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Comrade Shovel
December 1, 2012 12:41 PM   Subscribe

The modern equivalent of hammering your ploughshare into a sword. Man sees a new AK-47 stock in a shovel handle, then decides to not stop at that.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia (49 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
Montreal gets a shout out. Boo yeah.
posted by Strass at 12:51 PM on December 1, 2012


I've seen people making shotguns in little roadside workshops before, using basically a file and a hammer; it takes a lot of man-hours but the results can be nice. It's impressive how well his shovel-AK seems to work given that, at least as he tells it, a lot of it was done by eye and deliberately crudely.
posted by Forktine at 12:55 PM on December 1, 2012


A scope? On an AK? What is this, STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl?
posted by hellojed at 12:55 PM on December 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Then I riveted a whole bunch more shit

What's more impressive than building it out of a shovel is that he doesn't seem to have a greater sense of craftmanship than "weld those two fuckers together."
posted by fatbird at 1:09 PM on December 1, 2012 [9 favorites]


It's impressive how well his shovel-AK seems to work given that,

Given that he cut up a perfectly good shovel to make it.
posted by three blind mice at 1:10 PM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


hammering your ploughshare into a sword.

Isn't this backwards?
posted by shakespeherian at 1:27 PM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


A shovel won't require ammo when the zombies come.
posted by olya at 1:28 PM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I stopped at a gun shop and seeing a few ARs made me feel gay enough to visit a dilapidated "antique barn" where farmers sell authentic shit from the local dump to idiot tourists

I wonder how gay he'd have to be feeling to visit the maze room at his local men's bathhouse?
posted by item at 1:30 PM on December 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


seeing a few ARs made me feel gay enough to visit a dilapidated "antique barn" where farmers sell authentic shit from the local dump to idiot tourists.
came out as straight as Liberace in drag thumbing through gay porn magazines.
This guy is not funny, he is a douche. Impressive machine work, however.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:32 PM on December 1, 2012 [9 favorites]


Isn't this backwards?

Backwards for Isaiah 2:4. But forwards for Joel 3:10:
Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears; let the weak say, “I am a warrior.”
posted by Jahaza at 1:33 PM on December 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


I wonder how gay he'd have to be feeling to visit the maze room at his local men's bathhouse?
posted by item


These should do it.
posted by 445supermag at 2:56 PM on December 1, 2012


Hey so maybe the more gun savvy here can explain this to me because I didn't follow. In one picture he's hammering a shovel and in the next picture he has a fully functioning AK. How did he make all the teeny mechanism parts inside the gun, like all the springs and latches and gizmos that go inside? Did he make the entire AK from scratch Darra Adam Khel style or just pound some metal pieces and take all the guts from another gun?
posted by pravit at 3:16 PM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I guess poet Yehuda Amichai was right about plowshares being just the first step needed:

"Don’t stop after beating the swords
into ploughshares, don’t stop! Go on beating
and make musical instruments out of them.
Whoever wants to make war again
will have to turn them into ploughshares first.”

-“An Appendix to the Vision of Peace", Translated from Hebrew by Glenda Abramson and Tudor Parfitt
posted by warreng at 3:19 PM on December 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


Oh, now I want a Hello Kitty M-16.
posted by MartinWisse at 3:22 PM on December 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


How did he make all the teeny mechanism parts inside the gun,

As he sums up at the end of the article, he got all the parts that make an AK, sans barrel, then just added a barrel blank (aka a piece of steel tubing) and just used the shovel's grip for the rifle stock with the blade for the receiver bit.
posted by MartinWisse at 3:25 PM on December 1, 2012


pravit, he bought a parts kit (the text mentions it, the "Romy kit") that had all the fiddly bits inside it, and he built the part known as the "receiver" which you put the little fiddly bits into.
posted by titus n. owl at 3:28 PM on December 1, 2012


As he sums up at the end of the article, he got all the parts that make an AK, sans barrel, then just added a barrel blank (aka a piece of steel tubing) and just used the shovel's grip for the rifle stock with the blade for the receiver bit.

