M322 Shotgun

The M322 shotgun with the stock fully extended and a ten-round box magazine.

The M322 is the standard shotgun of the United States military. It is an improved variant of the USAS-12 automatic shotgun.

Weapon Designation:Shotgun, 12-Gauge, Automatic, M322
Type:Automatic Shotgun
Place of Origin:United States
In Service:2043-present
Production History:
Designed:2043
Manufacturer:Armat Battlefield Systems
Produced:2043-present
Specifications:
Weight:9.66 lb (4.38 kg)
Length:37.5 in (952.5 mm)
Barrel Length:18 in (457.2 mm)
Cartridge:12-gauge
Action:Gas-operated
Rate of Fire:300 rounds/minute
Muzzle Velocity:1,300 ft/s (400 m/s)
Effective Range:50 m (55 yd)
Feed System:10-round box magazine, 20-round drum magazine
Sights:Iron sights

Background:

By 2042, the United States military still had yet to select a single standardized automatic shotgun design despite having acknowledged the need for such a weapon in previous years. The Next Generation Automatic Shotgun (NGAS) program was announced in August 2042. Several companies responded, including Colt with the MCS-12 and Heckler and Koch with the ICAWS, but ultimately the competition was won by Armat Battlefield System’s UAS, or Universal Assault Shotgun, an improved version of the Daewoo Precision Industries USAS-12. It was adopted as the M322 in late 2043.

Design:

The M322 changed very little from the basic USAS-12. The most notable alteration is the use of polymers in the weapon’s construction, cutting 1.07 kg of weight from the weapon. An ammunition counter display has been added to the rear of the carry handle and the fixed stock has been replaced with an M4-type collapsible stock.

While the M322 retains the USAS-12’s fixed sights, it is also equipped with an SE-4 combination thermal and laser sight under the front sight post. This tiny optic can wirelessly connect with the M10 helmet’s computer and display system, giving the user a view of where the shotgun is being aimed, including projecting a set of crosshairs onto the display. This allows the shotgun to be fired much more accurately, and it can even be fired around corners while the user remains under cover.

Although troops have found that the weapon can suffer from cycling issues when using certain types of low-pressure ammunition, which might not fully cycle the action, most have also noted that this simply turns the weapon into a straight-pull bolt-action shotgun, and with the charging handle positioned near the front of the handguard, the M322 is only slightly less convenient to use than a conventional pump-action shotgun, while there are no such issues when firing full-powered ammunition.

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