The High Standard Model 10B Shotgun

Too Much, Too Soon, Too Cool
; .

The High Standard Model 10 police shotgun was radically advanced for its day.
However, like many radically advanced ideas, this one needed a bit more refinement.

The year 1967 was an interesting one in America. This was when we Americans met our first true love — the Big Mac. The war in Vietnam was raging, while the chaos it precipitated on the home front threatened to tear America apart. Gas averaged 33 cents per gallon and a first-class postage stamp would set you back a nickel. The Federal minimum wage was $1.40. The most popular TV show in the country was Andy Griffith and the inimitable Aretha Franklin gifted the world with a little RESPECT. 1967 was also the year High Standard introduced their revolutionary Model 10 police shotgun.


On the range the Model 10B is an area weapon system.
Will’s copy consistently hits low and left.


Some of history’s greatest mechanical innovators were not the product of much formal schooling. Thomas Edison began working full time at age 13 and took but a single college-level course. Mikhail Kalashnikov dropped out of school after the Seventh Grade. Ronnie Barrett, the father of the Barrett M-82 anti-materiel rifle, was trained as a professional photographer. Similarly, Alfred Crouch, the designer of the radical Model 10 shotgun, was a Santa Monica police sergeant.

I have always enjoyed writing. To my recollection, the first short story I ever crafted was in seventh-grade English. It involved a giant mutant alligator threatening my hometown. The beast was ultimately dispatched via a concentrated airstrike by B-17 bombers. Though being objectively ghastly, my English teacher returned the effort with a kind word and a smile, so here we are. The point is I really couldn’t write coherently until I had experienced a little life. It is easiest to create in spaces where you have lived. So it was with Alfred Crouch.

SGT Crouch was a career cop and he knew what cops needed. Back in the 1960s, police officers packed wheelguns on their belts and scatterguns in their cars. Those few who carried patrol rifles availed themselves of GI-surplus M1 carbines or the occasional lever-action Winchester. The primitive tactical teams of the day might still have wielded Thompson submachine guns. For rank-and-file lawmen in need of a little extra firepower, it was the 12-bore or nothing at all.

The 12-gauge had the same benefits and shortcomings then as it does now. There’s literally nothing in the same league when it comes to man-portable knockdown power. A 1-oz. pure lead slug or eight .33-caliber 00 buckshot traveling at 1,400 feet per second mean not having to say you’re sorry in all the world’s recognized languages, but recoil is invariably a bear. It’s just Physics. Fight it if you want, but it’s the law.

Harnessing all this power meant big, long, heavy guns. While the Remington 870 is likely the most popular 12-gauge ever produced, it is undeniably bulky. SGT Crouch set out to build a better mousetrap.


And here is the Model 10B’s unforgivable sin — the rear sight is just a fixed
groove cut into the gun’s chassis, yet it doesn’t shoot to point of aim.


The first order of business was to make the gun shorter. Trimming barrel length reduced muzzle velocity and ran afoul of the inane dicta of the 1934 National Firearms Act. The obvious solution to creating a short shotgun while retaining its innate power was to design the gun with a bullpup architecture.

A bullpup weapon is a firearm wherein the fire controls are oriented ahead of the action. The British bolt-action Thorneycroft carbine designed in 1901 is generally recognized as the first practical example. Subsequent efforts include the Steyr AUG, the British SA-80, the Israeli Tavor and the FN P90. Were we being purists, most every autoloading handgun on the planet is a bullpup — considering the trigger assembly rides ahead of the feed mechanism.

After a lifetime of study, I have been unable to reliably divine the origins of this curious term. In the 1950s, “bullpup” meant a target pistol with an ornate stock. In the late 19th century, bulldog puppies were called “bullpups.” They were once described in print as, “squat and ugly but still aggressive and powerful.” Perhaps that’s it.

During World War II, the Japanese produced a weird little submachinegun called the Experimental Model 2. This bizarre yet compact weapon fed via a 50-round magazine oriented within the pistol grip and fired their standard anemic 8mm Nambu pistol cartridge. The Model 2 saw limited service with the Imperial Japanese Army as well as some Japanese Navy units. Radical though it was, the Model 2 didn’t work terribly well.

American GIs appreciated the rarity of the weapon when they infrequently captured an example. Somebody somewhere purportedly claimed the Model 2 was as rare as a “bull pup” and the name stuck. There’s no telling what the reality is, but this tale seems as good as any.


The weird rubber-coated buttplate pivots around the back of the
receiver to accommodate different firing positions — Standard …

Or for hip-shooting …

Hip shooting position of the 10B using the rotating butt plate.

