Benelli M2 Tactical Shotgun
By Todd Burgreen
While semi-automatic shotguns have shown capability, few have demonstrated the “hell and back” reliability necessary to gain the confidence of users in life or death tactical situations related to law enforcement or personal defense. Leave it to Benelli to adapt their ultra-reliable inertia operating system to the tactical shotgun format; thus challenging assumptions as to what a tactical shotgun should be with the M2 Tactical. With the M2 Tactical, form follows functions with its svelte lines contradicting the often brutish appearance that generally distinguishes other tactical shotguns.
The M2 Tactical uses Benelli’s patented inertia operating method. Most auto-loading 12 gauge shotguns use some form of gas-operated feeding system. Benelli’s M2 semi-automatic uses the kinetic energy generated by the gun’s recoil to eject the spent shotshell and load a fresh one. The system has three basic moving parts: bolt body, inertia spring and rotating bolt head. The M2 operates by means of a spring that is freely interposed between the locking head and bolt. As the gun recoils during firing, the inert breech bolt moves about 4 mm forward, compressing the spring. When the spring is fully compressed, it overcomes breech bolt inertia and thrusts the bolt to the rear, under residual pressure. The gun extracts the shotshell case and reloads another shell from the magazine tube. The spring pressure is designed to delay the opening of the action until after the shot has left the barrel. This compensates for the different pressures produced by shotshells of varying power. The M2 Tactical’s inertial recoil operation is simple; there are fewer parts to add weight to the shotgun or to fail mechanically. The Benelli inertia operating method eliminates the drawbacks of both the barrel recoil systems in terms of barrel vibration and increased recoil impulse as well as gas operated systems which tend to have reliability degraded as use increases due to fouling in the receiver area.
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