I was browsing autoloading shotguns, just checking around to see what is available, and the Benelli M4 caught my eye.
A rather nice looking shotgun, and if it has been adopted by the military, then it is probably one of the more reliable autoloading shotguns available, and the seven shell magazine seemed nice, and that collapsing stock looked a bit funky.
So, i browsed over to the Benelli website to check out the versions…and they won’t sell me a seven shell shotgun nor will they sell me the collapsible stock.
They will sell me a five shell magazine version with a fixed stock, and one with a short enough barrel to be an NFA item, but they won’t sell me one with a seven shot magazine or a folding stock.
Does Benelli think I am not responsible enough for a collapsible stock or two extra shells in the magazine? They apparently think I can handle a NFA short-barrel shotgun, which is why they offer one for sale, but those two extra shells or that folding stock makes it available ONLY to military or law enforcement.
I personally found that a bit strange. Well I could always get a Saiga-12, seeing as the people supplying it made it take detachable magazines and people supplying the accessories have made a 20 round drum, and they seem to think I am responsible enough to be allowed to have that.
The Benelli M4 civilian version costs (apparently) about $2900 , so I could always go and get an old SPAS-12 with a folding stock, 8 round magazine, semi-automatic operation with pump-action for use with specialty rounds, and valued at $1,000 to $2000.
A Saiga-12 is now about $1200 according to a half second internet search. The 20 round drum is about $80, turning into a SBS would be at $200 if you did it yourself (and you still need to pay $200 on top of the $2900 for the NFA Benelli) and a folding stock with pistol grip is $160.
For $1640 I could have a folding stock, pistol grip, semi automatic short barrel shotgun with a 20 round drum that changes as fast as a magazine. I could have multiple drums for more money, as many as I want.
Maybe if Benelli thought its customers could be trusted with seven more shotgun shells* and a collapsible (not even a folding!) stock, then the extra $900 might be nice, seeing as you would get a new shotgun.
But when I can get a nice autoloading shotgun from a place that trusts the customers able to buy it’s products at a lower cost, then why would I want to go with the company that thinks I am not capable of handling two more shells or a collapsing stock, but does think I can handle a SBS**?
*Your friendly (HA!) gun snob is from the great California, where EVERYTHING gets the ten round treatment, so things like this are especially annoying. I’m sorry, I can’t even have seven rounds? The law is ten round magazines, so why has Benelli cut down the number that the civilian version can take? If the politicians think I am responsible enough for ten rounds, then I am pretty sure I am more than capable of handling seven. Giving me five and telling me I can’t have seven is a little insulting.
**Not that I can get an SBS. All NFA items are functionally banned in California. You can apply for the permit, but it is only ever given to movie rental houses, despite supposedly being open for anyone to apply to. Yes, that annoys me a lot as well.