The Close Assault Weapon System (CAWS for short) is a prototype automatic shotgun developed by AAI Corporation.
The AAI CAWS, developed at the Crane Naval Weapons Support Center, was submitted to the Close Assault Weapon System program. It was never adopted as the project fell through.
The CAWS was a recoil-operated shotgun. The CAWS reused the M16 assault rifle's pistol grip and stock, the latter of which being removable so that the weapon could be made more compact for close quarters combat situations. Its profile was designed similarly to the M16 to allow for easier familiarization for troops in the field.
Recoil was said to be about the same as the M16, and that it was easy to control even with its high rate of fire, thanks to its muzzle brake.
It is capable of firing specialized loads, such as the SCMITR, a shotgun shell packed with eight flechettes, and the "Machete" shell, which used bladed projectiles. With a special adapter, it can fire standard 12 gauge loads.
It can use either a reflex optical scope or traditional iron sights.