This is what is particularly impressive, the receiver is the part that is legally a gun and the most difficult one to produce. That shovel kalashnikov exists in a legal no man's land of having never been sold as a gun.
posted by Blasdelb at 3:36 PM on December 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


This is why we can't have nice things.
posted by roboton666 at 3:39 PM on December 1, 2012


fantastic project.

the crude homophobia was off-putting, but it also made me think. i don't blame anyone for being totally turned off to the whole thing by that, but i don't think dismissing him as a person is the way to go. i just wanted to tell the guy "dude, making fun of gay people is totally weak. you should man up and apologize." i think if you go black-and-white on people with some weak or reactionary views, you're throwing away the whole barrel for the sake of one rotten apple. it totally confuses the issue because it mixes up bad people with bad opinions or bad views. not the same thing at all.
posted by facetious at 3:39 PM on December 1, 2012


OK thanks, I didn't know what a "Romy kit" was. So it still cost him >$200. Very neat though.
posted by pravit at 3:40 PM on December 1, 2012


Yeah he used this, this and built the missing bits. That is a very heavy rifle.

Needs gun nutz
posted by the_artificer at 3:41 PM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]




"it totally confuses the issue because it mixes up bad people with bad opinions or bad views. not the same thing at all."

So you mean this right? only homophobic of course
posted by Blasdelb at 4:00 PM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


So you mean this right? only homophobic of course

yes, exactly!
posted by facetious at 4:06 PM on December 1, 2012


That shovel kalashnikov exists in a legal no man's land of having never been sold as a gun.

I'm pretty sure that it's entirely legal, as was discussed in a recent FPP about artisinal guns. Barring state laws to the contrary and assuming compliance with other rules (eg barrel length), it's legal in the US to make guns in your garage, even out of shovels. Setting up production and selling them might get you into a problem, but making them for yourself isn't an issue at all.
posted by Forktine at 4:12 PM on December 1, 2012


This was awesome. Thanks.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 4:42 PM on December 1, 2012


Kinda interesting. Could have been better without the passive homophobic jokes.
posted by alex_skazat at 5:31 PM on December 1, 2012


Definitely a creative use of alternative materials. I'm a fan! I'll stick with a HK 416 and/or Sig 556 for practical applications though. If he can MacGyver a Sig P229 from a trowel at Home Depot, that'd be awesome.
posted by blaneyphoto at 7:42 PM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Isn't part of the point of the AK (other than killing people, obviously) that they can be fabricated in large part with a medieval-peasant level of metal working technology?
posted by b1tr0t at 8:05 PM on December 1, 2012


Isn't part of the point of the AK (other than killing people, obviously) that they can be fabricated in large part with a medieval-peasant level of metal working technology?

I think the advantage of the AK is that it can be manufactured for pennies in endless quantities in fairly low-tech factories in China or Bulgaria or wherever, stamped out of the cheapest and crappiest metal available, but the design is so robust that it will continue to operate after decades of use by untrained soldiers with almost no maintenance. There aren't many other weapons that work under those conditions, for better or worse.
posted by Forktine at 8:19 PM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


In practical applications, a 12ga magnum pump-action shotgun with an 8 round capacity wins. Period, the end. The "smoke pole" can send more lead down-range quicker, with a manually loaded slug shell to take care of any cover less substantial than a vault door. It's also cheaper to manufacture, easier to maintain, and more reliable in field conditions.

Assault Rifles are handed out with the expectation that you can make an ordinary person into a marksman in 6 weeks of basic training. That they might actually be able to aim at and hit something more than a dozen yards out. This is generally wishful thinking. Watch any footage of a "freedom fighter" with an AK - they're usually holding it a foot away from them and over-head, upside down.

So, in urban combat, only shit-heads prefer an assault rifle. There is no shortage of shit-heads. Remember that the next time you're at the range looking for something to shoot. This shovel AK? More of the same.

