I mentioned elsewhere that I wanted to get my hands on the Auto Assault-12 (AA-12) full auto shotgun, and that is only getting worse as I run into reviews of the weapon. Looking past the fact that it’s a fully automatic shotgun, and that isn’t easy, lets look at a few specs.

WeightApproximately 10.5 lbs. (unloaded)
Weight w/ loaded 8 round magazine – Approximately 11.25 lbs.
Weight w/ loaded 20 round magazine – Approximately 13 lbs.
Length of Barrel 18 inches
Caliber/Gage 12 gage, 2 3/4 inch only
Barrel BoreCylinder Bore
Chamber Length 3/4 inch standard
Operation Full Automatic and Single Shot
Type of Action Full Automatic & Single Shot
Feed Detachable Drum and Box Magazines
Ammunition Capacity 8 round box,
20 round drum mag
and talk of a 32 round drum mag.
Type of Firing Mechanism Open Bolt
Type of Stock Pistol Grip
Rate of Fire Approximately 5 rounds per second
300 rounds per minute

The more compact variant, the AA-12 CQB has a 13″ barrel and weighs approximately 10 lbs empty. The AA-12 is based on the experimental Atchison Assault 12 of the ’70s and has been updated, modernized and improved in about every way imaginable. As opposed to most military shotguns this is not a sports model with militarizing touches such as the Benelli M1014 Joint Service Combat Shotgun, which is getting bad reviews from the Southwest Asian Theater (AKA the Gulf).

According to Jerry Baber, chief engineer on the AA-12 (AA-12) project, its operating mechanism is self cleaning and self-lubricating, so the weapon doesn’t require lubrication and operates reliably, totally dry. That in itself is an incredible advancement. Baber has a CQB version that he has fired at least 8-9,000 rounds through without cleaning or lubrication. The weapon uses the carbon generated by firing rounds through it to lubricate the moving parts. Now I really want to play with one.

Now lets talk ammunition for a minute, imagine if you will the marriage of the FRAG-12 with the AA-12. The FRAG-12 comes in 3 flavors: High Explosive (HE), High Explosive Fragmenting Antipersonnel (HEFA) and High Explosive Armor-Piercing (HEAP) all developed by the Experimental Cartridge Company, Ltd. and Action Manufacturing Inc.

All flavors are comprised of a standard 3-inch 12-gauge cartridge case and propellant, but the load is a fin-stabilized 19mm projectile, which arms 3 meters from the muzzle, detonating on impact. The HE is designed to punch a 1″ diameter hole through ¼” inch cold rolled steel plate and the HEAP round can penetrate ½” steel armor plate, both out to 200 meters.

The possibilities are endless, especially when you consider it can fire conventional shotgun rounds as well, 00 and 000 buckshot, breeching rounds, flechette, and slugs. Ok, I hear you, you could fire all of those rounds through a regular shotgun. Not at 300 rounds per minute! Now picture a squad with a standard mix of carbines and SAWs, with a pair of these babies to supplement, especially in a MOUT environment.

MOUT nothing, just let me play with it on a regular range with targets, some behind barricades, or, be still my heart, let me see what it’ll do to an old car. Now we’re talking!

The AA-12 has been raved about by everything from the TV show Future Weapons to Soldier of Fortune magazine, and that was mainly with conventional ammo. It looks like a good way to round out the load out for an infantry squad, and has a lot of potential for Special Forces and SEAL Teams as well. The face of warfare is always changing, and this can’t help but make a positive impact.

Please let me play with one.

© 2007 – 2014, Tim Boothby. All rights reserved.