The Franchi PA is a modern pump-action shotgun developed by the Italian concern of Franchi primarily for law enforcement use. The series was derived from the SPAS-12 but designed along the lines of improved compactness, reduced weight and controlled production costs which remain prized qualities of any firearm to date. Work on the shotgun began during the 1980s and resulted in a wholly conventional weapon which relied on the proven manual pump-action mechanism featured in many other shotguns prior. The end-product proved a reliable, versatile weapon capable of firing lethal and non-lethal ammunition. However, the weapon has since found only a few global takers in Italy and Spain.
The PA series was born through the original "PA-7" model. This featured a clean rectangular metal receiver with right side ejection port and integral grip with shoulder stock. The smoothbore barrel was mounted over the tube magazine which managed 12 gauge ammunition in a 5- or 7-round count form. The pump slide was ribbed in the usual way for better gripping and seated over the magazine tube for easy access. Bringing the slide rearwards cleared the firing chamber of spent shells (through a mechanical ejection process) while introducing a fresh shell from the available spring-loaded tube magazine. The PA-7 was given a solid wooden shoulder stock and a sighting aperture was fitted just aft of the muzzle. Available barrel lengths were 18.5" and 24".
The PA-8 was the dedicated tactical police version which lacked the wooden shoulder stock. Instead, this assembly was replaced by a stand-alone plastic pistol grip. The stock was a foldable metal unit which could lay over the receiver (as in the SPAS-12 series). All other functionality remained faithful to the PA-7 and, again, barrel lengths of 18.5" and 24" were featured. The PA-8 was manufactured through the PA-8E and PA-8L models with subtle differences in between.