The Benelli M4 Tactical Shotgun has been battle-proven for reliability around the world by the U.S. Marine Corps since 1998. The Benelli M4 semi-auto shotgun operates by a unique, Auto-Regulating Gas-Operated (A.R.G.O.) system, featuring dual stainless steel, self-cleaning, pistons that bear directly on the bolt assembly. Benelli’s ARGO mechanism eliminates the more complicated linkages and heavier parts of other semi-auto shotgun designs, to produce a relatively simple and robust action. The auto-regulating gas system is designed to handle everything from field loads to hard-hitting 3″ buckshot without the need of adjustments. The Benelli M4 Tactical Shotgun comes with a pistol-grip synthetic buttstock, made to withstand any environment. The pistol-grip is made from a rubber/poly blend and the stock features a sturdy recoil pad, that together with the gas operation, cut recoil and muzzle lift considerably, allowing the shooter to stay on target and deliver rapid follow up shots. An under-barrel sling point at the front of the handguard and one on each side of the stock facilitate ambidextrous sling attachment. The M4 shotgun comes with an 18.5″ barrel with 1 screw-in choke tube (modified), and a 5-round magazine tube. A crossbolt safety behind the triggerguard ensures safe operation. The Benelli M4 Tactical Shotgun comes with a fully adjustable LPA ghost ring rear sight and a white dot front blade inside protective ears for quick target acquisition. A 5.25″ Picatinny rail allows user to mount additional scopes and optical sights. The Benelli M4 is an ideal home defense shotgun, law enforcement shotgun, or a rugged all-purpose shotgun to carry in bear country.
Manufacturer model #: 11707.
Operates by unique A.R.G.O. system
Handle everything from field loads to hard-hitting 3″
Pistol-grip synthetic buttstock
5.25″ Picatinny rail
Includes 1 choke tube
Gun Review: Benelli M4 Tactical Shotgun
Benelli is known for making shotguns for discerning customers. Customers like the U.S. Marine Corps, the French Special Forces, the Irish Special Forces, the Israeli Special Forces, the SAS, as well as lots of assorted law enforcement agencies. And the Benelli M4 is the Cadillac of semi-automatic tactical shotguns.
The Benelli M4 was initially designed for the Marine Corps, where it serves as the M1014.
The Benelli M4 is a 12 gauge, gas-operated, semi-automatic shotgun designed for tactical applications. The gas system the M4 uses is called the ARGO (Auto Regulating Gas Operated) system. Its a half-decent Ben Affleck flick, too.
The ARGO system increases the reliability of a shotgun by taking gasses from the further up the barrel than normal. This gives you cleaner gas and less fouling. The ARGO system also implements two pistons that directly contact the bolt. It’s simpler and lighter than most gas systems.
The Price Tag
The price of smoothbore perfection is steep. The MSRP is a hair south of two grand, depending on the model (there are two M4 H20 Tactical models with titanium Cerakote finished receivers for $270 more). That barrier to entry makes the shotgun inaccessible to most and, even when you can afford it, you have to ask yourself if it’s worth the money.
The answer is…complicated. As someone who owns an M4 and has used the M1014 during my military service, I can say its worth every penny…but it also isn’t.
It’s worth the price if you need a shotgun that can eat not only thousands of rounds between cleanings, but also a gun you can take on patrol and submit to the grit and grime of a big dirty world.
If you need a gun that can go through a sandstorm, ride in a vehicle all-day-every-day and be generally abused — but still work every time its called on — then the Benelli M4 is for you.
If you just need a shotgun for home defense, for 3-Gun competitions, or for plinking, then the Benelli M4 might be a little bit of overkill.
Then again, if you’re like me and just have an affection for the gun or a desire for the best, whether you need it or not, then the Benelli M4 might be for you.
Tight tolerances are usually the sign of a well-made and well-designed weapon. Sometimes it’s also associated with a gun that’s prone to malfunction or a one that’s picky when it comes to lubrication and maintenance.
The Benelli M4 is a tight-fitting firearm that defies those typical tight tolerance negative stereotypes. It’s neither lubrication sensitive or high maintenance. Everything just reeks of quality.
You won’t find much slop or play between the moving parts of the shotgun. The tight tolerances of the Benelli M4 give it a superb feeling of quality. From the rear adjustable sight to the way the magazine nut screws on, everything is tight and precise.
Inside the Benelli M4
The Benelli M4 Tactical Shotgun comes in several configurations, all with a 5+1 round magazine capacity. This includes a fixed black synthetic stock, a fixed pistol grip stock, and a fixed stock mock-up of their M1014’s collapsible stock. The Benelli M4 comes with ghost ring sights and an optics rail for attaching any red dot or optic you choose.
