The Pancor Corporation Jackhammer is a 12-gauge, gas-operated automatic shotgun. It is one of very few fully automatic shotguns, and although patented in 1987, it never entered full-scale production. Only a few working prototypes of the Jackhammer were ever built; some sources state that only two fully automatic prototypes exist. In the late 1990s, the current owner of the design, Mark III, attempted to sell the patents, prototypes, and production rights for $350,000. Nonetheless, its distinctive appearance and futuristic, stylish design have made it popular in action television programs, films, and video games.
The firearm was designed by John Anderson of Pancor Industries in New Mexico. Reportedly, a number of foreign governments expressed interest in the design and even ordered initial production units once ready for delivery. However, the design was held up for production by the testing of the United States Department of Defense and the firearm design was eventually passed over in favor of existing 12 gauge weapons. DoD reportedly decided the development of suitable ammunition would be cost prohibitive and would not necessarily fulfill a viable need in the United States Arsenal. The fact Pancor was not part of the defense establishment, as were other military equipment manufacturers, may have also contributed to its rejection. The languishing of the design in administrative limbo caused Pancor to go bankrupt, as they could not fill foreign orders without the blessing of the State Department, and the State Department would not grant export licenses while it was being ostensibly tested by the Department of Defense. The assets of Pancor were sold off, including the few prototypes of the Jackhammer that were built.
The firearm, excluding the barrel, is constructed largely of a rynite plastic in order to reduce weight. It features a bullpup layout to preserve a 525mm barrel length in an overall 787mm package. The shotgun is fed by a 10-round capacity center-rotating drum using conventional 12-gauge cartridges. The shotgun weighs 4.57 kg and has a maximum rate of fire of 240 rpm. The drum’s method of rotation is very similar to the Webley-Fosbery semi-automatic revolver.
As an interesting additional feature, it is possible to take the drum magazine off the firearm, attach a detonator, and use it as an anti-personnel mine that fires all of the cartridges at once when tripped. The manufacturer advertised this as the “Beartrap.”