AA-12 Fully Automatic Shotgun

Ever wanted a fully automatic 12 gauge shotgun, with no recoil and that can be fired one handed? The AA-12 is that gun and because you probably either are not legally qualified to own a newly manufactured one, or can’t afford to buy one, watching it on youtube is the closest you are probably going to get …

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.


  • Don Ward

    But wait! There’s more…

  • John Botts

    Any reason a manufacturer couldn’t make a semi-auto version?
    I think they would sell like crazy.

    • Alucard

      I bet it would,nothing like 20 rounds of buckshot for a home defense gun.

    • Tassiebush

      Not quite the same thing but a Saiga12 with 20round drum and slide fire stock would be an approximation. Lacks the awesome recoil control though.

      • John Botts

        I don’t really even care about the full auto capability in real world scenarios, that would only be for fun. I think it could be a great home defense, or hunting shotgun, if proven reliable.

        • Tassiebush

          That makes sense. Reliable controllable shotgun with big detachable magazines is always a cool idea. It wouldn’t have the benefits of constant recoil system but the high line of sight, low bore axis and straight back recoil would still help.

        • MR

          I totally want one for skeet shooting. Or trap, or whatever, not real familiar with those disciplines, but with one of these and a large enough drum, I might be able to dust a few.

    • Vhyrus

      Honestly, with veprs at 800 it’s hard to want anything more than that, especially since a semi aa 12 is gonna be at least double that.

      • John Botts

        I’ve heard of quite a few issues with reliability with Saiga semi auto shotguns, and like designs. If this was reliable, it might be worth 2 times the price.

        • Warren

          Some Saigas would come through as ‘Vodka Specials’ occasionally, where the builders were already liquored up for the evening, but that’s easily solvable with any DIY vid on the interwebs, just a hammer and a drill bit. The only real ‘reliability’ issues with Saigas has been from owners trying to run substandard ammo through them and then griping like it’s the gun’s fault. It’s an autoloader, they need a certain amount of Bang to work right. For Saigas that’s at least 1260 fps and at least 1 and 1/8th oz payloads. Quality ammo equals reliable function.

          The better they’re either broken in, or tuned, the cheaper ammo they can eat. Even if you take a bad one and feed it, say, Zombie Max Slugs, it too will run flawlessly despite its ostensible vodka status. And if someone wants to pop for a professional bolt re-profile job they’ll even run random forgotten half-rusted garbage from your gandpappy’s old tackle box. Hard to complain about that.

          The interesting thing about Saigas, and Veprs for that matter, is that they can actually fire significantly faster than the AA-12 even though they’re semiautos. It’s rather shocking to realize. And the AA-12 is so quote/unquote “illegal” under NFA etc that I read that the guy who makes them can’t even legally own one. That has to win some sort of prize for idiotic.

    • BrandonAKsALot

      They couldn’t legally unless it was a single shot. It’s an open bolt design and we mere civilians cannot be trusted with such things.

      • John Botts

        I would think that changing the design to a closed bolt wouldn’t be too hard for the engineers. I mean FN is making a M249S available to the civilian markets.

        • It is an incredibly significant redesign.

        • BrandonAKsALot

          It would essentially negate the entire purpose of the design. The open bolt design is largely responsible for reducing the felt recoil. The shell has to overcome the forward momentum of the bolt to eject while the projectile is traveling down the barrel thus mitigating much of the rearward thrust. You’d basically have just another semi auto shotgun if you changed it to closed bolt. You’d have the look and nothing else if offers.

          • Giolli Joker

            In most open bolt design the momentum of the bolt is zero when the firing pin strikes, otherwise you fire out of battery. This unless you have a recessed chamber and a rebated rim round like some Oerlikon cannons using exactly this principle. How does this design, with a rimmed cartridge, achieve this goal?
            BTW, I handled, not shot, one… ugly beast… the mass of the bolt and the way it shakes the gun when it closes impressed me.

          • BrandonAKsALot

            I’ve never actually handled one and don’t know all the details, but it does use the same principle as the Oerlikon. It’s an API blowback system not just a standard open bolt blowback.

          • Giolli Joker

            After sending the previous reply I realized you can actually do the same if the barrel is light (not a problem with 12GA) and allowed to slide forward against a spring weaker than the bolt’s one.
            (i guess finding the answer to my curiosity won’t be hard though… maybe I should watch the video as well, once out of office)

          • BrandonAKsALot

            It’s hard/impossible to see the bolt interaction with the chamber from this video. I wish someone would give a detailed view of it’s guts.

          • Giolli Joker

            Apparently the first model was API blowback, probably with very short out of battery time, but this version is gas operated, locked breech. Still firing from open bolt with an anvil as a bolt, though.

