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TTAG has reported on the U.S. military’s ongoing inability to provide its troops with winning weapons in The War on Terror. Needless to say, our research into this sad not to say unconscionable state of affairs brought us to Outdoor Life’s Zombie Gun Contest. Seriously. A commentator in that thread reminded us of the AA-12 automatic shotgun.

The last we heard, the U.S. Marines were testing the world’s most lethal firearm. It’s been twelve years since Maxwell Atchisson created the Atchisson Assault Shotgun. So we called the gun’s manufacturer, Military Police Services, Inc., down in Piney Flats, Tennessee. The man behind the machine is not a happy camper.

“I’m not saying the gun would end the war in Afghanistan,” Jerry Baber told TTAG. “But it’s a game changer. And it’s production ready.” So . . . “There’s no U.S. interest in the gun at all. No sales. I’ve got people interested from abroad, but the U.S. military is blind to the AA-12’s obvious advantages. They’re brain dead.” If the case for equipping every Army squad with an AA-12 wasn’t obvious before you talk to Baber, it is afterward.

“A normal shotgun’s pellets disperse,” Baber told us on the cell, whilst pumping gas. “The pressure turns the lead into lots of little Frisbees. We’ve got tungsen ammo that’s heavy enough to maintain its aerodynamic properties. The AA-12 can shoot 40 20-caliber balls in a 2 3/4” shell that creates a 16 inch spread over 150 feet. It’s capable of firing 800 rounds in four seconds.

“In comparison, an M16 shoots 15 rounds a minute and gets so hot you can’t use it. A M249 machine gun squirts out 85 rounds a minute, and it gets damn hot too. The AA-12 can put 4000 rounds per minute downrange and it stays cool.”

Baber also touts the AA-12’s versatility. “We’ve got ammo that’s lethal at 150 meters that disperses by 300 meters. It’ll fire non-lethal rounds, and everything in between.”

So how is the AA-12 a “game changer” given that a not-so-recent study concluded that U.S. soldiers are largely incapable of taking out Taliban snipers, who engage our troops at 300 meters of beyond? “The AA-12 can take care of anything from 150 meters on back,” Baber says. “That frees-up manpower to deploy a proper sniper rifle against anyone further out.”

So what’s the problem? Why haven’t U.S. troops been equipped with the AA-12? Reliability? Cost? Nope. Baber points the fickle finger of failure in one direction: “broken government.”

“It’s all about politics,” Baber says, wistfully. “The average military paper push just isn’t interested in helping the soldier on the front lines. It’s a terrible, terrible situation . . . I’ve had a dozen soldiers test this weapon—special forces, Marines, Army, you name it. They love it. They say the troops in the field would have the AA-12 tomorrow. But the bureaucracy in the U.S. military is worthless; the people in it are pitiful.”

I reckon Baber’s bluntness doesn’t help his sales campaign. But let’s face it: the plain-speaking southerner isn’t in the business of making friends. He’s in the business of making guns that kill people (or at least bruise ’em real bad). And seeing as we’re shooting from the hip, it’s too bad that American soldiers have to die because the men that put them in harm’s way don’t have the balls to put their careers to one side do the right thing. Just sayin’.

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  1. can you imagine the effectiveness of a breech in clear with this gun? toss a grenade threw the window. use the aa12 with frag rounds and turn everyone in the house into chicken noodle soup. no more cheap shots on our marines while breech and clearing. I know a marine who's buddy got shot in the head right after he kicked open the door during a breech and clear in iraq. They were burrowed in the ground inside a closet aiming under the closed door and shot him in the head with ak47 right as he kicked the door open. He had no chance of spotting him. The aa12 could have saved his life.

    • A shotgun has to be a secondary gun not a primary but even as a primary. can you tell me how many shots a man can carry especially in this huge round drums ? also the man who wrote this shit is out of his mind. m249 doesnt squirt 85 rounds per minute and the 5.56 is emensly mroe poweful than a single shrapnel form a shotgun. The only way to carry it will be with straight magazines. Now police could use it. maybe on ships but not a rifleman in the field. its bulky it has round magazine which makes it a back ache. and carrying ammo for that stuff…. i dont even wanna think about it …………. 100 5.56 round weight 3lb while 25shotgun shells 2.5lb

      Now lets do some math.
      m16 unloaded 3.2 kg loaded 3.9kg
      aa12 unloaded 5.6 kg loaded 7.1kg

      now lets carry extra ammo
      100 x 5.56 = 3 mags ++ = 3lb
      25 x shotgun shells (not enough for mag) 2.5lb

  2. Thanks for interviewing Jerry Baber. I found your post, after choosing the AA-12 as one of the guns featured in my new novel, Amazon Avenger. In part, I picked the gun because Mr. Baber lives “right up the road,” but the amount of firepower from a compact package made it a good choice, too.
    Maybe if my book makes it big, so will the AA-12.

