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The Striker 12 and Street Sweeper Shotguns

Posted in: Choosing a Firearm

Written by: Bill Voss on Monday, November 5, 2012

The Striker 12 and Street Sweeper shotguns are a family of shotguns that were designed in 1983 by South African Arms designer Hilton Walker. The shotgun utilizes a rotating cylinder design similar in operation to a revolver. These shotguns were manufactured by Sentinel Arms and Cobray SWD.

The Striker and Street Sweeper looked and operated similarly to the Milkor MGL and the Hawk MM-1 40 mm grenade launchers. Round capacity varies from 7 to 12 rounds in the cylinder depending upon the model. All models feature forward mounted and rear pistol grips and in most cases, a top-folding stock. Several variants were made without the stock as a more compact weapon.

Although it offered versatility in loading and staggering lethal and less than lethal shotgun loads, the Street Sweeper had its flaws. It was a cumbersome shotgun to load, due to the winding mechanism found in the cylinder. The shotgun’s heavy double action only type of trigger did little to aid its ability to fire accurately. Upgrades to the weapon included the addition of a cocking lever in the late 1980s as well as the ability to mount a holographic sight on the top of the receiver. The most common barrel length found in the US was 18”, although short barreled versions with 12” barrels were made for police use.

The caliber is mostly found in 12 Gauge, although a 410 bore version was briefly manufactured by Cobray as a woman’s home defense shotgun. The Striker and Street Sweeper were originally designed for military and police units as a form of riot-control and were widely used by the Israeli defense forces (IDF) and South African Army.  Despite the smaller version in 410 and heavy marketing as a home defense weapon, the shotguns remained more of a niche item in this regard.

In 1993, US Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen as the de-facto head of the by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, prohibited the importation and manufacture of these shotguns along with the USAS 12 on the grounds that they had “No sporting purpose”. As a result, existing shotguns of this type were declared to be “Destructive Devices” as they had a bore diameter greater than 1/2”. As destructive devices they are under the jurisdiction of the National Firearms Act (NFA) and a Federal tax stamp is required to own one, with all transfers conducted through a Special Occupation Taxpayer (SOT).

Their scarcity, along with the NFA paperwork involved in a transfer, has caused the value of these formidable looking shotguns to quadruple.

While uniform crime statistics do not point to either of these shotguns (or the USAS-12, for that matter) as being used by criminals to any degree, regulating them as destructive devices was purely a political action based on their appearance and perhaps their marketing.