Army Issues M26 MASS (Modular Accessory Shotgun System)

Clarksville online reports that the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division is the first unit to be issued the M26 MASS shotgun. The M26 is a bolt action magazine fed shotgun that can be used standalone or attached underneath an M4 barrel.

It weighs 3.5 pounds, has a barrel length of 7.75 inches, fires 12-gauge shells and can be mounted on the M4 carbine or act as a stand alone firearm; it is the M26 Modular Accessory Shotgun System and the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) is the first unit in the Army to be issued the combat enhancer.

“I can see this being very effective with the engineers for breaching and with the military police, especially since you can shoot ammunition that is non lethal,” said Sgt. Rhys McMahon, a combat engineer with Company A. “So far this is an amazing weapon; I’ve shot about 75 rounds and it works magnificently. This would have helped us out quite a few times when we were in Afghanistan.”

In 2010 the Army ordered 20,000 M26 shotguns from C-More Systems.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Charles222

    Have they finally gotten this piece of shit working? We had them 9 years ago in Afghanistan and the things rarely ever functioned as advertised.

    • Zincorium

      Can you elaborate on what sort of malfunctions you saw?

      It seems like the biggest weak point would be the charging handle/pump action. If the magazines are what they look like (saiga 12 5-rounders) I’d be surprised if that’s the problem.

      • charles222

        Mainly failure to feed, plus general clumsiness. I mean, look at how that guy is practically hanging on to his upper receiver to shoot.

      • jagersmith

        The twist-adjustable breaching standoff was also flimsy (the channel was easily fouled by fine grit/dust), and charging the weapon wass awkward, due to a hinged, dangling charging handle.

  • Leonard

    Don’t laugh, but this is my favourite weapon in Battlefield 3…

  • atm

    Looks like Red Jacket’s version at first glance. Bolt action and polymers make it considerably lighter.

  • jpr

    This seems like a handy option. But I’m confused, what is the guy in the second pic doing with his support hand?


    • DC

      I believe he is working the bolt.

      • jpr

        Ah, DC, thanks. That seems right.

        I thought he might be waving to the camera…

    • John Doe

      I believe the M26 MASS is actually bolt-action.

      • Woodroez

        Correct. Worth noting, however, that it’s a straight-pull bolt action. Once the charging handle is raised and locked into position, cycling the action is a matter of pulling that charging handle to the rear, then letting go. There is a spring that will send it back into position, as I understand it.

  • somebody

    Where are you supposed to put you left hand when using the rifle, wouldn’t it be uncomfortable to have it so far out and so far down under the rifle. These undermount shotguns look like they were designed with out thinking about how you would grip the gun comfortably when not using the shotgun.

    • somebody

      Also this thing adds 2 lb 11 oz + 8.4 oz if its loaded to the m4 brings that nice 6 lb 14.4 oz(loaded) gun to between 9 lbs 9.4 oz and 10 lbs 1.8 oz (and thats not including the 9.9 oz acog and laser that you really don’t need that weighs 7.5 oz bring the grand total up to a ridiculous 11 lbs 3.2 oz)

      • Bandito762

        I am guessing you probably wouldn’t load it unless you were breaching a door

    • Avery

      It would be nice if someone adapted one of those FN EGLM magwell mounts for this. I see the availability of the trigger to be more needed for the MASS than for the EGLM.

  • dg13

    I got to play with one at SHOT show.

    Interesting note, It had a trigger reset problem.

    that is, if you pull and hold the trigger back, then cycle the action, then release the trigger and pull it again, nothing happens. the hammer would actually allready be forward and you sould have to rack the round out to re-set the hammer. Or you have to release the trigger before cycling the action for it to work correctly.

    probably not a big deal for the under barrel version, but on the stand-alone this could cause problems.

    This is the same issue that alot of people complained about the original prototype Kle-Tec KSG’s had. And that was fixed before it went into production.

    • Duray

      Aren’t all display models at SHOT non-functioning? If so, isn’t it a little unfair to be nitpicking the trigger mechanisms without knowing what parts may have been removed for display purposes?

