What is the SShh cartridge?
The SShh currently in preproduction is a 12 gauge 3 inch shell that gives relatively little noise by efficient use of fast-burning powders and innovative internal wad design. As a result, the report is relatively quiet, about like a 22 short. Velocity is in the subsonic ranges with bullets up to 500 grains tested. Many rounds have been fired in our proof of concept reloadable cartridges using all sorts of loadings, component design, and bullets. These rounds typically approximate the power of a 44 special or 45 Colt in terms of muzzle energy and close range terminal ballistics. Production shells are being designed with varied and expanded performance parameters as experimentation continues.
Any 12 gauge shotgun chambered for 3 inch shells can fire this cartridge. Versions for other chamber lengths have been tested as well. No attachments or modifications are needed. It will fit into magazines, cycle, chamber and eject normally. It will not cycle gas operated semiautomatics and may not cycle all recoil operated shotguns.
As with 22 shorts, CB caps and the many variations of such cartridges, the SShh is designed to have a quieter than standard report, in this case for a 12 gauge shotgun. As opposed to the 22 short, air rifles, and similar competing technologies the SShh 12 gauge slug offers enough energy for up close predator and pest control, without all of the noise and flash associated with a shotgun blast. The heavy, flat nose slug offers excellent penetration and knock-down power. It is not designed for distance shooting and although stabilized projectiles and shot loads have been tested, the initial offerings will be slug rounds. Military and police tactical teams should find several uses for a quieter 12 gauge slug. Door breaching by blowing away locks and hinges can be accomplished with this round without damaging the hearing of the operator, maintaining situational awareness and possibly extending tactical stealth for a few moments longer. Reduced noise in any tactical situation is a tremendous benefit for many obvious reasons. Because the SShh is a flash-less design, it is intrinsically safer to use in hazardous environments often encountered during raids on illegal drug manufacturing facilities. Additionally, recoil is reduced to very low levels, maintaining balance and speed for the operator.
It fits in your current 3 inch 12 gauge shotgun with no changes. Period.
It is quieter, softer shooting, and flash-proof for hazardous environments and night use.
It requires no additional training, licenses, equipment or expenditures. Easy on the budget.
Commercial availability expected in 2008.
What the Shooting Solutions Anti-RPG system is
The Shooting Solutions anti-RPG concept is remarkably simple: utilizing detection and response software currently in existence (commercial off-the-shelf technology) along with current weapons mounting and gun sluing platforms to control and direct fire from our high RPM belt fed shotgun, the SSgn. In effect, 90% of the system is up and running in the form of detection and tracking equipment demonstrated by various defense contractors around the world right now. But until now, no one has come up with the truly effective weapon to balance these systems and make them work as an effective tool, day in and day out.
From clay pigeons to metal rockets
Shotguns are the most versatile weapons in existence. From less than lethal through shot, slugs, gas, and fragmentation grenades, the modern 12 gauge can fire them all, with velocities approaching 2,000 FPS and payloads exceeding 50 BMG bullet weights. The variations of powder and payload with shotguns are enormous. Velocities can be varied as well as weight, shape, and makeup of the payloads to meet the demands of the target. The major shortcomings often cited for military use are weight, recoil, range, and ammunition payload, which is partly a weight and size consideration, and sustained fire limitations. Our weapon is designed for tripod or vehicle mounting, roughly matching the dimensions required for General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) installations. Given that it will be mounted on a vehicle for anti-RPG purposes, weight, recoil, and ammunition considerations become a non-issue. Limited range, on the other hand, far from being a shortcoming, is a benefit. Collateral damage and friendly fire hazards are reduced greatly because of the limited range of a shotgun. Up close, where most combat takes place, shotguns are devastating weapons. Beyond a few hundred meters, they are mostly a nuisance and much less lethal, payload dependent.
The ideal urban and close combat support weapon indeed. Being a belt fed weapon, Shooting Solutions SSgn can deliver fire as long as belts are supplied. Due to the close range and brief time frame that most RPG encounters take place, magnum 3.5 inch 12 gauge shells can put a cloud of tungsten projectiles between the rocket and the target, extending from the muzzle out past 50 meters in less than 0.2 seconds.
Payload for metal birds
Developments in clean, lead-free shot for waterfowl have brought us a very interesting tungsten based matrix pellet design from ENVIRON-Metal, Inc. called HEVI-Shot (1)(registered trademark). HEVI-Shot is more dense than lead and much, much harder. The pellets are manufactured with tungsten alloy, nickel and iron to a density of approximately 12 grams per cubic centimeter. (2)
Recent testing by Shooting Solutions with off the shelf 3.5 inch 12 gauge rounds shows considerable metal piercing capabilities of even smaller shot sizes such as number 4 and 6 shot (roughly .11 and .13 caliber). Patterns have also been remarkable, with approximately 90% of payloads within 3 inch circles at 40 yards documented. (3)
Tests planned by Shooting Solutions include loads of Number 1 Buckshot, which is approximately 30 caliber. A 3.5 inch 12 gauge will hold approximately 15 pellets of number 1 Buck. Published accounts of 0000 Buck (38 caliber pellets) HEVI-Shot have killed deer out to 150 yards. (4)
Developing the right payload for killing rockets is simply a matter of testing and evaluating the tradeoffs of pellet size and pellet count. Duplex loadings per shell are common with shotguns and a consideration for this application. And since this is a belt fed gun, various shell loadings can be placed within a belt. Dual weapon mounting expands this even further, in addition to putting more mass on target (or in the target's path) per second.