          • BrandonAKsALot

            Interesting. Info on the details of it are not easy to find. I read both ways, but it seemed to make more sense as an API. Now I’m wondering what kind of gas system it uses. I didn’t see a piston on the carrier. I saw an OP rod with a guide rod running through it.

          • WFA

            It appears to have a long stoke piston.
            Piston block appears to be the front sight,
            Piston runs on the square rail over barrel and has grooves/rings.
            Seems to vent to atmosphere after very short rearward movement.

          • WFA

            Autoloading gas port structure

            US 6868770 B2

          • Giolli Joker


            Bolt mechanism for fire arm

            US 4893547 A

          • Ed Forney

            Doesn’t no recoil mean less velocity and power? For every action, there is,,,,,,

      • Steve_7

        Even closed bolt it would be a destructive device, like the USAS-12.

        • jcitizen

          The ridiculous thing about that, is putting a drum on any shotgun basically makes it similar enough to the USAS-12; but only that one semi-auto got the classification. Not that it matters much for this particular design, as any full auto shotgun is still going to be a post ’86 dealer’s sample type of registration.

  • Dan

    I need this for pheasant hunting!

    • 1leggeddog

      I need this for…


    • Would “Locust” hunting count as a legitimate reason?
      This Gnasher sucks the root, man!

    • Uniform223

      I need this for home defense, duck hunting, skeet shooting, target practice, digging a hole in my backyard, zombie extermination squad, drinking beer and firing this in the air yelling “MERICAA!!”, and last but not least… getting rid of that pesky fly in my garage.

      • claymore

        Can’t spell America?

        • Jim Jones

          You are correct. He spelled it wrong. It’s spelled ‘Murica!

          • claymore

            Only for non-vets

        • hunter john

          lol, got to read between the lines. He’s being facetious

          • claymore

            But it’s still disrespectful.

    • hunter john

      dan, lol,wouldn’t be much left to eat. !! I think what you need is a rubber band gun!!

  • echelon

    Pitiful slave…you’re “not legally qualified”….mwhahahahahaha!!!

  • RickH

    A full auto shotgun is really kind of pointless, unless all your are shooting is slugs, which still doesn’t make it anymore useful. A submachine gun is the better option. A shotgun is a scattergun, meant to just point and shoot, and let the widening pattern do it’s job. Now a semi-auto is much more desirable. Still, it’s pretty cool seeing a full auto shotgun.

    • Matt

      i think it was designed to be used on a remote controlled rover type thing. A shotgun allowed a fairly consistent ability to hit a target, and the low recoil was essential as it was mounted on a smallish vehicle.

    • Will

      Daewoo USAS-12 has been exported to certain military groups around the world, most for the express use of a jungle pointman,

      If I remember, most of the sales were either to Latin/south america regions and parts of Asia for the most part

    • Andrey Martim

      Well I believe the AA-12 was designed to be full-auto, but not used in full-auto… It is practical as a whole substitute for any semi-auto shotgun and has the advantage of full-auto fire… Also the full-auto function is more related to the Frag-12 grenade round developed along the gun, I suppose.

      • iksnilol

        IIRC the AA-12 is full auto only, though you can fire one round at a time if you are careful with the trigger due to the low rate of fire (which is IMO an advantage, more rounds per second = more misses per second IMO).

        • Tassiebush

          Think from memory it’s about 300rpm

  • Tom Currie

    Odd that it has more recoil while mounted in a machine rest than when handheld.

  • Giolli Joker

    Not as tacticool as instructor Zero, but hell of a fast shooter.
    I thought he had a full auto mod before seeing the slow-mo.

  • iksnilol

    I always wondered why nobody has made a production belt fed shotgun. Avoids the bulky magazine issue and allows you to have more rounds for the same given space (drums have a bit of dead space in them in regards to cartridges).

    A good starting point would be the PKM (as it is made for rimmed cartridges).

    • Tassiebush

      For even more awesomeness make it a Hotchkiss style feed strip!

      • iksnilol

        Do you mean top-fed or do you mean having multiple barrels? Because the former is probably good for ambidextriosity while the latter just seems like a bad idea.

        • Giolli Joker

          A three barreled gas operated gatling gun would be awesome… useless, but still awesome.

          • iksnilol

            Yeah… especially when you base your design philosophy around things being practical.

            But, you are right. More barrels = more dakka = cooler

          • Giolli Joker

            “Belt-fed automatic shotgun” has the practicality of a telephone installed inside a coffin… nevertheless, it’s way cooler and even more if it has rotating barrels. 😛

          • iksnilol

            Well, it would be somewhat practical.

