Benelli M2 Field Compact Shotgun Review

Ever since the 1960’s, the Benelli family has been manufacturing top notch firearms. They gained fame and success due to the quality and innovation of their shotguns. The M1 Super 90 was a hit, so to speak, and the M2 which followed it was a major improvement. In 2013, Benelli introduced a compact version of the M2 Field shotgun, with a short stock featuring Benelli’s ComforTech system, as well as an ergonomic butt pad. This pad is designed to not only fit the shoulder, but also spread the recoil energy over the largest area possible, providing the shooter with a better stance, faster recovery, and more precise follow-up shots. When it was unveiled at SHOT Show 2013, it received a lot of attention, and it was clear that this was going to be a great new addition to Benelli’s prestigious line of shotguns.

Benelli M2 Specifications

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Benelli M2

The M2 Field Compact comes in 12 or 20 gauge, and is chambered in 2-¾ inches or 3 inches. It has a black synthetic finish, a red bar front sight, and a 24 inch barrel which comes with 5 different choke tube options: cylinder, improved cylinder, modified, improved modified, and full. This allows the M2 Compact to display great versatility and adaptation. It can shoot anything from smaller loads to 3-inch magnums, and the chokes will spread your shot across a target in the best possible way.

The overall length of the M2 Compact is 44 inches. It has a magazine capacity of 3 +1, weighs in at 5.6 lbs. (approximately), and has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price tag of $1,499. It’s true, Benelli’s shotguns were never of the cheaper variety, and there is a good reason for that. Behind every shotgun or firearm they release, there is a long and proud history. A history of research, development, innovation, superb craftsmanship, and quality engineering. After all, we’re talking about a family which has been in business since 1911. Okay, so back then they were selling and repairing motorcycles, not firearms, but their creativity and ingenuity were very much apparent, even way back then.

Breaking in the Benelli M2

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Benelli M2 with Shells

Be sure to break the M2 in with appropriate shells. Some shooters become frustrated with the performance of their Benelli, saying it jams or fails to feed. Breaking a barrel in with the right kind of shells will provide the shooter with better results with smaller loads. For the M2 Compact, 3 inch buckshots should do the job nicely. Shoot a few boxes of those, and that Benelli will be singing. The heavier loads also help to break in the inertia-driven system, the springs, and the rest of the parts which function when cycling.

Benelli M2 Inertia-Driven System and ComforTech Recoil Reduction

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Benelli M2 Firing

The M2 Field compact utilizes Benelli’s famous inertia-driven system, which makes sure that the shotgun is clear and dependable, and that there is no need for further adjustments or alterations upon leaving the Benelli facilities. The inertia-driven system is what made Benelli famous back in the 60’s, and it continues to be a symbol of simplicity and consistency. The inertia-driven system operates in accordance with the strict laws of physics, yet Benelli’s firearms seem to find loopholes, defying the physical rules, and cycling faster than any field or combat shotgun in the world.

Part of what makes the M2 Compact more suitable for younger shooters, is the ComforTech recoil reduction system. It is a way to reduce recoil by almost 50%, according to Benelli’s website, and it is perfect for younger shoulders, who may not be able to stand the kick of a different kind of shotgun. Furthermore, there is a no-slip weatherproof grip over-coating, making sure that the shooter’s grip remains firm and tight, regardless of wet or dry conditions.

Benelli M2 For Younger Shooters

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Teaching Son How to Use a Gun

Many times, compact versions of firearms are referred to as “youth” versions. While it may be true that the smaller dimensions facilitate better handling for younger shooters, eventually it is a matter of personal preference. Some people just prefer compact models. The length of pull is different because of the smaller stock, and that allows greater degrees of comfort. You don’t have to be a youth in order to appreciate the M2 Compact. Plus, the Compact can grow with the shooter. As a shooter grows, additional pads can be added. Eventually, a full size stock can be attached, and it can replace the shorter stock. Once you shoot a Benelli shotgun, you know that you are holding in your hands a piece of perfection. As for younger shooters – letting them shoot a compact semi-automatic firearm, like the M2, is a chance to educate them from early on, on proper shotgun handling and firearm etiquette. If you are going to put a shotgun in the hands of an early teenager, make sure to provide him or her with all of the relevant safety instructions and conduct.

Benelli M2 in Cold Weather and Heat

Speaking of wet and dry, Benelli’s M2 Compact has its barrel and choke tubes treated with Benelli’s own Crio system. Treating the barrel and chokes cryogenically allows the parts to stay cleaner and shoot better for longer periods of time. If you want your shot to be on target, and not spread out too far, choosing the right choke tube is key. If you want that choke tube to function at maximum capacity, treating it with minus 300 degree Fahrenheit will get it there. The extreme cold physically changes the steel’s structure, and causes it to respond less to the stress caused by hammer forging. Also, the intense heat which is found within a shotgun may cause the barrel to expand or contract, but cryogenic treatments can help prevent those movements, and allow shot after shot to be fired without fail.

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Benelli M2 Profile

12 Or 20-Gauge Benelli M2?

The M2 Compact comes in 12 or 20 gauge. 12 gauge has a large following, and 20 gauge shotguns tend to be somewhat underrated. A lot of people don’t seem to take to them as a home defense weapon. Some contend that 12 gauge is, in fact, better, but that 20 gauge shotguns are easier to get used to, and are thus more suitable for newer shooters, younger shooters, or ones which are more sensitive to recoil.

