This a practical review of the Baikal IZH-43KH sawn-off double-barrelled shotgun, with an eye towards its performance in games like GURPS, Call of Cthulhu, and Delta Green: The Role-Playing Game.
Describing the IZH-43KH
The IZH-43KH sawn-off double-barrelled shotgun with external hammers was introduced in 2000 by Izhevsky Mekhanichesky Zavod of Izhvesk, Russia. It resembles the double-barrelled hammer shotguns made since the 1870s and is chambered for 12-gauge 2.75” (18.5×70mmR) shells. The 50.8-cm (20”) barrels are short for a shotgun, making it similar to the sawn-off coach guns popular with sheriffs and the stagecoach guards riding shotgun of the late 19th century and gangsters of the early 20th century. Between 2005 and 2008, the IZH-43KH was sold as the Remington SPR220 Spartan in the USA.
The barrels on the IZH-43KH are cylinder-bored and lack chokes. Overall length of the gun is 91 cm (35.8”), loaded weight 3.6 kg (7.9 lbs). The short barrels and low weight make the gun handy, but together with the primitive bead sight and absence of chokes the barrels make long-range shots with buck or birdshot difficult.
Compare the pattern of a 32-g (1.15 oz.) S&B #00 buckshot load with its nine 8.43-mm (0.33”) pellets at 5 m, 10 m, 15 m, and 20 m. All were shot at a sheet of paper 21 cm wide and 29.7 cm high (8.3”×11.7”). At 5 m (5.5 yards), the pellets scatter virtually not at all. At 10 m (10.9 yards), there is a distinctive spread of the pellets, and only eight are on the target, the ninth going high. At 15 m (16.4 yards), eight pellets hit, with a distinctive spread. At 20 m (21.9 yards), again eight pellets hit, but scattered widely.
For good measure, check the 36-g (1.25 oz.) S&B #1 buckshot load with its 16 7.62-mm (0.3”) pellets at 10 m. All 16 pellets are on the target, but the spread covers the entire target.
From these patterns, it becomes clear that even a sawn-off shotgun scatters very little horizontally, despite what the movies and many games would make you believe.
The IZH-43KH has two triggers ‒ front trigger for the right barrel, rear trigger for the left ‒ which can be pulled simultaneously. That requires two fingers, good timing, and a solid shooting stance. If the barrels do not go off at the same time, the second shot will go high by a wide margin due to the heavy recoil and muzzle rise. That said, it is not difficult to fire both shots at once and not too punishing for the shoulder either. The manual advises against it, of course. Firing both barrels simultaneously at a target 41 cm wide and 29.7 cm high (16.1”×11.7”) at 20 m, 10 of the 18 pellets hit, the others going high and low. For practical purposes, it is probably better to fire first one and then the other barrel.
The IZH-43KH has a sliding safety that blocks the triggers at the tang of the shoulder stock. It has sling swivels. The gun can be disassembled in seconds into its main components or assembled back again.
To date, I have covered the Baikal IZH-43KH in Investigator Weapons 2: Modern Day (2014) (pp. 135-136).
In GURPS, the rules for The Sawed-off Shotgun (High-Tech, p. 106) apply, but note that the IZH-43KH already has riot-length barrels.
See pp. B268-271 for an explanation of the statistics.
GUNS (SHOTGUN) (DX-4 or most other Guns at ‑2)
|8||Baikal IZH-43KH, 12G 2.75”||1d+1 pi||3||40/800||7.9/0.22||2×9||2(3i)||11†||-5||1/5||$450||3|||
 Very Reliable. Won’t malfunction unless lack of maintenance lowers Malf. (p. B407).
In Call of Cthulhu, note how the stepped Damage reduction at the three Base Range bands ‒ full/half/quarter Damage at Base Range 10/20/50 ‒ quite realistically models the fact that the farther away the target, the fewer pellets will hit. Note that the IZH-43KH can take advantage of the Point-Blank Range bonus due to its compactness (Call of Cthulhu, Seventh Edition, p. 127), while a full-size double-barrel shotgun cannot. Other rules for the Sawed-off Shotgun (Call of Cthulhu, Sixth Edition, p. 64, and Call of Cthulhu, Seventh Edition, p. 403) that limit Range to 4.5/9 m (5/10 yards) (!) and reduce Damage to 1D6 between 4.6 m and 9 m (!) should be ignored as completely unrealistic. The rule that shotguns cannot Impale (Call of Cthulhu, Seventh Edition, p. 406) is likewise unrealistic and should be ignored (Call of Cthulhu, Sixth Edition, p. 64, and Investigator Weapons 2: Modern Day, p. 48); the rule argues that the smaller shot pellets are less dangerous, when in fact buckshot pellets are as large as many typical handgun bullets.
In Delta Green, the IZH-43KH mainly differs from other Shotguns by its limited Ammo Capacity.
For an explanation of the statistics, see Delta Green: Agent’s Handbook, pp. 32, 54, 57, 60, 84, 94.
|Weapon||Skill||Base Range||Damage||Lethality||Ammo Capacity||Armour Piercing||Expense|
|Baikal IZH-43KH, 12-gauge||Firearms||50 m||2D10*||N/A||2||N/A||Standard|
* Full damage up to 10 m; 1d10 from 11 to 20 m, 1D6 beyond 20 m.
At the Picture Show
The IZH-43KH has not been featured so far in a film or telly show. However, a hammer shotgun with coach-length barrels and overall similar appearance and performance is used to great effect by cowboy “Boss” Spearman in Open Range (2003).