SPAS-15: Franchi’s Improvement on the SPAS-12

Lot 776  in the September 2019 RIA auction.

The SPAS-15 was Franchi’s successor to the SPAS-12, improved with detachable box magazines (6 round capacity) and a construction of simple sheet metal samplings and polymer. Like the SPAS-12, the -15 allows the used to switch between manual pump action and semiautomatic at basically the touch of a button. There is a grip safety as well as a manual safety, and that manual safety is integrated into the slide lock in an interesting way. The SPAS-15 entered production in 1986, and apparently 180 were imported into the US before the 1994 Assault Weapon Ban prohibited them. In 2005 production ceased so that Franchi could focus on sporting arms while Beretta (which acquired the Franchi firm in 1993) would cover the security and law enforcement market.

41 Comments

  1. Pump guns need a support at back of slide to remain it at forward closed position when the hammer at cocked mode and away off that task. Slide locks are for this purpose and leave its mission when the hammer is rotated forwards through trigger release. Recoil or action springs of auto loaders support the back of slide all the time and preclude the necessity of using such a slide lock and this hybrid gun has also this assist and needs not a slide lock (Not to be confused with bolt lock fastening bolt and barrel) but, Franchi designers seem not understood that difference and cooperated manual safety with commom slide lock of pump guns which decreasing the using speed of such – so called- tactical shotgun.

    Besides… lt is hard to believe that the mode select button on top of plastic sleeve is also made of plastics and its small spring has no definite recess to securely sit thereover and may leave its location through recoil as leaving the mode switch unfunctional.

    A bright idea drowned in foolness.

    • I am afraid that a slide slock is still needed when gun is set in pump mode: mere recoil spring force does not prevent a slight opening of the action when holding the foregrip, and then the risk of out-of-battery fire.
      Spas-12 acts as a true pump shotgun when in manual mode, because then recoil spring is disconnected from bolt carrier group, not like this this one.

      • This brings funny bit of memory to my mind. One favored “joke” during my service was to grab vz.58 by its muzzle (assisted by front sight post) and briskly swing it in wide open arc. Naturally, recoil and striker springs (yes, two of them!) were not strong enough to resist inertia of action and gun got… cocked with audible sound.

        Now imagine that round was in chamber and trigger mech. was into auto 🙂

        • I imagine you would still need to pull or hold the trigger before it would fire, since its not sten or mp40. So its not of a big deal you thought it could be

    • When your foregrip is directly linked to the bolt, you NEED, REALLY, REALLY NEED, BUT REALLY DESPERATELY NEED a slide lock anyway.

      • Then… Benelli engineers did not know these facts… Benelli M3 is also a hybrid gun and has not get a slide lock.

        Besides…

        Seen any autoloader with a weak recoil spring letting the slide going to battery off position even at the muzzle up and shaked position…

        Further…

        SPAS 15 slide keeps recoil spring compression all the time… Pump mode does not disconnect spring engagement.

        • They know very vell, infact they put a slide lock on it. The lever in the front of the foregrip switch mode between foregrip-locked/bolt-unlocked (semiauto) and foregrip-unlocked/bolt-locked (pump action). When you are in pump action mode, to open the bolt with a round chambered, you have, hear hear, TO ENGAGE THE SAFETY, otherwise the slide is locked. You may like the Benelli system better, but they works the same way.

        • Sorry for rather offending replies. But some little backward foregrip movements might be tolareted through mechanical payloads and in fact, could not effect battery on position of bolt slnce that foregrip being linked to slide, not rotating bolt and even in that case, it could cause a hammer strike at under the slide away off the firing pin without a discharge. This is a time loosing, unwanted disadvantage of caurse.

          SPAS 12 and 15 are very different mechanisms, first has vertical swinging, second has rotating head bolt locks and recoil spring location of the former enables disconnection with manual mode whereas latter’s being too far for an engagement.

          • @ Dogwalker, if understood correctly, you wanted to point out the hook shaped part in front of the forend. lt is not any connection with safety button and simply slightly secures the forend of pump mode in foremost position. lt is a slight retainer and one even does not notice its leaving its notch when pumping action made… Mostly it does not even seat its recess in repeated shootings.

