The SPAS-12 is a semiautomatic shotgun made by Italian firearms manufacturer, Franchi. It was manufactured from 1979 to 2001. Although the firearm is primarily designed to fire high powered shells in a semi-auto mode, it can be selected to fire lower powered rounds in a pump-action mode by pressing a button on the bottom of the foregrip and moving it back or forward locking it into the other mode. Currently, the SPAS-12 is nearly impossible to find anywhere outside the US unless a buyer pays an extremely high price. Production of the shotgun ceased in 2001 for several major reasons. Firstly in 2000 the gun was banned for importation completely in the United States although thousands were sold to American gun enthusiasts every year. The American ban was part of a governmental anti-gun movement to slow the flow of imported firearms with no "sporting purposes". A large number of SPAS-12 were sold to private owners in America who were greatly attracted by the guns visual design. It has also become increasingly rare in the Untied States and since the ban because of its fragile nature and owners have increasingly difficult times locating replacement parts and working weapons are rarely sold by there owners now that it is highly sought as a collectors item with most selling upwards of $1500 or more. The weapon was also rather heavy and the internals were overly complicated to operate, clean, and were prone to breaking. The lever safety was notoriously known to fail and cause the gun to fire by simply changing the safety from safe to fire or fire to safe. This caused a global recall to replace the faulty parts. Also around the same time as the American ban Franchi had finished development of the far better SPAS-15 design and most police and military units still using the 12 began switching to the 15 as it entered mass production. The SPAS-12 is often seen in movies like the Terminator and in many videogames due to its menacing appearance. The park ranger in Jurassic Park also carries a SPAS-12.
The SPAS-12 also came in several variations.
The SAS-12 was a pump-action only model and had the semi-auto parts completely removed and the internal were altered to make it imposible to modify into a semi auto without machining the receiver and significantly lowering its strength.
The LAW-12 was a semi-auto only variant designed for police and military to be more reliable and simpler to clean.
There were several other parts that are non-unique to any of the variations this includes the iconic top folding stock. A more uncommon fixed stock. A threaded barrel to allow the use of different shot spread chokes. Five and eight round magazine tubes. The eight round tube being more uncommon to find. As well as an incredibly rare side folding stock. Another hard to find accessory to the SPAS-12 is the odd half metal loop attached to the top folding stock. This loop was intended to help the shooter more accurately fire one handed by putting his arm through it. But is often removed by owners because of its nature to get in the way and snag clothing or gear.
The SPAS-12 was also capable of firing Incendiary rounds, which earned it the name Dragon's Breath when used.