||This article may require copy editing for grammar and general understandability. (April 2013)|
SPAS-12 with detachable wooden stock and shot diverter.
|Place of origin||Italy|
|Used by||See Users|
|Weight||4.4 kg (8.75 lb)|
|Length||1041 mm (41 in), stock extended|
|Barrel length||546 mm (22 in)|
|Cartridge||12 gauge 2¾ inch shells only|
|Action||Pump-action / gas-actuated|
|Rate of fire||Semi-automatic up to 4 rounds per second.|
|Effective range||Dependent on ammunition used|
|Feed system||8+1 rounds, internal tube magazine|
The SPAS-12 is a combat shotgun that was manufactured by the Italian firearms company Franchi S.p.A. from 1979 to 2000. Only 5% or 1850 estimated SPAS-12 shotguns were imported into the U.S. The SPAS-12 is a dual-mode shotgun, meaning it can be set to cycle either semi-automatically or through pump-action. The SPAS-12 has sold well to military and police users around the world, as well as to the civilian market, and has been featured in various movies and TV shows. The Franchi factory price in the last year of production 2000, listed for approx. USD. $1500.00 each shotgun for the worldwide market.
The appearance and intended purpose of the SPAS-12 initially led to its 'combat' arrangement. Franchi named the model the Sporting Purpose Automatic Shotgun in 1990 after the importation ban of 1989 when it was called prior the Special Purpose Automatic Shotgun. This allowed continued sales to the U.S. as a limited magazine capacity, fixed stock model until 1997 with the Assault Weapons Ban the shotgun was never imported into the U.S. thereafter. In September of 2004 the Ban had expired but Franchi had already stopped the production of the SPAS-12 since 2000. 
The SPAS 12 was designed to function primarily as a semi-automatic firearm, with the pump-action mode used to reliably fire low-pressure ammunition such as tear gas rounds or less-lethal bean bags. Switching between firing modes is done by pressing a button under the foregrip, and sliding the foregrip slightly forwards or backwards until it clicks into position. Pump action mode was however rather slow and ungainly when compared to traditional pump action guns due to the complexity of the changeover mechanism and the friction of the fore-grip with the hand-guard.
The SPAS-12 has a magazine cut-off feature that can prevent the loading of a new round from the internal magazine when the gun is cycled. This allows the operator to load a specialized round into the chamber without going through the entire magazine first. Another unique feature of the SPAS-12 was the hook seen on folding stock variants. This hook could be rotated in 90 degree increments so that it would fit under the user's forearm when the stock was extended. With the stock supported under the forearm the gun could theoretically be fired with one hand, allowing the user to fire around cover or use their support hand for other tasks. In reality the sheer weight of the gun, which is substantially higher than a more traditional shotgun, made such usage unlikely if not impossible for the average user. In addition the difficulty in aiming and coping with the recoil of one handed use consign such usage more towards the realms of Hollywood fantasy than practical utility.
Early SPAS-12 models featured a lever-type safety, but over time it would begin discharging the firearm when switched on or off. This was eventually recalled by Franchi and replaced by a push-button crossbolt safety. Many guns remain with the lever-type safety so caution should be used.
The barrel of the SPAS 12 was externally threaded to accept a wide variety of attachments, from chokes to gas grenade launchers. One interesting and particularly rare attachment, called a "diverter", spread shot vertically or horizontally. All barrel attachments are considered rare, and demand premium pricing on the secondhand market.
The first and most common variant of the SPAS-12 came with a metal folding stock and had a magazine capacity of eight rounds. Early models could be had with a detachable wooden stock, though this is rarely seen. After the United States imposed import restrictions on the type in 1989, a version was released in 1990 with a synthetic fixed stock and five or seven round capacity to comply with federal regulations for sporting purpose. Various barrel lengths were seen on the SPAS-12, ranging from a 18" "shorty" to a 24" UK legal barrel length (in reality a standard 21" barrel with a 3" choke-tube permanently brazed or silver soldered in place). The most common barrel lengths encountered are 21" and the slightly less common 19.5". From 1982 to 2000 a SPAS-12L model was manufactured and was made for law enforcement only until 1994 in the U.S. This included all the original pre 1990 features not allowed for U.S. civilians. After the AWB expiration in 2004. The SPAS-12L were sold on the U.S. civilian markets as existing import shotguns or (Grand Fathered Imports) from 1994 and prior. To identify the production year of a SPAS-12 receiver identify the two digit letter code forward of the loading port. This letter code identifies the year it was manufactured by proof mark. Any SPAS-12 shotgun marked by a year after 1994 is considered an illegal importation and carries a severe federal penalty for possession inside the U.S.
The SPAS-12 came equipped with a non-adjustable circular aperture rear sight and a large, non-adjustable blade foresight integral with the barrel.
Franchi released five other shotguns based on the SPAS-12 platform; the LAW-12, SAS-12, PA-3, PA-7 and PA-8. The LAW-12 was semi-automatic only while the SAS-12 was pump-action only. These five "sister" shotguns accepted all SPAS-12 accessories and could share many other components, notably the trigger packs and stocks. The SAS was unusual in that it could accept 3" shells, while the SPAS and LAW could only accept 2¾" shells. The PA-7 and PA-8 had many similar attributes and were mainly used by Italy and Spain. http://weaponsystems.net/weapon.php?weapon=AA03%20-%20PA-7
The Franchi SPAS-15 is the successor to the SPAS-12. It is also a semi-automatic/pump shotgun, but uses box magazines instead of the internal tube magazine of the SPAS-12. Approximately 180 SPAS-15 models were imported into the U.S. until 1997.
- Austria: Used by EKO Cobra.
- Bangladesh: Special Security Force.
- Bahrain: Used by the Bahrain special forces.
- India: Special forces.
- Iraq: ISOF.
- Italy: Used by military and police forces.
- Indonesia: Komando Pasukan Katak (Kopaska) tactical diver group and Komando Pasukan Khusus (Kopassus) special forces group.
- Ireland: Used by Army Ranger Wing.
- Malaysia: Malaysian Special Operations Force.
- Pakistan
- United States: Used by various police SWAT teams.
- : Democratic Union Party(PYD) Has been seen being used by PYD fighters during the Syrian Civil War
See also 
- Diez, Octavio (2000). Armament and Technology. Lema Publications, S.L. ISBN 84-8463-013-7.
- Cooney, Chris (June 2002). "Introduction". Retrieved 2010-05-10.
- Cooney, Chris (March 2010). "FRANCHI LEVER SAFETY RECALL". Retrieved 2010-05-10.
- Cooney, Chris (January 2002). "SPAS 12 Accessories". Retrieved 2009-07-14.
- Cooney, Chris (March 2010). "Chris's Franchi SPAS12 Shotgun Pages". Retrieved 2010-05-10.
- "Kopassus & Kopaska – Specijalne Postrojbe Republike Indonezije" (in Croatian). Hrvatski Vojnik Magazine. Retrieved 2010-06-12.
- Thompson, Leroy (December 2008). "Malaysian Special Forces". Special Weapons. Retrieved 2010-02-10.
- McManners, Hugh (2003). Ultimate Special Forces. DK Publishing, Inc. ISBN 0-7894-9973-8.
- . manyakhaber.ne http://manyakhaber.net/petrol-bolgesi-rimelan-pkknin-eline-gecti-iddiasi/dunyadan. Retrieved 29 April 2013. Missing or empty