Black Aces FD 12, the super-affordable 12-ga shotgun with pump or semi-auto action

The love that U.S. enthusiasts have for pump-action shotguns knows no bounds, and as if that relationship were not enough, it has been enlivened by the bullpup versions that have literally flooded the U.S. market in recent years.

Compact shotguns are easy to handle, have a deterrent effect (a bit boorish, sometimes), and are generally reliable. This makes them ideal not only for recreational shooting but also for home and area defense.

The pump-action  version is called the Pro and is characterized by a very streamlined handguard design. The front grip serves as the charging handle.

We said that in the U.S. market compact shotguns sell well, although more sophisticated models such as the Smith & Wesson M&P12 or the IWI Tavor TS12 are priced around or above $1,200. However, there is no shortage of more affordable models, such as the Black Aces Tactical Pro, which not only costs $345, but also offers the user a choice at the time of purchase between the pump-action and semi-automatic versions, with no difference in price. Another option to be defined at the time of purchase is the right-handed or left-handed set-up: once decided, it can't be changed by the user.

Black Aces FD12: the semi-automatic or pump-action bullpup

The semi-automatic version equipped with a 20-round drum magazine. We dare not imagine the weight of the fully loaded combo...

Thanks to the bull-pup design, with the bolt housed inside the buttstock, the 12-gauge Black Aces shotgun, which in the semi-automatic version is called FD 12 and in the pump-action version acquires the suffix Pro, is only 71 centimeters long, despite the fact that the barrel length is a whopping 47 centimeters (18.5 inches). The compact design can do little to reduce the weight of the gun, which is 4.5 kilograms, not a feather, but considering that it is not a hunting gun and that Magnum cartridges will be shot with it, that is not necessarily a big problem.

Visually, the main difference between the semi-automatic and pump-action models is the handguard. In the pump-action version the lower part of the handguard is in fact open and the operating rod, on which a vertical grip is attached by means of a Picatinny rail, slides inside it. In the semi-auto version, on the other hand, the entire 6 o'clock side of the handguard is covered by a Picatinny rail, and the vertical grip, which is removable, can be placed wherever you want, serving only as an additional grip.

The standard magazine has a capacity of five 12-gauge cartridges. The release button is ambidextrous.

Both shotguns are fed from MKA 1919-type box magazines available in the U.S. market with different capacities, from 5 to 20 rounds, the latter being a drum magazine which can be purchased separately. The shotgun's comes with two five-round magazines. Compared to the one offered by single or double tube magazine models, the  the capacity of Pro and FD12 models is certainly not impressive, but it offers the advantage that you can swap between ammunition types (e.g. lethal and nonlethal) very quickly by simply changing the magazine.

The 47-centimeter barrel can be fitted with internal interchangeable chokes compatible with Benelli/Beretta models, and three chokes are included in the package. Both the Pro and the FD12 semi-auto come with no sights, but the long Picatinny rail that runs all the way along the receiver's top up to the muzzle allows the mounting of any sight, from mechanical flip up sets to red dots of any size.

Safety and magazine release are ambidextrous, as is the charging handle on the semi-automatic model, which is immediately distinguishable from the pump model by the presence of its short Picatinny rails on either side of the handguard, at 3 and 9 o'clock.

A feature of these guns common to many Black Aces products is the wide range of colors available: as many as eleven options ranging from antiqued bronze to red, from mottled white to "tiger stripes" camo.

The Black Aces  FD 12 and Pro bullpup shotguns may look very rustic but all in all they are well thought-out products, offered at a fraction of the price of a high-end bullpup.

The semi-automatic version in one of many available colors, with a distressed finish.

Black Aces Tactical FD12 and Pro specs and price

FD12 - Pro
12, with Magnum chamber
Gas-operated semi-automatic gas-assisted/pump-action
in acciaio lunga 470 mm
Steel, 470 mm long
Magazine Capacity
5 or 20 rounds
Picatinny rails
One, on the receiver's top
Overall Length
71 cm
4,500 g
Price (MSRP in the U.S.)
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