ATI Upgrades for Benelli M4

"The best accessories for the legendary Benelli shotguns."

ATI Upgrades for Benelli M4
By: Sam Smith

Advanced Technology International (ATI) recently held its gun show at the Gunsite Academy. In 1976, Jeff Cooper—a World War II vet—founded the American Pistol Institute and later renamed it the “Gunsite Training Center.” Later in that same year, Gunsite began offering shotgun and rifle classes to law enforcement and military personnel as well as civilians.

For over three decades, its instructors have conducted on-site training for individuals and groups from around the world. Cooper is widely recognized as the father of “the Modern Technique” of handgun shooting. He is one of the 20th century’s foremost international experts on the use and history of small arms.

The ATI Gun Show was attended by several writers including retired cops and current-duty police officers. Several newly ATI-engineered accessories, specifically designed for shotguns and rifles, were introduced. All of the attendees were allowed to shoot the decked-out guns on the 2,000-acre open-air gun range under the vigilant eyes of the Gunsite firearms instructors.

ATI Stocks, Forends, Accessories

Advanced Technology International (ATI), once known for manufacturing auto parts, is the new kid on the block in the world of rifle and shotgun accessories. However, they are quickly challenging other long-established companies as the premier manufacturer of leading-edge rifle stocks, shotgun stocks, and accessories for a wide variety of firearms. ATI is now recognized by the armed services and law enforcement worldwide as a leader in synthetic and aluminum accessories and gunstocks. All ATI products are manufactured in the United States at their ISO certified facilities in Wisconsin. 

ATI has been working with Benelli Armi SpA, an Italian firearm manufacturer, and has created one of the best shotgun packages ever to be made available to law enforcement. Benelli® is already well-known for the M3 12-gauge shotgun that has been lengthily used by American SWAT teams. New for 2013, the Benelli M4 with ATI-engineered accessory package is a revolutionary shotgun that is making a huge impact in the world of firearm instructors, street officers and SWAT operators.

The Benelli M4 semi-automatic shotgun, completely accessorized with ATI products, was the highlight of the event. The revolutionary, Italian-designed Benelli is considered by many experts as the best shotgun to ever be introduced to law enforcement. Those of us in attendance were among the first police officers ever to shoot this highly designed piece of devastating firepower completely decked out with modern ATI accouterments.

Lightweight Firepower

The Benelli® M4 Semi-Automatic shotgun lived up to its reputation. The Benelli M4 is indeed a handsome weapon to behold. The ATI accessories are aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Since most of the ATI accessories were made of aluminum, DuPont® extreme military-grade polymer, and other synthetic materials, this splendid shotgun weighed less than it looked.

I’ve never really paid attention to the weight of a weapon until I had to run up and down several dried-out ravines while shooting at multiple steel targets. Carrying lighter weapons made a noticeable difference in my fatigue level as I jogged and hiked while combat shooting in the high altitude of the hot, arid desert in the mountains of Yavapai County, Ariz.

As my heart rate was climbing and blood pounded through my carotid arteries, I felt a familiar stitch of pain in my right side and my arms became heavy. My neck and shoulders ached every time I had to bring up a rifle or shotgun to acquire my target. It was during these moments that I thought about the importance of carrying a light rifle or shotgun in a combat situation. 

The tolling stress on the mind and the fatiguing of the body are inevitable for an officer who is thrown into a prolonged gunfight or an extended standoff with a barricaded gunman. A rifle or shotgun is preferred over a handgun in many gunfights, and the weight of a rifle or shotgun can affect the officer’s accuracy as he is moving from cover-to-cover toward an “active shooter.”

Low Recoil, Gas-Operated Auto

What I really liked about the semi-automatic Benelli M4 was that there was no manual cycling of the rounds. The Benelli M4 fired as rapidly as I could pull the trigger. Another feature that I enjoyed was the ATI-designed Raven Shotgun Stock with the Scorpion Recoil System. I was able to stay on target as I continuously fired the Benelli because of the reduced muzzle lift. The kickback was minimal and my shoulder wasn’t bruised and didn’t ache—as it had with other shotguns—after I shot nearly 50 rounds through the Benelli M4.

The M4 semi-automatic shotgun is manufactured by Benelli, one of the Beretta Holding Group companies. This 12-gauge combat shotgun was originally developed for the United States Army back in 1998, but was quickly adopted by the US Marine Corps in 1999 as their shotgun of choice. The Benelli M4 is now available to law enforcement.

Benelli produced the first-ever gas-operated shotgun. Benelli engineers incorporated a new method called the “auto-regulating gas-operated” (ARGO) system that uses two stainless-steel pistons located in front of the chamber. The pistons are self-cleaning and interact with the rotating bolt, resulting in a clean and reliable system that has been proven to be consistent time after time. 

Tactical or Entry

The M4 has a Picatinny rail allowing the owner to attach scopes, sights or lasers. It is also drilled and tapped for scope mounts. It comes with military-styled ghost ring sights that can be adjusted for wind and elevation. The basic M4 model weighs 3.82 kilograms and is 35 inches long overall. Police officers can get a Benelli M4 with an 18.5-inch Tactical Barrel or a 14-inch Entry Barrel. It shoots slugs and buckshot as well as non-lethal rounds. Depending on the ammunition, the effective range is out to 55 yards.

