Ukraine conflict drives shotgun innovation in antidrone warfare

Ukraine conflict drives shotgun innovation in antidrone warfare

Story by PJU

• 1h • 2 min read


Benelli M4 shotgun - illustrative photo

Benelli M4 shotgun - illustrative photo© Benelli USA

The war in Ukraine has become the most intense battleground for drones in the world, leading to an intense search for cheap methods of eliminating them. One of the most cost-effective ways is using shotguns, with special ammunition developed to increase the effective range by up to three times. Let’s explore the secret behind this innovation.

During the recent Eurosatory defense trade show, where the “heavyweights” like future tanks were showcased, there was room for other weapons. One of the physically small but pressing problems is equipping infantry soldiers with a cheap and lightweight way to kinetically eliminate drones.

According to Defense News, many companies producing small arms presented solutions to the drone problem at Eurosatory. Among them was Benelli Armi, famous for its shotguns designed for law enforcement, hunters, and sports shooters, and a member of the Beretta Holding group.

The company showcased ALDA antidrone ammunition, which stands for anti-light drone ammunition. This was designed to combat drones weighing less than 55 pounds at distances between 262 and 394 feet. This marks significant progress. For instance, in the war in Ukraine, soldiers using shotguns with lead hunting or sporting ammunition have an effective range against drones of only 98-131 feet.

A Benelli Armi representative told Defense News that for $3,100, you can get a highly effective shotgun (most likely the Benelli M4, available in Poland for around 9,000 PLN) and a supply of 1,000 rounds of ammunition, which will last a long time. An experienced shooter can eliminate a drone from 295 feet in just a few seconds using this antidrone ammunition.

Shotguns as antidrone weapons - a different shot material key to increased effectiveness

Unfortunately, the details about the new ammunition are unknown, but it can be assumed that a different shot material than lead or steel (recently used for ecological reasons) was employed. Tungsten, for example, is used in programmable ammunition systems like Skynex, tank ammunition, and the special Alternative Warhead of the GMLRS M31A1 rockets. It is ideal here.

The key here is the density of tungsten, which is 70 percent greater than lead and as much as 150 percent greater than steel. When targeting drones, kinetic energy is crucial, and the mass of the projectiles plays a significant role. Therefore, with identical volume and muzzle velocity (since each weapon has pressure resistance limits), tungsten shot can effectively destroy drones at greater distances compared to hunting or sporting ammunition.

Read also:

Drones vs electronic warfare. The new frontline in Ukraine conflict

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Not very long range, but I figured a few Dragons Breath rounds could deal with any drones looking at my acreage.


Thank you for this article I wondered when we would see long barrel shotguns become a topic. Growing up in South Carolina, quail and doves were our target bird and drones under 100 yards ( 300 feet ) should be easier than doves. A shot gun with a barrel of at least 30" and advanced shells should go well on the Ukraine side. Now if we can just hide this from ruzzia and the putinestas


:thinking: I wonder how hard they kick?


My Remington 1100 has a 28” barrel. I wonder how the new shotgun deer slugs would work? They are good out to 100 yards or more.

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@William191 What do you mean by “new shotgun deer slugs”? :slightly_smiling_face:
The sabots.

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I think that’s them. I don’t hunt anymore and have only read some reviews. You probably know more about it than me.

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Mine also with a Modified fixed choke and will shoot a 6inch group at 100yds. with a raised bead front sight. I use the Remington Slugger.



If you were referring to the Sabot slugs. No, they will not shoot accurately out of a smoothbore, they need a rifled barrel.


green hexagon number 1

Delivers dramatically superior accuracy

green hexagon number 2

Provides controlled expansion at all range
12 Gauge: 5-200 yards
20 Gauge: 5-150 yards

green hexagon number 3

At all distances. 98% at 100 yards for 12 gauge and 20 gauge

green hexagon number 4

Made from high-strength cartridge brass

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Making them usable against drone I speculate.

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I suspect most drones would be very difficult to hit with a single projectile. They probably don’t spend a lot of time hovering in one spot on the battle field and are likely kept on the move. I would think any old rifle round would take out the vast majority of drones out there that could be taken out with a slug. Hitting them is the problem.

Sounds like they are resorting to some old fashioned bird and skeet shooting tactics. But looks like they are using pellets made out of heavier metals to increase the effective range.


Time for tracer 22lr!

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