            The AA-12 weighs 5 kg empty. PKM made for rifle cartridges with more than 5 times the pressure weighs 7.5 kg. Wouldn’t be a far stretch to imagine that a shotgun version could weigh much less due to less material required to contain the pressure.

            12 gauge magnum shells (the 8.9 cm ones, 3.5 inches) have a pressure of 96 MPa (14000 PSI) whiles standard 7.62x54mmR has a pressure of 390 MPa (56500 PSI). Standard shells have a pressure of 79 MPa (11500 PSI).

            So while it seems like a stupid and not practical idea, it just might work.

          • Giolli Joker

            Practical and feasible do not mean the same thing. 😛
            You can place a jet engine in a VW Beetle, it’s feasible, not really practical, certainly awesome.
            What you envision could be surely done, but, being it an automatic weapon, with no military requirement behind it, it would just cost millions in R&D… just to manufacture a toy sold to few wealthy collectors.
            “I always wondered why nobody has made a production belt fed shotgun.”
            Because nobody needs it, plain and simple.
            The military use of shotguns is fairly limited and no army ever felt the need to go toward that route.

          • iksnilol

            What you are saying would make way more sense if they hadn’t sunk a lot of money into the AA-12 (I don’t know if they have officially adopted it but they do use it).

            I do agree with you though, shotguns aren’t really useful weapons for most purposes. Ammo is heavy and bulky, limited capacity and of course pathetic range.

          • Giolli Joker

            We’d need details from Nathaniel on genesis and real usage of the AA-12, but I’m pretty sure that the only combat action it has seen was in The Expendables.

          • iksnilol

            They did make that Hammer system or whatever they called it (two AA-12s mounted together on a vehicle).

          • Giolli Joker

            Yep. I don’t think there’s much more than prototypes and show pieces around.

          • +1 for the Dakka reference.

  • claymore

    “Fully automatic?” Does it inset the mag all by it’s lonesome?

  • BrandonAKsALot

    The AA-12 is essentially the same thing just lighter. They work on the same design internally. I think it’s Atchinson that developed the original design for the operation?

    • Tassiebush

      Yep you’re right.I recall reading that the AA12 was developed using high speed camera footage to smooth out it’s cycling.

  • iksnilol

    It does look cool… but belts are better, since you can do the whole ammo backpack thing. And belts are more flexible.

    • Tassiebush

      Yeah I reckon you’re right. It might be easier to quickly load a feed strip than a belt but belts can be endless.

    • Giolli Joker

      https: // www. youtube. com /watch? v=iX7vwivR6cE
      Broken link to avoid delay in posting. It’s a belt fed M-16 upper.

    • jcitizen

      I sometimes wonder if it would be easier to build a belt fed shotgun from a .50 cal HBMG, and replace most of the internal guts of the MG with lighter parts for blowback operation. The links fit certain gauge shells perfectly, but the home made one Giolli Joker posts, is a pretty neat.

  • Hank Seiter

    “No recoil”? How about “light recoiling” or “constant velocity recoil”? One can clearly see each shooter working against the recoil. Also, the bolt and attached piston rod appear to be relatively heavy. You can see that when the last shot is fired and the shooter leans into the AA12 expecting one more shot and then the shotgun dips forward as the bolt slams on the empty chamber.

    Using the 150gr. military/factory loading (150 gr. bullet, 2800 fps) as a benchmark, it is known in the industry as having a recoil energy of around 19 to 20. A standard 62 grain M855 .223 load in an M-16A2 would have a recoil energy of around 3.9 and in an M-4 carbine around 4.1. Simple physics, lighter the weapon, the heavier the felt recoil is given the same ammo. If I were to venture a guess, I’d say the AA-12 probably has a real world recoil energy of around 3 or possibly less.

    Obviously the AA12 benefits from a very cleverly engineered combination of heavy bolt/piston rod and recoil spring rate. It is impressive how controllable it is but if the shotgun was placed on a free-running sled, each shot would shove it rearward several feet and when the bolt slams home the shotgun would probably move forward just a few inches. Recoil would be clearly measured and could be accurately calculated after ten shots. I can do without all the sophomoric hyperbole about “no recoil.”
    Just a nit-picking rant but still a very nicely engineered full-auto shotgun.


    That’s a nice gun I wish most guns came with no re coil

    Comment from Canada, B.C.


    How would the auto shotgun AA-12 work on defending yourself with a grizzly in the woods chasing you?

  • jcitizen

    I’d rather have an SRM model 1216 myself.

  • Scartizzu

    Aa12 been out for years now n yes it can be owned if you have the Russian connnect

  • petru sova

    Is it not amazing that other countries allow their citizens to own brand new full auto rifles but not in the slave state of the U.S.A.