Marine Corps Systems Command announced the fielding of a Military Enhancement Kit (MEK) to various units that require breaching as an essential capability. This includes everything from Military Police, to Force Reconnaissance Marines that need to breach houses. The kit is an addition to current Mossberg M500A2 slide action shotguns that are currently in use mainly by MP, Recon, and special response units across the Marine Corps. Although the M1014 is supposed to replace the Mossberg or at least compliment it, the reality is that there aren’t enough M1014s to go around so units have to contend with the Mossberg. The irony of this kit is that the M1014 was designed to have a telescoping stock for this exact purpose, but the cost of the shotgun has been so prohibitive that units still aren’t receiving it.
Essentially the MEK is a cost effective way that Systems Command can get units to have shotguns that better fit their operational requirements in way of being shorter and more compact for breaching and forced entry. One of the advantages is that units already with M500A2s can complete the modifications in-house as opposed to sending their shotguns back to Quantico for the additions to be made.
The MEK also yields significant savings for the Marine Corps—another advantage.
“By using the MEK with currently-fielded M500A2 shotguns, the Marine Corps only had to buy the kits,” said Maj. Paul Gillikin, Special Purpose Weapons team lead in MCSC’s Infantry Weapons Systems. “Also, modifying the shotgun in local armories will save time and shipping costs, and units will retain their shotguns on-hand, as opposed to sending them in to a depot for maintenance.”
As part of IWS’s evaluation process, Gillikin and his team turned the kit over to Marines at the Methods of Entry School, located aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico. MOES instructors teach breaching methodology to Marines assigned to Reconnaissance and Force Reconnaissance units, Security Forces Regiment Recapture Tactics teams, Military Police Special Reaction teams, Explosive Ordnance Disposal units and Marine Special Operations Command units. Marines who undergo training at MOES will be the primary users of the kit.
“We reached out early to MOES, and the feedback we received from experts like Gunnery Sgt. Flor and Master Sgt. Bryan Maass was key to helping us get the MEK to Marines,” said Gillikin. “They were able to articulate a capability and requirement, and assist us in test design and execution. Infantry Weapons Systems-South logistics personnel took it the rest of the way by completing the cataloging process, which will allow units to sustain the kit through normal supply requisitioning.”
The MEK is currently being fielded to select units across the Marine Corps, and is one of the many capabilities offered to Marines by MCSC’s Infantry Weapons Systems. IWS strives to ensure that Marines are equipped and ready for their next challenge, whether that means introducing new weapons systems or, in the case of the MEK, enhancing current ones.
The MEK kit consists of three different buttstocks that individual members can change out in regards to the changing mission requirements, a full-length traditional buttstock, a telescoping buttstock, and a pistol grip.
Current Mossberg M500A2-
It appears that the breaching compensator is a Mossberg Thunder Ranch variant that appears to have been discontinued from the current product line up. Note that the photograph misidentifies the shotgun below as an M1014, when in fact it is a standard M500A2.
The forend appears to be an Ergo picatinny rail forend, available on Brownells for $86.
At this time I can’t identify the telescoping stock manufacturer because there are a myriad of such models out there on the market, but the closest I can find is Mesa Tactical’s early LEO model-