      • ducky

        We experienced the same at Shot and asked them. It’s intentional – there is no disconnector since it was originally planned as under barrel version only.
        You fire it with your support hand, then grab the bolt handle with your support hand (thus trigger automatically released) cycle it, fire again.
        “Problem” arised when the stand-alone version suddenly was requested. Reduced weight and number of parts was the reason like the very helpful and knowledgeable guy there (not common, esp. not at the larger company boothes) told us.
        Implementation of disonnector not planned so far.

  • Lance

    Not really BIG news since the M-26 has been in SOCOM usage and been being played around with for almost 5 years now.While in urban Iraq style combat this can help not much of a use in Afghan style fighting. Many solder still use trusty M-500 shotguns in a backpack scabbard.

    Any way looks like a nice door breacher like it was designed for.

    • W

      LOL there are plenty of places in afghanistan where a shotgun, especially the M26, is invaluable on a squad level.

      • Lance

        Im just implying its not the most widely used weapon in A-stan.

      • W

        well no, jesus christ… which battlefield has the shotgun ever been the most widely used weapon? It is a specialized weapon intended for close combat and door breaching. Nevertheless, it still has plenty of uses in afghanistan.

  • hojo

    In other news, that first picture is AWESOME.

  • Brandon

    Looks awkward. Doesn’t look like you could rack the action comfortably with it mounted on the M4. I wouldn’t want to lug that around.
    What’s wrong with the Masterkey? I’d rather have a pump action than a charging handle and that ridiculous magazine. Why does it even need a detachable mag? If it’s for door breaching it’s not like you need to reload a lot.

    • Reverend Clint

      i have a feeling a charging handle is lighter and more MODULAR than a straight pump. All it adds is a little piece to the side instead of a semi complex pump action.
      The use of a mag means you could A) save space out front while still have a decent load out. B) Make it easier for a guy breaching to swap mags for something with a bit more man stopping power than a door breaching round. C) this goes back to the handle vs pump. probably makes the thing shorter and lighter.
      The masterkey carries 3+1 while the MASS carries 5+1. Weighs half as much. Is a couple inchs shorter. Can be used as a standalone if need be. Was completely designed from the ground up to be mounted under a m4.

  • Nadnerbus

    I wonder if the off-center recoil will mess up the receiver extension over time?

    Looks kinda fugly and clumsy to me. I’m not in the business of breaching doors, but it just doesn’t seem that practical.

  • Aeain

    I know that my unit had these at one time (Still have Mossberg 500s) because I am the Armorer and came across a box of magazines for them. I was looking at them and noticed something interesting. It was the Ishvesk Arrow and looked just like the magazines for my Saiga 12. I brought in a Saiga 12 Factory 5rd Magazine and they are the exact same.

  • Michael

    So when is the 18 inch barrel civilian model coming out.
    !0 round drum mage anyone?

  • Nicks87

    Why is the military pissing away money on shotguns anyway?

    They might as well add the Kel-tec KSG to the pile. At least with the KSG it’s small and light enough to carry as a secondary weapon AND it has a 14 rnd capacity.

    I thought they would give up after they tried to ram the benelli’s down our throat.

  • mechamaster

    I think Break action style lightweight underbarrel ‘masterkey’ shotgun is more appropriate idea, simple and reliable..

    • shotgunner

      When used for either breaching you need more than one or two rounds, the same goes for non-lethal situations, you may have more than one target.

  • chino

    The M16/M203 combo is so front heavy as I’m sure this MASS must also be.

    Here’s questioning convention:

    Must EVerythING be underslung?

    You use the M203/MASS less often than you use the rifle, yet you have the launcher’s considerable deadweight permanently attached to the front of your rifle.

    Perhaps the launcher as a standalone with some kind of a sling or holster rig makes more sense?

    The M79 of Vietnam is bulky but today’s standalone launchers are lighter and more compact.

  • OmegaDR

    I’m curious. Aside from door breaching and guard duty, what other specific tactical situation have you used a shotgun in A-stan or Iraq?
    It seems to me a Saiga type autoloader would be superior to any tube feed magazine shotgun.

  • Immortality72

    They seem to have worked out all the bugs to my satisfaction. Put about 200 rds through it so far. Crazy spread at 10 meters (beach ball) way more useful than our old 500’s and shorter. I’m gonna carry mine stand alone, but I’m keeping the mount on my M4 to mount it. Only takes 10 seconds to pull it of, and about a minute to put the stock on. It’s about all you need for a fighting shotgun in real world city fighting.