For some time I had wanted to get a Benelli M4 Super 90 (M1014) and figured I’d sell my VEPR-12 after I picked up the Benelli. Molot VEPR-12s are no longer imported, and I am concerned about spare part and magazine availability. I liked the idea of the Benelli having the self contained tubular magazine where I wouldn’t need to worry about accessories. I thought the M4 Super 90 would be an excellent choice due to its’ proven performance, reliability, etc. I traded for a customized limited edition (the flag edition) M1014 model of the M4 Super 90 line.
While I was waiting on the shotgun to come in to my dealer, I read so much about them. The operation, history, manuals, etc. So many people talked about how it will reliably feed any ammo and is so light recoiling.
I wonder now if the people who said that actually shot one. It recoils like a pump action. Shooting the VEPR-12 and the M1014 side by side the VEPR move so much less. Shooting the VEPR-12 is like shooting a standard AK. Shooting the M1014 reminds me of when I had a .45-70 guide gun. Not unpleasant, but moves a great deal with the recoil of every shot. I can shoot the VEPR-12 fast and the barrel stays level and the sights on target.
I would have probably would like the Benelli a great deal more had I never shot a Vepr-12. But I can load 3 inch slugs and extra-light bird shot in the mag of the Vepr-12 and it runs it fine due to its’ self adjusting gas system. The M1014 chokes on light loads and makes heavy loads borderline unpleasant to shoot.
Now, I’m not so sure I’m going to keep that Benelli. I might just sell or trade it off and leave the Molot Vepr-12 as my semi-auto shotgun.
Finally got it set up the way I want it. had to replace the Surefire railed handguard with the standard forend and I removed the Taran Tactical enlarged bolt release button and installed a standard bolt release.
The bolt release button is also the catch that holds the shells in place when you load the tube. The bolt release that was modified with the Taran Tactical bolt release was very stiff to insert shells into the gun. I wonder if it got bent slightly in the installation of the enlarged button. The stock catch makes for easy loading.
I am a fan of the M1014 aka M4 Super 90, enough of one that I have been wanting one for a long time.
If you made a list of pros and cons, the M4 Super 90 has many pros going for it. It is a proven gun, perhaps the semi-auto shotgun with more combat experience as the U.S. Military’s M1014 and as the U.K. military’s L128A1. It is known for reliability, and has shown it self to be fast in competitions like 3 Gun. Most importantly, it looks really cool. It is high capacity, at 7+1+1. The additional +1 comes from the ability to “ghost load” an additional shell onto the shell lifter to cram another round in the gun. It comes with really great Ghost Ring sights, an optics rail, and should go at least 25,000 rounds with out parts replacement. Like the Mossberg shotguns, it has a superior alloy receiver unlike the inferior steel receivers of the Remington 870 shotguns.
People rarely talk about downsides to guns. What are the downsides to the M4 Super 90? First would be cost and weight. If someone was looking for a gun for 3-gun competition, they could get a tricked out M2 Super 90, or other guns for less cost than the stock M4 Super 90. The “ARGO” dual gas piston system on the M4 Super 90 add weight making the gun heavier than inertial driven shotguns. (On the plus side, of you are mounting lots of accessories, the M4 will run with all that extra weight on the gun)
Back to cost, the M4 Super 90 comes neutered from the factory. Reduced capacity, and the collapsing stocks are hard to find and even more expensive. It can cost many hundreds of dollars to configure a M4 Super 90 into M1014 configuration.
Personally, I think one of the most iconic parts of the M1014 is also one of the worst parts of the design. The collapsible stock is very expensive to buy, and major flaw. Benelli somehow managed to make a stock that is always wrong. Not only is it rare and expensive, and there are weird 1, 2, and 3 position versions, it adjust at an angle, making the cheek piece problematic.
Like most shotguns, the stock is overly long than what is ideal for many. As you collapse it, the cheek piece get higher and higher, preventing the use of the sights. Unless you have mounted an optic, the sights are unusable when the stock is collapsed. You collapse the stock on this for storage, not to fit you. The stock is also way too short when collapsed. If this was a rifle stock, people would complain about the tremendous amount of wobble in it, but somehow this is ok on an expensive shotgun.
Note how much higher the cheek piece is with the stock extended vs collapsed.
A very minor grip of mine would be the three dots on the sights. IMHO, the two biggest improvements of the M1014 over the military issue pump shotguns are the superior sights and that it is semi-auto.