Good machining skills, tho.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:29 PM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


facetious, my lived reality is that is that when you go "hey dude, saying shit like that makes you sound bad," the response is generally "well you sound like a faggot, HAW HAW." So. I don't have a great deal of patience for the "gentle education of the bigoted shitheads" phase of things any more. It also grates that the onus always seems to be on me to be nice to the assholes that just took a dump on my day, you know?

My reaction is basically "you assembled a redneck heathkit? Great, good job, asshole. Get out."
So, in urban combat, only shit-heads prefer an assault rifle. There is no shortage of shit-heads. Remember that the next time you're at the range looking for something to shoot.
An opinion arrived at, no doubt, through a rigorous course of study leading to your commissioning as an officer of the armed forces and a period of duty in the Army Special Forces with the attendant theoretical and practical training in the organization of armed resistance by subjugated citizenry, I'm sure.
posted by kavasa at 8:41 PM on December 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


It's also cheaper to manufacture, easier to maintain, and more reliable in field conditions.

If something else was cheaper and more effective than an AK, people would be using it.
posted by Forktine at 8:46 PM on December 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


An opinion arrived at, no doubt, through a rigorous course of study leading to your commissioning as an officer of the armed forces and a period of duty in the Army Special Forces with the attendant theoretical and practical training in the organization of armed resistance by subjugated citizenry, I'm sure.

And yoooooooou are...?

Perhaps you have heard of "the googles", and how you can enter terms into it like "shotgun" and "rifle." Happy hunting!
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:00 PM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


you're throwing away the whole barrel for the sake of one rotten apple.
posted by facetious


Okay, pet peeve of mine. "Letting a rotten apple ruin the barrel" is not equivalent to "throwing the baby out with the bathwater." The point of rotten apples is that if you let a rotten apple sit in there, it will taint the rest of the barrel with its very presence. It's a real thing: rotten apples emit ethylene, which speeds up the rotting process in the other apples.

Twisting the expression around makes it sound like the people objecting to the rotten apple are at fault for ruining the barrel.
posted by RobotHero at 9:12 PM on December 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


And yoooooooou are...?
Someone that's not claiming the last 70 years of small arms practice and theory has gone in entirely the wrong direction and I'm the one that knows the truth of effective urban combat based on my experience of googling things?

Also FWIW I'm a combat vet and learning how to hit things out to 300m over iron sights was not that god damn hard and frankly any idiot can hit things at 50m.
posted by kavasa at 9:19 PM on December 1, 2012 [7 favorites]


And you know what, I wouldn't have been so spiteful and sarcastic in my response but what the fuck, "So, in urban combat, only shit-heads prefer an assault rifle" - who the fuck says shit like this with such swaggering confidence because he read some things on the internet? Seriously? Not even the slightest hint of hesitation before declaring decades of military reality to be the sole province of "shit-heads"? And who hyphenates shithead, for that matter?

...

Here I'll tell you about one of the FC ceremonies I rendered the salute at. Young Specialist was in the .50 turret on a humvee. Talibs ambushed and an AK round punched through the front of his ACH and out the back. I'm sure his widow and his kids wish the Taliban used shotguns on your advice. God damn, they sell glasses that can stop 12ga buckshot from a few feet away. I know because I bought a pair before I went over (I hated the way the issue prescription eyepro fit my ridiculous face).

...

This is a weird, pissy adolescent boy slapfight I've put myself in. You'd think I'd know better, but I was just so astonished at the initial statement and its utter lack of any basis in fact. And your comeback is "google shotguns and rifles": stunning.
posted by kavasa at 9:51 PM on December 1, 2012 [9 favorites]


Besides the lack of penetration a failing of a 12 gauge as a combat weapon is the weight and size of the ammo. A 12 gauge shell weighs 3-5 times as much as a assault rifle round and is much larger because some of the weight is in low density plastic casing and wads. This is manageable if you are mounted but a problem if you are on foot. This is one of the reasons for plastic stocks and canvas magazines.
posted by Mitheral at 10:46 PM on December 1, 2012


pump-action shotgun with an 8 round capacity

Phbtpptbtptbtb. While we could debate the merits of 5.56 and 7.62, the maximum effective range of a shotgun is far less than that required for urban combat. This places it in a specialists role, like this.