Benelli M2 For Hunting

When it comes to hunting, there is a definite difference. The 20 gauge is lighter and easier to handle. If you are out on a 3-day camping/hunting trip, perhaps a 20 gauge would be appropriate. When it comes to home defense, it may not really matter. Normally, the home defense scenario occurs within such a closed area and short distance, that it probably won’t matter whether the shotgun is 12 or 20 gauge. At that point, it is only a question of comfort. If the kick of a 12 gauge shotgun is too much, go with a 20. It is that simple.

Benelli M2 Accessories

Benelli isn’t too big on accessories, it seems. There aren’t many ways to pimp their line of shotguns, and the M2 is no exception. I consider that to be a good thing, though, because it means that people will be busy with the actual firearm, instead of just how it looks or what tacticool gadgets it should have mounted on it. When you come down to it, it is all about the shooter and the shotgun. And while some customization is a good thing, you shouldn’t go overboard. Keeping that in mind, here are a few choice accessories. These are not made by Benelli, but they fit the M2:

  • Buttstock Shell Holder, by Specter Gear

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Buttstock Shell Holder

This small accessory holds 6 12-gauge shells on the side of the stock. It fits the M1, M2, and M3 shotguns. It can be used as a standalone accessory or attached to a specific sling. This shell holder can be used by left- and right-handed shooters, and it comes with rear adapters. It keeps things tight and secure, and allows you to reload with greater ease.

  • Sureshell Carrier, by Mesa Tactical

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Sureshell Carrier

This is an accessory specifically designed for use with the Benelli M2. It is a shotgun shell holder which holds 6 12-gauge shells. It is lightweight (made of aircraft aluminum), and it attaches to the shotgun’s receiver. The mount has a picatinny rail, for mounting optics and/or other types of accessories.

  • Precision-Fit Recoil Pad, by LimbSaver

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Precision-Fit Recoil Pad

Boy, is this thing ever so accurately titled. It fits not only Benelli shotguns, but also Baikal, Franchi, and Stoeger shotguns. It reduces up to 70% (!) of the recoil (compared to other pads), and provides stability, as well as control of stance and follow-up shots. Need to reacquire that target in a hurry? The padding facilitates that to a tee. Quick recovery is the name of the game, whether you are shooting clay or hunting waterfowl. Every millisecond counts. The LimbSaver pad is made with the company’s own noise and vibration control materials (NAVCOM). It is non-slip, durable, and dependable.

Okay, so shell holders might be a luxury. A recoil pad is a bare necessity for shooters who don’t want to punish their shoulder. Of course, it also depends on the shooter’s shouldering, and on the ammo which is being used. You may not necessarily need 6 extra shells right there on your shotgun, but you probably could use some protection.

  • Barrel Magazine Tube Clamp, by CDM

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Barrel Magazine Tube Clamp

A mount for all seasons. This is an accessory which facilitates the use of other accessories, such as optics or lights. This lightweight piece, made of 6061-T aircraft aluminum, is designed to fit the Benelli M1, M2, M4, M1014 (military), and Supernova models. The clamp has 3 slots, which allow for adjustments to anything you may want to mount. It features quick detach connections, and is of high quality workmanship.

  • Benelli M2 Mount, by Game Reaper

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Benelli M2 Mount

This is a one-piece scope mount. It is lightweight and sturdy, made of 6061-T aircraft aluminum. Available in 30mm or 1 inch sizes. Comes in low, medium, or high, and available in black, white, and camo. Game Reaper also makes mounts for the Benelli’s R1 and Super Black Eagle II.

Benelli M2 Variants

Benelli’s M2 shotgun has several variants, meant for civilian, law enforcement, and military use. These are the tactical, the field, and the compact. It is the second in line of M-class guns, but it is much more than just an updated version of the M1 (Super 90). It is a shotgun which has won the respect of just about everyone who has laid their hands on it. It looks good, and it shoots really nicely.

Conclusion

The M2 was the shotgun of choice for one of the world’s most celebrated exhibition sharpshooters, the late Tom Knapp. He was known to use a Benelli M2 in many of his demonstrations, and he even managed to break the world record (10 clays in 2.2 seconds), using an an extended magazine in his shotgun. In recent years, shotguns have been making comeback as a home defense weapon. I still feel that a Glock or AR-15 is the way to go when at home, but that’s just me. I feel a shotgun like the M2 is more at home when it is out there, in the field. It was designed to be a hunting and sporting shotgun, and even though it could double as a home defense weapon, it is in those areas of shooting that the M2 really shines.

Benelli knew that the shooting crowd wanted a compact version of the M2, and they delivered. This is one shotgun which is good to go from the moment you unbox it. It doesn’t require any accessories, although they are helpful, or modifications of any kind. The gun comes with a hard case, shim kit, and choke tube wrench. Benelli have been producing grade-A firearms for nearly 50 years, and they continue to be one of the world’s leading firearms manufacturers. Their line of semi-automatic shotguns is a real testament to their creativity and pursuit of excellence.Targets, clays, game birds – its all on you and your M2. With duck and bird seasons opening, all I can say is wish you happy hunting! Stay armed, and stay safe.

Want to read about another great Benelli firearm? Check out our Super Vinci review right here at Gunivore!

 

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