One of the best-designed features of the Benelli M4 is the weapon’s modular assembly basis that allows its operator to switch out the various assembly groups—barrel, buttstock and forend—without the use of tools. This has proven to be advantageous in combat, allowing the shotgun to be speedily adapted to a changing tactical environment. Nevertheless, ATI has actually improved the Benelli M4 semi-automatic shotgun and enhanced it to the needs of law enforcement.

Raven Stock, Scorpion Recoil

The ATI-engineered accessories include a revolutionary six position adjustable Raven stock that is 6061 T6 aluminum over-molded with rubberized polymer for comfort. There is an adjustable tension mechanism allowing the operator to increase or decrease the drag of the buttstock along the buffer tube. The adjustable, soft-touch padded cheekrest can be raised or lowered with an ergonomic rear dial located between the polymer cheekrest and Scorpion Razorback recoil pad.

The cheekrest can be adjusted from the zero position to a height of 1 inch. However, if kept in the fully collapsed position, it will maintain the same cheekrest height as the OEM stock. This height adjustment knob allows for quick and easy modifications and the elongated design provides for a perfect fit for each individual user.

ATI designed the Scorpion Recoil System for the Benelli M4. The featured non-slip, removable Scorpion Razorback recoil pad is positioned on the butt of the shotgun. It has a pistol grip for maneuverability. The new-and-improved Sure-Grip textured pistol grip is part of the Scorpion Recoil Grip System.

The “Scorpion” material reduces the recoil and discomfort to the shooter’s thumb and web of the hand (a common complaint by many shotgun owners). It aids in the elimination of the “felt punch” of the recoil of the powerful, semi-automatic shotgun blasts. Another nifty feature of the Scorpion Razorback Recoil System is that it also reduces the challenge of reacquiring the target by minimizing the muzzle lift after each shot.

Raven Forend, Heat Shield

The Raven forend is artistically designed and adds to the intimidating features of the Benelli M4. It is covered with the same polymer-over-aluminum as the buttstock. It has an enlarged, padded palmswell. The forend has two extensions. The first is a barrel shroud mounted to the handguard. This keeps it from making contact with the barrel and prevents direct heat transfer between the two. 

To top off the ATI accessories is a precision CNC-machined receiver mount with an optional pivoting sling loop that can be installed on either the left or right side of the receiver. When not deployed, the sling rides flush with the receiver and is even durable enough to support 300 pounds.

The MSRP for the Benelli Raven Stock and Forend / Heat Shield Package is $549—many modular combinations are available. The “Benelli M4 Raven Stock, Forend, Magazine Tube and Mag Follower Package” lists for $375. The Benelli M4Raven Stock with the Scorpion Recoil System lists for $300. The Benelli Raven Forend is $50 and the Benelli Raven Forend and Heatshield Package for $120.

Military and Police

The Benelli M4 shotgun is being used by the US Army and Marine Corps as well as the US Navy SEALs and the Los Angeles Police Department. It has been adopted all around the world by police agencies and military entities such as Israel, Australia, Malaysia, Malta, Slovakia, Slovenia, Georgia, Greece, Libya, Italy, Iraq, Lithuania, South Korea and the United Kingdom. Many of these countries have designated the M4 to be used in their Special Forces units.

The Benelli M4 is also available to the general public, but the Law Enforcement Version with the collapsible stock is not obtainable to citizenry because this semiautomatic shotgun is manufactured in Italy. Due to 922(r) regulations, it’s illegal for U.S. citizens to own a shotgun with a collapsible stock and a pistol grip… unless it’s rendered 922(r) compliant.

Compliance can be achieved by reducing the number of foreign-made parts on the firearm to 10 or less. The collapsible stock and other ATI accessories are available to law enforcement and the military as well as the general public because ATI provides enough components to make the Benelli M4 Semi-Automatic Shotgun 922(r) compliant.

The citizen-consumer can replace the OEM stock and pistol grip, forend, magazine tube and mag follower with enough ATI components manufactured in the United States to make the Benelli  Shotgun 922(r) compliant for civilians.

Upgrading ATI products is stress-free because of ATI’s “Easy to Customize” (ETC) advantage. All of ATI’s products, including the Advanced Aluminum Rail Systems and Buffer Tube packages, are completely compatible with existing ATI products thereby enhancing the owner’s current ATI gunstock. The ETC system allows the owner to modify instead of replacing the existing gunstock. All ATI products carry a lifetime warranty. Therefore officers have the option to upgrade in phases at their own rate or as much as their budget allows.

The Benelli M4 Semi-Automatic Shotgun is expensive. It retails for anywhere from $1,800 to $2,300. One could argue that for the same amount of cash, you could buy three other brands of shotguns, but you almost always get what you pay for. Owning the Benelli M4 is like choosing to drive a luxury, high-powered car over a smaller, more fuel efficient one. The Benelli M4 Semi-Automatic Shotgun decorated with ATI accessories is on the high end of shotguns that are geared for law enforcement. The legendary Benelli M4 is a great choice to carry inside the squad car for extra firepower.

Published in Law and Order, Jan 2014

Rating : 3.6

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