Watch any footage of a "freedom fighter" with an AK - they're usually holding it a foot away from them and over-head, upside down.
I completely agree that incorrectly using a piece of equipment results in less-effective use. Thanks, Tautology Man!

So, in urban combat, only shit-heads prefer an assault rifle.

You are of course aware that the AK rifles are not the only kind of assault rifle there is?

Your incorrect assertions based on no personal experience whatsoever run directly counter to the lived experience of a few people in this 'conversation.' The googles, they do nothing.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:01 AM on December 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


The aura of machismo surrounding the assault rifle in general and the AK-47 and its descendants in particular irks me on a number of technical, political and historical levels. I usually respond to AK-worship by bringing up the simpler, less macho shotgun as a more effective alternative for irregular forces, and I was way too snarky and rude in doing that here. Assault rifles aren't toys, and they don't shoot red rubber noses.

There has been some real scholarship done on the combat shotgun (Here's an overview in .pdf, article in question starts on page 16), and there have been dramatic improvements in shotgun ammo and chokes since the Borneo study was done, while the 7.62-39 rifle round has improved incrementally, if at all. It boils down to targets are more easily hit with a spread of buckshot, requiring less precise aiming. This means that shotgunners are expending less ammo, to where the small size of the assault rifle round is no longer an advantage, and a disadvantage when considering the shotgun's ability to penetrate light cover and its ability to fire slugs and sabot rounds. Plus, less training and operator skill required.

I'd recommend the Box o' Truth as an entertaining if less scientific overview of the efficacy of modern ammunition of all sorts against various materials, up to and including body armor and bullet-resistant glass.
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:46 AM on December 2, 2012


Less macho?

The Pump Action Shotgun: The Sound And The Fury

The pump action shotgun is the epitome of the Dramatic Gun Cock. While I'm far from an AK partisan, the pdf you linked:
The history of combat use of the shotgun reveals that it is a limited range but highly effective close-range, specialized weapon ... the shotgun has been employed in combat by the militaries of other nations and guerrilla or partisan forces where its use was of value for a specific mission, or in a particular conflict where its close-range effectiveness provided a military advantage.
Close-range being less then 100 meters, even when fitted with special (slug) ammunition. Since engagement distance regularly exceeds that(PDF), it seems unwise to adopt a shorter-ranged weapon. In fact, it's thought that sniper fire proved more effective in Iraq than other methods, and fighters in Afghanistan(FreeRepublic) prefer heavier rifles due to longer ranges and the terrain. The modern assault rifle (AK-74 and M4) have shorter sight radius, greater ammunition capacity, better penetration, and faster reloading than the pump-action shotgun. The benefit of less mechanical complexity is offset through the requirement of more weapons to achieve the same rate and volume of fire. From The Box O' Truth:
You can very easily miss with a shotgun. You must aim to hit your target ... Frankly, I was surprised that the shotgun did not penetrate more than it did. I had been led to believe that they penetrated more than a .223 rifle or a 9mm or .45 ACP. Such was not the case.
As far as choke development:
It seems that the choke is not nearly as important as the different brands and loads tested.
And light cover? Rifles and shotguns work about as well as each other:
Remington 55 grain JSP and Frangible 5.56 also penetrated all 4 walls. So did the .30 Carbine.
When shooting rifles, walls are concealment, not cover.
3. 00 Buck penetrates 4 walls with ease. It is a great "Stopping" round, but there is a price to pay.
Until someone invents a "Phaser" like on Star Trek, anything that will stop a bad guy, will also penetrate several walls.
Based on my own experience with pump-action combat shotguns and the modern military assault rifle, the shotgun has a valued place as a specialized weapon for specific terrain and uses, and is not interchangeable with the semi-automatic rifle in use, loadout, or tactics. The rifle, and the soldiers ability to carry ammunition, pick targets at range, and quickly reload, is the primary weapon of infantry combat, and rightly so.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:06 PM on December 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


And who says that irregular combat (or counterinsurgency) is urban combat? Sure it might often be urban combat, but you need something that's versatile for when it's not urban combat, which has been often in recent conflicts. You can't reequip your force every few days.
posted by Jahaza at 2:44 PM on December 2, 2012


(You're cherry picking technical points, and a few contradict each other, and touch on another hobby-horse of mine - the unsuitability of the NATO 5.56. I'll stick to the historical and points, tho, as I don't think Metafilter is ready for an in-depth technical debate on shotguns and infantry rifles.)