This picture does not do it justice, but the M4 Super 90 comes with great sights. But being Ghost Ring sights, the white dots on the rear sight are centered around the Ghost Ring. Since you use the top of the white post. If you were to line up the dots you would be aiming high. I’m looking forward to trying this with slugs and seeing how much the difference in point of impact will be.
When people talk about about the M4 Super 90, usually one of the biggest selling points it the absolute reliability across all ammunition types. People love to say how the Marine Corps picked it because it can shoot less lethal loads and cycle them.
When I read that I was confused, because when I was in the M1014 wouldn’t cycle breaching or bean bag rounds. But now I read people talking about how the M1014 does.
So all this talk about how your M4 Super 90 can run anything is bullshit. For example, this commercial M1014 pictured above choked and malfunctioned on light target loads that function fine in a VEPR-12.
Oh, and despite the USMC spending time and money to do this retrofit to their M1014s, they still felt the need to turn their Mossbergs into modular breachers 6 years later with the MEK kits.
I had 4 malfunctions with this light target load in 9 rounds fired. Now, to be fair, this M1014 has a low round count and perhaps might break in more. Hopefully.
Most people don’t seem to like the stock controls on the Benelli M4 Super 90. Enlarged buttons for the safety, and bolt release. In the picture above a Taran Tactical extended button is installed.
Many aftermarket buttons are so very much larger than the little original bolt release button.
On this particular gun, pushing rounds into the magazine was very stiff to get the rim past the catch. I read that this is not uncommon in Benelli shotguns and people will modify the catch by polishing, bending it, or removing material around the two U shaped cuts in it. I don’t recall any of the M1014s I used in the Corps being like that, but that was also a long time ago that I last used a Benelli. I expect that will become easier with use.
I see people say this is the ultimate home defense gun. It is nearly 2 pounds heavier and 2 inches longer than a M4.
I like this gun, that is why I own one. But I believe that if you need or want a semi-auto shotgun, there are many cheaper options that would fit that need just as well. But if YOU want a M4 Super 90, and can afford it, get it.
It is a cool gun. I’ll be talking about mine more later.
There is one more topic I feel it is important to discuss. This is not a gun issue but a training issue. Semi-automatic shotguns have a different manual of arms than most all other semi autos.
On your average semi-auto pistol or rifle, you load the mag, cycle the action, and you are ready to go. On a semi auto shotgun like the Benelli, you can fill the tube, and cycle the action all the day long and you will not chamber a round. You need to hit the shell release to release a round from the tube onto the lifter in order to chamber a round.
There is a bolt handle, a safety, a shell release, and a bolt release. All of which have to be used in the proper order. Now those of you that are familiar with semi-auto shotguns are probably yelling at your screen that any idiot would find that easy. For me, it has been something like 5 years since I last used a semi-auto shotgun that worked like that. I had to read the manual.
I remember in training on the M1014, guys would be on the line, a whistle or firing command would be given and they would raise their gun and *CLICK*. They had failed to load it correctly.
Watch this Marine at the 18 second mark in this video. Again at the 40 second mark.
I’ll withhold commentary on other training issues shown in the video. But it goes to show that this guns manual of arms is not obvious to people not familiar with it. It takes training and practice.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and
Explosives (ATF) has received questions from industry members and the
general public regarding a new type of firearm produced by the Franklin
Armory. This firearm, known as the “Reformation”, utilizes a barrel that
is produced with straight lands and grooves. This design contrasts with
conventional rifling, in which the barrel’s lands and grooves are
spiral or twisted, and are designed to impart a spin onto the
The ATF Firearms and Ammunition Technology Division
(FATD) has examined the Reformation firearm for purposes of
classification under the applicable provisions of the Gun Control Act
(GCA) and the National Firearms Act (NFA). During this examination, FATD
determined that the straight lands and grooves incorporated into the
barrel design of the Reformation do not impart a spin onto a projectile
when fired through the barrel. Consequently, the Reformation is not a
“rifle” as that term is defined in the GCA and NFA. Moreover, because
the Reformation is not chambered for shotgun shells, it is not a shotgun
as defined in the NFA. Given these determinations, the Reformation is
classified as a shotgun that is subject only to the provisions of the
GCA (i.e., it is not a weapon subject to the provisions of the NFA).
the provisions of the GCA, if a Reformation firearm is equipped with a
barrel that is less than 18-inches in overall length, that firearm is
classified to be a short-barreled shotgun (SBS). When a Reformation is
configured as a GCA/SBS, specific provisions of the GCA apply to the
transfer of that firearm from a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) to a
non-licensee, and to the transport of that firearm by a non-licensee in
interstate or foreign commerce. These provisions are:
922(a)(4) requires that an individual wishing to transport an SBS in
interstate or foreign commerce obtain approval by the Attorney General
to transport the firearm.
