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Weapons: The Little Shotgun That Could
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April 14, 2009: After over a year of additional testing and tweaking, the U.S. Army is buying large quantities (over 10,000) of the M26 12 Gauge Modular Accessory Shotgun Systems (MASS). The M26 weighs less than three pounds (2 pounds, 11 ounces) and has a five round magazine. The M26 is a 16.5 inch long, 12 gauge shotgun and can be operated right or left handed. It fires solid shot for blasting open closed doors, or lower velocity, non-lethal (most of the time) rubber slugs for dealing with hostile crowds. A stand-alone version weighs 4 pounds, 3 ounces, and is 24 inches long (with the attached stock collapsed).

The first versions of this weapon weighed nine pounds and carried only three rounds. The design evolved, over the last decade, into the current M26. Troops have been testing it in combat for two years. There were complaints about the cocking mechanism, which uses a bolt instead of a pump action (which many troops expressed a preference for.) The final design improved the cocking mechanism, and the reliability of the magazines. Currently, troops use a conventional (Mossberg) 12 gauge shotgun for getting locked doors open in a hurry. The M26 proved very reliable during testing, with over 20,000 rounds being fired. Large quantities of the M26 will be reaching the troops this year.

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Gerry       4/14/2009 10:15:48 PM
"for hostile crowds rubber slugs can be used". Not the best of choices in an area where reporters are prevelent. Rubber pelets are good at putting out eyes. The use of such can increase hostilities.
 
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Bob Cortez       4/15/2009 8:57:44 PM
There are rubber slug and rubber buck shot, that latter is used to scare off cougars and the like which are developing a taste for humans in Boulder Co. CO. 
 
Traditionally, for non-lethal effects, you would fire at the ground for ricochets. 
 
I suppose some of you would prefer to shoot people just a little, less the get in a snit.  What about my duck-bill choke?
 
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WarNerd       4/16/2009 4:57:10 AM

"for hostile crowds rubber slugs can be used". Not the best of choices in an area where reporters are prevelent. Rubber pelets are good at putting out eyes. The use of such can increase hostilities.

Rubber slugs are supposed to be targeted for the lower legs, not the head.  Like all other 'less than lethal projectiles' rubber slugs have a minimum range at which they can be "safely" used.  Some users advocate bouncing rubber slugs off the ground to further reduce their velocity and therefore the chance of permanent injury, but all it takes is one pebble out of place to put the slug at head height.
 
Frankly, it would not surprise me if the number of eye injuries due to accidental bounces is far greater than the number from deliberately aiming too high.
 
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