Readers of the blog know that I like to often participate in dynamic/practical shotgun shooting competitions (they have different names such as the International Practical Shooting Confederation, United States Practical Shooting Association, 3-Gun Nation, International Defense Pistol Association, etc).
Such competitions are the best way to check your skills under stress. You need to move fast from one shooting position to another, load your shotgun quickly and shoot from various positions at different targets at a variety of distances with all types of common shotgun ammunition: birdshot, buckshot, and slugs.
The most popular dynamic shooting sport in the USA is 3-Gun Nation. That is why I often receive questions about semi-auto shotguns because they are mostly used in 3-Gun.
What is 3-Gun competition?
There are many types of shooting competitions out there for gun enthusiasts to take part in. But one particular competition that is getting a lot of attention is the 3-gun competition. This is where competitors have to use 3 different types of firearms such as a rifle, shotgun, and pistol. The average shooter is usually pretty good with one particular firearm but not so good with the others. This makes 3-gun a real challenge because it tests their skills with all three firearms and it requires different skill sets in order to win the competition.
Why Benelli M2?
Most of the shooters in this sport use Benelli M2 or Beretta 1301 Competition shotguns. Beretta 1301 comes with an oversized safety, bolt handle and bolt release button from the factory. The Benelli M2 shotgun can be enhanced with aftermarket parts.
My friends who use semi-auto shotguns are fans of the Benelli M2. That is why this post will be about the Benelli M2 shotgun upgrades, accessories, and modifications for 3-Gun and practical shooting.
Special thanks to my friends: Igor, Oleg, Maxim, Oleg and Patrick for help :)
The Benelli M2 is a semi-automatic shotgun that is part of the Italian firearm manufacturer Benelli Armi SpA’s line of Super 90 semi-automatic shotguns. It is the second model of the Super 90 and an update to the Benelli M1. There are many versions of the Benelli M2 that are made specifically to cater to their intended use. There are M2 shotguns made for the military, law enforcement, and ordinary civilians. Of course, civilians who want to upgrade their shotguns themselves will often turn their M2 field shotgun into an M2 tactical or competition shotgun like police officers or competitive shooters use.
The Benelli M2 uses the inertia recoil system which was developed by Paulo Benelli in the 1980s specifically for the first three models of his Super 90 shotgun line. This recoil system takes advantage of the shotgun’s backward movement after it has been fired.
It is one of the most popular (if not the most popular) competition shotguns used by top competitors all around the world.
There are several things that you need to upgrade to make your Benelli M2 even better. Some of them are inexpensive while others are pricey. This post will cover most of the Benelli M2 upgrades, accessories, and modifications.
Most of the accessories and upgrades can be installed without the help of a gunsmith but some of them require professional help.
The only thing that is not covered in this post is the Benelli M2 modified bolt. It can be ordered from Salient Arms International or Taran Tactical Innovations.
Magazine Follower for Benelli M2
One of the most inexpensive but must have upgrades is a magazine follower. All of the shooters I asked agreed that the factory follower needs to be replaced with the Nordic Components Teflon coated low drag follower. It costs less than $20 and improves the feeding and reliability of your shotgun. It makes loading and feeding smooth and trouble free.
There are other magazine tube followers available on the market but this one is used by most of the competitive shooters without any problems.
There are no special instructions for the follower installation. You just replace the factory follower with the aftermarket one.
Recommended product: Nordic Components Follower for Benelli M2
Oversized Safety Button for Benelli M2
The standard safety button is good but it can be replaced with an oversized one. An upgraded safety enables the shooter to disengage it faster especially if they are wearing gloves or under stress during a competition.
Even experienced shooters may forget about the safety while under stress or when they need to start from an unusual position. This could be a shotgun held in a weak hand or when the shotgun is lying on a table. That is why an oversized safety is handy because it sticks out and you can switch it off simply by putting your finger on the trigger.
There are many aftermarket oversized safety buttons available for the Benelli M2 shotgun. They all work similar but have cosmetic differences.
Some competitors use a factory safety without any problems but many prefer to have the oversized one in order to find and disengage it faster.
Benelli M2 Extended Bolt Handle
The Standard Benelli M2 bolt handle is rather small. That is why the extended charging handle is another feature which is good to have. It makes manipulations easier while under stress.
There are several extended bolt handles available on the market. Most of them are from well-known manufacturers such as Taran Tactical Innovations and Nordic Components. There are also bolt handles from smaller companies as well.
