It has long been in small arms has developed the practice of specialization. For some tasks are used machines for the other — machine guns, for the third — the sniper rifle. However, for some time at the soldiers of various units had a desire to have weapons with multiple functions at once. One of the first ways to provide arms «multifunctionality» were under-barrel grenade launchers.
• Automatic in conjunction with a grenade launcher will significantly enhance the ability of the individual soldier. Then began to appear complexes such as FAC-94, allowing the soldier to perform the tasks inherent and automatic, and sniper rifles and much more.
• The under-barrel grenade launcher can be considered the ancestor of the whole direction: let’s call it «additional weapons.» In theory, under the barrel of the machine can be installed just about anything, stops only feasibility of either option.
• For example, mounted on the machine gun will not be a full complement of combat operations, and an occasion for jokes. But you can try to use together with an assault rifle, shotgun. The idea is that this «accessory» significantly enhance the capabilities of soldiers in urban areas or in narrow trenches.
• In addition to good performance in tight spaces shotguns, koi are also sometimes referred to as shotguns, can be useful because of the very wide range of ammunition. Shot, bullets, gas cartridges, stun and even fragmentation. And all this for a long-standing and mastered in the production of weapons. But it may be quite a fair question: if shotguns have such advantages, why try to attach them to the machine?
• And, the truth, a fighter can equip a smoothbore gun. But in some circumstances this would be a useless soldier to his unit: guns are effective only in a relatively small distance, but what if the enemy zasyadet much further? That’s right, give the soldier on this case once and the machine. But the machine gun and shotgun as separate «units» are inconvenient to carry. It turns out that the installation shotgun to help connect an assault rifle in a weapons complex the advantages of both types of weapons.
• However, the gun may be unnecessary, because most of the tasks of combat and counter-terrorist operation, and can be solved by proper machine with a suitable «underweight.» Another minus for the balance of the under-barrel shotgun complex «machine-gun». A large mass, located under the barrel of the machine requires a re-targeting of the latter after the installation and removal of guns. This problem, by the way, is typical of grenade launchers.
• Weighing the pros and cons of the concept under-barrel shotgun, a lot of fighters from various special forces came to the conclusion about the usefulness of such weapons. However, the most common, it can not be compared to conventional guns. The idea of linkage gun on an assault rifle first appeared in the United States, and in this country every demand is almost always quickly offer. Therefore, the vast majority of under-barrel shotguns have just American origin.
• The first in a new class was on Masterkey of KAC (Knight’s Armament Co). As the name implies, this shotgun was intended to be a universal key to all doors, simply knocking them or damaging the locking devices. The basis was taken Remington 870 shotgun. It established a ten barrel 12 gauge, removed the butt of the handle, and on top of the receiver set a standard bracket for the M16 rifle and the M4.
• All internal mechanics of guns remained unchanged. Tube magazine, as well as the barrel was shortened and therefore ammunition Masterkey is only three rounds 12/70. It is understood that underbarrel shotgun is not the primary weapon fighter and therefore only three rounds. In case of necessity to «trowels» you can set the standard remingtonovsky butt and use it as a full rifle, but with a shorter barrel and less capacious store.
• Shotgun Masterkey special forces began to arrive in the mid 80’s and immediately interested commandos. At the storming of indoor underbarrel shotgun ammunition with traumatic allowed to avoid unnecessary casualties, including among civilians. But the stored pump-action reloading fighters considered a disadvantage.
• Due to the size of the complex «machine-gun» grenade recharge his part was not the most simple and convenient affair. In addition, the shop window «Remington» in the shorter version could not provide the high speed gear store. All reviews special forces were taken into account by designers KAC and the next model of this brand has been much more successful.
• The second rifle shotgun from KAC was M26 MASS, also known as the XM26 LSS. M26 was originally designed as an under-barrel weapon. This succeeded in avoiding many problems «Masterkeya.» MASS has a new shorter barrel with flash suppressor, not extending beyond the rifle barrel M4, detachable box magazine for 3 or 5 rounds 12/70 and the updated trigger mechanism.
