While I strive to be open-minded about new guns hitting the market, I must admit to being occasionally dismissive. A new rifle with a bayonet, a laser and a smoke generator? Not on my top 10 list of things to look into. However, I did let myself fall into this trap regarding the DP-12 shotgun. That was a mistake, as the DP-12 is not the gimmick I originally (and unfairly) thought it was. It is a well-made fighter that is worthy of a closer look.
Raising The Standard
Nestled in the tree-covered town of New Britain, Connecticut, the Standard Manufacturing Company diligently hums along. Its 100,000-plus-square-foot facility is planted in the middle of the Connecticut Valley, which has been the heart of American gun building for decades. One of the products to come out of the doors of this company is the unique and innovative DP-12 shotgun.
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This 12-gauge shotgun merges the best of two worlds: pump action and double-barrel shotguns. One stroke of the pump action loads both chambers, which can be fired in successive trigger pulls; the right barrel first, then the left. The DP-12 utilizes a double-barrel shotgun configuration with the inline feeding of a pump gun. While it is much more complicated than it sounds, the DP-12 is like two pump shotguns merged into one.
Each barrel begins as a proprietary solid bar of steel. Through meticulous milling and work, the barrels are deep bored and fitted to exacting standards. This quality is the byproduct of the unique cooperation between Standard Manufacturing and the well-known Connecticut Shotgun Manufacturing Company (CSMC). Renowned for its high-end shotguns, CSMC offers gun-building insights and support to the DP-12 builders. This relationship is one of the driving factors behind the quality of the gun. Using modern manufacturing techniques combined with old-fashioned craftsmanship, the DP-12 is the benefactor of a powerful relationship.
“This 12-gauge shotgun merges the best of two worlds: pump action and double-barrel shotguns.”
The barrels are threaded for chokes as well as standoff devices for law enforcement and military breachers. The receiver is milled from a solid billet of aluminum. Through precise and exacting cuts, the original 7-pound block of aluminum is transformed into a lightweight and sturdy base to build upon. This design improves the gun’s construction, durability and reliability—one of the most important aspects of any gun.
Completely loaded, the gun holds sixteen 23/4-inch shells, with seven in each magazine tube and two in each chamber. The chambers have been micro polished with the sole intent of allowing the use of any 12-gauge ammo on the market. This is important because Standard understands that people will not always seek out the best-made ammo on the market. Most shotgun ammo purchases are driven by price.
The gun also features a pistol grip, a foregrip for easier pump manipulations, an action lock release and an ambidextrous safety located in a position similar to an AR’s. The buttstock includes a unique and ingenious spring-loaded, recoil-reducing buttpad. This recoil pad made shooting the DP-12 exceptionally manageable and fast. The gun also includes a substantial top rail for mounting sights and other accessories like lights and lasers, and sling-mounting points are included on the stock and near the muzzle, on both sides.
While a distinguished pedigree and high-end manufacturing are good calling cards, it will always come down to how a gun functions on the range. The DP-12 did not disappoint. With a variety of ammo ranging from high-end shells to ammo that could choke my most reliable guns, the DP-12 did not blink. Shooting the gun is a different experience than any other weapon I have fired. The gun inspires quick pairs with speed I was not expecting. The only thing required for preparing for the second shot is the trigger reset. While I did not have a high-end semi-auto shotgun to clock it against, I believe the follow-up round in the DP-12 comes faster than almost any other shotgun I have fired. While controlled shots are obviously the goal, this gun reminds me of a Ferrari that prefers to be run fast. The trigger on the DP-12 is another area that shines as an example of Standard’s relationship with CSMC. CSMC builds some of the best double-barrel shotguns in the world; to say that the company knows triggers is an understatement.
Equaling the trigger was the DP-12’s pump action. It was deliberate, smooth and firm. With a nice brisk stroke, it was easy and fast to bring the gun back into the fight. There was no slop or play in the action, which translated into smooth handling and faster follow-up shots. I have run tens of thousands of 12-gauge rounds through shotguns, and this was one of the smoothest pushes I have experienced. The recoil-reducing device inside the stock made the gun a pleasure to shoot. While an afternoon of shooting a weapon is not grounds for any declaration of durability, the DP-12 ran flawlessly. I had no malfunctions of any kind even after “speed shooting” so much ammunition I lost count.
While this shotgun will fill a variety of roles, I believe the DP-12 could revitalize the pump gun’s place in the law enforcement and military arenas. With its bullpup design, this shotgun is exceptionally easy to run in close quarters. And, coupled with its large capacity of 16 rounds, this makes it a gun that can stay in the fight. Another piece of the puzzle is the DP-12’s ability to be fitted with standoff devices for breaching. Normally, breaching guns are used at the door and then stored. The DP-12 changes that. Finally, the gun is easy to shoot. Regardless of what people may claim, there is a general apprehension about shotguns; 12-gauge recoil has been the source of many an ice pack over the years. The recoil-reducing device incorporated into the stock of the DP-12 substantially reduces the sharp crack many experience with shotgun use. With training, this can allow even the most timid shooter the ability to effectively run this fight-stopper quickly.
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There will always be hardcore traditionalists in the firearms world. In fact, I count myself as one of them. There is something to be said about innovation, however. The DP-12 is a unique creature in a realm where “new” usually means a company changed the color of the finish. This is a new type of shotgun that will require some getting used to for those who get one. The manual of arms is different than old-school pump shotguns, but that doesn’t mean it’s any worse. I remember this very same discussion when the Tavor SAR hit the market several years ago, yet people have adapted quite well to it. I believe the advantages of the DP-12 outweigh any learning curve that may go with it. To improve accessibility, Standard Manufacturing has even begun distributing the gun directly from its headquarters in Connecticut. If you were like me and initially dismissed this gun, it would be worth your time to take a second look.
For more information, visit stdgun.com or call 860-225-6581.