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Guns of Pop Culture: “Jurassic Park” & the SPAS-12

In this Guns of Pop Culture, we take a look at "Jurassic Park" and Muldoon's SPAS-12. Want to know more about this cool-looking shotgun? Come check it out.

    I remember watching Jurassic Park as a 3-year-old… once I saw that Brontosaurus, I couldn’t stop watching

    While Jurassic Park isn’t necessarily a gun movie, by any means, our dino tracker, Muldoon, doesn’t mess around. 

    Muldoon with his SPAS-12
    Muldoon with his SPAS-12 in the opening scene.

    Muldoon clearly realizes the importance of a good firearm, opting for 12-gauge shotgun. This provides a versatile and capable weapon for his given task…dino control.

    Slugs, buckshot, and even heavy birdshot would be helpful against some of the animals on the island. However, Muldoon uses the Franchi SPAS-12 shotgun, so let’s take a look at this shotgun.


    Franchi SPAS-12
    Franchi SPAS-12

    The SPAS-12 is much like the Desert Eagle. It’s a movie star gun. It’s rarely the most practical choice for any task, but it dang sure looks fantastic on screen. 

    Muldoon with his SPAS-12
    Muldoon with his SPAS-12

    The SPAS-12 uses a rare system that allows the user to choose between running the gun as a pump-action or a semi-auto.

    This enables it to be very versatile, making use of every shotgun load imaginable including buckshot, slugs, birdshot, less lethal, breaching, etc. 

    at Guns.com

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

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    The SPAS-12 uses a gas-operated action for semi-auto operation and a standard slide action pump for manual operation. Muldoon uses the famous top-folding stock sans the “support” hook seen on other models. 

    Muldoon unfolding the stock on the SPAS-12
    Muldoon unfolds the stock on the SPAS-12.

    Sadly, the SPAS-12 wasn’t a great shotgun. First, on early models, sometimes the safety would fire the gun. Second, you had to press a button with one hand and load with the other. 

    Good luck reloading on the fly!

    The SPAS-12 was also quite heavy at almost 10 pounds unloaded. Plus, the gun was very picky. It didn’t care for low brass loads and seemed to require very particular loads for the semi-auto to function.

    The SPAS-12 was never a great gun, and the Benelli M3 did the hybrid pump/semi system much better. 

    Grant pumps the SPAS-12
    Grant pumps the SPAS-12

    Hunting Dinos 

    Muldoon confidently handles his weapon and seems to appreciate the SPAS-12 over the various M16s and SP1s-type AR rifles present on the island.

    InGen workers with M16A1s
    InGen workers with M16A1s alongside Muldoon in the opening scene

    Muldoon always chooses the SPAS-12, although he doesn’t ever shoot it.

    In the one scene where he’s close to doing so, he meets a very clever girl. I do appreciate that Muldoon unfolds the stock and aims the gun, though.

    That said, I feel like if he would’ve unfolded the stock earlier, he could have wasted less time doing it with a dino right in his face. 

    We never actually see the gun fired on-screen, instead, we hear three shots fired by Grant when he’s on the phone. Then the gun jams, and he abandons it.

    The three shots also make only three small holes in the window, nowhere near what a shotgun would’ve done. 

    SPAS-12 discarded by Grant due to an extractor malfunction
    SPAS-12 discarded by Dr. Grant due to an extractor malfunction.

    Ultimately, the SPAS-12 didn’t get to steal any scenes in the film. It is a dinosaur movie and not a film about guns and gunfighting, so we’ll let it pass. 

    Besides, Muldoon is a scene-stealer himself, so the competition there was rough.

    Final Thoughts

    As far as modern combat shotguns go, the classic SPAS-12 is a complete fossil these days. It’s faded away, a victim of the various import bans and AWBs of the 1990s.

    These days they seem to pop up now and again at relatively high prices. 

    Gotta love Muldoon

    I think the reason people keep selling them is that they soon realize that the cool 90s gun is a pain in the bum.

    Without a doubt, the SPAS-12 was a total movie star, but not the best shotgun for practical purposes.

    This is part of a weekly series on Pew Pew Tactical dedicated to the guns of TV and film. If you’d like more of this content, drop us a comment below. In the meantime, check out last week’s pop culture dive with Guns of Pop Culture: “Dirty Harry” & the Smith & Wesson Model 29

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    2 Leave a Reply

    • Commenter Avatar
      Jamie Waters

      I love these type of articles, keep em coming

      May 9, 2022 10:18 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      >"...once I saw that Brontosaurus, I couldn’t stop watching"

      I don't think we saw the same movie lmao. I remember the big sauropod in Jurassic Park being a Brachiosaurus.

      May 5, 2022 2:57 pm
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