Many users effectively use Nordic and Taran oversized charging handles and you can’t go wrong with them. So, choose which one you like more.
Benelli M2 Oversized Bolt Release Button
All of the competitive shooters I know upgrade the factory bolt release button which is rather small with an oversized one. An oversized Benelli M2 Bolt Release button is easier to find and press especially under stress. It is extremely handy when the shotgun is empty and you need load a round into a chamber and press the bolt release button without looking at it.
The Taran or Nordic buttons are inexpensive and used by many shooters. The Red Neck Tactical Benelli Rapid Bolt Release Tab is inexpensive but looks very interesting. The GG&G Bolt Release Button is very expensive (more than hundred dollars) but doesn’t have any big advantages.
Use Loctite when installing the rectangular bolt release button. This will prevent unwanted movement.
The most commonly used bolt release buttons are:
Taran Tactical Innovations Oversized Bolt Release
Nordic Components Extended Bolt Release
GG&G Bolt Release Button
Red Neck Tactical Benelli Rapid Bolt Release Tab
Benelli M2 Loading Port Modification
Half of the success during shotgun competition depends on the speed of reloads. Most of the competition shooters use Load-2 or Load-4 belts which enable competitors to load shotguns really fast. You need to load your shotgun quick in order to win competitions. That is why the loading port requires modification. The loading port needs to be opened and polished, and it needs to be really smooth so that loading can be easier.
An opened loading port enables the shooter to load their shotgun much easier and faster. Such modification should be done by an experienced person or professional gunsmith. Some shooters do it at home but it requires special equipment and skills. Be careful to not overdo this because it may lead to malfunctions. If you open the loading port too much, the magazine follower (especially if it is worn out) may stick out too far causing malfunctions.
The modified loading port may look scary at first but it really simplifies the loading of a shotgun. Most of the competitive shooters do this modification to their Benelli M2 shotguns.
Benelli M2 Extended Carrier
As you already know, fast reloads are crucial for good performance during shotgun competition. And another part that needs to be upgraded or modified is a shell lifter (carrier). The fork shape of the factory carrier makes fast Load-2 or Load-4 reloads very inconvenient and almost impossible.
The carrier must be extended for trouble free reloads. The fork carrier can and will catch your thumb every time you try to load shells. You may try loading your Benelli M2 without modifying the carrier but you will end up installing the extended one. So, it is better to install the extended carrier from the beginning.
You can either extend the carrier with the help of a gunsmith or you can simply buy the Benelli AccuGuide Extended Carrier by Taran Tactical Innovations.
The extended carrier makes a huge difference because the loading becomes much smoother. The lifter won’t catch your thumb and you will be able to load your shotgun much faster. And remember, success during a shotgun match depends on the speed of the reloads.
Recommended Product: Benelli AccuGuide Extended Carrier by Taran Tactical Innovations
Benelli M2 Magazine Extension Tube
(You may notice red color inside of the magazine tube. That is the second magazine follower installed from the other end of the magazine extension to stop the spring from binding when you screw on a magazine extension cap).
Many of the Benelli M2 owners use the Nordic Components magazine extension tube. It consists of 3 parts: tube, tube end cap, and tube nut. It is made of aluminum and is much lighter compared to the metal extensions. This extension comes with a high-quality spring with black coating. It is the most affordable magazine extension on the market.
There are other extensions that are used by competitive shooters but they are priced higher.
The lightweight carbon magazine extension by LSX (Lancer Systems) is a very good option because it is as light as possible. The tube nut is made of aluminum and the tube is made of carbon. This combination makes the LSX magazine tube durable and very light.
The X-Rail Monotube System is a very interesting long magazine tube which replaces the factory tube. It doesn’t have a joint between the tube and tube extension (where follower or spring can get stuck) and makes feeding more reliable. The biggest disadvantages are the weight of the system and its high price.
Benelli M2 Magazine Extension Clamp
(You may notice white duct tape which shotgun owners use to protect the finish of their shotgun from scratches).
Magazine extension clamps hold the barrel and the extended magazine tube. They stabilize and support the magazine tube. Magazine clamps are not mandatory for shorter tubes but they are the must have for shotguns with very long tubes which most of the competitive shooters have.
There are two common magazine clamps that shooters use: Benelli and Nordic Components. The Nordic Components magazine clamp looks sturdier and many shooters prefer them. You can also choose the Benelli clamp which also works fine.
