Streetsweeper Shotgun (Video)

It may seem sometimes that I’ve never met a gun I didn’t like…but I can assure you that isn’t the case. The Streetsweeper, for example, is a pretty terrible gun.

Originally designed in 1980 by a Rhodesian man named Hilton Walker, the Striker shotgun was refined and manufactured in South Africa before making its way over to the US. Its claim to fame was a 12-round capacity in a fixed drum magazine, which was significantly larger than magazine capacities available in other shotguns at the time. Today, of course, there are several magazine-fed shotguns that can give the same capacity without all the negative features of the Striker/Streetsweeper (primarily the Saiga-12).

The more refined South African Striker guns used the vertical front grip to load and wind the drum and featured automatic ejection of spent shell cases, but the version built in the US and marketed as the Streetsweeper (could they really have picked a worse name?) was a simpler and cheaper design. The Streetsweeper has a winding key on the front of the drum, and shells must be manually ejected with a rod much like a Colt Peacemaker revolver. It also “features” a nice cylinder gap, and sprays gas and particulates for out the front of the drum onto the shooter’s forearm and out the back into the shooter’s face. The trigger is a double-action type similar to a revolver’s, except that the first stage releases a catch and allows the drum to rotate one position under spring tension, where a revolver rotates with pressure supplied from the trigger mechanism. The second stage of the Streetsweeper (I feel dirty just typing that name) trigger releases the hammer to fire a round.

In 1994, the Treasury Department issued a finding that the Striker-12 and Streetsweeper shotguns did not have a sporting purpose. Since they have bore diameters over .50 inch (as do all 12ga and 20ga shotguns), this redefined them as Destructive Devices under the NFA. As such, existing ones had to be registered with the ATF, and sale of one today requires a $200 tax stamp and the standard NFA transfer process. The side effect, however, is that barrel length of destructive devices is unregulated, and to the guns can be cut down to 12″ (the shortest convenient length, given the handguard) barrels without any other paperwork or legal issues.

I got my hands on an example of the Streetsweeper with its original 18″ barrel, and took it out to the range for a spin: