His­tory of the Semi-au­to­matic Shot­gun

Firepower - - BUYER'S GUIDE -

Semi-au­to­matic shot­guns have been around for as long as there have been semi-au­to­matic firearms. The first mass-pro­duced ver­sion was the ven­er­a­ble “hump­backed” Brown­ing Auto-5, de­signed by John Brown­ing nearly 120 years ago in 1898. It went into pro­duc­tion in 1900 and was made un­til the mid-1990s.

Most ex­am­ples that came after the Auto-5 re­lied on tubu­lar mag­a­zines, which worked well but did not of­fer much ca­pac­ity. This was fine for a hunt­ing shot­gun—but for mil­i­tary, law en­force­ment and de­fen­sive us­age, more am­mu­ni­tion ca­pac­ity was al­ways de­sired.

The first truly suc­cess­ful ver­sion to use a de­tach­able box mag­a­zine was the Atchisson As­sault Shot­gun in 1972. This was a fully au­to­matic-only shot­gun and was the ba­sis for the USAS-12 model by Dae­woo. When the Saiga-12 de­buted in the 1990s they seemed to have worked out most of the bugs, with the ex­cep­tion of a re­li­able de­tach­able mag­a­zine with a ca­pac­ity greater than five rounds.

Of­ten dis­missed as a range toy, th­ese shot­guns are in fact fielded by mil­i­tary, se­cu­rity and po­lice forces world­wide.

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