The Benelli M4 semi-automatic shotgun has served alongside the members of the United States Marine Corps since 1999. It’s thrived through water, humidity, combat in the global war against terrorism and Leatherneck abuse in deployments to some of the planet’s most inhospitable regions.
Its ability to survive when lesser shotguns fail lies in the company’s innovative Auto-Regulating Gas-Operated (A.R.G.O.) system, which is self-cleaning. Its gas port is also just forward of the chamber, where the mixture is hotter and cleaner. The dual short-stroke pistons push directly against the bolt, reducing vibration, and the lack of any linkages between the parts helps minimize weight. The company designed it for the Marine Corps in 1998, it was adopted a year later, and soon after that honor M4s were adopted as the official U.S. Joint Services combat shotgun.
It runs, regardless of conditions, which makes it one of the most popular civilian choices for home- and self-defense. When American Rifleman tested the M4, the reviewer noted, “For many of the same reasons the autoloader is favored by military worldwide, including its modularity and ability to be quickly reconfigured, the civilian-version M4 (18.5” barrel and reduced magazine capacity) is chosen today by millions as their all-around shotgun for home defense or 3-gun competition.”
Benelli offers four commercial versions of the shotgun today. All are chambered in 12 ga., can run both 2 3/4" and 3" shotshells and come with 18.5" barrel. Stocks are black polymer and enthusiasts can choose versions with or without a pistol grip.
Magazine capacity is five shotshells and the shotgun comes with a ghost ring for sighting. The receivers also wear a Picatinny rail for mounting optics. Overall length comes in at 40" and all models tip the scales at 7.8 lbs. Length of pull is 14.37".
With a titanium Cerakote finish on the receiver and barrel, with or without the pistol grip, MSRP is $2,269. The pair of models with an anodized black receiver and phosphate black barrel come in at $1,999.