One benefit of a gas gun over an inertia-driven (see the Benelli M2) system is that you can tack on anything you want and not worry about the weight causing reliability issues. The M4’s forend has no rails, but the aftermarket has introduced several systems to make it easy to attach lights and the lasers of your choice.
The charging handle is on the right side of the gun, as is the bolt release button. The bolt release is one of my main complaints. It’s unnecessarily small and probably the first part I’ll switch out.
The loading port, however, is quite large, making it easy to load the tube, especially in a tactical or high-pressure situation. There is plenty of room for you to work and lots of space to correct mistakes in. When it comes to port loads the bolt and receiver leave plenty of room to make it so.
Another minor complaint is the safety positioned behind the trigger. I much prefer a safety being located forward of the trigger (though that would put it close to the M4’s cartridge drop lever).
The button to switch the shotgun from safe to fire is plenty large, though, and it’s easy to find and press. The pistol grip is quite large and, in my opinion, one of the best grips out there. It fits my big hands and gives me a good deal of control over the gun.
The Benelli M4 Tactical Shotgun is one comfortable gun to shoot. The weapon eats up most of the recoil from the gun, and muzzle rise is equally as minimal as the weapon’s recoil.
The Benelli M4 shotgun is likely one of the softest shooting shotguns on the market. Not only does the ARGO gas system help cut recoil, but the gun is designed to maximize control with its rigid stock, ribbed forend, and large pistol grip.
The gun also eats everything from cheap birdshot to hard-hitting slugs. It doesn’t eat mini shells, so don’t ask. While some say it has trouble with lower powered loads, in my experience the gun cycles even low recoiling rounds like my all-time favorite Federal FliteControl 8 pellet buckshot. The sights are quite precise and allow for quick target acquisition to accurately throw a load of buckshot or a slug at anything opposing you.
The M4 cycles incredibly fast. With a little practice and a lot of ammo, I got to the point where I could drop all five rounds before the first one hit the ground. It’s such a fun gun to shoot rapidly that I got rather good at manipulating the trigger.
The trigger is absolutely outstanding. Shotgun triggers shouldn’t be judged like rifle triggers, but the Benelli M4 has a trigger easily comparable to a good rifle trigger. It’s clean and short with a positive reset. If one wanted, you could easily bump-fire this gun with little effort.
The Benelli M4 shotgun has proven to be reliable and has yet to have a malfunction in my hands. At this price point, if it did malfunction, I’d have a return tag to Benelli in by now. This shotgun is one of my favorites. It’s light, fast cycling, accurate, reliable, and comfortable. What more could one want from a tactical shotgun?
Specifications: Benelli M4 Semi-Automatic Shotgun
Barrel Length: 18.5 inches
Overall Length: 40 inches
Weight: 7.8 pounds
Caliber: 12 Gauge 2.75 and 3 inches
Action: Semi-automatic gas-operated.
Ratings (out of five stars):
Reliability: * * * * *
The Benelli M4 eats everything you toss at it. It cycles buckshot and birdshot with ease and is only challenged by less lethal, breeching loads, and other ultra low powered shotgun rounds. High brass, low brass, it doesn’t matter…the M4 makes it go bang.
Accuracy: * * * * *
It’s a tactical semi-auto shotgun, so accuracy is easy because of the close-range nature. I will give it full marks because the sights are absolutely fantastic and fast and easy to acquire. From slugs to buckshot, the gun puts it where it needs to be.
Ergonomics: * * * *
As far as semi-auto shotguns go, the M4 has a great length of pull (14 3/8″), excellent loading points, and well-placed controls. The only real downside is the small bolt release button.
Customization: * * * *
While it’s no AR-15 or GLOCK, the Benelli M4 has a surprisingly large aftermarket following with tons of different options to customize and upgrade the gun. The receiver comes fitted with a length of Picatinny rail for mounting scopes, a red dot, cigar holder, whatever.
Overall: * * * * 1/2
The Benelli M4 is a powerful, accurate, reliable, and easy-shooting semiautomatic shotgun. It’s an excellent tactical shotgun, though at a very high price. This gun is certainly a capable defensive shotgun for anyone, although it’s built for combat in foreign lands.
Benelli M4 Tactical Shotgun: Review
The history of the Benelli M4 Tactical Shotgun is something of interest, as many consider the shotgun to be a rather poor alternative to a rifle or carbine in terms of combat effectiveness. This is a topic that I debated while using the weapon at the range with some prior military and police guys.
