It’s become fashionable to resuscitate the names of old gun manufacturers, when the original firms have left the gun market or are tuning up their harps in the Great Beyond of corporate afterlife… pining for the fjords, as it were. One of the latest is Inland, originally a division of General Motors that was pressed into service making war materials, including firearms (notably M1, M1A1, M2 and M3 Carbines) during World War II. We’ve shown you the Inland carbines before. They’re nice enough, but are up against originals that are still available in quantity.
But another Inland repop is a bit surprising — the M37 military shotgun. To tell the truth, we didn’t know that the USG ever used the original M37 of the Ithaca Gun Company. We always had Winchesters (M12s, which were good, and M1200s, which weren’t) and in more recent years Remington 870s or Mossbergs which we think were COTS purchases, not from the regular procurement system. As far as the Ithaca M37 goes, we seem to recall seeing it in Vietnam photos of Marines.
We never found much use for a combat shotgun, although a running buddy in Afghanistan liked the high/low mix of M14 and sawn-off 870. The one time he fired the 870 around us, he was responding to an Afghan’s insistence that nobody in the village knew where the lock to the cave door was. (Yes, there is a such thing as a locked cave door in Afghanistan. Or there was before Bryan blew it to Kingdom Come. After which, the village elder remembered where he left his key ring, mirabile dictu. Allah truly does work in strange ways, habibi).
Anyway, Shawn at Loose Rounds shares Bryan’s fondness for the military 12-bore, and the new M37 spoke to him:
[W]hen I got to the NRA 2016 show… I wanted to see that M37 in the worst way. I was not let down. After just a few minutes of handling it, I asked for a T&E sample.
Sample in hand, he took these atmospheric M37 pictures with Vietnam-era web gear and uniforms, including some things popular in SF, like the Bata boots and the Gerber Mk II fighting knife.
Then he traced the ancestry of the M37 from John Browning on down:
The Ithaca as a military “trench gun” is likely not as well known by many. The action of the shotgun would look familiar to a lot of hunters out there. Though the first thing you may think when seeing its action is the Mossberg 500, it and the 500 are really a simplified version of the most excellent Remington Model 31 shotgun. The M31 itself an evolution from the M17. The Model 17 designed by no less than John Browning himself.
When Shawn gets a T&E sample, he doesn’t take a few pictures and send it back. He wrung this thing out for months. Some conclusions:
The short riot/trench shotgun is a pleasure to handle. It’s fast and easy to work with and the slick action is as fast as lightening. The original M37s would indeed “slam fire” but this one will not. As I understand it, this was done at the request of Inland when having the guns put together for them by Ithaca prior to the converting to “trench gun.” I know some will gripe about this, but let it go. It’s a fact of modern America that lawyers and sue happy anti-gun activists would salivate at trying to prove the gun defective in court. For those who do not know,” slamfire” refers to the lack of a disconnector in the originals that lets the hammer fall as long as you hold the trigger back. Just like the M12 and M97 etc.
Do go to LooseRounds.com and Read The Whole Thing™. There are videos of the gun being fired, pictures of targets shot for accuracy, etc.
Kevin was a former Special Forces weapons man (MOS 18B, before the 18 series, 11B with Skill Qualification Indicator of S). His focus was on weapons: their history, effects and employment. He started WeaponsMan.com in 2011 and operated it until he passed away in 2017. His work is being preserved here at the request of his family.