Beretta makes nice shotguns.
Whether it’s for sporting or competition, they up their game through unique features such as the Blink gas-powered system, balancing adjustment features, or even their GunPod digital tracking system. And their A400 model is a great example of all of it. But there’s just one thing about the standard Beretta A400 I just can’t shake — that bright feather blue receiver.
Thankfully, Beretta has decided to create a matte black edition for more traditionalist gun owners. And not only does this Black edition look great, but it fires like a dream as well.
Beretta A400 XCel Sporting Black
Final Grade: A+
Beretta A400 Sporting Black Weight Adjustability and Blink System
Now, there’s a bunch of different sporting shotguns out there that claim to have that special something no one else has. And sometimes…that’s just a load of bull.
But with the A400 Sporting Black, there’s actually some real merit to that claim. And that comes with their unique weight adjustability system and that Blink gas-powered system that we just love so much.
First, let’s talk about that weight balancing. On the front of the fore-end is a medium weighted balance cap. Now that’s relatively standard, but with this particular nut you can actually takeaway or put additional weight in to your liking. This helps you to balance the gun so it’s just right for you.
Next, the Blink action. This is the same action that I covered in our Beretta 1301 Comp Review, and my opinion still remains the same. This is still by far my favorite action on a shotgun. It’s signature split-ring valve system and smaller piston allows the A400 to fire exceptionally fast and keeps the internals substantially cleaner while doing so.
What’s not to love?
A400 Sporting Black Specs
|Operating System||Gas System|
Beretta A400 Sporting Black Features
1. Kick Off Unit with MicroCore Recoil Padding
Beretta did a great job here minimizing the effects of recoil on your body. The Kick Off Unit does a great job absorbing the shock while the MicroCore Padding feels good on the shoulder.
2. Insanely-Fast Blink Action
I predict that Beretta’s Blink action is one of the best we’re going to see on a shotgun for a while.
3. Oversized Bolt Handle and Release
The oversized controls may not be appealing to everyone, but there’s no doubt about it. They are easy operate–especially for those with large or arthritic hands.
4. Extended Optima HP Choke
The A400 Sporting Black does come standard with an extended Optima HP Choke tube. This can be unscrewed and fitted though with another option if you’re looking for another shot pattern.
Beretta A400 Sporting Black – Our Take
I was talked into this Sporting Black a400 Beretta by a friend. I’m no stranger to automatic shotguns, but there is just something cleaner or more pure (perhaps more snobby?) about an over and under shotgun. Before this shotgun, I took one of two shotguns to the sporting clays, trap, or skeet fields or to the bird hunting field: my favorite shotgun, a Beretta Silver Pigeon II over and under shotgun or a Beretta 390 AL Gold. I guess you can tell by now that I have a thing for Beretta shotguns. As you can tell by my Benelli M4 review, I have a few specific gripes about Benelli shotguns. So, back to being talking into the a400 black… I like my over and under for “sporting shotgun” ventures because of the style of it (it’s nice to not be ejecting shells onto the ground) but MOSTLY because I am a clay breaking machine with my Silver Pigeon and I’m just decent with an automatic. I was told that the a400 sporting black was different so I gave it a try. The easiest summary of this review I can give is this: I am heading out this morning for a fundraiser sporting clays tournament and I am bringing my Beretta A400 Sporting Black while my over and under sits in the safe.
View this post on Instagram
The @beretta_usa A400 Sporting Black is phenomenal. I HIGHLY recommend it. I still love my over and under but this shotgun makes it sooooo easy. #12gauge #12ga #sportingclays #shotgun #shotguns #guns #gun #firearm #firearms #gunsofinstagram #pew #pewpew #pewpewpew A post shared by Gun University (@gununiversity) on
Honestly, I’m still a bit better with my over and under because it is a bit heavier and has a nicer “swing” to it for target shooting games. However, on my first trip out with the a400 sporting black I realized what a clay breaking machine it was!
I’m already very willing to have other people try my guns at the range but I was being downright obnoxious insisting that everyone shot my sporting black shotgun because I was so amazed by it. I don’t think I’ve been more giddy about a new gun than I was about this. Yeah, it’s embarrassing.