The Pump Action Shotgun: The Sound And The Fury

The pump-action shotgun is a symbol that Hollywood likes dramatic things. The AK is the symbol of the triumphant warlordism. Thugs and dictators alike have gold plated examples to display their power and might over the helpless and oppressed. Mozambique is trying to get rid of it from their flag - for much the same reason Georgia worked to rid its state flag of the "Stars and Bars." Opposition to this is along much of the same lines - those who enjoy using force to make others kneel find it a fond reminder of the times when they could and did.

The assault rifle a symbol of the horrors unleashed on the innocent and undeserving by the Cold War - it was never about ideals, it was always about money and power. The side with the highest body count wins more money and more weapons to increase the body count. These aren't trained armies, these are militias armed with weapons at deep discount. An AK-47 in '86 cost 15 cows, a cheap knockoff today costs 4 cows. A subsistence farmer has a much better use for 4 cows, nevermind 15, than a buying a weapon he can't use for practical applications - killing poisonous snakes and feral dogs, subsistence hunting or controlling rats - and that will likely find him on the wrong end of one exactly like it just for owning it. The only purpose of the AK-47 is to empower the ruthless and cower the unarmed.

It's a symbol of Nazi Supremacy. After the second world war, Russia and the United states fell in love with the idea of Nazi super-weapons, and raced pell-mell to copy them. The Soviets and Americans no longer believed in their own culture of science and engineering achievement. They decided they were going to have Nazi weapons, too, and both societies slipped a little closer to the philosophies of ultra-nationalism on a global stage. The AK-47 was a crude but effective copy of the Sturmgewehr 44, aping its design goals - smaller rifle cartridges with larger capacity magazines which are effective at ranges from out to 300m with light to no cover. A pistol grip to make it controllable when firing in full-automatic mode. Both requirements particular to the fields and forests of Europe, but not as common elsewhere. Of course, once the US saw the Russians make one that was successful, they had to jump on board, too, with the M16. Eugene Stoner's considerable engineering talents, put to use mimicking a nazi gun. (He actually aped the FN-FAL, which was another copy of the StG44)

The triumph of war over peace, of firepower over law, of armed terror over civil society; the powerful making people dance like puppets - that's what you're showing off when you bring an AK-alike to the range. But yes, that's much less macho than the "sha-clack-clack" of a turkey gun.

Now, officially the M16 came to be because the U.S. ORO analyzed a few million battlefield reports from the First and Second World War, and concluded in mobile, mechanized war, most infantry combat takes place at short range after combat teams from either side run into each other pretty much by surprise. (The Germans found the same thing in their own studies, which was one of the motivations for the StG44) They also saw that the side which sent more lead downrange the fastest tended to come out on top.

Surprisingly, the Borneo study, undertaken by the British after Indonesia-Malaysia Confrontation, showed old-fashioned combat shotguns could contend. At ranges common in urban and jungle warfare, the superior range of the rifle wasn't an issue, especially if used by poorly trained irregular forces. Likewise, it was easier for those with shotguns to shoot what they were aiming at due to the pellet spread. They didn't need to expend as many rounds for the same kill rate. At close range - where most combat happens according to US, German and British studies - a shotgun is twice as likely to hit its target than an assault rifle, and it's even 45% more likely to hit something than a submachine gun. It has the added bonus of avoiding overpenetration, meaning people you aren't aiming at are less likely to be caught in the crossfire.

So while it may be contrarian thinking, a shotgun militia is practical and even desirable if you don't have the time or resources to properly train your troops, or there's a risk of factional infighting or a black market for small arms forming post-conflict. Easier to go back to being a farmer or shopkeeper with a plain old shotgun.

