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Franchi SPAS-12 is a combat shotgun manufactured by Italian firearms company Franchi from 1979 to 2000. The SPAS-12 is a dual-mode shotgun, adjustable for semi-automatic or pump-action operation. The SPAS-12 was sold to military and police users worldwide, as well as on the civilian market, and has been featured in many filmsTV shows, and video games.

The appearance and intended purpose of the SPAS-12 initially led to its “military” designation as a combat shotgun. The SPAS-12 was designed from the ground up as a rugged military shotgun, and it was named the Special Purpose Automatic Shotgun. In 1990, Franchi renamed the shotgun the Sporting Purpose Automatic Shotgun, which allowed continued sales to the United States as a limited-magazine-capacity, fixed-stock model until 1994. Following the United States Federal Assault Weapons Ban, imports of SPAS-12 shotguns to the United States were stopped. In September 2004 the ban expired, but Franchi ended production of the SPAS-12 in 2000 to focus on the manufacturing of the SPAS-15 model.[citation needed] The SPAS-12’s factory retail price in its final year was US$1,500 averaged for its final sales outside the United States to non-restricted countries.[1]


SPAS 12 with a shot diverter

The SPAS-12 was designed to function primarily in semi-automatic mode, with the pump-action mode used to reliably fire low-pressure ammunition such as tear gas rounds or less-lethal bean bags. The firing mode is switched by depressing the button under the fore-grip and also sliding it forwards or backwards until it clicks into position allowing the rotating sleeve to open or close the two gas ports.

The semi-automatic mode functions with a short-stroke gas piston system. When a shell is fired, the pressure makes the bolt move rearward but the bolt will stop before opening as it deploys a single top locking lug. The gas vents into the barrel and the gas port is located towards the end of the barrel. From the gas port, the gas vents downwards into the gas block where it pushes the piston rearward. Because of the presence of the magazine tube and to avoid the use of a top-mounted gas system, the gas block and the piston are annular, along with the piston spring they enclose the magazine tube. Once operated, the piston drives 2 symmetrical thin sprung operating rods located in the corners formed by the barrel and the magazine tube. As the rods push the bolt carrier rearward, it disengages the locking lug and drives the bolt rearward, allowing the system to cycle.

The Franchi SPAS-12 has a magazine cut-off feature, which prevents the magazine from releasing a new round when the action is cycled. This allows the operator to load a different type of round into the chamber without first unloading the chambered round, and the second that would otherwise subsequently be released from the magazine.

A unique feature of the folding-stock variants is the butt hook. With the stock extended, the hook can be pushed in and turned 90 degrees to the left or right, to fit under the user’s forearm. This is to enable the shotgun to be fired with one hand; e.g. while abseiling/rappelling, or from a vehicle window while driving. The hook can be released from the buttplate completely by turning 180 degrees.

Franchi SPAS-12 models feature two safeties: (i) a lever style or push button style safety, and (ii) a “quick employment safety”. Lever safeties were recalled by Franchi and were replaced through the importer American Arms in the early 1990s.[a] There are two types of push-button safeties. The earliest version would release the hammer on a safe up to 1/4in. of travel when the trigger was depressed; this would cause a lockup of the action that would require the user to re-lock the bolt assembly to the rear to reset the hammer and then reload the chamber. The later version installed a detent and machined hole in the trigger group frame to prevent an action lock; the detent would prevent the hammer from engaging when the trigger was depressed and would prevent an action lock from occurring. The quick employment safety, which is on the left side of the trigger guard, disconnects the trigger when put into safe mode. The quick employment safety can be disengaged with the trigger finger when ready to fire and is intended for competition or tactical use. A third safety type, a pistol grip safety similar to the later-developed SPAS-15, is known to have been developed by Franchi for the Franchi SPAS-12, however, the pistol grip safety was not offered for sale to the general public.

A B-Square rail mount for optics was available for a short time in the 1990s as an aftermarket accessory.

The barrel of the Franchi SPAS-12 was externally threaded to accept a variety of attachments. The barrel is cylinder bored and spreads a normal shot charge to about 900mm at 40 meters.

There are four different Magazine Extension Tubes manufactured for the Franchi SPAS-12:

  1. The 5-shell was designed for the 18″ barrel.
  2. The 6-shell was designed for restriction on the standard 21.5″ Sporting Purpose model.
  3. The 7-shell was designed for the 19 7/8″ Barrel.
  4. The 8-shell was designed for the 21.5 Special purpose model.

