Knight's Armament Company Masterkey

The Masterkey is a door breaching shotgun system manufactured by Knight's Armament Company.

Masterkey shotgun mounted on an M4A1 carbine
Place of originUnited States
Mass2.6 kg (5.7 lb)
Length43.2 cm (17.0 in)
Barrel length25.4 cm (10.0 in)

Cartridge12 gauge
ActionPump action
Effective firing range50 m (160 ft)
Feed system3+1 rounds, internal tubular magazine

The Masterkey project was initiated during the 1980s to provide assault rifles with a potent built-in door breaching tool. Individual soldiers were often forced to carry a breaching shotgun in addition to their standard issue rifle, but the Masterkey removes this need. The system consists of a Remington 870 12 gauge pump-action shotgun mounted on an M16 or M4 assault rifle in an underbarrel configuration, much like the M203 grenade launcher. It has a 3-round internal tubular magazine and can carry an additional round in the chamber, for a total of 4 rounds.

The shotgun can only be awkwardly operated independently because it has no grip behind the trigger—when firing the Masterkey, the rifle's magazine must be used as a makeshift pistol grip. Independent stocks and grips for the 870 are available for use, but they are incompatible with the M16 barrel mount. KAC makes an independent stock for the Masterkey that also can be used with the M203 grenade launcher.

The Masterkey inspired the M26 Modular Accessory Shotgun System, an attachable shotgun in use with the United States Army. The M26 was chosen by the Army over the Masterkey as a breaching tool.[1]

The weapon is named "Masterkey" in reference to its ability to "unlock" virtually any standard lock.

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  1. ^ Johnson, Steve (February 16, 2010). "The C-MORE M26 may be available to civilians". The Firearm Blog. Retrieved May 22, 2015.
  2. ^ "Paul+Howe+Somalia+(1).jpg". Retrieved May 22, 2015.

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