In the early 1980s, Korean War vet and firearms inventor John Andersen (sometimes-spelled Anderson) thought out the concept of a gas-operated, automatic-fire shotgun for military and police use. His gun would allow full-auto (up to 240 rounds per minute) fire of new and advanced 12-gauge shells, be rapidly reloaded via a 10-round cassette, and still be small and compact enough (17 pounds) for the average foot soldier to carry into combat.
To accomplish this, he envisioned a reciprocating barrel with a fixed gas piston enclosed in a cylinder. When the gun fired, the barrel pushed forward and the action, set in a bullpup style behind the trigger group, ejected the spent shell hull and loaded another in what we would consider a very complicated process. This unique action gave the gun (which turned out looking rather industrial anyway) a very distinctive ‘jackhammer’ style of operation when firing that led to its nickname. If the trigger was kept depressed after the first shot, the weapon would continue cycling, thus producing automatic fire until the trigger was let up or the weapon ran out of ammunition. There was no option for single-shot fire; the gun was full-auto only commenting directly on its philosophy of use.
The 20.75-inch smoothbore barrel gave a 31.10-inch overall length and a weight (unloaded) of ten pounds. Polymers were used as much as possible in the firearm to keep weight low, in itself was a very visionary concept for 1982. At the time, the Glock 17 aka “the plastic fantastic” was only then being introduced into the US.
Perhaps most interestingly though, some of these loaded cassettes could also be laid as booby traps. Referred to by the company as a ‘Bear Trap’, the cassettes could be set like mines and would trigger all ten rounds simultaneously if disturbed—possibly the first time a multi-use explosive trap was included as a factory option in a firearm.
Officially called the MK3, the concept was best remembered as the Pancor Jackhammer automatic shotgun.
The thing is, it never got out of the beta test phase and is basically weapon vaporware. However, a few prototypes went on to legendary status in more than 20 video games (Max Payne, Far Cry, and Rainbow Six ring a bell?) between 1998 and 2018.
Speaking of which, Morphys has the only working Jackhammer up for auction.
Yes, it’s real. Yes, it’s full-auto. Yes, it is transferable. Yes, it is expensive.
What is billed as the only working Pancor Jackhammer, via Morphys