An assault rifle… well. You can get four cows for one of those, who cares who buys it?

(TL;DR, but I feel kind of strongly about it.)
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:12 PM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just because shotguns were employed in the Borneo campaign doesn't mean that they were the primary weapon in it, and the paper you linked (which is not a study, unless I'm missing something) is the one I read to discover the "limited" "specialized" role of the combat shotgun.

The military assault rifle (by which I mean medium caliber, select-fire, accurate to at least 300m, with a detachable magazine) was created to address the limitations of the rifles used in warfare up to that point - for example but not limited to: the M1 Garand and Mosin-Nagant and Lee-Enfield. Even during the war, the Allies realized the problems with a large, full-size rifle firing a large cartridge (like the .30-06) and worked on creating a smaller, handier weapon (like the .30 Carbine, among others). While the Nazis are credited with the first assault rifle - a translation of sturmgewehr, the thinking and design considerations began at least as early as 1915, with the Fedorov Avtomat.

Essentially, the assault rifle addresses the problems that the combat shotgun addresses, but in a different manner, and without the shotgun's limitations. Overpenetration is addressed through use of a medium cartridge. Rate of fire is addressed through the medium cartridge and detachable magazine. "Pellet spread" is frankly overrated, and the slow rate of fire with the shotgun requires that spread to even come close to the rate of fire afforded through a semi-automatic action. In modern infantry combat, the trend is even shorter weapons, like the M4, allowing for quicker maneuvering and faster target acquisition. The shorter version of the shotgun is known primarily for its drastically shorter range and uncontrolled spread.

Are you specifically addressing the AK47, or are you countering the merits of all 'assault rifles?' Because you started off with "assault rifles" but have really been talking a lot about the AK.

a shotgun is twice as likely to hit its target than an assault rifle, and it's even 45% more likely to hit something than a submachine gun.

I would be interested in reading a study that showed this.

I would also be interested in your experiences with both the shotgun and the military assault rifle.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:12 AM on December 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


I realize that I can't ask for your experience without talking about my own.

Shotgun: big and slow. Slow to aim, slow to reload. The larger sight radius (distance between front and rear sights) mean longer to get on target. Pumping means loss of sight picture and slow rate-of-fire. Slamming those shells home is finicky, and I needed more practice. Regardless of spread, still needs aiming, and snap-shots aren't effective. Good for things like breaching doors and firing less-lethal rounds. Makes a great noise!

Rifle: handier, faster to aim, faster to fire. Reloading is a cinch. Requires aimed shots, which is easier with the shorter sight radius. Also since the rifle is shorter, I could lean out from behind cover more easily. And I could carry more rounds for the same weight.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:57 AM on December 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Echoing the man of twists and turns, I was in the army, and got instruction in both urban warfare and combat shotgun. One of they key points about the shotgun was learning to fire it quickly, which meant learning an unaimed pump-and-pull technique where you held the stock in your armpit, pumping the action as you pulled the trigger, so you could empty the shotgun in a couple seconds. The problem then is that you have an empty shotgun that has to be reloaded with six or eight more shells, one-at-a-time. I don't see how you can talk about a shotgun putting more lead downrange given that limitation. Within the context of a single magazine full of shells, perhaps, but battle lasts more than eight rounds.

At the same time, we were learning to control the rate of fire of our assault rifles by firing only in small bursts in a controlled fashion, because otherwise we'd just blow off the whole magazine. The only exception to this was in house-clearing, where the described technique was to follow up a grenade into room with spraying the room--again, the advantage would seem to be the assault rifle. At room-range, the spread of a shotgun will be negligible, while an automatic weapon can easy spray the room and still have ammo left in the magazine.

The 'in the armpit' thing for the shotgun had to do with carrying it pointing up, and achieving a quick body aim by pivoting it into the armpit rather than seating the stock against the shoulder. Our instructors were actually local police.
posted by fatbird at 7:57 AM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just because shotguns were employed in the Borneo campaign doesn't mean that they were the primary weapon in it, and the paper you linked (which is not a study, unless I'm missing something) is the one I read to discover the "limited" "specialized" role of the combat shotgun.

