Benelli Armi SpA (known more widely as Benelli) is an Italian firearms manufacturer, originally founded by Giovanni Benelli in 1967. Benelli are currently a subsidary of Beretta Holding (parent company of Beretta) and own Uberti through their US based operations in Maryland.
Benelli was spawned from the Benelli Motorcycle Company in 1967, although the idea first came to the Benelli family (who owned the two companies) in the 1940s. The family would have to wait, however, until a new Italian designer, Bruno Civolani, designed a new shotgun action for the company. The new design, which used the energy from the bolt in the form of inertia instead of the more conventional gas mechanism used in shotguns, meant that Benelli had a unique design to begin manufacture.
This new mechanism (which allowed a shotgun to be fired five times in less than a second) proved to be popular in the hunting and military markets, leading Benelli to become a strong brand. Benelli were one of a number of companies, including Uberti and SAKO to be bought by Beretta in the late 1980s, and since then have expanded to include a headquaters in the United States (named Benelli USA).
Benelli's signature design for shotguns has been refined over the years, with Benelli becoming one of the world's leading producers of shotguns. Added to this, Benelli have also designed and produced a number rifles for their parent company Beretta, as well as a range of pistols and parts.
Benelli have continued to use Civolani's design into the 2010s, with their current range of shotguns well respected and used across the world.
- M1 Super 90
- M2 Super 90
- M3 Super 90
- M4 Super 90
- Super Black Eagle I
- Super Black Eagle II
Benelli developed the Argo system, which had three lugs on the bolt head, a system which prompted Beretta to use Benelli to design a new range of ergonomic designs.
Benelli also have a range of pistols which are sold for target shooting.
- As with their subsidary, Uberti, Benelli's firearms have been used in a number of films.
- Benelli's designs have also been used in video games, particularly the futuristic design of the MR1 developed for Beretta.