British Army’s new combat shotgun

The UK have adopted the Benelli M4 shotgun, dubbed the L128A1, as their new combat shotgun. The photo below was taken at a combat display held last week.

British Army
Click to expand.

Private Colin Shead, A Company, 3 MERCIAN, displays the new Combat Shotgun, brought into service for use in close quarter battle in southern Afghanistan. The shotgun fires both pellet and slug-type shells [Picture: Cpl Russ Nolan RLC]

The Benelli M4 has been fitted with the 8+1 extended magazine. Along with the rail, fore grip and optics, it is one mean looking machine.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Tam

    …and it has possibly the most retarded stock in the history of shotgunning.

    • Tam, is it that bad? I have never used one.

  • Kevin

    I took a shotgun course with a group of Marines who were using this. The adjustable stock adjust into one of two lengths- Way too short and way too long.

    Only gorillas can shoot it well when wearing body armor and the the stock extended. Fully retracted you have to be a midget.

    However the marines, while agreeing it sucked, did a good job with it.

    • Kevin, heh, I assumed it was a M4 like adjustable with many positions.

  • Daverino

    I have also heard that they are quite unreliable. Anyone out there have any first hand experience? Thanks for the blog Steve.

  • I have a photo of three Benelli M4 Super 90 (no pistol grip, pistol grip, pistol grip+telescopic buttstock) here.
    The last version (telescopic buttstock) seems to have a slightly longer (maybe .5″) buttstock when extended and the photo of a retracted buttstock doesn’t look like intended for use in that position at all.

    The fixed stock versions look identical to the Benelli M1 behind the trigger.

  • I use a Benelli SBEII as my predator shotgun and it’s a shooting son of gun that has functioned flawlessly through all of the abuse I put it through. A friend of mine has been using his M4 for predator for a couple years and swears by it.

    Of course we don’t have the adjustable stocks.

  • Tam

    Benelli stopped advertising in SWAT magazine when Louis Awerbuck panned the M4 in a review.

    The stock, as mentioned above, is either too short or too long. Also, everybody I’ve talked to that has facial hair can tell you painful stories about it.

    The general opinion is that it’s inferior in nearly every way to the M1, except you can put a light and a sidesaddle on an M4 without it choking, unlike the inertia-driven M1. (Go to a shotgun class and watch the guys with M1 Super 90s that have lasers, phasers, and windspeed gauges hanging off them. They puke left and right.)

    • thanks all for the info.

  • Matt Groom

    The guys I served with who got these didn’t have any reliability problems, but also complained about the stock. Many said they preferred the Mossberg 500Mil that was replaced (I never saw a 590 in the USMC, not to say they don’t exist), cause many had been fitted with Bantam length stocks and it also cycled less-lethals.

  • What optics are the Brits using?

  • AK™

    it appears they are using EOTechs, the 552..the AA battery version.

  • john

    as many people have said the stock is way to small or a little big, but as for the weapon its self if has proved its self a vital peice of kit within my section a numoruse amount of times dureing either close range engagements in the thick vegitation in the green zone or compund clearance, a very good bit or kit and when well maintained like every infanters weaopn should be very reliable

    cpl campbell 2 rifles
    british infantry

  • Dennis

    “I took a shotgun course with a group of Marines who were using this. The adjustable stock adjust into one of two lengths- Way too short and way too long.”

    Sounds to me like you shot the civilian version that only has the fully extended and fully collapsed position on its stock. Didn’t your marine buddies tell you this wasn’t the same config as what they use?

    As for reliability, it has generally gotten good marks on that from most people using it.

  • Tony

    Came across the link and thought I would provide my $.02

    Can only speak for my M4 11707 with ‘carrierComp’ full Length 7rd Titanium Magazine Tube.

    I have two stocks:

    . factory with pistol grip LOP 14 3/8″

    . urbino tac stock with pistol grip & cheek riser LOP 12.5″

    Why two stocks you ask, well that is a very good question. 99% of the time I shoot without a vest, therefore the LOP of 14 3/8″ is perfect. The other 1% of the time when shooting with a vest the LOP of 12.5″.

    The ‘collapsible stock’ would be perfect, BUT I would run into 922r issues, therefore I simply swap out the stocks. Ref:

    This weapon will shoot anything and I do mean anything without ANY failures.

    Love my 870, but the M4 is my go too weapon.

  • cun

    What wrong with m2? Since British army don’t hang all that shit off it like the us army does the m2 would be better

  • Major thankies for the blog post.Really looking forward to read more. Will read on…