2017, 12:30 pm

          “Correct spelling IS nary.”

  • Ken October 30, 2017, 9:13 am

    Congrats on getting Darth Vader to help with the camera work 😉

  • Big John October 30, 2017, 8:42 am

    Guess the Corp doesn’t get theres today…lol

  • Bernie Kleinschmidt October 30, 2017, 8:22 am

    Is it chambered for 3″?

  • Chris October 30, 2017, 7:20 am

    Does it have a buffer tube? To help with recoil I wonder?

    • Dave November 8, 2017, 11:36 pm

      If you look at the website, they have a shorty with no buffer tube, so me thinks no buffer. It is gas operated, so that is your recoil mitigation.

  • Joe October 30, 2017, 6:11 am

    I’m impressed but I will stick to my good ole Browning auto 5. If it takes more than five shots to get the job done I must have been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    • Keith October 30, 2017, 5:08 pm

      I like to carry around 16 rounds of .40 S&W when I carry a concealed pistol. Kinda hard to carry a shotgun in public without getting the cops called on you. For home defense an 18 inch barrel shotgun with 5 solid slugs + 4 rounds on the stock would likely be adequate. 00 Buck shot will also stop intruders well.

  • Tom October 30, 2017, 4:55 am

    LMFAO I go against that with my Vepr 12 any day of the week LMAO.
    Trying to trash talk other guns to try to boost your own gun sales shouldn’t be needed, if you have a great product, it should sell itself.

    • dj October 30, 2017, 6:56 am

      100% agree. Never an issue with my Vepr. Not sure where author gets idea that anyone has been waiting on a flawless mag fed 12ga.

    • NL October 30, 2017, 8:48 am

      There are plenty of people with box-fed shotguns who haven’t had any issues, but his comments regarding 3-gun ring true. At matches you rarely see tube-fed shotguns go down, especially inertia-driven guns, but open guys running mag-fed shotguns have issues all the time. Not saying every open guy, but when a VEPR or Saiga goes down nobody’s shocked. It’s why you still see some guys running those stick-reloaders for tube-feds in open when they could just change a mag (those people will often say they they are waiting for a trouble-free mag fed shotgun). The VEPRs seem to have a better reputation than Saigas, but they’re not seen as trouble-free. There is something about competing that exposes weaknesses in a system. I have had plenty of times where I test gear for a couple hundred rounds, including mag-dumps, etc to heat it up, call it good, then halfway through a match it says “Nope!”

  • Jonny5 October 30, 2017, 3:30 am

    What’s your problem with pumpkins? I think you should vary your selection or at least utilise some of the other types of the “squash” type genus.

  • Michael Christensen October 30, 2017, 3:19 am

    Why does it still have what looks like a lower feed tube if it is magazine fed?

    • Will October 30, 2017, 7:14 am

      It’s gas-operated, so that lower tube would most likely house the piston that cycles the action.

  • matt October 30, 2017, 3:17 am

    Just an aside, “aircraft grade aluminum” isnt a certain engineering standard. 7075 is the blend or name of that certain mix of pure aluminum and other metals just like 1040 steel etc. That phrase doesnt mean anything and wont show up in a table when you look up data on that alloy. Aircraft are made with more than just 7075 aluminum more composites and plastics are used today. This gun is ok looking i guess. looks like a semi auto shotgun that takes box mags.

    • Jon October 30, 2017, 8:33 am

      Man! Everybody so negative about the gun it appeared to work fine give it a chance

      • Frank October 30, 2017, 9:13 am

        People are negative in general. I have no idea why someone would take the time and effort to trash a product that they just don’t like or can’t afford… but there’s a lot of garbage talk on here. I’ll buy one just because it has some “black gun” features and someday we’ll have another anti-gun President.

        • Frank Shannon November 1, 2017, 7:03 pm

          Another anti gun president? EX military here and independent. Which president was anti-gun? Please provide the link..

          • Frank Shannon November 1, 2017, 7:06 pm


    • David October 30, 2017, 9:54 am

      “Aircraft Grade Aluminum” It’s just a sales pitch phrase. My favorite one to hate is “Military Grade” behind that is “Tactical.” All just stupid phrases and words used to sell products to those who are enamored of such topics and too, lets go with uninformed instead of other descriptors, to know the difference.

      • kk October 30, 2017, 12:28 pm

        forgot “mil-spec”…I saw mil-spec duck tape the other day.

        • Alan November 1, 2017, 3:57 pm

          Ok, but in fact “Mil-Spec” IS a classification, is defined by Wikipedia, and so is not analogous to the discussion.
          And yes, the Military DOES have specification for duct tape.

      • Stephen Vincent October 30, 2017, 7:59 pm

        At least the lower is aluminum and not polymer.

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