April 24, 2020
By Vincent DeNiro, Editor
I started buying gun parts from SARCO sometime in the late 1970s, and many times I bought Shotgun News just to get the 10-plus page SARCO catalog which appeared in every issue (as it does today). If I were to write an article about all of the hard to find parts I bought from this company over four decades it would take up thousands of words, and the other day, while performing my four-decades habit (addiction) of thumbing through SARCO’s latest offerings, I came across another “Holy Grail” find…SPAS-15 magazines. Franchi military-styled shotguns offered in the late 1980s shown in this brochure obtained by Firearms News editor Vincent DeNiro at the 1989 SHOT Show.
Many of you know may know what a SPAS-12 is, and if you don’t it was/is a military-styled shotgun which had an action which was pump and semi-auto manufactured by Franchi. This shotgun was made famous in the first Terminator movie by Arnold Schwarzenegger and was sold in the 1980s until Republican George H.W. Bush banned them from importation in 1989 after the Purdey shooting. I sold SPAS-12 shotguns as well as the LAW-12 (semi-auto only), and the pump-only SAS-12 in my gun shop back then. What I never owned was a SPAS-15 which was the pump/semi-auto magazine-fed offering in this Franchi series, and I have George “No new gun laws” Bush to thank for that. I first saw one at the 1989 SHOT Show in Dallas Texas at the FIE Firearms booth as they were the importer at the time (see brochure page). The second time I saw one was in England when I was working for Beretta as Beretta sent me there to assist with a demonstration of Beretta Defence Group’s offerings to British special forces including SAS. Franchi was and is owned by Beretta and the SPAS-15 was offered as a military firearm back in 2007 when I was there. Interestingly, the SPAS-15 was also available to civilians in England during that time.The SPAS-15 (far left) shown on this table display for British special forces at the Royal Defence Academy in Shrivenham, England in 2007. (Photo by Vincent DeNiro)
Firearms News has two articles, coming out next year in our annual Retro Guns Special Issue, one on the SPAS-12 (written by Dr. Will Dabbs,) and one on the SPAS-15 written by Leroy Thompson who is lucky enough to own one. So, if you can’t find that rare part or accessory, be sure to check out SARCO’s current catalog which is published in every issue of Firearms News!