FosTecH Origin 12 Shotguns

By Frank Iannamico

There is a fairly new magazine-fed, semi-automatic, gas-operated tactical shotgun available for scattergun enthusiasts. The weapon is the FosTecH Outdoors LLC Origin 12 shotgun. The Origin 12 is made in the USA and has been available for a year or so, yet it is relatively unknown.

The Origin 12 has a few unique features that set it apart from many other semi-automatic 12-gauge shotguns. One of those features is a long-stroke gas system, which will function with low-power shells that are normally reserved for pump or break-open shotguns. The weapon’s reliability is enhanced by a rotating bolt with two large extractors. Felt recoil is reduced by the stock, which is located above the centerline of the bore. Control is aided by a pistol grip. The magazine release and safety lever are ambidextrous, while the non-reciprocating charging handle is located on the left-hand side of the receiver. The telescoping AR-style stock folds to the side to decrease the overall length of the shotgun for storage or carry. A large ejection port cover keeps debris out of the action when the weapon is not in use. Front and rear polymer folding sights are standard. There is plenty of rail space to mount just about any accessory—from optics to flashlights. The shotgun is a two-part modular construction consisting of the receiver and stock, and the barrel, gas tube and handguard assembly. Origin 12 shotguns are all restricted to 2.75-inch shells.

The Origin 12 shotgun is available in 18.5- (non-NFA) or 10.67-inch barrel lengths. The 10.67-inch barrel model is a short-barreled shotgun, which is subject to NFA regulations and the $200 federal transfer tax. The barrel module is available in different lengths and can be swapped out in seconds by the removal of a single pin. The barrel’s muzzle is externally threaded with the same M22x75 threads as the Saiga and Vepr shotguns to accommodate flash hiders, muzzle brakes or sound suppressors. The barrels come fitted with thread protectors. The short-barreled model weighs 7 pounds, 3 ounces; the 18.5-inch barrel shotgun weighs 9 pounds, 3 ounces.

The patented gas system of the Origin 12 allows it to pick up the gas as soon as it leaves the chamber, making it very efficient. The system is designed so that a shotgun shell can be used as a tool to adjust the large gas plug located above the barrel. With lighter loads, such as target or small game loads, the port should be closed or slightly open. For heavy loads, such as high brass or slugs, the port should be open to allow excess gas to be vented from the weapon to prevent damage. When adjusting the system, ensure that the hole in the gas plug is facing upward, this allows the escaping gas to assist in controlling muzzle rise. This is a great advantage on the Origin 12 and helps to place more rounds on target. If the Origin 12 fails to cycle or eject a spent cartridge, it is likely that there is not enough gas pressure, and the gas system will need to be adjusted so that less gas escapes. Thread the gas plug inward two full revolutions and repeat the test. When properly adjusted, the shells should be ejecting 5 to 8 feet away from the weapon.

The Origin 12 is easily field stripped for cleaning or maintenance by the removal of a few pins. Upon disassembly, one can readily see the resemblance to the AK’s bolt carrier-recoil spring assembly, albeit substantially larger in size.

As well as offering different barrel lengths, the Origin 12 is available in various guises. The basic Origin 12 shotgun is designated as the Hard Black model, with a black receiver, barrel and internals. Another model imparts the Hard Black barrel and receiver with nickel internal parts. A third option is the Hard Nickel Shotgun, which features a nickel receiver, barrel and internal parts. Available accessories include a recoil pad, extended charging handle, choke tube adapter, cheek riser, barrels, extra magazines and a Trijicon MRO reflex sight. The Origin 12 is shipped in a plastic hard case with a manual and one five-round magazine.

The Origin 12 magazines are made of polymer with steel feed lips; they are available with capacities of five, eight and ten rounds. No fumbling or rocking of the magazine, insertion is straight up into the receiver. A little extra effort is required if the bolt is closed; the action locks open after the last round is fired. Drum magazines with 20- and 30-round capacities are also available.

The FosTecH Origin 12 SBV

For those that like the look and handiness of a short barrel—but want to avoid the ATF paperwork and $200 transfer tax—FosTecH offers the SBV model. The Origin 12 SBV shotgun has an overall length of 27.5 inches when fitted with a 10.67-inch barrel, but it is not classified as an NFA firearm. In place of a buttstock, the SBV has a side-folding arm stabilizing brace installed. Technically, the brace cannot be shouldered, as the ATF’s position is that: The pistol stabilizing brace was neither “designed” nor approved to be used as a shoulder stock. Except for its lack of a conventional buttstock, the SBV model has the same features as the Origin 12 short-barreled shotgun. The SBV has an M22x75 metric threaded muzzle and uses the same five-, eight- and 10-round magazines or 20- and 30-round drums as the other Origin 12 models. The SBV weighs 9 pounds, 9 ounces and is available in Hard Black, Hard Black with nickel internal parts or Hard Nickel, the receiver and internal parts of which are nickel. Ownership of the SBV shotgun is subject to local or state laws.

Field Stripping

1. Remove the magazine.
2. Verify the firearm is unloaded and the safety lever is in the safe position.
3. Remove the quick-change pin and separate the barrel module from the receiver.
4. Fold the stock.
5. Remove the two front dust cover pins and rear dust cover pin then remove the dust cover.
6. Remove the carrier spring and carrier spring locator.
7. Remove the buffer spring locator.
8. Slide the bolt carrier assembly rearward until it clears the receiver rails and remove the carrier assembly.
9. Remove the bolt from the carrier assembly.
10. Remove the adjustable gas plug.

The Origin 12 shotgun is now field stripped for cleaning or maintenance, and it can be reassembled by reversing the field stripping process.

The SilencerCo Salvo 12 Shotgun Suppressor

A popular accessory for the Origin 12 shotgun is the Salvo 12 suppressor.

Sound suppressors, aka “silencers”, have become increasingly popular in the last few years. Previously, suppressors were only available for pistols and rifles in the US. Now, shotgun enthusiasts can also enjoy the benefits of firearm sound suppression, preventing hearing loss and shooting without disturbing game or the neighbors.

Like SilencerCo’s popular pistol suppressor, the Osprey, the Salvo 12 is polygonal. The reason for its unconventional shape is that it provides a larger internal volume, and it keeps the suppressor out of the line of sight so that no special raised sights are needed. In most cases, the original factory sights can be used. This applies to the Origin 12, because the gas system is located approximately 1.5 inches above the barrel. Indeed, many owners attach their Salvo suppressors to the Origin 12 in an inverted position.

The Salvo 12’s design is essentially composed of two basic components: a nine-rod internal rail system to guide the wad column and a modular baffle stack that can be adjusted from 12 to 6 inches in length. The Salvo is constructed of a squared, multipart baffle and spacer system made from 17-4 stainless steel and 7075 aluminum.

Baffles can be removed or added in 2-inch increments, the Salvo can be adjusted by stacking baffles and replacing the rods to the owner’s personal choice of length, weight and decibel level. On shotguns with short barrels, like the Origin 12 or the Origin SBV, the full-length Salvo is ideal. On more conventional shotguns with longer barrels, reducing the Salvo to its 6-, 8- or 10-inch length may be desirable. Another advantage of a shorter suppressor is the reduction in weight, though this comes at the expense of a louder report.

The Salvo 12 is designed to operate with pump action, gas-operated semi-automatic and inertia-driven semi-automatic shotguns. The suppressor is compatible with 2.75- or 3-inch wadded shot shells and rifled slugs (the Origin 12 shotguns are limited to 2.75-inch shells.) At its full length of 12 inches, the Salvo 12 brings the sound down to a reported 136.8 dB at the muzzle with a weight of 34.5 ounces. Some shooters may benefit from a nose-heavy swing and reduction of muzzle rise in addition to the reduced recoil. The suppressor’s modular design allows the user to shorten the silencer to balance size, weight, and sound requirements for sporting clay, waterfowl, turkey hunting, home defense and many other applications. The suppressor can be shortened to 8 inches and remain hearing safe. In its 6-inch configuration, the Salvo weighs only 21 ounces, but it still delivers a reported suppressed volume of 140.5 dB to the ear. The Salvo 12 attaches to the barrel by an adapter that connects to the internal threads cut for choke tubes or, in the cases of the Origin 12, Saiga or Vepr shotguns, with external threads. SilencerCo produces mounting adapters for several popular shotgun brands. Adapters and rod kits are sold separately. For military and law enforcement customers, SilencerCo offers a muzzle extension for breaching.

A New Shotgun Suppressor?

Previously, SilencerCo’s Salvo 12 was the sole shotgun suppressor available on the U.S. market. Now, however, those in the market for a shotgun suppressor may have another option from Turkey-based shotgun maker UTAS. Claiming to be short in length and light in weight, the new UTAS-USA Octave is a carbon fiber-wrapped 12-gauge sound suppressor. The manufacturer claims that the Octave can reduce a 12-gauge shotgun’s report down to 135 decibels.

The Octave’s unconventional construction consists of a core of specially designed fibrous insulation made from volcanic rock that is heat and flame resistant. The spun fiber is encased in a steel mesh, then wrapped around a 4140 steel outer tube that’s designed not to inhibit the flight of the shotgun shell wad. Expanding gas passes from the muffler tube through stainless steel baffling screens into two separate expansion chambers filled with the special noise dampening packing material. For further sound reduction, the Octave can run wet. The Octave weighs 19.8 ounces with an overall length of 11 inches.

The Octave was introduced in 2005, but it is not listed on the company’s website, and a search to find one for sale was in vain.

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V21N6 (July 2017)
and was posted online on May 19, 2017


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