Of particular interest is the idea of the shotgun as a primarily American weapon. Very few foreign militaries have used the shotgun as much as our own forces. The American Army in the First World War utilized a variety of shotguns as ‘trench guns’ while in the confines of the battlements. These weapons were of very limited use over wide spaces, but did serve an offensive purpose in battle and served to scare the enemy.
World War Two again revived the use of the combat shotgun, as did a variety of other conflicts across the world. The major turning point, as far as I can tell by reading and listening, was in Vietnam, when the combat shotgun was favored to many other available weapons due to the dramatic performance at closer ranges.
The Benelli M4 entered the scene just before 2000 and was the winner of a military solicitation for a new semiautomatic shotgun. The Benelli M4 Super 90 Combat Shotgun was submitted and the result was the weapon being accepted into service as the M1014.
Unlike other complex systems, the M1014 utilized the ARGO gas system to increase reliability and durability. This is a superbly dependable design and it has proven its value on the battlefield.
The official differences between the M1014 and commercial M4 models are few. There are some minor differences in terms of features and nomenclature, but the commercial version is pretty darn close to the military models.
The M4 shotgun I received was one that I had been wanting to give a try for some time. I had heard nothing but good about this particular model and I just had to put it through its paces if I had the chance.
There were several options I had when considering an M4 for review, and I opted for the new-for-2017 H2O model that has a very attractive titanium Cerakote finish and a more traditional fixed stock instead of the pistol grip found on other versions. This finish and the H20 designation make it a serious contender for excursions near, or even in, water. I took the weapon out and even photographed it for this article in the rain. The surfaces simply wipe clean and the Cerakote shrugs off water like, well, water off a duck’s back.
This finish and the Benelli M4 Tactical Shotgun H2O designation make it a serious contender for excursions near, or even in, water. I took the weapon out and even photographed it for this article in the rain. The surfaces simply wipe clean and the Cerakote shrugs off water like, well, water off a duck’s back.
The first thing I noticed about this weapon when I put it to shoulder was how similar it was to the rifles I was used to. The barrel and sights came up naturally and were actually, in my mind, comparable to an M1 Garand. I have always had an issue with shotguns because, not only are most ungainly compared to rifles, but there is no real way to aim them with any accuracy. Not so with the Benelli M4 Tactical Shotgun. The adjustable iron sights are very similar to those on a rifle and were extremely easy to get used to.
I zeroed the sights using military issue buckshot at a distance of 25 yards. The patterns were exceptionally tight and, once I was zeroed, provided the most user-friendly shotgun experience I have ever had. The receiver sports a rail that allows for the mounting of your choice of sight. I did not have a red dot laying around to test with this weapon, but it was hardly necessary. The M4 just shot and shot, right to point of aim.
The Benelli M4 barrel and sights came up naturally and were actually, in my mind, comparable to an M1 Garand. I have always had an issue with shotguns because, not only are most ungainly compared to rifles, but there is no real way to aim them with any accuracy.
The patterns with buckshot were unbelievably tight inside 25 yards. Most buckshot loads, including the green military loads, put their pellets into roughly the size of a grapefruit. Hitting a 10” steel plate was stupid easy at 25 and remained easy well out to 50 yards. I was able to land shot on steel out to 75 yards, but after that it was hard to deliver on steel. I did shoot IDPA targets at these ranges and had only about 25-30% of pellets landing on target, which in most cases meant only three hits.
In addition to shooting the breeze with some of my shooting buddies, I had some of the more experienced 3-Gun guys shoot it alongside their custom rigs. The M4 was described by all as a soft-shooting gun and most said they wouldn’t hesitate to use one in competition.
What was interesting to me about this gun was how easy it was to learn on. As I mentioned earlier, I’m not a shotgun guy. The Benelli M4 Tactical Shotgun was so intuitive to me that, aside from the big shells ejecting from the gun, it was just like using the weapons I was familiar with.
Another thing that really surprised me was how clean this thing ran. I put box after box through it and when I was done there was hardly a bit of carbon in there. Guns of course get dirty during use, but this was clean-clean. I wiped most of the bolt off with my fingers and they looked like they had come right out of the box.
If you find yourself in the market for what is likely one of the finest semi-automatic 12GA shotguns made, you’ll inevitably find yourself in line for one of these. The quality of Benelli is plainly evident with this weapon and you would have a hard time getting a better shotgun at any price. I’m a rifle guy at heart, but the Benelli M4 Tactical Shotgun was enough of a surprise that it made me reconsider my affiliations.
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