Benelli M4 Super 90: Combat Modernity (Page 2)

Moving the combat shotgun into the 21st century, the M4 Super 90 effectively combines the familiar with the innovative. (Photo Courtesy of U.S. Marine Corps)

The Picatinny accessory-mounting rail, attached to the receiver top with five screws, is another significant design point. In addition to the high-quality sights, the rail allows for attachment of a broad range of optics and accessories.

Another design feature attributable to the military background of the M4 Super 90 is its blissfully simple disassembly procedure. I was able to take it down to its basic components in less than a minute. Additionally, the removable bolt handle doubles as a tool for disassembling the ARGO gas system.

There are three main design features that set the M4 Super 90 apart from the M1014, including the collapsing stock mentioned earlier. The magazine tube capacity of the M4 is limited to four rounds for legal compliance, and, rather than the full-length magazine tube of the M1014, the M4 Super 90 has an aluminum “blocker” threaded onto the shortened tube. That was necessary due to the barrel ring located at the end of the barrel that must slide over the magazine tube. The final difference is the incorporation of choke tubes in the design. While the M1014 has a fixed modified choke, the M4 Super 90 uses Benelli’s interchangeable choke tube system.

Operating the M4 Super 90 admittedly necessitates more training than a slide-action shotgun, but it is not overwhelming. Loading is accomplished by pressing shells up through the bottom of the receiver into the tubular magazine. Once the tube is loaded, the user has two options. He can simply open the action, drop in a shell and release the bolt. The other method requires manipulation of the cartridge drop lever located forward and to the right of the trigger guard. Activating the lever releases a round from the magazine onto the carrier. Cycling the action will load the round into the chamber. When the gun has been fired and the magazine tube is empty, the bolt will lock open. The bolt is released by pressing the carrier control button, or bolt release, located on the forward right side of the receiver. The design allows users to easily change the type of ammunition in the chamber without accessing the ammunition from the magazine tube.

The M4 Super 90 handles quite well. Good ergonomics in the design of the controls as well as the buttstock/pistol grip/handguard combine to make for a quick-handling and easy-shooting shotgun. Rate of fire is very fast, and recoil surprisingly easy to control, making follow-up shots accurate. But a well-made firearm is more than simply the sum of its parts—it must prove itself on the range.

To “wring out” the M4 Super 90, I enlisted the help of Lt. Michael Clayton of the Person County, N.C., Sheriff’s Department. We put the shotgun—fitted with the optional full pistol grip stock—through its paces at the department’s training facility. Clayton, accustomed to using a slide-action shotgun on duty, mentioned that the Benelli is very “smooth shooting and easy to control.” He said, “I especially like the pistol grip as it makes it very easy to hold on target and fire accurately.” This was obvious as he consistently hit point of aim with slugs at 50 yds. within the first few shots. He also noted that the design of the pistol grip and overall excellent ergonomics result in a shotgun that is easy to maneuver with, allowing him a secure hold on the shotgun while moving around barriers and over obstacles. In the course of that session, we fired a combination of 2 ¾” and 3” buckshot and slugs, and the Benelli functioned without complaint.

While the gas-operated semi-automatic shotgun is by no stretch of the imagination a new development, the M4 Super 90 is representative of a new phase for the combat shotgun—in both its operation and its employment by our armed forces.

After closely examining the M4 Super 90 and testing it for performance and functioning, I have to say that I am glad that Benelli is planning to offer this version of the M1014 for sale to the public, although it will not be available until later this year. I was thinking I needed to enlist to get my hands on one again!


Manufacturer: Benelli Armi, S.p.A., Via della Stazione, 50, 61029, Urbino, Italy
Importer: Benelli USA (Dept. AR), 17603 Indian Head Highway, Accokeed, MD 20607; (301) 283-6981;
Gauge: 12 ga., 3"
Action Type: gas operated, ARGO semi-automatic shotgun
Receiver: anodized aluminum
Barrel: 18 1/2", phosphated with chrome-plated bore
Chokes: Benelli interchangeable choke tube system
Magazine: four round
Trigger: single-stage, 7lbs. pull
Stock: length of pull, 14 1/4"; drop at heel, 2 3/4"' drop at comb, 1 3/4"
Overall length: 39 3/4"
Weight: 8 1/2lbs.
Accessories: TBD

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9 Responses to Benelli M4 Super 90: Combat Modernity (Page 2)

mike wrote:
November 09, 2012

I have an M1 and have a quesrltion regarding unloading. Is there supposed to be a button/prtorusion on the bar holding the shells in the tube making it easier to depress the rail and release them? I have found it nearly impossible to unload safely and mine does not have such a button. Any insight is appreciated. Mike

mike wrote:
November 07, 2012

I have an M1 and have a quesrltion regarding unloading. Is there supposed to be a button/prtorusion on the bar holding the shells in the tube making it easier to depress the rail and release them? I have found it nearly impossible to unload safely and mine does not have such a button. Any insight is appreciated. Mike

USWG01 wrote:
November 01, 2011

The magazine capacity is federally regulated on imported shotguns for sale to civilians. Don't blame Benelli. This is your tax money at work ;) I just purchased a civilian M4. With 2 3/4" shells it will hold 5+1, and like the others said, you can purchase an extension if you like. With the right extension and technique you can reliably carry 9 rounds. I sold my 870 to buy this shotgun.

Cody wrote:
October 25, 2011

M1014 is a Gas-Piston operated system. Basically, gases from a fired shell push the piston, the piston pushes the bolt carrier, the bolt rotates and unlocks, ejecting the spent shell, then reload a new on, locking the bolt, and cocking the hammer in less than half a second.... it is a very clean reliable action, Check out POF-USA or Barrett REC7, H&K P416... 'Thanks for playing'

BD wrote:
October 18, 2011

Really, Guest? How many intruders do yo expect in your home?

OK wrote:
October 16, 2011

Look up Nordic shotgun parts...they sell an extension.

Don wrote:
October 11, 2011

Its not Russian.Its built by Blackwater Firearms in North Carolina; USA!

Christian Dystopian wrote:
September 10, 2011

I think it high time the military adopted a gas operated semi auto shotgun. I really would have preferred the Russian AA-12 or equivalent. If you haven't seen videos of this ugly, ugly, weapon check out YouTube & you'll know what I mean. You may not agree but you'll understand my reasoning.

guest wrote:
August 25, 2011

why is the magazine tube limited to 4 rounds??? makes no sense. i would love to purchase one but the fact that it only holds 4+1 rounds turns me off. my remington 870 holds 6+1 and my mossberg 590 holds 8+1. i do not feel comfortable in purchasing a self defense weapon that is restricted to 4 rounds.