The Franchi SPAS-12 (Sporting Purpose Automatic Shotgun) is a selective-fire shotgun, which can be fired either in the normal semi-automatic mode for normal 12-gauge shells, or manual pump-action mode for "special" (less-lethal) shells whose operating pressure is too low to cycle the weapon normally.


The Franchi manuals and U.S. BATFE (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives) list this as a SPORTING Purpose Automatic Shotgun, mainly because of gun control restrictions banning the import of certain weapons. Declaring the SPAS as a sports (i.e. hunting) shotgun instead of a security shotgun helped the BATF pass it for US import. Unlike other 12-gauge shotguns, the SPAS-12 accepts the smaller 2-3/4 (7cm) inch length rounds (as opposed to the 3-inch (7.6cm) rounds).

The SPAS-12 has a thicker, heavier heat shield than most shotguns to deal with barrel overheating, and a unique folding stock which has a hook for single-arm firing support. Because of its high rate of fire, the SPAS-12 can also be used for extremely close-quarters room clearing as well as door breaching. Current versions can carry anywhere from 6-8 shells, depending on the size of the shotgun choke tube and the type of rounds fitted. A fixed stock version is also available.


Peace Walker Incident

Main article: Peace Walker Incident
SPAS-12 escort

An escort armed with a SPAS-12 semi-automatic shotgun.

Peace Sentinel's escort squads were known to carry these weapons while accompanying armed combat vehicles during the Peace Walker Incident in 1974. The Militaires Sans Frontières also obtained their own SPAS-12s after attempting to retrieve some soldiers' lost belongings. The SPAS-12 was eventually modified by MSF's R&D Division to increase its ammo capacity to include eight rounds instead of the normal six rounds, and was given a longer barrel.[1]

Post-Peace Walker

Approximately four years later, the SPAS-12 ended up being developed openly and mass-produced.

During the 2000s, the attack response teams of the Next-Generation Special Forces (NBC troops) and Gurlukovich Mercenaries utilized the SPAS-12, since its firepower was suitable for tight and enclosed spaces.

Behind the scenes



While not all attack teams in the games are equipped with the SPAS-12, those that wield them are a serious threat. One blast from this weapon is able to reduce a large portion of the player's Life gauge and the stopping power is enough to knock the player down onto the ground.

The SPAS-12 featured in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker is only capable of semi-automatic fire.

The SPAS-12's appearance in Peace Walker is anachronistic, as the SPAS-12 was developed in 1979, five years after the events of the game.

Spas12 4-300x170

SPAS-12 Rank 4 (expanded ammo).

"An automatic combat shotgun designed with versatility in mind. Distinguished by its solid frame and high-speed semi-auto fire.
(Rank 4) The tube magazine has been extended to increase its ammo capacity.
Nothing can match its blistering firepower in a close-range battle; on the down side, its sheer weight encumbers the user and makes it slow and unwieldy to handle. In the hands of a skilled and confident user, the SPAS is truly a force to be reckoned with.
―SPAS-12 description in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker

Notes and references

  1. ^ Though not mentioned in the game's weapon description, the outline of the SPAS-12 and the Model Viewer show that the weapon's barrel was lengthened as well.
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