If these guns don't give the anti-gun folks
palpitations, I don't know what will.
They give me the willies just looking at them!
SPAS-12 was imported
to the U.S. in the mid-1980s, but despite efforts by Italian
manufacturer, Franchi S.p.a., to tone down the threatening 'look' of
this shotgun, to get it past U.S. gun import restrictions (can you
say assault ban?), the SPAS-12 (Sporting
was found to be anything but sporting by the Bureau of Alcohol,
Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
Guess it was the
gun's perforated heat shield (to prevent operator burns), folding
metal stock and pistol grip that alarmed the folks at ATF. Doesn't
hunt cottontails with such a scattergun?
The SPAS-12 was
designed by Italian gun makers in the 1970s with Italian police and
the military in mind. Its successor, SPAS-15 arrived on the American
scene at the turn of the 21st
The SPAS-12 was produced from 1979 to 2000. It tips the
scales at about 10 pounds and has an overall length of 41 inches with
the stock extended. Folded, the gun has an appreciably lower profile,
with the hook/metal stock used as a neat carrying handle or an aid to
single-hand shooting in semi-auto.
Perhaps the coolest feature of SPAS-12 and SPAS-15 are
these guns' ability to convert quickly from pump action to
semi-automatic by depressing a button located atop the guns' fore
grip and sliding/locking the grip into place. In such manner,
semi-auto operation can be converted quickly to pump action in case
the operator wants to load special low-pressure rounds like bean bag
or tear gas rounds.
Both guns have an effective range out to about 130
SPAS-12 has an 8-round, internal tube magazine (1 round
in the hole), and the gun is chambered for 2 3/4-inch 12 gauge. Of
note: The gun's rate of fire is 4 rounds per second in semi-auto.
laying down some lead!
SPAS-12 has either wood (earlier versions) or synthetic
The gun has varying barrel lengths, making the platform
multi-purpose and user friendly.
SPAS-15 has a 3- or a 6-round detachable box magazine.
Although a handful of European and Asian countries
maintain SPAS-12 or 15 in their arsenals, neither gun has sold
copious numbers to civilian, military or paramilitary markets. That
said, if you own either weapon, especially the SPAS-12, consider
yourself a fortunate gun collector, indeed.