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MPS AA-12 (Sledgehammer) Assault Combat Shotgun (2005)

Authored By JR Potts, AUS 173d AB | Last Updated: 4/29/2012

The MPS AA-12 combat shotgun can fire from a 10-round box or 20- and 32-round ammunition drums.

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The shotgun, in general, has been in military use since the first pump-action gun was developed. Trench shotguns proved useful in the trenches of World War I, where their massive firepower at short range and in limited space proved effective. While shotguns are traditionally limited in range, the multiple projectiles fired from them provide an increased hit probability unmatched by other small arms. The shotgun was developed gradually from its original role as a short range combat weapon into a wider role in modern times. In 1972 the first selective fire shotgun was developed by designer Maxwell Atchisson intended to be used in combat environments such as urban streets or thick jungles, providing short-to-medium range fire power for building-clearing situations and ambushes. Range and hitting power of any shotgun are two of the major issues that can be adjusted to some degree based on the particular design of the stock, recoil and shell choice. For operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, the shotgun has been the preferred method of door-breaching by infantry units.

As a new type of assault combat shotgun, the AA-12 itself is intended to be a lethal offensive weapon in the same vein. The AA-12 has a pistol grip and shoulder stock and a easy-sighting system. Slug rounds can extend the maximum range up to 100 meters. Rubber slugs for prisoner capture can be used up to 75 meters. The AA-12 can fire from a 10-round detachable box magazine or a 20- or 32-round ammunition drum, attaining a rate-of-fire up to 300 rounds-per-minute while having almost no muzzle climb and a dampened recoil effect. It is reported that even an infantryman weighing in at 100lbs can fire the weapon due to the near-zero recoil afforded by the weapon.

The AA-12 has been designed as a durable and dependable, well-built and well-machined shotgun to withstand the various battlefield rigors centering in on climate, weather, water and general grime. It is essentially a "point-and-shoot" weapon that can even be fired whilst upside down. The operation is via a simple blowback mechanism with an advanced primer ignition. To reduce the highest amount of recoil as possible and maintain the listed cyclic rate-of-fire, the firing pin was built into the bolt itself causing the firing pin to extend and ignite the round prior to the bolt closure. The long recoil system allows the bolt to travel further back than most weapons, hence the dampened recoil effect. The trigger group mirrors that of the BAR-1908 auto rifle allowing for semi- or full-automatic firing modes. It is designed to fire three different types of 3" or 2.75" 12 gauge shells - buckshot, standard slug, or Frag-12 rounds. Due to the metal parts being stainless steel, MPS has claimed that the weapon requires zero cleaning or lubrication - a major plus in combat situations.

When used in an urban environment, that is going door-to-door, a system for door-breaching is almost a necessity on today's modern battlefield (particularly showcased in recent actions in Iraq). The AA-12, therefore, is provided with a muzzle extension to press the barrel firmly against the door while providing protection to the operator when firing. Rounds for breaching doors with minimal hazard to any occupants within the room are also part of the AA-12 munitions package, helping to reduce the risk of collateral damage.

The AA-12 is currently being reviewed for purchase by the United States Marine Corps.

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Specifications for the
MPS AA-12 (Sledgehammer)
Assault Combat Shotgun


Country of Origin: United States
Manufacturer: Military Police Systems, Incorporated - USA
Initial Year of Service: 2005


Overall Length: 996 mm (39.21 in)
Barrel Length: 457.00 mm (17.99 in)
Weight (Empty): 11.46 lb (5.20 kg)


Caliber: 12 gauge (3
Action: Selective-Fire; Gas-Operated; Locked Breech
Feed: 8-round detachable box; 20- or 32-round drum
Rate-of-Fire: 300 rounds per minute
Range: 328 ft (100 m; 109 yds)
Sights: Fixed Iron


Variants:
AA-12 - Base Production Model Designation


Operators:
United States