When it comes to semi-automatic shotguns Benelli reigns supreme. Benelli shotguns are in use around the world with police officers, conventional forces, and special operations. The Benelli M4 has its roots in the United States Marine Corps and their quest for a new combat shotgun. They specifically wanted a gas-operated gun over inertia driven weapons so they could add on optics, lasers, lights and more.

An inertia driven gun is more prone to malfunctions when the weight of the weapon is changed, making it difficult to use heavier optics that are often associated with night vision and thermal optics. The Benelli M4 passed the Marine Corps trials and became the M1014 Joint Service Shotgun.

The gun has since become a legendary weapon in the hands of both special and conventional forces. Shotguns are niche weapons, but in their niche, they dominate. The Benelli M4 went on to serve in the armories of the Navy SEALs, the Green Berets, and numerous special mission units who need a powerful and fast-firing shotgun for close-quarters battle. It’s rare that the weapon will leave the armory in a time of Mk 18s and MP7s, but it is still kicking ass across the world. Most recently an SAS Operator dispatched five terrorists in less than seven seconds with a Benelli M4. In bad breath distance, the shotgun stops threats dead.

What Makes the Benelli M4 Tick?

The magic behind the Benelli M4 is the ARGO gas system. This stands for Auto-Regulating Gas Operated System and it’s unique to Benelli’s guns. The ARGO system uses two pistons that make direct contact with the bolt to operate the weapon. The gas port is positioned in the forward section of the barrel. This provides cleaner gas that results in less fouling. The system also cycles insanely fast and gives the end-user the ability to very rapidly dispatch threats.

Benelli Performance Shop SBE II Waterfowl Edition 12-Gauge

Read Next: Benelli Performance Shop SBE II Waterfowl Edition 12-Gauge

The ARGO system also helps reduce recoil and makes the Benelli M4 a comfortable shooter. You can comfortably train by shooting hundreds and hundreds of rounds in a single day and not be sore or beat up. Muzzle rise and recoil are also controllable enough that a skilled user can take out, let’s say, five terrorists in seven seconds.

Breaking down the M4

The Benelli M4 comes in several different configurations, including entry models with 14-inch barrels and the standard model with an 18.5-inch barrel. The M1014 and other military variants commonly use a 3 position collapsing stock, but there are also straight stocks and fixed pistol grip models on the market.

The gun is outfitted with an optics rails and ghost ring sights. The stock ghost rings are quite accurate and allow for the use of both slugs and buckshot at ranges from five feet to 100 yards. The gun is packed with a very nice trigger that makes those 100-yard shots a little easier. You can strap on an optic to make it even simpler and outfit it for low light use.

The Benelli M4 also features a very wide loading port. This makes it much easier to load a gun while keeping the weapon orientated downrange. Loading the tube in a firing position is quite simple. With a little practice, you can become quite fast at it.

The Benelli M4 is a combat shotgun and one of the few built and designed for that purpose and that purpose only. This shows as the gun is used and abused. Everything about it is built with combat in mind and this gives the Benelli a major advantage over other semi-auto shotguns. The only complaint I have from my experience with my gun is the tiny bolt release. It’s quite small and hard to reach. Add gloves on top of it and you’ll have a few issues. It’s the only part I’d replace control-wise.

The King of Kings

The Benelli M4 is the king of combat shotguns and it has proven itself to be a reliable and capable combat weapon. The gun was invented almost 20 years ago and has yet to be upstaged. The M4 has proven itself time and time again as the best combat shotgun that money can buy.