Franchi SPAS History

Luigi Franchi SPAS 12 Shotgun

Manufacturer: Luigi Franchi SpA,
1-25020 Fornaci, Italy
Type: Automatic, combat-type
Gage: 12
Barrel: 18.11in (46Omm)
Weight: (empty) 8.O5lbs (3.65kg)
Magazine capacity: 8 rounds

Luigi Franchi are well-known for sporting shotguns of the highest quality,
but their SPAS (Special Purpose Automatic Shotgun) series will be rather
less well-known outside Italy.  It was designed for police and military
use and aims to be rather more efficient in that role than conventional
civil shotguns which were designed with sporting use in mind and have
been 'misappropriated' to police use.  The firm claim that their design
gives good accuracy with little training; instans hits in all kinds of
employment; great firepower; the ability to launch grenades if required;
and low maintenance.

The SPAS Model 12 is a shortbarrelled semi-automatic shotgun with
a folding butt which has been configured so that it can be locked under
the armpit and allow the gun to be used one-handed.  The receiver is of
light alloy, while the barrel and gas cylinder have been hard-chromed
to reduce the risk of corrosion.  All the external surfaces are
sand-blasted and phosphated black. An unusual provision is for the gas
cylinder to be shut off, converting the weapon to a slide-action repeater;
the fore end can be unlocked to act as the reloading slide in this mode,
which is designed for use with certain types of light ammunition which
will not cycle the gas action reliably.

The barrel is cylinder bored and spreads a normal shot charge to about
9OOmm at 40 meters range, reducing the need for precise aiming.  The
automatic action will fire about four shots per second, and at this rate
of fire, with standard buckshot loadings, it is possible to put 48
pellets per second into a one-meter-square target at 40 meters range.
At this range the pellets have about 50 percent more striking energy than
a .32 pistol bullet.

There is a wide range of ammunition available for security use, from
buckshot and solid slug to tear gas rounds which fire a small plastic
container of CS gas to 150 meters range.  There is a launching attachment
which fits the muzzle and which permits the firing of grenades to 150m
range, and there is also a 'shot spreader' attachment which fits on the
muzzle and breaks up the shot pattern to give much greater short-range
spread, an option designed for indoor use.

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