Beretta A400 XCEL Sporting Black Review

by Ryan Cleckner

February 7, 2020

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Whether it’s for sporting or competition, Beretta ups 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 you’ll find out in this Beretta A400 Xcel Sporting Black edition review, it fires like a dream as well.

A400 Sporting Black Specs

  • Operating System Gas System
  • Gauge/Bore 12 Guage
  • Standard Capacity 3+1
  • Chamber 3″
  • Barrel Length 30″

What is the Beretta A400 XCEL Sporting Black?

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?

Beretta A400 XCEL Sporting Black Features Review

Beretta-A400-Xcel-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 Black Models

Beretta DT-11 Black

Beretta-DT-11-Black-500-1-e1579384992835
Another top-of-the-line (and very expensive) clay target shotgun from Beretta.

Beretta 690 Sporting Black

The next model to follow the Beretta 680.

Beretta 692 Sporting Black

Beretta-692-Black-500-1
An upgraded replacement for the claybustin’ Beretta 682E.

Beretta A400 XCEL Sporting Black Review – 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.

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

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!

Video Review of the Beretta A400 Sporting Black

BERETTA A400 XCEL SPORTING BLACK PROS AND CONS

  • Great Balance
  • Clay breaking machine
  • Black (better than sporty blue)
  • A bit pricey (but worth every penny)
  • Same fatal flaw on Shell-Release Button as Beretta 1301 Comp

Report Card

RELIABILITY

Super reliable. Best auto-shotgun we’ve shot. Super reliable. Best auto-shotgun we’ve shot.

A+
ACCURACY

Clay-breaking machine!!! Clay-breaking machine!!!

A+
CUSTOMIZATION

Hands-down, the best and most enjoyable shotgun action! Hands-down, the best and most enjoyable shotgun action!

A+
VALUE

My new go-to sporting shotgun (but a bit pricey as a premium shotgun) My new go-to sporting shotgun (but a bit pricey as a premium shotgun)

A
Beretta-A400-Final-Grade-1

Our Grade

A+

Reviewed by Ryan Cleckner

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If you already have the Beretta A400 or are looking to get one, there are a couple of things I recommend you get with your gun. Some of which you might already have, but if you don’t then you should seriously look at picking up.

Also, there are some options to upgrade your Beretta A400 Black Edition. Here is a quick list of standard upgrades you should think about:

Best Shotgun Sleeves for the Beretta A400

I have a friend that owns a Ferrari, and he keeps it in a garage in order for it to stay nice and protected. The same is true with a really nice gun, like the Beretta A400, you need to keep it covered and protected. So here are a few options that we recommend.

The shotgun sleeve from Boyt is our Editors Choice. I really like it because it not only has good padding for a sleeve but also makes it easy to transport without having to use a massive case. The thick leather end of the sleeve is the perfect protection for the tip of the barrel. If you have a Beretta A400 or anything close, with such a nice shotgun you really want to keep it covered and protected with proper care. Check Amazon Price

Uncle Mike’s Sealtector Shotgun Sleeve

With a fully enclosed think vinyl sleeve, the protection level doubles compared to other sleeves. If I traveled a lot with my shotgun, this would be my choice. The hard vinyl keeps it 100% waterproof and gives you lasting durability on the sleeve and handle.

Check Amazon Price

Allen High and Dry Shotgun Sleeve

This is a solid basic sleeve for your shotgun. Nothing fancy, but gets the job done. It will help transport your shotgun easily, and keep it fairly protected from the outside elements. This is a good option if you have a tighter budget.

Check Amazon Price

Other Shotguns to Check Out

I am pretty sure you like this Beretta A400, but what I know what makes it difficult to like is the sticker price. It is worth every penny, don’t get me wrong! I love shooting this gun, but still, it’s pricey! So what are some other options that can get the job done, on a better budget? Thanks for asking, here is a review we have done on another shotgun that I think you will find helpful.

#1 Remington 870 Express Tactical Magpul

Remington 870 Express

Check Latest Price

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

Our Grade

A+

Reviewed by Ryan Cleckner

Reader’s Grade

TBD

Based on 0 Reviews

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The Remington 870 is another awesome shotgun. This has so many options for customization and the value is fantastic. You can read more about it HERE.

How to Care for Your Beretta A400 Shotgun

The most important thing we can do for our firearm is to keep it clean and maintain it. The Beretta A400 is a fantastic firearm, so it’s important to take care of it Keeping up with the maintenance will make it last a lifetime! If you don’t already have a cleaning kit, we like this one on Amazon from GLORYFIRE . It gives you the option and tools to clean both handguns, rifles, shotguns, etc. Here is a good video to give you a plan so you can clean your Beretta A400 shotgun.

Important Links And Manuals For Your Beretta A400 Shotgun

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About Ryan Cleckner

Ryan is a former special operations sniper (1/75 Ranger) and current firearms attorney, firearms industry executive, university lecturer, and bestselling author of the Long Range Shooting Handbook.

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