Heckler & Koch HK CAWS

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Heckler & Koch HK CAWS
Type Bullpup automatic shotgun
Place of origin West Germany
Production history
Designer Heckler & Koch, Winchester
Weight 3.7 kg (8.2 lb) empty
4.3 kg (9.5 lb) loaded
Length 762 mm (30.0 in)
Barrel length 457 mm (18.0 in)

Cartridge 12 Gauge Belted (18.5×76 mmR)
Rate of fire 200-300 rounds/min
Muzzle velocity 488-538 m/s
Effective firing range 150 m (160 yd)
Feed system 10-round detachable box magazine
Sights Iron sights

The Heckler & Koch HK CAWS (H&K CAWS) is a prototype automatic shotgun—designed as a combat shotgun—co-produced by Heckler & Koch and Winchester/Olin during the 1980s. It was Heckler & Koch's entry into the U.S military's Close Assault Weapon System program.

It is a 10-round, 12-gauge, bullpup shotgun with two firing modes: semi-auto and full-auto. The gun is fully ambidextrous.


The CAWS program started in the early 1980s in the United States. The main goal of this program was to develop a new generation personal firearm, capable of firing high-impulse, multiple projectiles with effective range of 100–150 meters. Using multiple projectiles should increase the chances of hitting the target in combat. One of the teams entered in the CAWS race was Heckler & Koch Germany, coupled with Winchester Corp. USA. Heckler & Koch was responsible for developing a weapon, while Winchester was responsible for the development of new types of ammunition. Although tested by the U.S. military, the CAWS was canceled, and production, both military and civilian, has halted.

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Referenced in popular culture in the Fallout 2 video game (1998), various pen-and-paper roleplaying supplements of the early 90s (f.ex. Twilight 2000: Infantry Weapons of the World, 1991, ISBN 1558780688) and modern thrillers (f.ex. Seal Team Seven 02: Specter, Keith Douglass, ISBN 0425248178).

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