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|
|Place of Origin:||United States|
|Manufacturer:||Armat Battlefield Systems|
|Weight:||9.66 lb (4.38 kg)|
|Length:||37.5 in (952.5 mm)|
|Barrel Length:||18 in (457.2 mm)|
|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|
By 2042, the United States military had still 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 early 2043.
The M322 changed very little from the basic USAS-12. The most notable change 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 a laser aiming module has been added to the bottom of the front sight post, controlled by a button on the rear of the module.
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. To help make this problem even less of an issue, some M322s are fitted with a Y-shaped handle that fits over both sides of the ambidextrous main charging handle and runs down below the weapon like a vertical foregrip. The main charging handle must have a vertical hole drilled in each side to allow the Y-grip’s “arms” to attach with pins so that the grip does not rotate. Although the Y-grip is a tempting candidate for use as a vertical foregrip, troops are trained not to use it this way as they could unintentionally cycle the action fully or partway under stress of combat. The Y-grip is only to be touched when manual cycling of the action is required; for simply holding the weapon, the handguard itself is to be used in the conventional fashion.