Many choke types original and aftermarket exist for the Franchi SPAS-12.[2] A 44mm grenade launcher used by France was used for explosive grenades capable of a range of 150 meters.[3] A factory shot diverter that spreads shot vertically or horizontally was originally included with earlier model SPAS-12’s, There are many known reproduction diverters.[4]

SPAS-12, SAS-12 and LAW-12 model differences[edit]

Two shotguns—the top one with a folding stock and the bottom one with a fixed stock
Two of the most commonly found Franchi SPAS-12 variants: the folding-stock version (with an eight-round magazine extension) by F.I.E Corp and the fixed-stock version (with a six-round magazine extension) by American Arms Inc.
(Top) Fixed Stock 1990 Sporting Purpose SPAS-12 receiver. (Middle) A rare Choate-made aftermarket AR-15 grip-style skeleton stock on a 1987 SPAS-12. (Bottom) Special Purpose Collector SPAS from 1982 with the folding stock and hook.
Franchi Barrel Length SPAS-12 21-1/2″ Bbl VS 19-7/8″ Bbl

Four different stock styles exist. The first version of the Franchi SPAS-12 was manufactured with a wooden detachable stock and a standard grip. Later models included the folding metal stock with a hook. After the United States imposed import restrictions on the SPAS-12 in 1989, a version was released in 1990 with the synthetic hollow fixed stock and a six-shell capacity to comply with federal regulations for sporting purposes.

Four different factory barrels were manufactured for the SPAS-12.

  1. (Very Rare) 18-inch (46 cm) “shorty” made for Law Enforcement/Military and originally distributed mainly in France. This is the only known model to receive the pistol grip safety.[5]
  2. (Very Rare) 19-7/8 in. found scattered on very few of the 1983 “AL” proofed SPAS-12 Shotguns. These were made for Law Enforcement/Military originally.
  3. (Common to the United Kingdom) 21-1/2″ as a one-piece barrel converted to a 24″ UK legal barrel. This barrel adds with a 2.5-inch (6.4 cm) choke tube brazed or silver-soldered in place).[6]
  4. (Most Common) The standard 21-1/2″ with sight blade muzzle ended on the barrel for the special purpose model or the pushed back sight blade with brazed extension for the sporting purpose model.

The Franchi SPAS-12 came equipped with a non-adjustable circular aperture rear sight and a large, non-adjustable blade foresight integrated into the barrel. The LAW-12 was semi-automatic only and the SAS-12 was a pump action only. These three “sister” shotguns accepted all Franchi SPAS-12 components, notably trigger groups, barrel threaded attachments and stocks. The various magazine extension tubes of the LAW-12 and SAS-12 were never designed to be interchangeable with the SPAS-12 as this would cause issues with the gas selector switch moving from Auto to Pump action on the SPAS-12 model.[7] The extensions have been known to spin off the front of the SPAS-12 during cycling if the extension was not tapered for the SPAS-12 retaining pin.

The pump-action Franchi SAS-12 could accept 3″ shells but it did not have a bolt handle cut in the bolt body. The SPAS and LAW could only accept 234” shells. The Franchi SPAS-12 has a barrel length of 21.5″, an overall length of 41.5″, a weight of 7 lbs. 4 oz. and a capacity of 8 rounds in the magazine + 1 in the chamber.

The semi-automatic-only Franchi LAW-12 Model was also restricted by importation in 1989 and banned in 1994 with the Federal Assault Weapons Ban. The LAW-12 has a barrel length of 21.5″ a weight of 7 lbs. 4 oz. and a capacity of 8 rounds in the magazine + 1 in the chamber. The model was known to have been imported with all stock styles used on the Franchi SPAS-12. The LAW-12 models were more common with police sales as an alternative to the more expensive SPAS-12 for departments throughout the United States. The LAW-12 model was notably lighter ” 1.35 lbs. ” than the SPAS-12 and still maintained the same tube capacity of 8+1 shells. Note Law-12 gas pistons were designed as two pieces unlike the one-piece design of the SPAS-12, they are not interchangeable. The LAW-12 was discontinued by Franchi shortly before the SPAS-12 was discontinued in 2000.

US market[edit]


Franchi SPAS-12 with butt hook attached to stock

In the United States, there were two importers of SPAS-12 shotguns. Importation of the SPAS-12 into the United States began in 1982 and ended in 1989 under F.I.E. Corp. In 1989, F.I.E. suffered from major losses in sales due to the president’s importation ban, which was a reinterpretation of 18 U.S.C. 925(d)(3) that required firearms to have a “sporting purpose” in order to be imported.

In 1990 American Arms incorporated purchased all remaining inventories of parts and SPAS-12 shotguns from the now-bankrupt F.I.E Corp and began the re-importation of the Franchi SPAS-12 as the (Sporting Purpose Automatic Shotgun) under newly approved restrictions until 1994. The ATF allowed the importation of a SPAS-12 variant from American Arms because its size, weight, bulk and modified configuration were such that it was particularly suitable for traditional shooting sports.[8]

The SPAS-12 was tested by the U.S. Coast Guard and showed promising results but again was not considered cost-effective for a contract over other available suppliers. The Assault Weapons Ban of September 1994 caused American Arms to stop the importation of the SPAS-12 with major losses of sales due to the legal restrictions invoked by the U.S. Assault Weapons Ban.[9]

Both importers placed numerous additional orders for the SPAS-12 that were never completely filled due to U.S. restrictions throughout importation. This was the reason for such few numbers of shotguns imported into the United States.[10]