Volume of fire
The SSgn is designed to fire 3.5 inch 12 gauge shells at approximately 1,000 RPM. This is approximately 16.67 rounds per second, or 1.67 rounds per tenth of a second. More importantly, each round contains any number of projectiles. In the example of 30 caliber number 1 buckshot, approximately 15 projectiles per round. This translates into 250 projectiles per second or 15,000 projectiles per minute. These rates of fire exceed those of even Miniguns. Firing a tight pattern of hard, heavy projectiles at 457 mps into the path of an oncoming rocket at 294 mps will reach out and stop that incoming RPG rocket from striking its intended target.
If you have doubts about small projectiles doing significant damage to hard objects, observe an American 180 at work on concrete blocks firing the diminutive 22 long rifle soft lead bullet.
Pattern size and shape control.
What choke to use for all of these variables is solved by Shooting Solutions installing a powered variable choke tube (and flash hider) on the muzzle of the SSgn. Similar to a commercially available adjustable choke in concept, patterns can be varied and controlled by the operator. In the anti-RPG role, the detection and response software would select the appropriate choke setting for the range of the target. In the close support GPMG role, a gunner would control this feature at the trigger.
Early tests with dummy RPG-2 rockets indicate several possible vulnerabilities for the rocket. These include the PIBD fuse in the nose, the fins on the tail, and the surface areas of the warhead and rocket body. Much testing is needed in this regard as to actual outcome, but with the demonstrated metal piercing power of tungsten matrix pellets, there is high probability that a shot to the nose will either detonate or render inoperable the fuse. These shot have demonstrated fin destruction on an RPG-2 rocket, which will induce yaw, producing either a miss, or by presenting a side view to the shots fired, a destroyed rocket body. Either scenario is an acceptable outcome. Considerable live fire testing is required to optimize pattern density and hit probability as well as with selecting the appropriate projectile size and specific destructive capability. Admittedly RPG-2 rockets are not the same as the PG-7V and other rockets fired by the RPG-7 launcher, but the concept and outcome of engagement are the same. In concept, there is no reason why this weapon system cannot bring down RPG-29 and other warheads, which are slower and larger targets than RPG-7 rounds.
To our knowledge, this is the only anti-RPG weapon that simultaneously puts fire onto the launch area and the shooter, as well as the incoming warhead. The act of firing the SSgn at an incoming rocket (assuming the targeted vehicle is returning fire), the shooter, if in range, will receive fire before he can "scoot." This will force eventual strategy changes that move the shooter beyond the effective range of a shotgun. This also has the effect of allowing more time for the system to begin laying down a field of fire upon detection. And as opposed to a Phalanx-type system, the SSgn does not hose down the entire area with high-energy rifle caliber bullets. It is basically a shotgun, with minimal collateral damage potential.
Original concept and additional uses
The SSgn concept originated as a civilian crank fire gun to fill the need for a machine-gun replacement for the average Class III enthusiast who can no longer afford full auto guns. Less expensive than a Gatling and considerably more compact in design, we played with various caliber's until we hit upon a shotgun. A shotgun is low pressure, relatively inexpensive to feed and uses easy to find ammunition, plus it makes a lot of noise and throws a lot of firepower down range. At the same time, this range can be quite small if the shooter only loads birdshot, opening up the possibility of operating the gun in many locations. During this time, military use was discussed as a down the road possibility. After we realized that this weapon can bring down an RPG, we devoted our full efforts to this project,(5) putting all but one mature project (SShh) on the shelf. Additional thoughts on a belt fed 12 gauge for the military are many.
-With Frag-12 rounds loaded into a belt, the gun can offer close-in support not possible with a Mk-19 40 mm, plus at a higher rate of fire.
-Due to the low collateral damage potential of shot, roadblocks, street patrols and other urban type actions could improve security with this weapon. Up-armored Humvees could sustain friendly fire hits from the SSgn with little or no damage, utilizing armor tactics.
-Using this capability to clear suspected mines and IEDs from streets and sidewalks is a possible use due to low collateral damage potential.
-Static minefields could be replaced or supplemented with remote mounted sensor equipped guns. The analogy of a Claymore and the destructive power of a belt fed 12 gauge was not lost to us.
-Aircraft mounted versions for low and slow defensive and offensive applications have been contemplated as well. In conjunction with flares and other countermeasures, the SSgn has the ability to destroy or render ineffective fused and fin-stabilized AA munitions.
The best use may yet to be determined, as troops on the firing line usually work out ways to operate systems in ways that engineers never dreamed.
This we do know: creating a large and continuous stream or cloud of hardened projectiles can be destructive to a great many things.
1. Environ-Metal HEAVI-Shot http://www.hevishot.com/home.html
2. Ballistic Products, Inc. http://shop2.mailordercentral.com/bpicart/products.asp?dept=67
3. National Wild Turkey Federation http://www.nwtf.org/nwtf_newsroom/press_releases.php?id=11999
4. 0000 Super Buckshot Deer Load http://www.angelfire.com/mech/0000_super_buckshot/5. See "About Shooting Solutions LLC"