The Franchi SPAS-12 is an Italian-made dual-mode 12 gauge combat shotgun manufactured by Luigi Franchi S.p.A..
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. The firing mode is switched by pressing a button under the foregrip and sliding the foregrip slightly forwards or backwards until it clicks into position. However, the pump-action mode was slow and awkward compared to traditional pump-action guns because of the complex changeover mechanism and friction between the foregrip and the hand-guard.
The SPAS-12 has a magazine cut-off feature, which prevents loading 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 firing the entire magazine first. A unique feature of the SPAS-12 was the hook on folding-stock variants. This hook could be rotated in 90-degree increments, so 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 weight of the gun (substantially higher than a traditional shotgun) made such use unlikely or impossible for the average user. In addition, the difficulty in aiming and coping with recoil in one-handed use made it impractical. Early SPAS-12 models featured a lever-type safety, but with use it would begin discharging the firearm when switched on or off. They were recalled by Franchi, and replaced with a push-button crossbolt safety. However, many guns are still available with the lever-type safety.
The barrel of the SPAS-12 was externally threaded to accept a variety of attachments, from chokes to gas-grenade launchers. All barrel attachments are rare; one particularly uncommon attachment, a diverter, spreads shot vertically or horizontally.
The Franchi SPAS-15 is the successor to the SPAS-12. The SPAS-15 is also a semi-automatic/pump-action combat shotgun, but uses box magazines instead of the SPAS-12's internal tube magazine.
In Aliens, the underbarrel grenade launcher of the live-firing M41A Pulse Rifles were built from a cut-down Remington Model 870 shotgun covered with the handguard and slide action sleeve of a Franchi SPAS-12.
In Alien3, the Pulse Rifle (with SPAS-12 handguard and sleeve) appears once again. However, the grenade launchers were not used in the film.
In Alien vs Predator (Jaguar), the SPAS-12 appears known simply as the Shotgun. In-game the weapon is fired in pump-action and can be used by the playable Colonial Marine character Private Lance Lewis.
In Aliens: Colonial Marines, both the M41A Pulse Rifle and the new M41A Pulse Rifle MK2 feature underbarrel launchers based on the SPAS-12 design seen in the films, although the MK2's is slightly modified. Additionally, the MK2 can switch out its grenade launcher for several alternative underbarrel units, one of which bears some similarity to the fore-end of a standard SPAS-12. Similar underbarrel units also based on the SPAS-12 design can also be fitted to the MK221 Tactical Shotgun and the M4RA Battle Rifle in the game. Also the M39 Submachine Gun's forend appears to take some inspiration from the SPAS-12.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Cooney, Chris (March 2010). "FRANCHI LEVER SAFETY RECALL". Retrieved on 2010-05-10.
- ↑ Cooney, Chris (January 2002). "SPAS 12 Accessories". Retrieved on 2009-07-14.
- ↑ James Cameron, Gale Anne Hurd, Gordon Carroll, David Giler, Walter Hill, Stan Winston, Simon Atherton. Superior Firepower: The Making of 'Aliens' (2003), 20th Century Fox [DVD].