I think my excitement was that I convinced myself that I needed a nice over and under with a fitted stock in order to be successful. I didn’t think a “do-all” automatic shotgun would be up to the task but I was wrong. It was more fun to shoot than my over and under and I was having so much fun dusting clays that I started having fun and trying some mild trick shots. This thing doesn’t miss!
My favorite parts of the a400 sporting black shotgun are:
- carbon fiber vent rib (it just looks cool)
- Beretta chokes (they’re the best of any brand in my opinion)
- super fast (and soft) action
- Beretta chokes – seriously they can’t be beat (more on them below)
My least favorite part is the fatal flaw design of the shell release button that I go into in detail in the Beretta 1301 Comp review. The good news is that it is not near as much of an issue on this shotgun because of how this shotgun is used.
All-in-all, this is CLEARLY my new favorite sporting shotgun (whether clay target shooting or bird hunting). I just returned from the Czech Republic where we shot over 1,000 pheasant in 1 day (yes, really). I used a CZ over and under that was a great shotgun shooting Sellier & Bellot’s new paper shotgun shells (my new favorite shells). The CZ shotgun worked great but more than once I wish I had my a400 sporting black!
Beretta A400 Sporting Black Pros and Cons
Incredible Blink action
Clay breaking machine
Black (better than sporty blue)
A bit pricey (but worth every penny)
|Reliability||Super reliable. Best auto-shotgun we’ve shot.||
|Customization||Not much to customize||
|Ergonomics||Feels amazing and easy to operate but has a “no longer works” button.||
|Shootability||Hands-down, the best and most enjoyable shotgun action!||
|Value||My new go-to sporting shotgun (but a bit pricey as a premium shotgun)||
Beretta Choke Tubes
A choke is the amount of restriction on the end of a shotgun barrel. A “cylinder” choke is effectively a straight tube whereas a “Full” choke restricts the shot pellets more as the leave the barrel resulting in a tighter pattern of the pellets as they fly through the air.
Cheap chokes don’t work as well as nice chokes – really, you get wha you pay for here and I don’t think that there are better chokes available than the Beretta factory chokes (it’s one of the reasons that I love their shotguns so much!
They’re pricey, but soooo worth it. If you know what you’re looking for, here are the best deals we’ve found on Beretta chokes. If you are not sure what you need, stay tuned for our guide to shotgun chokes!
Beretta Optima Choke Tubes
Beretta Mobile Choke Tubes
Unboxing and Breakdown of the Beretta A400 Sporting Black
The Beretta A400 Black edition definitely comes with some sweet new features and improvements to the original A400 straight out of the box. And what a nice box it is.
Check out The Gun Show’s Jon perform a full unboxing and breakdown of the Beretta A400 Xcel Sporting Black.
Our Top Upgrade Picks for the Beretta A400 Sporting Black
Are you looking to personalize and upgrade your A400 Sporting Black? Here are Gun University’s top picks for customizations, upgrades, and ammo.
Best Heavy Balance Cap for the Beretta A400 Xcel: 6.3 Ounces Heavy Anodized Silver Balance Cap – While this cap will take away from the all-black finish, this would be a great weight if you prefer a heavier front-end.
Best Choketubes for the Beretta A400 Sporting Black: Briley’s Optima HP Choketubes – If you’re finding that the standard choke tube just isn’t doing it for you, I’d recommend this full set by Briley’s.
Best Target Load for the Beretta A400 Sporting Black: Winchester AA Light Target Load 1 1/8 oz – If you’re gonna shoot skeet, you’re gonna need some quality target loads.
Beretta’s GunPod2 System
We can’t end this review without talking about Beretta’s new GunPod 2 system. The GunPod 2 is really neat for those looking to track their hunting and shot stats in real-time.
The full system is made of three distinct parts:
1. The Onboard Shot Counter
This is mounted within the stock pistol of the shotgun and talks to your smartphone whenever a shot is fired. No need to turn this on.
2. The Smartphone App
This is the central brain of the system. Whenever a shot is registered from the Shot Counter, the app will give you many pieces of info including when and where the shot took place. The app can be used to track a huge number of things and store all your private records.
3. The GunPod Server
This allows you to access all that sweet info from you app straight from your desktop or laptop.
Now, there’s going to be a few of you out there that feel that this is just taking tech too far. But if you’re one of those who’s digitally savvy, you may want to check this out. And you can do with the fully-compatible Beretta A400 Sporting Black.
Subscribe To Our Newsletter
Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.