Borneo was fought mostly by Gurkhas, armed with, in no particular order, the inch-pattern FAL, the Sterling SMG, the US M16, the Browning 5 shotgun, and the Remington 870 pumper. As noted in the study, highly trained forces (GURKHAS, people, c'mon!) needed to send 11 rounds downrange to hit someone with the M16. They needed only 5 with the boom-tube, and as described, collateral damage was less. You could hit the bad-guy in less time with less ammo, and leave the friendlies in the apartment block behind them unscathed. Maybe Gurkhas have a natural immunity to recoil, I dunno.

Also of interest is that the communist party in Borneo, fighting against the "Commonwealth", tooled up to mass produce... combat shotguns.

Please note that the paper I linked to was a legal review of the shotgun... a meta-study of the available scholarship available conveniently online. The conclusions as to its place in war was already decided by the US, and at a much higher level than those doing the academic work. A level that was still more concerned with the Fulda Gap than Baghdad. They just wanted to know if it was OK to shoot shotguns at people and steer clear of the Hague. (Yes, so long as you don't use slugs, and even then, maybe.)

Despite this, the paper managed to suggest, very pointedly, that this weapon was the clear and proven winner in short-range combat. To those familiar with the German Heer and American ORO studies, it was an "Oh, snap!" moment.

...while an automatic weapon can easy spray the room and still have ammo left in the magazine.

The weapon you needed for room clearing was a sub-machinegun or full-auto carbine rifle (No, the M-4 doesn't count). The U.S... doesn't do those anymore, apart from special forces. Nor do we do main battle rifles in situations where long distances with little cover or closer with heavy cover would call for them. Smack in the middle is both the assault rifle and the combat shotgun, and we all know my opinion on that.

It strikes me, and again, I'm a sway-toothed madman who relies on historical data rather than gut feelings, that a nation that can afford to blow a billion dollars on a single bomber can afford to train and equip troops on the ground with a selection of weapons and ammo that fit the mission, on an hour-to-hour basis, rather than trying to cram McNamara's Mistake as a one-size-kills-all solution onto yet a new generation. Apart from toting Ma Deuce around, why one earth have Humvees on patrol if not to carry all the crap you need?

(I've shot 12ga magnum double-aught buck at clay pigeons, because of sadistic friends, and acquitted myself passably, as far as I'll ever admit. I've also shot .22 bolt action target plinkers and autopistols. I imagine a .223 is closer to the latter than the former. I currently own and shoot a variety of .177 pellet guns reserved for non-living targets. I've also shot period-accurate brown bess muskets and 12-pounder field pieces. If this doesn't match some macho quotient, I am very sorry.)
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:02 PM on December 4, 2012


As noted in the study, highly trained forces (GURKHAS, people, c'mon!) needed to send 11 rounds downrange to hit someone with the M16.

... out to 30 yards. After that, the study doesn't say. The assault rifle's engagement distance is ten times that, and the great majority of engagements occur at distances greater than 30 yards, even in urban combat. And we already employ various weapons in specialist roles - the combat shotgun, the designated marksman rifle. As I stated before, in specific situations, the shotgun is the preferred weapon. But you expand those situations further than warranted.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:59 PM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


You seem way more invested in this shotgun thing than makes sense.

Anyway, here's what immediately doesn't seem right to me:

Shotguns are already in use and have been for many, many decades. If they turned out to be unexpectedly effective, their use would be expanded. There is a reason even my local police keep both shotguns and semiautomatic assault rifles in their cars -- they are different guns with different purposes, not direct replacements for each other.

The short range thing is huge. Imagine that General Slap*Happy had decided to outfit the 10th Mountain Division with shotguns instead of their current rifles. All the insurgents would have had to do is sit back out of range and take potshots.

And so on. It just doesn't pass the red face test.
posted by Forktine at 6:40 AM on December 5, 2012


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