          • I wanted to point out that at page 12 of the manual, “cartridge replacement” it states:
            A) pump action (replacement with a cartridgefrom the magazine)
            1) Engage the safety catch. Open the bolt by pulling on the fore-end lever (fig. 17).
            The cartridge in the chamber is ejected by the extractor and the first cartridge in the magazine is automatically deposited onto the carrier (fig. 31).
            2) Close the bolt by pushing forward the foreend lever. When closing (fig. 30), the bolt chambers the cartridge on the carrier and comes to a stop in the closed position (fig.18).

            (replacement with a cartridge not from the magazine)
            1) Engage the safety catch. Push the carrier inside the receiver (fig. 32) and, at the same time, open the bolt by pulling the fore-end lever (fig. 17). The cartridge in the chamber is ejected by the extractor but no cartridge is fed from the magazine.

            page.13 “Unloading”
            A) pump action
            1) Engage the safety catch. Open the bolt by pulling back the fore-end lever (fig. 17). The cartridge in the chamber is ejected by the extractor and the first cartridge in the magazine is automatically deposited onto the carrier
            (fig. 31).

            2) Close the bolt by pushing forward the foreend lever. When closing (fig. 30), the bolt chambers the cartridge on the carrier and comes to a stop in the closed position (fig.18).
            3) Repeat the steps above until all the cartridges in the magazine are ejected. Once the last cartridge is ejected the bolt will automatically remain open (fig. 17).
            4) To close the bolt press the carrier release (fig.18) freeing the bolt to snap forward.

            In the video posted above too, the operator engages the safety just before unloading the gun.

            A pump action shotgun that allows you operate the foregrip when there is a round in the chamber and the rifle is ready to fire is not only unsafe (not much for the possibility to fire out of battery, but to not being able to fire when needed because you are inadvertently pulling the bolt slightly rearward, and the out of battery safety prevents you to fire. In a dire situation, when nervous people grip their weapon tightly, that’s very likely to happen), but uncomfortable too. When I fire, I want the grips of the weapon to be the firmest that’s possible, not them being free to move.

          • This is a common safety rule… Not a mechanical connection of Benelli M3 mode switching, feeding, firing lay out. Benelli trigger assembly constructions in form and function are all standart in second generation products and even usable between different models. Only exception is the M3 shell drop latch which enables feeding through slide reciprocal movement by a little upward lug integrated over its front section.

            Seeing is believing. Having a correct idea simply reading the related manuals may mislead the readers. Read the first generation, verticaly swinging locked Benelli manuals and try to load the related shotgun… Failure is guarantied…

            l have no intention to mislead anybody… Just try to share my experiences… Believe or not…

            Best wishes.

          • Then the last statement of my previous post applies.
            A pump action shotgun that allows you operate the foregrip when there is a round in the chamber and the rifle is ready to fire is not only unsafe (not much for the possibility to fire out of battery, but to not being able to fire AT ALL when needed because you are inadvertently pulling the bolt slightly rearward, and the out of battery safety prevents you to fire. In a dire situation, when nervous people grip their weapon tightly, that’s very likely to happen), but uncomfortable too. When I fire, I want the grips of the weapon to be the firmest that’s possible, not them being free to move. EVEN MORE because the foregrip can be, and it’s usually, used to push the shotgun towards the shoulder, and that’s impossible if the foregrip is free to move. A foregrip free to move in a loaded shotgun forces the operator to work around the weapon instead of the contrary.
            And all this to have the possibility to operate the foregrip when the weapon is loaded, when the same manual warns you TO NOT DO THAT?
            Sorry, but Franchi’s design seems to me BY FAR the correct one. If the M3 works as you say, then it’s simply missing a part.

      • Absolutely… if for nothing else than to keep front grip from interfering with semi-auto function. To me this is self-evident. It also makes sense to connect it with safety switch since semi-auto status is potentially dangerous right from start of cycle.

        Remember: consider every arm to be loaded, until proven otherwise 🙂

  2. Smart gun, maybe a bit of overload for regular cop. I had chance to shoot Franchi in distant past (cannot recall model), but it was supremely pleasant experience. Why not, when it was ‘lady-size’ 20gauge!