Technical Details

SGT Crouch first started out with an autoloading Remington shotgun for his prototype, though he ultimately sold the idea to High Standard. They built the Model 10 around their C1200 Supermatic sporting 12-gauge autoloader. High Standard took the standard Supermatic receiver and encased it within a three-piece polymer stock. After equipping it with an extended trigger linkage, they had something markedly more compact.

In addition to the unconventional morphology, Crouch and friends incorporated a few other radical attributes to this most radical scattergun. The buttplate was a pivoting rubber-encased widget allowing the gun to be fired in any orientation both from the shoulder or from the hip. Magazines held four rounds with the option of an aftermarket two-round extension.

The carrying handle of the first M10A model incorporated a bulky D-cell plastic flashlight, a revolutionary idea for its day. However, the light mount was prone to cracking. As this was an integral part of the weapon’s structure, a failed light housing tended to deadline the gun. The later M10B had a mount for a removable flashlight instead. While an onboard weapon light was decades ahead of its time, all these primitive lights tended to fail over time under the gun’s heavy recoil.

There is a charging handle on each side of the weapon. The left-sided version on my gun has been bent by some overzealous ape at some point in the past but it yet remains fully functional. The right-sided example reciprocates with the bolt, while the left one does not. The weapon could only be fired right-handed due to the weapon’s ejection pattern. If run left-handed, the action would spit hot empties in your face. There is a prominent warning molded into the right side of the receiver reading, “CAUTION — DO NOT SHOOT FROM LEFT SHOULDER.”


The High Standard Model 10 developed a reputation for being
unreliable. However, Will’s copy runs like a lizard on hot asphalt.

When used as designed the Model 10B is actually quite
the comfortable, compact scattergun.

Tactical Details

At some point along the way, the Model 10 developed a reputation for unreliability. The High Standard company purportedly stated high-brass, full-power shells were required for optimal performance but it has not been my experience. My gun is a nicely maintained Model 10B and it runs with anything I feed it to include low-brass birdshot.

At 10 lbs. the Model 10 is undeniably portly. However, the stubby bullpup architecture puts the center of gravity over the firing hand so the weight doesn’t seem as onerous as might otherwise be the case. The Model 10 loads laboriously via a gate underneath the action as do most semiauto scatterguns.

Recoil is about what you might expect for an autoloading shotgun — stiff but tolerable. The gun’s ample mass helps offset it to a degree. Overall, the gun is rugged and handy. The inline design, also radical for its day, puts the line of recoil collinear with the firer’s shoulder to help mitigate muzzle rise. The pivoting buttplate is a curious novelty but I would have preferred it rigid. As it is, this free-spinning appendage serves to reliably tangle the sling.

The safety is a crossbolt pushbutton located ahead of the trigger guard. The trigger is a bit mushier than a more conventional shotgun due to its long mechanical linkage but not by much. The real issue is the sights.

There is a folding carrying handle located at the center of gravity on the Model 10B. The front sight on my M10B is a robust and generous folding blade. That’s great.

The rear sight, however, is just a slot cut in the top of the receiver. This wouldn’t be a big deal — it is, after all, indestructible. The rub is the gun does not shoot to its exact point of aim. At typical across-the-room ranges, my gun hits about 6″ left and comparably low. While it doesn’t make much difference while killing a lazy afternoon at the range, there’s no way a typical beat cop can remember to hold a little right and up when the Bad Guy has a gun of his own and surrounded by friendlies.


The High Standard Model 10B is on top alongside a registered Remington
870 short-barreled shotgun. Though both weapons are essentially the
same size, the Model 10 is technically more capable.


The High Standard Model 10 was originally voluntarily restricted to Law Enforcement. The company felt such advanced weaponry clearly had no place in the hands of mere civilians — a fairly adorable sentiment with the benefit of hindsight. After LE sales proved tepid, the manufacturer’s ideological zeal softened and they began selling the guns to private citizens.

The High Standard Model 10 production run spanned from 1967 to 1977. The Mexican Army as well as the Argentinian Army and Navy purchased a few of these guns for tactical use. A handful of American Law Enforcement agencies also drank the Kool-Aid, but rumors of questionable reliability killed the piece.

These days the Model 10 is little more than an historical novelty. At the time I was pulling this article together, I found two Model As for sale online with an asking price of around $1,300 but no takers. I found mine on maybe a decade ago. It was cheaper then.

The High Standard Model 10 was a great idea with some suboptimal execution. The quality on my gun appears to be superlative, but the lack of an adjustable rear sight dooms the piece. These days your local gun emporium is dirty with inexpensive bullpup 12-bores imported from Turkey. However, back in the days of free love, cheap dope and political upheaval aplenty, the Model 10 appeared to be the wave of the future.

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