The SPAS-12 (Sporting Purpose Automatic Shotgun or Special Purpose Automatic Shotgun) is a pump-action/gas-actuated, pump-action/semi-automatic combat shotgun chambered for 12 gauge 23⁄4 inch shells manufactured by Luigi Franchi S.p.A.
The SPAS-12 can function on two settings. The first is semi-automatic — the foregrip is locked forward and a gas system serves to load the next round without further effort from the operator. In semi-automatic mode, the gun can expend around 4 rounds per second, one round per trigger pull. The second setting is pump-action — the foregrip must be manually pumped back and forth after every shot to eject the spent shell and load a new round from the internal magazine. This mode is required 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.
The SPAS-12 also has a magazine cut-off feature that, when activated, prevents the loading of a new round from the internal magazine when the slide is opened. This allows the operator to load a specialized round into the chamber without going through the entire magazine first. Early SPAS-12 models also featured a lever-type safety, but it tended to malfunction. This was later replaced by a push-button safety. This shotgun fires 2¾ inch shells, and was not made to fire 3 inch shells.
In the film The Terminator, the titular T-800 first acquires the SPAS-12 from Alamo Sports Shop by asking clerk Rob Garrett for "The 12 gauge auto-loader." As he takes the shotgun down from the shelf and puts it on the counter, Garrett informs the Terminator that it's Italian and can fire in pump-action or semi-automatic. After getting more firearms from Garrett, the T-800 picks up and inspects the SPAS-12. After telling the clerk that he will buy all of the weapons, the Terminator loads a 12 gauge round into the shotgun. Garrett tells him that he "can't do that", but the T-800 simply replies "Wrong." and shoots the clerk in the chest.
After retrieving the shotgun from its hiding place underneath the mattress in his motel room, the T-800 later uses the SPAS-12, now with the top folding stock removed, during the assault on the police station. Wielding the shotgun in his left hand and an AR-18 in its right, the Terminator uses the weapons to great effect, killing most, if not all, of the police officers in the building.
A SPAS-12 is also seen in the hands of a human Resistance fighter in one of the "Future War" flashbacks.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
In the film Terminator 2: Judgment Day, photos from surveillance cameras of the T-800 attacking the police station during the events of the first film show the Terminator armed with a SPAS-12 in its left hand.
- Though the SPAS-12 was illegal from import in the US, it was available at the pawnshop in The Terminator, but the Terminator referred to it as the 12 gauge autoloader (probably a brand name issue).
- The Franchi company marketed the rifle in the United States as the "Sporting Purpose Automatic Shotgun" in order to make it sound less "scary". It was banned from import anyway, simply because of its pistol-grip. The shotgun itself is no different than any other auto-loading shotgun used by skeet shooters and duck hunters.
- Later video releases of The Terminator mistakenly replaced some of the sound effects for the SPAS-12 with those of an assault rifle. This is especially noticeable during the shootout in the police station.
- The Terminator
- Terminator II (non-canonical)
- Terminator 2: Judgment Day
- The Terminator: Dawn of Fate