18 U.S.C. 922(b)(4) requires
authorization from the Attorney General consistent with public safety
and necessity prior to the sale or delivery of an SBS to an individual
by an FFL.
The Attorney General has delegated the authority for approval of requests pursuant to these sections to ATF.
Franklin Armory Reformation is the first firearm produced and sold by
an FFL that ATF has classified as a GCA/SBS. Because GCA/SBS firearms
have not previously been available in the marketplace, existing federal
firearm regulations do not provide a mechanism to process or approve
requests from FFLs for approval to transfer a GCA/SBS to a non-licensee
pursuant to section 922 (b)(4) or requests from non-licensees to
transport a GCA/SBS pursuant to section 922(a)(4).
currently developing the procedures and forms to address this new type
of firearm. Once promulgated, these new procedures and forms will
provide the mechanism necessary for FFL holders and owners of GCA/SBS
firearms to request the statutorily required approvals. Until such time,
you should be aware of the following:
An FFL may lawfully
sell/transfer a GCA/SBS, such as the Reformation, to the holder of an
appropriate FFL (a GCA/SBS cannot be transferred to the holder of a type
06 or type 03 FFL).
No mechanism currently exists for ATF to
authorize a request from an FFL to transfer a GCA/SBS, such as the
Reformation, to a non-licensee. Therefore, until ATF is able to
promulgate a procedure for processing and approving such requests, an
FFL may not lawfully transfer a Reformation configured as a GCA/SBS to a
No mechanism currently exists for an unlicensed
individual who possesses a GCA/SBS, such as the Reformation, to submit a
request and receive approval to transport the GCA/SBS across state
lines. Therefore, until ATF is able to promulgate a procedure for
processing and approving such requests, the possessor or owner of a
GCA/SBS, such as the Reformation, may not lawfully transport the firearm
across state lines.
Any questions pertaining to this Open Letter
may be sent to the Firearms Industry Programs Branch at FIPB@atf.gov or
Curtis W. Gilbert Acting Assistant Director Enforcement, Programs and Services
Originally Posted By LHA-2: Just read it again, it makes perfect sense. It isn’t a shotgun, but it’s a shotgun.
Moreover, because the Reformation is not chambered for shotgun shells, it is not a shotgun as defined in the NFA. Given these determinations, the Reformation is classified as a shotgun that is subject only to the provisions of the GCA (i.e., it is not a weapon subject to the provisions of the NFA).
Went to the range today. Hadn’t shot shotgun in a while and was starting to grow fond of them. A few shots reminded me why I don’t care for them. Low capacity, slow to reload, etc. Still worth having one.
I received a Geissele Super Dynamic 3 Gun trigger (SD3G) in that Larue PredatAR rifle I talked about recently. I replaced it with a Larue MBT trigger in that rifle. I am going to sell this trigger, but I figured I should it before I do. In the past, when I used a Super 3 Gun trigger (S3G) I found it so light and the reset so short that I was inadvertently getting double and triples when I didn’t want it. That happened with two different lowers, so I quickly got rid of the trigger. Trying this one in one of those same lowers, I had no issues with unintentional bump firing. Geissele’s “3 Gun” triggers are very light, short trigger, and very quick to reset. It makes for a very easy to shoot fast firing gun, but I’d rather have heavier trigger for any gun that I would expect to use for any serious or dangerous work. Still, something like the S3G or SD3G triggers would be perfect for the gun games they are designed for. The S3G has a standard curved trigger, while the “Dynamic” SD3G has a straight trigger.
I’ve started playing around with the Magpul 40 round Pmags. Initial impressions are excellent. They are easy to load, smooth to use, standard Magpul AR15 Pmag excellence. I expected they might be so long as to be awkward but I was wrong. As of now, I would wholeheartedly recommend them.