SPAS-12 with a fixed stock, a scope, & a shot diverter

In the United States, between September 1994 and September 2004, the Federal Assault Weapons Ban prohibited the transfer and possession of SPAS-12 shotguns manufactured after September 13, 1994. The ban sunset on September 13, 2004 and is no longer in force.[11] However, some U.S. States and territories currently maintain similar bans, including California,[12] Connecticut,[13] District of Columbia,[14] Maryland,[15] Massachusetts,[16] New Jersey,[17] and New York.[18]

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Franchi spas 12 for sale Online USA

Franchi spas 12 for sale are among the most distinguishable firearms around, and none may be as recognizable as the Franchi SPAS-12. Whether you know it from the Terminator or Jurassic Park movies or from pretty much any shooting game in the past thirty years, the SPAS-12 is one of the most well-known shotguns in the world. Originally, Franchi distributed the Spas-12 for military and law enforcement, but they eventually went on to offer it to civilian as a sporting weapon. Primarily designed for combat, it excelled as an anti-riot gun due to its rapid-fire, accessorizing ability, and capacity to fire non-lethal ammo available at

ASG - Franchi SPAS-12 Shotgun - 3-burst - Sportline - 18554 best price |  check availability, buy online with | fast shipping

Although the Spas-12 is still used around the world by military and police, it didn’t last long as a civilian weapon. Although quite intimidating, the Franchi shotgun proved to be too awkward to be a practical hunting or competition shotgun. Furthermore, the United States eventually banned the Spas-12 as a result of its “militaristic” design. This blow to Franchi’s sales in addition to its limited market prompted them to end production of the Spas-12 in 2000, ending its two-decade reign. However, its influence and notoriety carried on, especially after Franchi went on to craft the Spas-15, which we’ll get to later. In today’s Gunivore review, we’re going to be breaking down the historic Spas-12 and see how it became one of the most renowned shotguns in the world available at

Franchi franchi spas 12 for sale  Build & Construction

Although the Franchi Special Purpose franchi spas 12 for sale was offered in several configurations, its basic design is immediately noticeable. The first thing most people spot on these shotguns is their folded metal stock. However, Franchi also manufactured the Spas-12 with detachable wooden and synthetic stocks. That being said, you could easily argue that the forend handguard that envelops most of the tube magazine, was its most distinguishing feature.

ASG Franchi SPAS-12 Tactical Shotgun — AirsoftEire

As a combat weapon primarily, the Spas-12 was commonly fired from the hip. As a result, sights were optional and somewhat uncommon. However, users who preferred a standard sight system had the option of a rear aperture iron and front blade sights.
In one of their more unusual attempts at improving the Spas, Franchi offered a metal butt hook attached to the rear of the stock. They had hoped that this would boost its one-handed shooting ability, but it proved to be impractical considering the Spas’ heavy build and powerful recoil.

Magazines for the Franchi SPAS-12 Semi-Automatic

As a combat firearm, franchi spas 12 for sale wanted to offer several magazine extension tubes for a variety of tactical situations. Consequently, they manufactured 5, 6, 7, and 8 shell tubes for the Spas-12. Franchi also incorporated the not so common magazine cut-off feature on their shotguns as an added safety measure. The benefit to the mag cut-off is that it allows the shooter to unload the chamber and change loads without having to cycle a shell from the mag. This can be useful when hunting different animals or in riot situations when switching between lethal and non-lethal rounds.

Whether you know the SPAS 12 from Terminator, Jurassic Park, or the shotgun’s inclusion in countless video games over the last two decades, the Franchi SPAS 12 has become one of the world’s most famous gun models. Primarily designed as a close combat weapon for military and law enforcement use, the franchi spas 12 for sale large heat shield, metallic folding stock, and distinctive butt hook give the gun a unique profile that stands out in any firearms collection.

A Spas 12 shotgun for sale this June at Rock Island Auction Company.

The Franchi franchi spas 12 for sale Semi-Shotgun

The SPAS 12 was manufactured in 1979 by the Italian company Luigi Franchi as a special-purpose automatic shotgun. Franchi’s SPAS 12 design was inspired in part by the High Standard Model 10, an American-made 12 gauge semi-auto bullpup shotgun developed in the late 1950s to be either shoulder-fired or fired one-handed with the swiveling buttstock braced against the bicep of the shooting arm. Like its franchi spas 12 for sale successor, the intention was to provide law enforcement and Special Forces with a versatile tactical shotgun.


There are a number of Franchi SPAS 12 shotguns for sale online in the USA, both new and used[1]. One option is, which has a used Franchi SPAS 12 semi-automatic and pump-action shotgun for sale[2]. D4 Guns also has a Franchi SPAS 12 for sale, which is in great condition and is considered more desirable by collectors[3].

ASG Franchi SPAS-12 Tactical Shotgun — AirsoftEire

Both of these sites have other Franchi SPAS 12 shotguns available, as well as various other firearms. It is important to note that laws and regulations regarding firearms purchasing vary by state and it is important to research and comply with all applicable laws and regulations before making a purchase.

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