The M26 is a shotgun accessory for the M16 or M4 rifle. Yep, this little baby can attach to the underbelly of M16 or M4 and provides soldiers with increased capabilities. The shotgun can be used with solid rounds to blow locks off of doors, buckshot and slugs for anti-personal applications and can even fire tear gas canisters. Best yet with the additional pistol grip and folding stock it can be a stand alone weapon.
The shotgun is a 12 gauge caliber and is a straight pull bolt-action, the bolt handle can be placed on either side of the mechanism. Originally in development in the 1990’s it started being used in the field during the 2003 Iraq War where it was used by engineers and military police. With initial testing being successful is looks to be on pace to replace the Mossberg M500 pump shotgun that has been in service since 1961.
It used to be that soldiers in the field would be forced to chose one weapon or another, or else be weighted down with a ton excess equipment. Making a modular system like this, and there are other attachments that can be added to the M16/M4 chassis, give the soldiers more flexibility and less weight. Advances like this are what will take the US military into the conflicts of the future. Until then this is by far one of the most effective skeleton keys available to the troops.