• In trying to make the KAC M26 semi-automatic, but they still failed to do so. Therefore, the new shotgun being charged with the handle on the sliding bolt. For mounting on automatic early M26 had brackets that are compatible with old rifles connectors M16.
• Interestingly, the shotgun can be removed from the machine, set it on the butt with a special handle and use the mounting brackets as the sight. Later models M26 MASS do not have such an opportunity — the army of the United States goes to the Picatinny rail, and the standard does not allow mounting in this way.
The under-barrel shotgun XM26 LSS, mounted on the M4A1 assault rifle
• At the beginning of the XXI century shotgun M26 MASS went into trial operation. Trial batch of 200, proved to be excellent in a variety of situations. Especially appreciated are the new rifle soldiers, which at one time had the opportunity to work with KAC Masterkey. In 2003, MASS first went to Afghanistan. There is information that they later used in Iraq.
• In 2008, the American army on the results of testing and trial operation took on the M26 armament and ordered 35,000 new guns. Two years later, the order was increased to 20,000.
• When the M26 was tested, the Australian company Metal Storm in conjunction with the Americans of Colt Defence has begun work on its version of the under-barrel shotgun. The Australian firm is primarily known for its technology MetalStorm. Its essence lies in the fact that the fire-control by means of electronics, and all the ammunition located in the trunk while performing the role of the store.
• The system is MetalStorm looks like this: when you press the trigger of a gun or grenade launcher electronics manufactures ignition cartridge closest to the muzzle. There is a shot. The next time you press the trigger current is supplied to the second round, there is a second shot, and the bullet / grenade kicks out of the store, the trunk liner from the previous weapon. The next time you press the trigger cycle is repeated, but with the third cartridge.
• Finally, without the use of any mechanical, can be achieved rate of about five shots per two seconds. Such a scheme has already been used by the company in the Metal Storm grenade launchers, and now migrated to the shotgun called the MAUL.
• MAUL shotgun barrel has 12 Gauge and accommodates five rounds. Reloading Gun MAUL by replacing the barrel store. Metal Storm warning that the initiation of an electric charge can not be used in standard MAUL shotgun cartridges suitable caliber. Power supply circuitry guns carried from one-size batteries CR123.
• Metal Storm produces several types of ammunition for the MAUL. Among them roll, metal and rubber bullets, bullets, tasers, etc. One removable magazine (loaded with the plant) contains ammo with the same bullet. Like other under-barrel shotguns, MAUL is available with pistol grip, butt and sights.
• Australian military showed little interest in the Metal Storm MAUL. But Canada has acquired a small number of guns for testing. But at the moment the only major party MAUL in 2010 went to the Ministry of Correctional Services of Papua New Guinea: 500 rifles and 10,000 stores of different types.
• Finally it is worth mentioning one more model of the under-barrel shotgun that was not created from scratch, based on the existing model. Not so long ago, gunsmiths from the American company Red Jacket Firearms specifically for the TV project Sons Of Guns (translated into Russian under the title «The guys with the guns») as the basis for the under-barrel shotgun was selected Russian carbine «Saiga-12».
• From the initial shot gun butt, put a shorter barrel with a brake-compensator forearm with four Picatinny rail and bracket for mounting to the machine. The result of the experiment are interested in television lovers of weapons, which is why Red Jacket Firearms had to adjust batch «production» under-barrel shotgun, get the index RTS-SBS-12. Reworked «Saiga» is available on the U.S. civilian market weapons. The question price — less than $ 2,000.
Version of the Saiga-12 shotgun mounted on an assault rifle
• Recently, a new class of weapons within a few years was able to gain popularity among those for whom it was intended. The first models, as is usually the case, were not entirely successful, but in the future the majority of deficiencies could get rid of.
• As a result of several years of work turned out to form the modern look of under-barrel shotguns. For obvious reasons, this weapon is much less common than the same machines, but the specifics of his tactical niche and does not require millions of albums.