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The AA-12 shotgun available in semi-auto version

Soldier with early versions of the AA-12.

After many years – and a troubled history – the full-auto 12 ga AA-12 Assault Shotgun will be produced in a semi-auto version for the civilian market. It's available with a 20-round drum magazine or 2 - 8-round stick magazines.

The Team of all4shooters.com

It took just 31 years – or 46 if you consider that the early versions were developed in 1972 – but the AA-12 shotgun is finally available for civilians. This very particular 12 gauge shotgun is being in fact produced will be produced in a semi-auto only version by Sol Invictus Arms, a new US based company created by the team at Tactical Superiority, Inc., manufacturer of high-quality OEM parts used by many well-known firearm firms. Curiously enough, even if it captured the imagination of many enthusiasts and enjoyed great success in the movies, TV and video-games industries, in the real world the AA-12 “Sledgehammer” had a troubled life, to say the least. 

The AA-12 shotgun for the civilian market in a semi-auto version.
The AA-12 shotgun is available for the civilian market in a semi-auto version.

The full-auto shotgun concept was originally developed by Max Atchisson in the 1970s who called it  “Atchisson Assault Shotgun”. In 1987 the rights were sold to  Military Police Systems, Inc., a Tennessee company, and its name was changed in “Auto Assault 12”. The design underwent a long series of modifications and refinements, still retaining a rate of 300 rounds per minute. Over an 18 year period, more than 100 mechanical and functional component parts were modified or re-designed, including the changing from a blowback- to a gas-operated action with a locked breech.

In the early 2000s the AA-12 was also demonstrated to the US Marine Corps, but very little came of it. To cut a long story short, a standstill caused by lack of commercial interest followed until Sol Invictus Arms step in, bringing the AA-12 in production with a semi-auto version

“Civilian” AA-12: what's new

As explained in the manufacturer's website, the AA-12 is “no longer some Frankenstein project that’s being assembled in a garage” but a fully-functional weapon produced by a  company that “has a long history of providing marketable, sustainable products in the gun industry.” It's now now being manufactured on high end machines used for automation and its cost is less than a quarter of the original cost of the last batch of AA-12s.

AA-12 assault shotgun 
The USMC tested the AA-12 in the early 2000s

The “new” AA-12 shotgun in semi-auto version can be pre-ordered as a limited-edition (only 1000 available) at a price of 3,250 USD. Anticipated delivery: December 2018. 

Two versions are offered, one which has the original style sighting system with the tall “A” sights, and a second which features a rail for customization of optics or sights. Among the other features, a closed bolt design, a 18.5-in barrel, a stainless steel construction and a 12 guage 2 3/4 inch chambering. The semi-auto AA-12 is available with a 20-round drum magazine or 2 - 8-round stick magazines for those living in States that restrict magazine capacity.  


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