Founded in 1967 in Urbino, Italy by Giovanni Benelli, the company Benelli Armi SpA is touted as one of the best shotgun manufacturers in the world. Its various lines of guns are used by law enforcement, the military and discriminating civilians the world over. American SWAT teams and Special Forces use the highly popular Benelli M3 12 gauge. The M3 presents the user with the option to utilize either a semi-automatic or pump-action operation. Most Benelli shotguns work on an inertia operating system that was developed by Bruno Civolani. The M1 Super 90 and M2 Super 90 are 12 and 20 gauge semi-automatics. M4 Super 90 came out in 1999. This firearm is unique as it is a gas-operated semi-automatic designed specifically for the law enforcers and the military.
A favorite among water fowlers is the Benelli Super Black Eagle. This semi-automatic shotgun can easily handle 2.75, 3, and 3.5 inch shotgun cartridges. During a shooting exhibition that set a world record in 2004, Tom Knapp used a pump-action Benelli Nova, M1 Super 90 and a bespoke M2 Field. Other shotgun lines are the Rafaello, Vinci and Montefletro. Rifle lines are the Argo, MR1 and R1. Pistols are the MP90S and MP95 E series for target shooting and the lone Benelli B76. Benelli Armi SpA is an offshoot of the Benelli motorcycle company which retails through Montgomery Ward. In 2000, Benelli and Benelli USA have been acquired by Pietro Beretta SpA.