A shotgun is a firearm that uses "shells", which are hollowed out rounds, presently made of plastic, which contain differing loads. Most commonly used are "shot", where the shells are filled with a number of metal pellets, which scatter once fired to achieve a wide spread, but the down side is the relatively short range. Militaries typically rely on "buckshot", which is shot intended for hunting male deer and has been found acceptable in combat application. Alternatively, there are "slug" rounds, which fires a solid round, and are typically found as either rounds for door-breaching or, when made of rubber or other non-metals, for less-than-lethal applications. The sheer variety of available rounds means that the shotgun is equal parts weapon and utility tool. A shotgun's caliber is measured in "gauge", with the smaller the value, the larger the round. 12 gauge is the most frequently used caliber in military shotguns.Most military forces use either "pump-action" shotguns, which require the user to operate the forearm pump to operate the action, or semi-automatic/automatic shotguns. Pump-action shotguns are considered slower to fire, but because most are derived from civilian hunting shotguns, they are also easy to maintain and operate, and they can use any type of load of shells without interference, as the action is manually operated and not reliant on the gasses expelled by the round. Semi-automatic and automatic shotguns are favored in close-quarters combat due to their destructive power but because their actions are operated like conventional rifles, where the gas expelled from firing is diverted to cycling the action, they cannot use lower powered rounds, such as less-than-lethal rounds or flares.
870 MCS with 18" Barrel
|Variants:|| 870 MCS (Modular Combat Shotgun)|
870 Masterkey (when used in Masterkey Configuration)
|Weight:||3-3.5kg (Model dependent)|
|Dimensions:||Varies with model and barrel length|
|Barrel Length:||10 inch, 14 inch, 18 inch (Model dependent)|
|Feed System:||7+1 Tubular Magazine|
Launched in 1950 by Remington as a line of hunting shotguns, the Model 870 "Wingmaster" has since become an extremely popular shotgun in civilian, law enforcement and military sectors, having achieved 10 million sold in 2009, making it the most widely produced shotgun in history. It is a straightforward affair, a pump-action shotgun fed by an underbarrel tube magazine. Civilian models are sold with 4+1 capacity, but 7+1 capacities are available where legal and also for law enforcement and military models.
In military service, the latest model is the 870 MCS (Modular Combat Shotgun), introduced in American military service to compliment the adoption of the semi-automatic Benelli M4 (M1014), after it was noted that the M1014 could not use more specialized loads due to it's semi-automatic nature. The MCS series is designed to allow for different barrel, magazine and stocks to be fitted to meet mission requirements. The "base" model is fitted with an 18 inch barrel, while the "Entry" model barrel is 14 inches, and the Close Quarters model features a 10 inch barrel. The MCS also utilizes Picatinny rails for mounting additional optics.Of note is the Masterkey System, which pairs a rifle, typically an M16/M4, with an underbarrel attached shotgun, which originally was the 870. The purpose of this was for two reasons, firstly to provide the user with devastating firepower in urban combat, but also for personnel assigned to breaching doors. Traditionally, the breacher has to fire breaching slugs from their shotgun, and then switch weapons when they move to enter. The Masterkey System makes it possible to breach the door with the shotgun, and then by simply shifting the user's grip, can go back to their rifle. The 870 was replaced in this role by the M26 Modular Accessory Shotgun System (MASS) in 2003.
Standard Saiga 12K
|Weight:||3.5 kg (7.7 lb)|
|Dimensions:||910 mm (35.8 in) stock extended / 670 mm (26.4 in) stock folded|
|Barrel Length:||430 mm (16.9 in)|
|Action:||Gas operated, rotating bolt|
|Rate of Fire:||Semi-automatic|
|Feed System:||2,5,8 and 10 round detachable box magazines, 12,20 and 30 round detachable drum magazines|
Launched in 1990, the Saiga-12 is a semi-automatic 12 gauge shotgun patterned after Kalashnikov assault rifles. Though it shares the same legendary reliability as the assault rifle it is inspired by, the Saiga has been modified in several ways to accommodate being a shotgun. Interestingly, unlike most semi-automatic shotguns, the Saiga also has an adjustable gas piston system which allows the use of lower-power rounds without causing a "stovepipe" failure or require the weapon's action to be operated manually. The magazine feed has also been modified from the Kalashnikov "rock-n-lock" style to a direct insertion, and the action is held open after the last round to make reloading faster and easier.The Saiga has become extremely popular in both the United States and Russia with civilians, and has been adopted by law enforcement in Greece, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and the United States. Aftermarket add-ons have become quite frequent, owing to the ease of modification.
