Caliber 12 Gauge (2 3/4 in - 70 mm chamber)
Length (butt folded / open), with 12" barrel 508 / 792 mm 500 / 800 mm
Barrel length 12 in (304 mm) or 18 in (457 mm), other lengths also were made
Weight, empty 4.2 kg
Magazine capacity 12 rounds in non-detachable rotary cylinder
The Striker shotgun was originally designed in the early 1980s by the someone Hilton Walker from Rhodesia. After the fall of Rhodesia he moved to the South African Republic, where he continued the development of his counter-insurgency, high capacity combat shotgun. First production models of his shotgun, named "Striker", were made during the mid-1980s, and found its way from the South Africa and into the USA, and other countries. The key advantages of the Striker shotgun were its large magazine capacity, which is doubled the traditional shotguns magazine capacity of that time, and rapid-fire capability. On the other hand, the rotary cylinder-type magazine was bulky, very slow to reload, and the basic action was not without certain flaws. During the late 1980s Mr. Walker redesigned his shotgun, getting rid of its watch clock-like cylinder rotation mechanism, and replaced it with manually operated cylinder rotating mechanism, linked to the side-swinging vertical front grip. The rest of the features of the Striker, including the DAO trigger, cylinder design and top-folding butt, were retained, and the spent cases auto-ejection feature was added to speed up reloading. The shotguns of updated design, called "Protecta", are still manufactured in South Africa by the Reutech Defense Industries, and offered in various barrel lengths, ranging from 171 mm (Protecta Bulldog) to the 760 mm, and with various finishes. I must admit that the most bizarre firearm I've ever seen was the gold-plated Protecta (with huge, gold-plated muzzle brake), which was sold in one of the central Russian gun shops in Moscow for local equivalent of the several thousands of US dollars.
The key advantage of the Striker and Protecta shotguns is their large magazine capacity, but the price for this advantage is an increased bulk of the weapon and slower reloading, especially when compared to the recent box magazine-fed combat shotguns, like Italian Franchi SPAS-15 or Russian Saiga-12. This gun, especially in its earlier Striker form, is also much more dangerous to the shooter in the case of the hang-fire, because the "skipped", hang-fired round will remain in the cylinder until removed manually, and may cause damage to the shooter if exploded not behind the barrel. The current US firearms laws listed the Striker and Protecta shotguns, as well as the Streetsweeper (an US-made Striker copy), as a destructive devices, which require special paperwork to be obtained by civilians. In some other countries (like the Russia) the Protecta shotguns can be sold to civilians only with barrels of certain lengths, and with two chambers blocked to maintain allowed 10-rounds capacity limit.
The Striker shotgun is based on the basic revolver scheme, but with some important improvements. In the conventional double action revolver handguns cylinder is rotated when the trigger is pressed in DA mode or when the hammer is cocked in the SA mode. Since the Striker used more or less conventional DAO trigger, and a very large and heavy cylinder (compared to handguns), the trigger pull for the conventional design could be really terrible. So, the Walker used the pre-wounded clock-work spring, located inside the cylinder, around its axis, to rotate the cylinder. The spring is wound using a large winding key, located at the front of the cylinder housing, after the cylinder is loaded with shells. When trigger is pressed, it withdraws the cylinder stop bar, which releases one of the cylinder studs, located under the each chamber on the rear cylinder wall, so the spring rotates cylinder until the next stud is engaged with the cylinder stop. This system, while allowing a really rapid fire, and maintaining acceptable trigger pull, was prone to skipping more than one chamber with partial trigger pulls, and required a spring to be wound after each magazine reloading, further slowing down the already lengthy reloading process.
The cylinder was made from two plates (front and rear), which hold 12 separate chambers together. Cylinder is removed from the gun only for cleaning and maintenance, the loading and reloading is commenced via the loading gate at the rear right side of the aluminum cylinder housing. To remove spent cases or unfired rounds, a spring-loaded ejector rod is fixed to the right side of the barrel casing, much like on the old-time single-action revolvers.
The top-folding butt is made from sheet metal, the front vertical grip and the rear pistol grip, integral with the trigger unit housing are made from plastic.
The Protecta shotgun has a manually rotating cylinder instead of the clock-spring clockwork. The front vertical grip can be swung to the right and back. This movement will rotate a barrel shroud and a pivoting arm, linked to it, which, in turn, will rotate a cylinder for 1/12 of turn, to place a next chamber behind the barrel. The spent cases are ejected automatically from the chamber at the moment of the next shot, by using a small amount of powder gases propelled back from the fired chamber. The last spent case (or unfired cartridges) can be removed using the spring-loaded ejector rod at the right side of the barrel. The reloading of the empty chambers is commenced via the loading gate, similar to one found on Striker shotguns.