    Oh, unimportant but comforting to hear properly pronounced maker’s name; nor “frenchai” or similar nonsense (like “breeda-bereeda”). When I heard on some odd air history video sound “mesher-smith” my hair was rising in despair 🙂

    • You’re not alone in cringing at mispronounced words. I did the same after taking six years of French classes. Thankfully I still have my grammar books for relearning conjugation of verbs. The amount of butchering done to non-American parlance by “pop historians” and/or “keyboard-addict kids” would overload your brain…

    • “(…)When I heard on some odd air history video sound “mesher-smith” my hair was rising in despair (…)”
      I am pretty sure, that after 1945, when Messerschmitt worked abroad Germany, his name was corrupted enough times, but apparently for some this is still not enough. I do not event hear what vicious name-corrupters did to first name of poor Messerchmitt (Willy).

      • Let’s don’t ask. It’s enough that Lockheed was spelled differently until Allan had enough of people calling him “Log-Head.”

        • Yeah, that is rue. English – speakers often destroy their own names too. Where it comes from? Duplicity; writing one thing and saying somethin else. I have my own understanding of it, but will spare your time for now. French is not much different in that regard, as you may know.

  3. Just to clear one important point and this may or may not fit into context of this discussion as intended due to variable firing mode of SPAS15.

    When I load a round into chamber of my Winchester 1300, the slide is automatically locked forward due to fact that hammer is cocked. Thus, chamber is locked and can be reopened only after firing shot. I suppose the same applies for Remington, Mossberg and other shotguns. There in no other latch as means of securing slide against unintentional unlocking in middle of cycle.

    From this we may have a hint that the SPAS15 uses the slide lock merely to separate both functions. Mind you, that firing mechanism on it is so fancy it is easy to figure this part of function (locking slide forward in manual mode) is included.

  4. Automatism is thought to minimize the avarage human faults in related fields and auto loading firearms are the developments over hand operated samples. Pump guns are hand operated and common faults included in their lay out are at the following;

    – Most work gravity bonded that is, if the ejection port looks down or sideward, pumped round goes outside to the ground, not to chamber… Only downwardly ejecting samples and 12 Ga. Winchester 1200 remain out of this issue. People using their pump guns for bird hunting or clay target or fun shooting at standing position can not notice this fault.

    – Nearly all carry ” Short Stroke” issue that is, in a exited, fearfull envoirement, users can not fully retract the forend to the rearmost and push to foremost positions causing a failure to feed. lt is said USA Ordonat staff changed scattergun type from pump to autoloading for that reason.

    – Slide lock supporting the rear of slide, mostly can not be got off by the avarage user in exiting conditions if the gun is left chamber empty and cocked position. Most user simply try to retract the forend to feed the chamber as completely forgetting to delock the slide lock.

    These are facts and can be easily witnessed through avarage user experiments.

    This means, slide lock is a risk in certain conditions…

    And if a pump gun has a device enabling to support the slide’s back automaticaly going off instead of manualy actuated slide lock, this is an
    advantage and some samples like Benelli M3 contains this facility.

    Besides,

    Most of the pump guns easily tolerate some 2 milimetres backward slide or bolt carrier travel as still firing a chambered round since actual delocking of bolt requires some 5 milimeters rearward action. ln said tolerable gap,
    Bolt carrier still retains the bolt in locked position. lfsenses unbelievable, please try and see.

    Please think twice before an objection.

    • The “advantage” of the pump action over a semiauto, is to give the operator more control over the chambering phase.
      The “disadvantage” is exactly the same.
      Because humans are fallible. Precision is not their thing, mainly under stress. Mechanisms are more accurate. If a human has to perform an action he can do it wrong.
      Another weapon that gives to the operator the control over the feeding, but, contrary to the pump action shotgun, is considered to be the epitome of easiness and reliability, is the revolver.
      That’s because the revolver gives to the operator the control over the feeding, but it doesn’t require him to perform any action besides pulling the trigger, that’s exactly the same thing he does to shoot. He doesn’t have to rotate the cylinder by hand. There’s almost nothing he can do wrong. The simple mechanism of the revolver made so that the operator has the control, without having to perform any adjunctive action.
      Having to disengage a slide block in order to unload the gun, or having to push the foregrip forward while shooting in order to effectively fire, are all methods to fail. You have to choose which failure is likely to have the least serious consequences.

1 Trackback / Pingback

  1. SayUncle » Gun Porn

Leave a Reply to Dansquad Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.


*