Actually, it doesn’t matter which magazine clamp you choose. Just be sure to have one to protect your magazine tube because shooters often hit barricades with their shotguns under stress.
Magazine tube clamps may change the point of impact with slugs, so make sure that you always have it in one exact place.
Benelli M2 Magazine Spring Upgrade
Most of the shooters use Nordic Components magazine springs. They are 45″ long and need to be cut to proper length. They fit even the longest magazine extensions. Manufacturer recommends to have 14-16″ extending past the end of the magazine tube. You may carefully experiment with the length of the magazine spring. Nordic springs don’t set over time.
Recommended product: Nordic Components magazine spring
Benelli M2 Chokes for Practical Shooting and 3-Gun
Shotgun chokes are another feature that can help you perform well during competitions. An improved Cylinder choke is used with slugs and buckshot. Also, it is used with groups of close targets on birdshot stages. If a birdshot stage has distant targets or targets close to penalty targets then you need to use a Modified or Full choke.
All professional shooters change choke tubes from stage to stage. You need to have a standard set of 3 chokes.
Recommended product: Benelli M2 3-Gun Choke Tube Set
Benelli M2 Front and Rear Sight Upgrades
Most of the shooters use light-gathering fiber optics sights. They are very bright and gather light exceptionally well.
Two of the most popular light gathering sights for the Benelli M2 are Easyhit and HiViz Comp Sight.
They both work pretty well. Easyhit has a very long light gathering pipe which makes the sight very bright. The HiViz Comp Sight has a set of pipes and you may choose the diameter and color you would like.
Easyhit is installed using 3M double-sided duct tape. HiViz Comp Sight comes with a set of screws and you can replace the factory sight with the HiViz Compsight.
A lot of shooters have difiiculties with slugs, especially on long distances. Additional rear sight
Benelli M2 Repair Kit
One of the must have parts that you always need to have with you is the Benelli M2 Carrier Latch. This part needs to be replaced over time especially if you shoot and dry fire often.
Other parts that are good to have are the extractor, extractor/carrier latch spring and firing pin.
Benelli M2 Auto-Loading Lifter by J Kenny & Co.
Benelli M2 is a shotgun which is very popular in dynamic shooting sports like Practical shooting (IPSC) or 3-Gun. There were several posts about this shotgun in my blog:
There is new upgrade called Benelli M2 Auto-Loading Lifter by J Kenny & Co.
Here is how it looks like:
It automatically loads the round which you load into magazine tube. That is very useful feature when you run out of ammo or when you have empty start stage. It will save you precious time which can mean winning or loosing.
Drop-in installation is very simple but some of my friends had to polish some edges. So minor fitting may be required. Auto-Loading Lifter by J Kenny & Co. works perfectly but you will need some time to get used to it.
Benelli M2 Auto-Loading Lifter by J Kenny & Co. Video:
There is similar auto lifter by MOA Precision but I didn’t have a chance to test it.
More information: Auto-Loading Lifter (M2) – J Kenny & Co.
Buy Benelli M2 Shotgun Online
You can buy Benelli M2 online from Cabelas.com, they have following shotguns in stock:
NEW! Benelli Performance Shop M2 Three-Gun Shotgun $2,299.99
Benelli M2 Field Compact Semiautomatic Shotguns $1,299.99
Benelli Performance Shop Waterfowl Semiautomatic Shotguns $2,199.99 – $2,399.99
Benelli M2 Field Semiautomatic Shotguns $1,299.99 – $1,449.99
Benelli M2 Field Rifled Slug Semiautomatic Shotguns $1,349.99 – $1,399.99
Taran Tactical Innovations for Your Benelli Shotgun
This safety is used for “Three Gun Competition” and for tactical shotguns. Getting your weapon from safe to ready fire mode is critical and split seconds do count in many situations.
The safety engages and disengages with a positive click, so not only is there a more pronounced feel to the oversized safety you can also hear the safety engaging/disengaging.Here is review of the Taran Tactical Innovations upgrades for a shotgun from one of the readers of the blog.
Because it is extended, you have more leverage and can operate the safety without repositioning your shooting finger, and can easily be operated using gloves. This part is designed for the user to install so no gunsmith is required.