  3. I agree that the AA-12 is a fine weapon. And I agree that weapon selection is part function and also part political, with the larger part of selection NOT being what is the best for the troops. However, there are some legitimate concerns about this weapon from a military standpoint. It uses an open-bolt system, so when you are carrying the weapon loaded and ready, the bolt is back and open to sand and debris getting in in massive quantity. The Thompson submachine gun was open bolt gun, but was also not gas operated and such a large opening. I wonder if that plays into the concern about adoption in a time of war in places that have the most inhospitable conditions for guns: sand and wind. The other issue is one that was addressed with the Thompson 1928A1, which is that drum magazines. The military eliminated the 50 rd drum for the thompson in part becasue of reliability, difficulty in loading, and noise as the rounds rattled in it, but also becasue drums are bulky, heavy when loaded, and get in the way. They opted for the 20 and 30 round stick mags (also becasue the sticks were the only mags that locked the bolt back when empty). I know the AA-12 has stick mags as well, but they hold so few rounds , you basically have a fully automatic gun that holds 8 rounds. Not very valuable when you are out of ammo in 2 or three bursts. So that leaves the application of the awesome different kinds of ammo. At that point, with 8 rounds, how is the gun different than the already employed Milcor M-32, which is 6 rounds of more powerful 40mm frag/HE/whatever. So the only real option is the drum mag to make it useful as a standard issue and have multiple uses, and now we are back to a weight and bulk issue. I think it is a completely bad-ass weapon, but I am jsut saying, I don’t think it is quite as simple as “the military are braindead becasue they won’t buy my product”. Why has no one else picked it up then? They could buy the technology and mfg it in country to avoid exportation issues. But that hasn’t happened either.

  4. Seriously? …this is article is full with bull shit.
    A M16 that has only 15 RPM? A gun shoots 4,000 round without significant heat? (even minigun cannot do that)

    And any claim of 00buckshot that can reliably hit and kill enemy at 300meter is beyond bogus, as the pallets would be too wide spread to hit man size targets. (And pallets would lose too much energy to kill)

    Generally speaking, shotgun pallets spread at rate of 1inch every meter.
    Anyone who has shotguns can prove this.

    • The M-16’s technical rate of fire is 600 rpm, if I am remembering correctly, but the effective, or sustained rate of fire IS about 12-15ish. This means how many rounds a typical soldier can get off while maintaining accuracy and whatnot in the middle of a combat situation.

      The AA-12 can fire 300 RPM (I’m assuming that they get the 4000 number by multiplying that by how many pellets the shotgun shells have, which I admit is a bit misleading). The effective rpm SHOULD be lower than that, because they should take into account having to reload as well as other things, which is how they get 15 off the M-16, but either way the effective rpm of this gun would be far higher than any combat rifle. Because the nature of the shotgun spread and lack of recoil (and they’re not kidding when they say a man can fire it full-auto, from the hip, with one hand. I’ve seen it done.) means that you don’t have to rely on burst-fire. You can just keep it full auto and tear the entire area apart. Depending on the situation.

      And as for the intense range, you are correct in that there is no current shotgun technology for civilians that can make a shotgun lethal at anywhere near this range, but they explain why it works here, the change in the ballistics due to the different material of the shots. Does it really make that much of a difference? I don’t know. But neither do you, unless you have field tested this weapon. Now, what they are describing would also theoretically lessen the lethality of each shot, since the non-warped pellets would be thinner at impact but when you’re firing 5 a second, I really don’t think it matters.

      Also consider that the FRAG-12 shells would significantly increase this weapon’s effective range.

      So while you are right, there is a decent bit of iffy stuff in this article, it’s not quite as bad as you make it out to be and the AA-12 is still an incredible weapon that SHOULD be a part of our military arsenal.

      • The number you compared are quite unfair
        It’s true that M16/AR has a 20 RPM of well aimed shots….at 300 yards.
        At 50 yards distance it has much higher effective round counts.

        No matter how they advertise AA-12, it is still a smoothbore weapon shooting relative low velocity projectile compared to rifles.
        While Frag-12 or Slug would still be deadly even at 300 yards, can shooter reliably hitting targets with a smoothbore weapon?

        Finally, if AA-12 is such powerful weapon, a “game changer” as the spokesman claimed.
        How come there is no military or major LEO agency adopt it as a standard weapon beyond evaluation phrase, since it’s invention in 1970s?
        How come so few people ever heard about it until Discovery put it in their shows?

  5. The AA12 by is nature is wortless and i doubt it can kill a chicken at 20 meters.In Discovery show ws obvious the gun has a very poor penetration compared with a Benelli for example…most of the pellets wouldnt even pass trough the plywood the Benneli easely destroyed…AA12 is a wortless toy and those “explosive” rounds are simply ridiculous….the man tought he found gold with this gun and the poor US army doesnt know is business…

  6. Honestly, who is brain dead here? The US Military, or the arms manufacturer that won’t release a semi-auto civilian version of the weapon when A: there is an obvious market and B: civilian use would effectively prove the weapon, either robust enough for field use, or not. If you want to sell your guns, sell them to the people who want them!

    • Problem is, it would probably get labelled a “destructive device,” just like the semi-auto USAS-12’s that were produced in Indiana.

  7. Screw the military applications, I want the AA-12 for home defense. I don’t need full auto, but it would be very much appreciated–especially during a home invasion where criminals usually show up in gangs. Stop waiting for the US government contracts that will probably never happen. If you can’t build it here, then license it to someone outside the country to build and sell it there. With all the regulations we now have in this country, I’d rather live someplace else anyway. There’s no such thing as living free if you’re being regulated to death!

    • Fostech Origin-12 is probably the closest you’re going to get. That said, it’s pretty damn close, and if you don’t mind the price tag I’d recommend checking one out. If you do mind the price tag then you wouldn’t be interested in an AA-12 anyway.

  8. That’s what happens when the military is taken over by internationalist neo-Marxists who want to see us fail. Welcome to the suck. Population:U.S.

  9. Someone need to go and look up facts this the saw m249 can fire a hell of a lot more rds then 85 a min the m-16 shots faster then 15 rds a min so ur a soup sandwich

  10. This guy is full of crap! The aa12 has a fire rate of 300 rpm. And tungsten ammo is very expensive, and can be used in any other 12ga. These things are cool gimmicks, but nothing else. This guy is just bringing politics into this so people get riled up.

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