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Small arms makers are also attracted by the exterior ballistic performance and armor-piercing potential of flechettes, and a number of attempts have been made to field flechette-firing small arms.

During the Vietnam War the United states employed 12 gauge combat shotguns that were used with flechette loads that consisted of around 20 flechettes per shell. The USSR/Russian federation had/has the AO-27 rifle, and other countries have their own flechette rounds.

The US Biological Program also had a microflechette to deliver either botulinum toxin A or saxitoxin, the M1 Biodart, which resembled a 7.62 mm rifle cartridge.

A number of prototype flechette-firing weapons were developed as part of the long-running Special Purpose Individual Weapon (SPIW) project. Some of these showed up as entries in the Advanced Combat Rifle project as well.

An interesting variation of the flechette that addresses its difficulties is the SCMITR, developed as part of the Close Assault Weapon System, or CAWS, project. This project involved selective-fire, flechette-firing shotguns. The SCMITR was designed to retain the exterior ballistics and penetration of the standard flechette, but increase wounding ability by providing a wider wound path.

Dragon's Breath

Dragon's Breath refers to a zirconium-based pyrotechnic shotgun round. When the round is fired, sparks and occasionally flames shoot out to about 15 m (48 feet), beyond 15 metres, the round's already limited effectiveness is drastically reduced.

While its tactical uses are very limited, the visual effect it produces is impressive, similar to that of a short-ranged flamethrower. The rounds are often used as a distress signal, similar to an emergency flare gun. They can also be used as means of intimidation to the opposing forces. The pyrotechnic shell is expensive compared to other shells, costing around $5 per shell. Although there is little to no record of its use in actual combat, Dragon's Breath can be considered an anti-personnel round. However, the potential damage it can cause on an enemy combatant can be considered inhumane.

Note: Because it is a very low power round, it cannot be used in an automatic shotgun. It does not produce enough recoil energy to cycle the next shot, causing the mechanism to jam.

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