When it comes to well-known Italian firearms manufacturers, Benelli is a comparatively young name in the industry. The Benelli Family had established a motorcycle company in 1911, but the name wouldn’t be associated with the firearm market until 1967. The Benelli family was vested in sports shooting and hunting, and started with a unique semi-automatic shotgun action design known today as an inertia driven system. Since its entry into the firearm market, Benelli is now one of the most well known and respected names in the Italian firearm industry, blending both technology and style to its design philosophy.
American Rifleman Staff had the opportunity to visit Benelli’s factory in Urbino, Italy, in 2020 to see just how the firm blends its use of modern technology along with a classic style in designing and manufacturing its various line of guns. For its modern manufacturing processes, the firm blend both automation with human touch, in an effort to bring out the best features of both approaches to its products. This includes some of the latest computerized design tools and CNC machining processes, blend with careful quality checks to ensure that each component comes within a certain specification.
Many of the names for Benelli’s various lines of shotguns comes from those associated to the Urbino region. The town was once a part of the Duke of Montefeltro’s controlled lands, hence the source of the Montefeltro name. The duke, Federico da Montefeltro, would wear a black eagle on his shield as a soldier, which is where the name for one of the film’s most successful lines comes from. The Super Black Eagle line has been described as Benelli’s “hero product,” or the intertia-driven, auto-loading shotgun the name has best become known for.
Benelli offers more than just its inertia-driven semi-automatic shotgun designs. The firm developed a piston-driven design, which was spurred by a U.S. Marine Corps contract in 1998 for an auto-loading 12-gauge. This ARGO piston system can both regulate gas flow and offer reliable cycling between different loadings, and is a feature found on the company’s semi-automatic M4 shotgun. The Benelli M4 has become a widely popular tactical shotgun platform for both professional and civilian use.
Building off the success of the M4’s ARGO gas system, Benelli developed a semi-automatic rifle line utilizing the same system. Known as the R1, or ARGO in Europe, this line of magazine-fed semi-automatic rifles have sleek and modern lines similar to the Super Black Eagle and was designed for use by boar hunters. All of Benelli’s arms are built to the same level of quality and safety, to ensure that the firearms work in adverse conditions whether it be on a hunt or on duty. To learn more about Benelli and its various firearm lines, visit benelliusa.com.
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