Forgotten Weapons Takes A Once-In-A-Lifetime Look At The Pancor Jackhammer

As evidenced by its substantial IMFDB page, the Pancor Jackhammer has been a popular inclusion in many popular video games. What’s interesting about this is that the Jackhammer, otherwise, would be an extremely obscure firearm. Only three were made, and of those three, only the initial proof-of-concept prototype exists today. Ian of Forgotten Weapons has gotten a rare chance to take a look at this last Pancor shotgun, which he shares with us in a recent video:

Virtually everything I know about the Pancor Jackhammer is repeated in the video above. Ian’s overview may be the most comprehensive publicly available treatise on the gun, which is unsurprising given its rarity. Essentially, the Jackhammer is a forward-moving-barrel gas operated weapon with a Webley-Fosbery-style rotating revolver cylinder and a Nagant-revolver-esque chamber seal, chambered for 12 gauge and fully-automatic. Ian thoroughly describes the weapon’s operation (which is, so far as I know, utterly unique) in the video above, but essentially gas is tapped from two ports in the barrel, forcing it to move forward and disengage from a matching recess in the indexed chamber face. As it does this, a connecting rod causes the cylinder to rotate in a manner analogous to a Webley-Fosbery, and the striker is cocked. The barrel returns to battery via its spring and the chamber rotates the rest of the way back into position, where the barrel seats itself in the next chamber.

Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at


  • whodywei

    Looks just like Accatran pattern lasgun from the 40k.

    • Dracon1201

      I’d still rather have a Storm Bolter


  • iksnilol

    Would be cool if they made a new version… Maybe with box mags instead of the bulky drums?

    • Somebody didn’t pay attention during the segment on how it worked…

      • iksnilol

        You could make a smaller cylinder that’s feed by a stick mag. I understood how it worked.

        • No, it’s basically a revolver. Unless you’re suggesting a revolver cannon/heligun style arrangement, which is still totally different.

          • iksnilol

            Yeah, basically a revolver. You can make the cylinder fed by a box mag. Just look at the Landstad revolver, sure, it is a bad example but it proves the concept can work.

            There was also that American hyperburst rifle which used a three shot cylinder fed by box mags.

          • Uh, you can but you’d need a whole separate assembly added to an already large gun. And besides, you said “Maybe with box mags instead of the bulky drums?”. The Pancor doesn’t use drums or magazines of any kind. It’s a revolver.

          • iksnilol

            Colloquial usage! The defense rests.

          • roguetechie

            the dardick revolver also illustrates the same point though your examples are better because the open cylinder of the dardick would make heads explode

          • roguetechie

            three and a half words Nathaniel…

    • eriky

      Hell make one with a drum an I’ll still sell both my kidneys for one.

      • iksnilol

        Agreed, I just am not a fan of shotgun drum mags. So much bulk for so few rounds.

        • eriky

          But but ….. just look at it. It’s not about the bulk. It’s about how awesome the bulk looks.

          And that is also an awesome penis euphemism.

          You are welcome.

          • iksnilol

            I know, it is just that I am one of those function over form guys.

    • derpmaster

      The drum feed makes a lot of sense for a rimmed shotgun round.

      I’d much rather have a semi-auto reproduction of this thing than a Saiga or similar box mag fed shotgun. I’ve shot several of them and it seems like they always have feed problems.

    • Azril @ Alex Vostox

      You mean like a H&K CAWS right?

  • Jeff Smith

    This is EXACTLY why I love Forgotten Weapons. I love that Ian is gaining enough recognition that auction houses are allowing him full access to their inventory and people with rare weapons are contacting him and allowing him to handle/disassemble/fire their rare weapons.

    Keep up the good work, Ian! I’ll definitely be contributing to your Patreon account!

  • iowaclass

    Nice find. I am still questing for info on a shotgun called the Winter Swatriplex-18. no google images(!!!). It’s one of two things I have never found on the Web. (The other is a translation of what the woman is saying in French at the end of the Rod Stewart song “Tonight’s the Night”).

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    Does the design include anything to mitigate recoil as with the AA-12?

    (Didn’t watch yet)

    • SP mclaughlin

      There’s some compensator cuts on the muzzle beak thing.

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        That doesnt sound encouraging.

    • Tassiebush

      Excessive weight 😉

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        Of course.

    • Christian Hedegaard-Schou

      Well.. It DOES weigh 17.5 pounds 🙂 that’s got to count for something.

  • I could have sworn I saw the Pancor Jackhammer in a really bad SciFi movie.
    I don’t remember the movie, and it’s not listed on IMFD. But I know it was in a movie.

  • Azril @ Alex Vostox

    How in the world he managed to get one Jackhammer?

    • SP mclaughlin

      You know you’ve made it when you been memed

    • Tassiebush

      It must be an eery feeling to become a meme

  • Here’s a nice writeup from Small Arms Review:

  • Seburo

    The Pancor Jackhammer one of the first(along with the CAWS) in the long line to create a viable military select fire shotgun.
    SRM ARM might have finally done it though.

  • Green Hell

    Yay, the gun from one of my first and most favorite games.

  • Kyle

    That has to be one of the most unique firearm designs in history. So can we have a kickstarter getting these things built semi-auto only for civilians or something? Reverse engineer it, find the old blueprints, make something new but similar. I don’t care lets make it happen. I just request a version without the ginormous carry handle thing on top. I will raid my savings account and kick in a couple of thousand to help make it happen. I cannot express how much I want one of these. To hell with my silly little KSG.

  • John McPherson

    Ian is entertaining but that gun has so many issues that they could not be solved. The military would never have given it much more then a first glance to see if any part of the design had merit. I do not think so. But I do give credit for the try. Good for the inventor for giving it a go.

    • Edward Franklin

      From the video it looks like they have it more than a first glance if they destructively tested the two more advanced prototypes. Seems like the now long gone Jackhammers were significantly more refined than the remaining prototype.

    • David Lowrey

      It is a early tool shop prototype. There are many things refined and fixed in the two production guns built. As far as I know there where not any major problems with the guns during testing. The key aspects of its unique design are there and work quite well. He also had foreign interest but no one willing to fund further testing.

  • Don Ward

    Can’t wait to see this out on the trap range.

    • Tassiebush

      Yeah the biggest question with something like this isn’t what it adds firepower wise but what does it sacrifice in handling. I guess this was probably inspired by the need for forward scouts in jungles to lay down heaps of fire before the other side gets to but that’s not so easy if it’s slower onto target regardless of extra firepower.

  • NukeItFromOrbit

    Somebody should really buy the rights/patents to produce these, start with the final improved variant John Anderson submitted to trials, make some minor changes and start building new ones. It probably would still be impractical due to weight and others issues but it would still be too awesome not to own if you had the money

  • TJbrena

    That can’t be it. Total Recall was great.

  • No… those are street sweepers…
    I remember thinking “That’s a Pancor!”