|Special Purpose Automatic Shotgun (SPAS)-12|
Standard SPAS-12 with stock extended
|Weight:||4.4 kg (8.75 lb)|
|Dimensions:||1041 mm (41 in), stock extended|
|Barrel Length:||18", 19-7/8", 21-1/2", 24"|
|Action:||Pump-Action, Gas-Actuated Semi-Automatic|
|Feed System:||8+1 Internal Tubular Magazine|
|Weight:||4.76 kg (10.5 lb)|
|Dimensions:||966 mm (38.0 in)|
|Barrel Length:||13" (CQB), 18" (Standard)|
|Rate of Fire:||300 rounds per minute|
|Feed System:||8 round box magazine, 20 or 32 round drum magazines|
Standard USAS-12 w/out Magazine
|Weight:||5.45 kg (empty)|
|Barrel Length:||460 mm|
|Action:||Gas-operated, Select Fire|
|Rate of Fire:||400 rounds per minute|
|Effective Range:||40 meters|
|Feed System:||10-round detachable box magazine or 20-round drum magazine|
|C-More Systems M26|
|Designation:||M26 Modular Accessory Shotgun System|
|Weight:||3.31 lb (1.5 kg)|
|Dimensions:|| 19.7 in (500 mm) stock extended|
13.8 in (350 mm) stock folded
|Barrel Length:||7.75 in (180 mm)|
|Action:||Manually operated straight-pull bolt action|
|Feed System:||3 or 5 round Magazines|
The M26 Modular Accessory Shotgun System (MASS) was launched in 2003 as a replacement to the Remington 870-based "Masterkey", a system which combined an M4 or M16 rifle with an underbarrel shotgun, in the same manner as the M203 Grenade Launcher, which was developed in the 1980s. The aim of this was to give soldiers a tool for breaching doors without the need of carrying a separate weapon and to allow them to breach a door and then quickly switch to their rifle to engage enemies on the other side of the door.
Mechanically, the M26 is quite different in several ways from the 870 Masterkey. First of all, it is fed from a detachable box magazine, which allows for quicker reloads, and instead of having a standard pump-action, the user pulls back the bolt handle to operate the bolt. This also means that the M26 can be loaded with low-power rounds without worrying about stoppage or jamming. Like the original Masterkey, the M26 can be attached to any M16 or M4 rifle, and also can be carried as a stand-alone weapon when fitted to a grip and stock unit. The M26 first saw combat in Afghanistan with American troops starting in 2011.
|Benelli M4 Super 90|
Benelli M4 Super 90 w/7 round tube
|Designation:||M1014 JSCS (US), L128A1 (UK)|
|Weight:||3.82 kg (8.42 lb)|
|Dimensions:||885 mm (34.8 in)|
|Barrel Length:||470 mm (18.5 in)|
|Rate of Fire:||Semi-Automatic|
|Effective Range:||50 meters|
|Feed System:||7+1 Internal Tube Magazine|
In 1998, the United States Army issued a request for a new combat shotgun, and Italian firm Benelli created and submitted the M4 Super 90 for the trials. A year later, the M4 was accepted as the XM1014 Joint Service Combat Shotgun, later the X was dropped and it was formally accepted in US Military Service. It has since been adopted by the British Military (under the designation L128A1), as well as in Australia, Greece, South Korea, Italy, Israel, and several other clients.The M4 Super 90 is reliable and durable, being specifically built for combat use, and requires little in the way of maintenance, but like other semi-automatic shotguns, low power rounds must be manually cycled. It utilizes ghost ring sights with a receiver mounted rails for additional optics.