In 2003, the U.S. Army issued the M26 Modular Accessory Shotgun System in small quantities to its forces. The M26 has been in test mode since the late 1990’s, originally marketed to special operations forces due to its lightweight design, but soldiers in Afghanistan had an interest in it for its mission capability.
The accessory system was a delight for soldiers as they don’t have to carry an extra firearm. This shotgun mounts underneath the M4, similar to how the M203 attach to an M4. The lightweight shotgun can shoot special slugs for door breaching, double OO buckshots for close quarter engagements and less-lethal rounds like rubber pellets, tear gas and other non-lethal rounds.
Modifying the M26 for efficiency requires it to be a bolt-operated system with a detachable magazine, which makes it more comfortable in handling. The large bolt is located at the rear which is easier to cycle during combat. This handle can be mounted on either side of the weapon.
Caliber: 12 gauge
Operation: Straight pull bolt-action.
Capacity: 5 round detachable magazine.
Ammunition: 2.75 and 3 in lethal, less-lethal and breaching rounds.
Barrel length: 7.75 in (197 mm) with integral breaching stand-off adapter.
Overall length: 16.5 in (419 mm)
Weight: 2 lb 11 oz (1.22 kg)
Overall length: 24 in (610 mm) (stock collapsed)
Weight: 4 lb 3 oz (3.80 kg)
Sentiments on the weapon has been mixed in terms of handling especially the cocking of the bolt handle. Statements such as the clunky feel while cycling another round, overall the shotgun is still functional.
Written by Jon Hines