• Fits Benelli M1, M2, M3, M4, Super Black Eagle, Montefeltro, and Remington Versa Max
• CNC machined out of billet stainless steel
This is another outstanding upgrade that serious shooters in particular competition shooters should consider as part of their ongoing upgrades or rebuild efforts. The oversized safety of course is ideal for any shooting situation and it is particularly ideal for new shooters.
Knowing by feel and even being able to hear the click makes any weapon safer. There should never be a question in any shooters’ mind about whether the safety is engaged or if the weapon is ready to fire. The oversized safety always puts safety first and helps makes sure that even new shooters pay attention.
Being oversized does not mean it interferes with your shooting finger once in position. It does however let you know the safety is there so as you get ready to fire you can operate the safety with your trigger finger as you ready to fire. This safety is different from the so-called mushroom or domed ones where the finger can slip off the safety if you are in a hurry.
The Benelli Oversized Safety by Taran Tactical Innovations is designed so your finger has plenty of area to push against and requires little effort to operate even under the most extreme situations.
This safety is designed not to get in the way or to be accidentally manipulated. However, it is every shooters responsibility to know what state their weapon is in at all times. There have been discussions in the past about oversized safeties catching on objects or disengaging when dropped but this again falls back on the shooter. The weapon whether in ready fire or not cannot fire unless the trigger is depressed by the shooter.
With an oversized safety, you always know at a glance or feel the state of your weapon. Factories model are considerably smaller and while some do have red indicators, indicating where the safety is at this still requires you to look. In a shooting position, you cannot move your head or weapon to look in many cases so knowing by feel is critical.
Being made out of stainless steel means you do not have to worry about corrosion and wear and tear is reduced giving you years if not the lifetime of the weapon usage.
|Benelli Oversized Safety on Brownells|
Benelli Oversized Bolt Release
Description and Specifications
• Made big enough to release the bolt easily and quickly in the heat of battle or during competition
• However, it is not so big that it is a hindrance, it is designed not to catch on things if using it on a tactical shotgun in a defensive situation
• The oversized bolt release allows you to get back into action quicker
• Fits on Benelli and any other shotgun that has a similar bolt release button
• Made of aircraft grade aluminum with mil spec hard anodizing
• Drilling and tapping required
• The mounting screw is a 3.5 x .35 Metric with an OAL of 0.299″ (nominal)
Keep in mind you will need to modify your weapon when installing the Benelli Oversized Bolt Release. You will have to drill and then tap a hole to accept the mounting screw. This is not a complicated procedure and can usually be done quite easily in less than 30 minutes if you have the proper tools and some skill in this type of procedure. If you feel you cannot do this, seek the help of a qualified gunsmith so you do not cause damage to your weapon or to the part.
Shooters tend to get comfortable with their weapons and thus find it hard to upgrade thinking they can shoot and perform quite well, with how they have things set up. To advance from an adequate shooter to an advanced shooter you need to be open-minded and willing to try innovations such as the Benelli Oversized Bolt Release by Taran Tactical Innovations.
Shooters understand the need for components that work even when your mind is racing. You may be in the heat of battle or simply in competition and the need for speed is critical. This means you cannot take your eyes off the target, your hands and fingers must do all of the work while your mind and eyes stay engaged.
Factory weapons are good for the occasional shooter but once you get serious about shooting, and home defense you should always consider components that will make your shooting more consistent and improve the overall capabilities of your weapon.
Whether you have gloves on or not the oversized bolt release can be operated by feel. No more fumbling with your weapon so you can see what you are doing, now you can feel what you are doing without moving your muzzle off target. No one wants to shoot a weapon dry but if you do, you need to be able to recover quickly. Fast loading is one of the most critical aspects of shooting and many times separates good shooters from excellent shooters.
Oversized bolt release makes their weapon look tactical and does not protrude and catch on objects as some had suspected it would. The bolt release can be felt with gloves on, which makes it ideal for many shooters who routinely wear shooting gloves regardless of the weather.
The Benelli Oversized Bolt Release is ideal for home defense, tactical and hunting weapons and is particularly ideal for competition shooting.
|Benelli Oversized Bolt Release|
Nordic Components Benelli M2 Charging Handle Fail
Here is photo from my friend. He owns Benelli M2 with charging handle from Nordic Components. During the last training he had a malfunction and had to clear it. He pulled charging handle and here is what happened…
My friend has sent photos to Nordic Components but not received any comments from them.
So, if you plan to use Nordic Components charging handle, be careful or search for alternatives.