The new shotgun is replacing the Army’s long-serving Mossberg 500. Unlike the Mossberg, the MASS is a hybrid weapon that can attach underneath the Army’s standard issue M4 rifle, or can be fitted with a stock and pistol grip to be a weapon of its own.
1st Lt. Anthony Frisone, 2nd Platoon’s leader, said he first saw the weapons last year in Afghanistan. The Pentagon ordered 9,000 of the attachable shotguns as of 2013. That number is likely to grow. Soldiers can use the M26’s bolt action handle right or left handed. And its ability to connect to an assault rifle or be a standalone weapon is a feature soldiers particularly like.The choice is important, because there are pros and cons to both configurations. As an add-on to a rifle–its original intent–a soldier wouldn’t have to switch between weapons during a fight. But Frisone explained that the combination makes the rifle incredibly heavy. To be sure, carrying a rifle and shotgun separately is still heavy, but a soldier can manage the weight by slinging whatever he or she isn’t using to the side. The switch is fast and carrying both allows a soldier to focus their attention. It’s all a matter of preference for each unit. In any case, the M26 is lighter than the Mossberg 500.
See also: M26 Modular Accessory Shotgun System
- Caliber: 12 gauge
- Operation: Straight pull bolt-action.
- Capacity: 3 or 5 round detachable magazine.
- Ammunition: 2.75 and 3 in lethal, non-lethal and breaching rounds.
- Barrel length: 7.75 in (197 mm) with integral breaching stand-off adapter.
- Under-barrel version:
- Overall length: 16.5 in (419 mm)
- Weight: 2 lb 11 oz (1.22 kg)
- Stand-alone version:
- Overall length: 24 in (610 mm) (stock collapsed)
- Weight: 4 lb 3 oz (1.90 kg)