Why have we not seen more attempts at a true AR-pattern shotgun?

#1
Just a question I've been wondering for a while, figured I'd pose it to those more knowledgeable on the subject. Why have we not seen one of the larger AR manufacturers make an attempt to modify an AR-10 platform for 12-gauge use? I know the "AR-style" shotguns (Akdal MKA1919 and clones) have seen some popularity, particularly in 3 Gun. But those platforms only emulate the AR manual of arms, often have much more complex and tedious field stripping/maintenance procedures, and still require a lot of work out of the box to be considered reasonably reliable. The only company I'm aware of that has produced a true AR-10 platform scattergun has been the Turkish UTAS with their XTR-12, and it's been plagued with reliability issues for multiple generations. Another Turkish company, Tigris Arms, has recently unveiled another true AR-10 shotgun (compatible with 308 uppers even), but they don't have a US distributor and they're too new to the market to know how reliable the gun is.

Particularly for the American market, a true AR-pattern shotgun would seem to make sense. Using the same manual of arms and field stripping/maintenance procedures that most gun owners are extremely familiar with, as well as a box mag-fed autoloading shotgun negating what is often considered the greatest weakness of the platform (extensive time to reload), a high-quality and reliable 12-gauge built on a true AR platform ought to be extremely popular with both the competition circuit and the home defense crowd.

So...Where are they?
 
#3
IMHO the idea always sounds good and looks cool but the functionality sucks. The mags are huge and ungainly unless you use a five round which is a download from your atypical tube feed designs, and as you stated above there problematic in operation. The saiga and vepr12 worked but again you end up with a 24in mag sticking out the bottom. Yes you get a "quicker" reload " but other then that? As a three gun choice cool no interest in it for home defense. Again just my opinion
 
#4
I'm not an engineer, but I'm guessing that the combination of bulky, rimmed cartridges (Which stack better in a curved magazine) and a long, straight magazine well probably vexes a lot of would-be designers.
 
#5
Never shot the Akdal but I did get to spend a few hours with a USAS 12 once. It was... crazy. I mean, fine... but also crazy. Basically an AR15 scaled up until it fit 12 ga shells. It worked perfectly, but was so ungainly in so many ways. Your hand is several inches too low to feel normal, the mags are huge so hilariously slow to load and where does one put them when not in the gun, anyway, etc.?
 

Sunshine_Shooter

Regular Member
Network Support I
#7
I'll take a different stance than the above: competition and economics. The engineering hurdles can be worked out given a little time.

Hunting has no reason to develop more ergonomic shotguns (the ducks & geese aren't more aggressive than they were when the Versamax was new), and the military buys upgraded pump guns.

Lots of advancements in the gun industry in the past couple of decades started out in the competition arena. Red dots on rifles. Red dots on pistols. Free-float rails. LVPO optics. Precision shooting bags. The list goes on & on.

The only competition shotgunning is either clay shooting or 3-gun. Clay shooting is designed to allow over-unders to be competitive, and 3-gun heavily disincentivizes mag fed shotguns. Since there isn't really a competitive arena that would benefit from a mag fed shotgun, there is no money in developing one. An AR-style scattergun would be mag fed, and that would land the shooter in Open class. There is little reason to believe this to change anytime soon because reloading the shotgun has become the most important single skill in 3-gun behind 'aiming'.

The Turks, on the other hand, have more incentive to further develop the weapon because their citizens have much easier access to shotguns than rifles. The market forces and comparatively low labor prices are my explanation as to why we see AR-style shotguns imported from Turkey so often. That actually compounds the problem, because anyone who wants to make one domestically will be undercut by a cheap Turkish import.

I believe that an AR-style shotgun would be great, but the current circumstances keep a good domestic one from being produced by anyone who wants to turn a profit.
 
#8
The failure of the market to introduce a rimless shotgun standard is really a core problem, too. If the RAS-12 rounds had ever taken off as a SAAMI standard, I think we'd be having a much different conversation right now.
 

Sunshine_Shooter

Regular Member
Network Support I
#9
The failure of the market to introduce a rimless shotgun standard is really a core problem, too. If the RAS-12 rounds had ever taken off as a SAAMI standard, I think we'd be having a much different conversation right now.
While the rim definitely creates problems, those can be engineered around. The problem is that no one wants to fund the work to do so.
 
#10
The failure of the market to introduce a rimless shotgun standard is really a core problem, too. If the RAS-12 rounds had ever taken off as a SAAMI standard, I think we'd be having a much different conversation right now.
Thanks for reminding us about the RAS-12. That was probably as close as anyone's come to a true solution to the OP's question. It was also a very straightforward design, what with it being compatible with standard rifle lowers and slightly modified rifle mags.

Getting the world to change over from the old-fashioned rimmed 12 ga. is a much taller order, though:

https://www.thefirearmblogDOTcom/bl...w-intrepid-tactical-solutions-ras-12-shotgun/
 
#11
While the rim definitely creates problems, those can be engineered around. The problem is that no one wants to fund the work to do so.
Mike Davidson solved this problem for Mossberg, and he's claimed he's going to be doing it for the Saiga 12 platform, too. But rims also increase magazine size somewhat, so if we can move away from them, it's for the best.

The other big problem is really "use case". Who's going to need a detachable-mag-fed shotgun vs a tube-fed shotgun? Are they going to have plate carriers rocking huge double-stack shotgun mags? I am absolutely a huge proponent of detachable-mag-fed shotguns, but the doctrine is just not there for them. It could be developed, maybe in conjunction with a DM-fed shotgun with M4 controls, but is that juice worth the squeeze? I honestly don't know.
 

Sunshine_Shooter

Regular Member
Network Support I
#12
The other big problem is really "use case". Who's going to need a detachable-mag-fed shotgun vs a tube-fed shotgun? Are they going to have plate carriers rocking huge double-stack shotgun mags? I am absolutely a huge proponent of detachable-mag-fed shotguns, but the doctrine is just not there for them. It could be developed, maybe in conjunction with a DM-fed shotgun with M4 controls, but is that juice worth the squeeze? I honestly don't know.
That's why I say that competition needs to lead the charge in this area. For a high level competitor, spending a grand or more on a gun that gives you an unfair advantage is a no-brainer. Swapping mags in your shotgun is way faster than shoving shells into a tube, and all that reloading time saved means winning money. If the rules weren't so against mag fed shotguns we'd already have something filling that role.

Get competitors to prove the concept, have mil and LEO demand it become reliable, and then civilian enthusiasts will buy them by the case.
 
#13
Very much agree that the downside of competition-driven development is that division rules can sometimes skew priorities to where they aren't in line with the mil, LEO, or self-defense practitioner might get legitimate use out of. The Roland Special is a fairly good example; while I think most shooters could get use out of a carry comp, and I'd like to see companies developing comp'd pistols that are a little more flexible with ammo, the fact that you're going to be shooting in Open is driving development in a very particular direction that isn't great for everyone else.

That said, I think the UTAS XTR-12 and RIA VR80 are guns that come close to mark, provided they're reliable.