Benelli M4: An improved version of its predecessor

Benelli M4 is a 12-gauge semi-automatic shotgun designed in the late 1990s by Benelli Armi SpA of Italy. Serial production began in 1999 and quickly

Eric Sof

Soldier fires Benelli M4 tactical shotgun
A soldier fires from Benelli M4 Super 90 Tactical Shotgun (Photo: XY)

Benelli M4 is a 12-gauge semi-automatic shotgun designed in the late 1990s by Benelli Armi SpA of Italy. Serial production began in 1999 and quickly became a successful and popular weapon. Benelli M4 is considered a durable, reliable, and very effective shotgun based on its predecessor, the Benelli M3. So far, it has been used by various special forces, internal troops, law enforcement forces, and special police units of different countries.


Benelli M4 is a simple, battle-proven, reliable design that is light, easy to handle, accurate, and sufficiently lethal within its intended design envelope. It is a gas-operated shotgun with an ARGO system. ARGO is an Auto Regulating Gas Operating System that Benelli has patented.

Benelli M4 Super 90 has two stainless steel self-cleaning pistons and two lugs to lock the rotating bolt. It can fire two different shells; the tubular magazine holds seven 2.75″ or six 3″ shells. The body is made of stainless steel and rugged anodized aluminum and features a phosphate corrosion resistance finish. The regular Benelli M4 shotgun has a 14″ (36 cm) barrel, while it is also available with an 18.5″ (47 cm) barrel. The effective range is around 50 meters with a buckshot and 130 m with a solid shot. In military and law enforcement, it has proven useful in close-quarter battles, such as clearing buildings.

A New Zealand Army soldier armed with a Benelli M3 Super 90
A New Zealand Army soldier armed with a Benelli M4’s predecessor (Photo: Wiki)

The regular Benelli M4 Super 90 comes with a straight hand grip, but the pistol grip is also available as an option. The same is with the stocks, regular is fixed solid stock, while it also can be fitted with a collapsible buttstock which can shorten the length of the gun by 5 inches (13 cm). It is important to stress that stocks are interchangeable without tools. There is also mounted a Picatinny-type accessory rail that allows various sights, laser designators, flashlights, and other compatible equipment to be installed.


Benelli M4 Super 90

It is a version with a longer 18.5″ barrel, pistol grip, and telescopic stock. It was specially designed to meet the US Military requirements. Eventually, it was adopted by the United States. This combat shotgun is also widely used around the world.

Benelli M4 alongside the tactical equipment
Benelli M4 along the tactical equipment (Photo: XY)

M1014 Joint Services Combat Shotgun (JSCS)

It is the US Department of Defense designation of the Benelli M4 Super 90. In 1998 the US military issued a requirement for a new 12-gauge semi-automatic combat shotgun. In response to this requirement, Benelli designed and built the Benelli M4 Super 90. This weapon competed against other designs and was selected as a winner. In 1999 a contract was awarded to the American subsidiary of Heckler & Koch to import Benelli M4 Super 90 shotguns for the US Armed Forces. The first shotguns were delivered to the US Marine Corps in 1999.


It is a British Armed Forces designation of the Benelli M4 Super 90. British shotguns are often used with holographic sights.

Operational use

The Benelli M4 is in service with Australia, Bahrain, Brazilian Army, Croatian ATJ Lucko, Georgian special operations forces, Greek EKAM counter-terrorism unit, Iraq, Ireland’s special forces, Israel, Italy, Libya, Lithuanian special forces, Malaysian PASAKAU counter-terrorism unit, Malta, Moldova, the Philippines, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, United Kingdom, and armed forces of the United States. This weapon was used during recent military conflicts, such as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the Syrian Civil War.

Technical specifications

Country of origin:Italy
Manufacturer:Benelli Armi SpA, I-61029, Urbino, Italy
Weight (unloaded):3.15 kg
Length (stock extended):1,012 mm
Length (with folded stock):887 mm
Barrel length:469 mm
Muzzle velocity:
Magazine capacity:7 x 2.75-in shells, or 6 x 3-in shells
Sighting range:50 m
Range of effective fire (solid shot):130 m
Range of effective fire (buckshot):40 ~ 50 m

Eric Sof

Eric Sof holds a master's degree in Political Science, specializing in International Peacekeeping Studies. He has over a decade of experience as a former member of an elite counterterrorism unit. Additionally, he is a firearms instructor and currently serves as a member of the SWAT unit.

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