Benelli M4 Shotgun Review: Is it worth the price?

by Roy Chesson

February 10, 2020

1 comments

3.7
(25)

When it comes to discussing the best shotguns in the world, very seldom is the Benelli name left out. Benelli has more than established itself as a versatile, high quality purveyor of arms.

The Benelli M4 actually came about as the result of an open request via the United States Army looking for a new 12 gauge shotgun back in 1998. Not only was the Benelli M4 created for, but it actually smoked the competition and was awarded the contract.

It has since grown into being one of the world’s foremost shotguns being utilized by military, law enforcement, and civilian use worldwide.

BENELLI M4 SPECS

  • Operating System Auto Regulating Gas System
  • Gauge/Bore 12 Gauge
  • Weight 7.8 lbs
  • Action Gas operated semi-auto
  • Overall Length 40’’
  • Barrel Length 18.5″

The Four Configurations of the Benelli M4 Shotgun

Now before you start telling that there are more configurations than just four, let me tell you why only 4 apply to the majority of us reading this.

Benelli is also known for making firearms that are strictly for military and law enforcement. Even after the ban in the United States on the collapsible butt stocks was lifted, Benelli still restricted that feature from their civilian oriented models.

So, here’s a quick overview of the 4 available for home-defense and civilian use.

  • M4 Tactical with Pistol Grip
  • M4 Tactical with Tactical Stock
  • M4 H20 Tactical with Pistol Grip
  • M4 H20 Tactical with Tactical Stock

The major differences between the models are the grips and stocks and the Titanium Cerakote Finish on the H20 platforms.

Benelli M4 Features

Benelli-M4-Features
1 Pistol Grip Option Available

For those of you more comfortable with a pistol grip on your shotgun, Benelli offers 2 versions for you.

2 Ghost Ring Sights

These sights help you to accurately hit your target for any nighttime hunt or home defense situation.

3 Receiver Mounted Picatinny Rail

Allows for any Picatinny compatible accessory to help customly optimize the shotgun.

4 Extended Magazine Tube

The M4 comes with a 5+1 magazine capacity.

Benelli M4 – Our Take

The Benelli M4 is an awesome shotgun. However, it’s a little too pricey and we think it falls short when compared to similar shotguns.

An Italian tactical semi-auto shotgun? Whats not to like?

Well, we’re not huge fans of the Benelli operating system on any. of their semi-autos. Sure, it works and MANY shooters (who are better than us) swear by it. We just can’t get over the recoil impulse felt while shooting it – the recoil is clunky and weird to us. Also, they can be a bit finicky depending on what type of load you’re shooting (the Remington VersaMax Tactical is a better option in our book).

Another issue with the M4 by Benelli? That weird crumple-zone in the magazine tube limits the capacity! You can’t get enough shells in the gun to compete with other shotguns and you can’t increase the capacity on your own.

If you want a 3-Gun shotgun, you’ll need to look elsewhere as this can’t keep up because of its low capacity.

If you want a quality semi-auto that has some neat features, this shotgun may be for you. However, we prefer some of the other models of Benelli shotguns over this one.

Benelli M4 Pros and Cons

  • Fast and fun to shoot
  • Made by a legendary shotgun manufacturer
  • Reliable (with the right power loads)
  • Low capacity for a “tactical” shotgun
  • Expensive

Report Card

Reliability

Meh – it works unless you use the wrong load

B
Accuracy

Very accurate

A+
Customization

Not much you can change

B
Ergonomics

We don’t like pistol grips, but you might

A
Value

Too expensive for what you’re getting

D
benelli-final-grade

Our Grade

B

Reviewed by Roy Chesson

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The Benelli M4 is a well made shotgun, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t need improvement. These are some essentials that every gun owner would do well to have, in order to maximize their owning experience.

Now that we’ve got the must-haves out of the way… Let’s get into some cool personalizations for the Benelli M4.

Best Gun Case for the Benelli M4

When I make a firearm purchase, it is so important to me to protect it. There are a few things that I can do in order to accomplish that goal. First, I clean and maintain my firearm consistently. Second, I use my firearm properly and am aware of how and when I use it. Third, I get a gun case to make sure it is out of the elements and I can transport it in safety.

I am a fan of hard cases because I travel so much. Also, out of any rifle/shotgun case, the hard enclosed cases I have found keep your gun the cleanest. So, this is the editors choice because it is reasonably priced and does exactly what it is designed to do, protect your firearm. You will also have no problems taking it with you to the airport as long as you have some good locks from Amazon on on them.

This bag gets our Durability Award. It is made with strong stitching and can take just about anything you throw at it. I like the extra pockets and protected zippered compartments for extra shells, mags, lights and more. Good protection overall.

