Featuring an ergonomic fit and optimum precision equipped with its reliable operations and handling, there’s no doubt the Franchi Affinity 3 Waterfowler Elite shotgun is waterfowlers’ weapon of choice.

A Versatile Waterfowl Shotgun

Right off the bat, the Franchi Affinity 3 and 3.5 Waterfowl Elite features an Intertia Driven operating system that could instinctively shoot down various game birds at speed thanks to its flawless 2 3/4- and 3-inch shell cycle. And as the name suggests, it’s specially designed as a waterfowl shotgun.

It is a fast-handling, lightweight, easy-swinging semi-auto that offers a sleek profile, slim forends, and integrated style that a waterfowler can depend on in an all-day, all-weather use—promising a next-level shooting game for an MSRP of $1,279.

Franchi ensures that both 3 and 3.5 Waterfowl Elite versions provide optimal comfort in any shooting position through its evolved Ergonom-X and enhanced fiber-optic sights that allow hunters to target fast in low light. Stocks are adjustable, too, according to the fit preference of the handler. Not to mention its TSA recoil pads can reduce the felt recoil even when using magnum loads. In addition, hunting amid cold weather has never been better with the Waterfowl Elite version because Franchi increased the model’s operators, allowing hunters to use the gun easily, even with gloves on.

Technical Specifications for the 12-Gauge:

  • Action: Semi-auto shotgun
  • Barrel Length: 28-inch
  • Size: Standard
  • Overall Length: 50 inch
  • Average Weight: 6.9 lbs (3.1 kg)
  • Magazine Capacity: 4+1
  • Chokes: IC, M, F, and wrench
  • Sights: Red fiber-optic front bar
  • Length-of-Pull: 14-3/8 inch
  • Drop at Heel: 2- to 2-1/2 inch (adjustable)
  • Drop at Comb: 1-1/2 inch
  • Minimum Recommended load: 3-dram, 1-1/8 ounce; 20-Gauge: 7/8-ounce, 1200 FPS.

Since its founding in 1868, Italian gunmaker Franchi gained prominence with civilian and military arms. But Franchi’s shotgun particularly gained popularity among American hunters, primarily quail hunters, who dote on its featherlight weight and adjustable features. Aside from the Waterfowl Elite, the Affinity line also offers a Catalyst model designed for women and a dedicated version for turkey hunters.

A Waterfowler’s Favorite

affinity 3 elite review
Affinity 3 Waterfowl Elite has an oversized bolt release and an oversized charging handle, which other Affinity shotguns don’t have. (Screenshot from Reeds Family Outdoor Outfitters/YouTube)

In a Field and Stream review, they’ve compared the performance of the Affinity Waterfowl Elite with a Benelli shotgun, which both work under the inertia principle that is light, simple, clean yet fast, reliable, and strong. This makes it an ultimately balanced shotgun.

However, they noted the internal difference between the two shotguns: “the Affinity does have return spring around the magazine tube instead of in a tube inside the stock as is common with semi-auto guns.” Its “spring adds very little weight or bulks to the front end, and, while it can get dirtier than a spring in the stock might, it is also easier to inspect and clean,” thus preferred by some hunters. Obviously, the Franchi shotgun is missing the high-tech features of the Benelli guns, such as the ComfortTech vibration- and recoil-reducing stock. But this doesn’t mean they don’t employ similar technology to manage its recoil. The Waterfowl shotgun is equipped with Franchi’s own TSA recoil pad that is proven to reduce up to 50 percent and flinching that allows the shooter an improved accuracy and faster follow-up shots. As a result, the gun is ideal for shooting a little low and at pinpoint precision.

When it comes to disadvantages, they claimed that “there’s not much in the field that an Affinity 3 can’t do.” Though, if you’re going for clay target shooting, the shotgun isn’t really the perfect choice as a heavier gas-operated gun with a longer barrel still dominates that field.

Waterfowl Elite Speed Test
Speed testing the Affinity 3 Waterfowl Elite. (Screenshot from Target Focused Life/YouTube)

While they don’t have the same renowned recognition as the Benelli, the Franchi Affinity 3 can certainly do an exceptional job at a much lower price.

Affinity 3 Waterfowl in Cerakote

Earlier this year, Franchi unveiled its four additional models of the Affinity 3 shotguns in Cerakote with two color options, including Realtree Max-5 with Midnight Bronze Cerakote and Mossy Oak Bottomland with Patriot Brown Cerakote.

In its press release, Franchi stated that the new models “represent a balanced merging of form and function” and weather-resistant most waterfowlers are looking for. Like the 3 and 3.5 shotgun versions, it also employs Franchi’s Evolved Ergonom-X technology, TSA Recoil Pad, and the Omni Stock Adjustable Fit system for a custom fit and feels. Its MSRP starts at $1,099.

Franchi Affinity 3 Waterfowl Shotgud in Cerakoten
Affinity 3 Cerakote in Realtree Max-5 finish. (Image source: Franchi USA)