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grafkhun avatar 2:09 PM on 06.18.2010  (server time)
A firearm case study; E3 2010 edition.

Hey Destructoid, I have an intro blog and I am not new. I just very rarely blog here. Why? There's so many good writers here that cover such a span of content and topics that even if I do start writing something, the next day someone already has a blog up saying pretty much what I wanted to say. So I looked at myself and asked; what topic do you know a lot about? I answered with many things, but none were game related. However, one thing stuck out, and that is firearms. I'm no gun expert, never even fired one in real life, but I consider myself pretty knowledgeable about the history and functionality of firearms. I present to you a case study about a weapon I saw in a video at E3.

This week I learned that a semi-automatic non-bullpup shotgun with a top-loaded magazine with the ammunition laid crosswise that uses a recoil powered action/bolt, is possible. This video, at the two minute mark.

Ah video-games; making firearms so ridiculous and impractical look awesome and useable. Yes, I am aware that a shotgun like that can be functional in real lifeÖ or can it?

Alright, anything is possible. So, this shotgun is as well. However, I will show you that if it existed, not many would use it as it would be very impractical.

Firstly, the stock would have to be weighted perfectly. Having the magazine and the firing mechanism in the frontend naturally makes the frontend heavy. So the stock, again, would need to be very well balanced. Not to mention, having the magazine/ammunition in the front effects the weight and recoil as ammo is depleted. Lastly, the whole weapon definitely would weigh at least 14 pounds, all due to the frontend magazine/firing mechanism.

Ejecting the cases/spent shells isnít shown in the video, or maybe I missed it somehow. Iím willing to bet that like the P90, which also has a top-loaded magazine, the cases are ejected below the gun. Why? This shotgun is ambidextrous. Therefore the casings need to go down; also it has a standard pistol grip. The cases would have to come out right in front of the trigger, due to the frontend magazine and this shotgun not being a bullpup firearm. It is possible to have the shells ejected towards the back end, but I donít think such a mechanism is used.

From the video a trigger guard is visible, so the user doesnít have to worry about ejected casings hitting their hand. But the external rail bolt needs room to move forwards and backwards (while only the top part moves, placing a handhold right underneath it is unwise I think), and the users offhand needs a space to hold the bottom of the gun (using a shotgun with one hand is not advised); to sum up, there is very little room for the casings to be ejected, in fact, I donít think there is any room.

The far frontend part serves as a rail bolt. You can see it slide back with each shot and there is no manual pump-action, lever-action, or bolt-action. Recoil powered bolts are the most common type of semi-automatic shotgun, but to have the rail in the front end? Where the magazine already is? Plus, if this shotgun were using slugs or some ammunition that needed more accuracy, and the user had a sight on the top rail (from what I could see, there were no side rails), then with each pull of the trigger their sight would violently move; as the sight is on the rail, which is part of the external bolt system. Having a sight, be it telescopic or electronic, if it moves like it would have to move on this shotgun, itíd be disorientating. Even the iron sights arenít useful, as both the back and front parts are on the forwards rail.

Another negative about this external recoil powered bolt is that it is a top-break system needed for reloading. Using the P90 as another comparison, the P90 does not have a top-break system, at all. The magazines can be removed and reloaded without moving any other system. Itís not the fact that it is a top-break system, thatís fine and all, but the fact that it also serves as the action mechanism.

I took this screenshot; and it's the only picture I could find on the internet that was ok quality and gave a decent view of the shotgun.

If this shotgun were exactly as it is, but it was pump-action instead, a lot of problems could be averted. Pump-action shotguns with box magazines exist, and Iím sure a top-loaded magazine version could work as well. The frontend magazine problems still remain though, as I donít think a bullpup pump-action shotgun can workÖ unless the pump were on the side of the gun or above the barrel.

In addition, the magazine capacity is 12 cartridges. Granted I don't what gauge (the connection between gauge and overall dimensions isn't exact, but it's close enough) and it's hard to judge just by eye-balling it. So let's say it uses the gold standard, 12 gauge shells. A 12 gauge shell has a diameter of about .73 inches and a length of 3 inches. The shells lay crosswise, perpendicular to the barrel, in the magazine; so 12 multiplied by .73 is roughly 8.7 inches. The spiral feed ramp at the end of the magazine has to be at least the length of the shell, so that's roughly 3 inches. 8.7 inches plus 3 inches is 11.7 inches; let's round that up to 12 as we must take into account the actual magazine case and whatnot.

With this information, this shotgun would have magazines that are a foot long (I apologize for the lack of metric system, Iím American, I canít help it) and weigh at least one pound. 12 gauge shotguns are called 12 gauge because the lead balls that can fit in the diameter of the barrel weigh 1/12 of a pound. Standard 12 gauge shells weigh about .067 pounds; so 12 multiplied by .067 is about .8 pounds. Finally, we add the weight of the magazine itself, so let's say the weight of a loaded magazine is 1 pound. So, we are left with a foot long magazine that weighs one pound, cumbersome anyone?

A P90 magazine; about 11 inches long and weighs roughly half a pound. They are already considered a very clumsy magazine. Also, airsoft part, haha.

As you can see, this weapon in real life would be a hassle. Also, the short barrel length, due to the frontend magazine, lowers its effective range. The moving rail bolt makes aiming with sights from the shoulder difficult, so from the hip is the only option. Shotguns are for close-quarters, and this gun is probably about 30 inches long, not as compact as other close-quarter firearms, and the only part of the weapon I would use for melee strikes is the stock butt-end, for fear of damaging the moving rail sytem.

This isn't a blog about FEAR, so save your comments on the series. Instead, let's talk about that... that shotgun.

I'm kind of thinking about making this a series. I'll take a firearm from a game and analyse it. If it's realistic, I'll see how realistic it really is. If it's unrealistic, I'll try to explain how it can work in real life. If it's like this gun, sort of based on reality, I'll do what I did here, try to explain the flaws and how it can be changed to work. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it.

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