Check Amazon Price

Not much to say here about this bag. It is solid has good value and will not come apart at the seams. You can count on the handles staying together and being able to lock it up tight. This gets our Best for Budget Choice.

Check Amazon Price

Other Shotguns in its Class to Check Out

#1 Remington Versamax

Remington Versamax

The Remington reputation is definitely upheld when it comes to their Versa Max Series. and the Versa Max Tactical is the centerpiece of Remington’s Versa Max family.

Check Latest Price

  • Shootability B
  • Accuracy B
  • Reliability A+
  • Value A

Our Grade

A-

Reviewed by Roy Chesson

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When we put together our list of best combat and tactical shotguns, it wasn’t easy to decide which guns would be our favorite like the Beretta Comp 1301, or the Remington VersaMax. We like to make the comparison between these, so if your curious to know more about it check it out. READ MORE

#2 Mossberg 500

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  • Reliability A+
  • Accuracy A
  • Customization C+
  • Ergonomics A-
  • Value A+

Our Grade

A-

Reviewed by Roy Chesson

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TBD

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If your looking for good pump action, you can’t go wrong with a trusty Mossberg 500. It’s super-reliable, budget friendly, and an all-around great pick for anyone looking to buy a new shotgun. Plus, the Mossberg 500 has the ability to shoot mini shells which are great for picking off field small rodents. READ MORE

How to Care for Your Benelli M4

With all the features the Benelli M4 has, you might expect that maintenance to be relatively difficult. Truth be told, it’s a lot simpler than you think. Aside from the manual, this video is a great instructional video showing you how to disassemble the weapon and get it back together.

Important Links And Manuals For Your Benelli M4

Looking for more info on the Beretta 1301 Comp? Check out these links for the manual and other news!

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About Roy Chesson

Roy Chesson is prior Navy with a specialty in international arms dealing for the US government across multiple countries. Having traveled the world and abided by ATF and ITAR, Roy has a unique background in legal as well as practical capabilities of weapons deployment and use.

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1 COMMENTS

  1. I am fine with the author not liking the recoil impulse. How a gun feels when shot is largely subjective. I have friends that love the AK47. I have never shoot one that I like, no matter how good the build quality or origin of the manufacturer. It’s a subjective metric. So is cost and value. So while I disagree with the authors opinion regarding value, I wholeheartedly respect the opinion given and I give that portion of the article a pass. But I do have a few areas I would push back on.

    First: Cases are not “cool personalization’s”. They are for protection during transportation and do nothing to change the function of the gun. The “cool personalization’s” segment of the article is clearly an advertising area in the middle of the article. I don’t begrudge the advertisement and learn of many great products via advertising, but this segment has nothing to do with altering the function/appearance of the weapon and should not be labeled as such. Everyone has bills and needs to eat, but call a spade a spade. Don’t try to camoflauge the advertisement.

    Second: This gun has many options for customization. Almost everything but the receiver and bolt can be replaced. Additionally, the overwhelming majority of offerings for the Benelli M4 that I have come across are military/tactical/3-gun Comp grade components(Mesa Tactical, Taran Tactical, B&T, Freedom Fighter Tactical, and so on). True, some shotguns guns have more third-party options on the market, but more does not equal better here as many of those offerings are low quality modifications that barely function for airsoft games, let alone duty/service/comp grade weapons.

    Third: The stock and magazine tube can be replaced with the manufacturers collapsible stock and 7 round tube. Yes, there are additional modifications required to then bring the weapon into compliance with current restrictions(922r compliance). I withhold any opinion regarding the efficacy, value, or Constitutionality of said requirements and restrictions, but the gun can be modified to the original design of an adjustable stock and 7-round magazine tube.

    Also, the M4 is very often used in 3-gun comps and many of the top-tier shooters in these comps are using modified M4’s as well as the M1/M2/M3 seeing frequent use. This gun very much can be used to 3-gun and often will out last other guns seeing that kind of trigger time. I respectfully disagree with the author regarding use in 3-gun comps.

    Lastly: Remington once sat king amongst shotguns makers. Regardless of whether you like the gun, the Remington 870 is quantifiably the most prolific shotgun in the world. That being said, while the Versa Max showed promise, and some owners have not had issues, that gun was riddled with problems. The dramatic decline in quality from Remington over the years, is the single biggest reason they went bankrupt, their divisions and holdings were sold off, and the company no longer exists. Those problems were very well known in the industry and the consumer market at the time this article was written. So, my point? This gun may hold subjective favor with the author as a better option then the Benelli M4, but the gun and manufacturer were already in serious trouble and should not have been used as an alternative in this article. Too much exists to call into question whether the Versa Max is a better contender then the M4. Furthermore, it’s not even on the shelves unless you can stumble upon old stock or find one used. Having researched the Versa Max extensively, I would caution buyer beware.

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