Beretta A400 Xcel: With Shot Counter, Temperature & Cartridge Power Computer!!!

The most nifty gun at SHOT that I did not see must have been the Beretta A400 Xcel, the new competition model in the Beretta A400 line.

Its most immediately noticeable feature is the unusual blue anodized aluminum receiver. This immediately sets it apart from fowling pieces (bird shotguns). Few camo-clad bird shooters are going to take a bright blue shotgun into the field and risk ridicule from their shooting buddies. That aside, what makes this shotgun really unique is the onboard computer, the Gun Pod.

The Gun Pod is no doubt inspired by the FN’s Black Box and similar shot computers developed for military rifles. It sits in the shotgun’s pistol grip and records the outside temperature (which affects performance of the gun), the number of shots fired, and shot power. I imagine the latter two measurements are recorded with a piezoelectric sensor that measures the energy of the bolt when it hit the back of the receiver.

Is the Gun Pod is gimmick? I am not sure. The shot counter is probably useful to a competition shooter wanting to maintain maximum performance. The combination of a thermometer along with a power gauge could give a shooter good feedback about ammunition performance in different weather conditions. I look forward to seeing how well it performs for competition shooters.

American Hunter Managing Editor Jeff Johnston examines the A400 Xcel in this video …

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.


  • Rob

    But does it have a compass in the stock and this thing which tells time?

  • Jerry

    No MP3 player? I’m disappointed!

  • DJ

    Beretta A400; There’s an App for that!

  • Mr. Fahrenheit

    Number of shots fired?

    Does that mean number of shells through the lifetime of the shotgun or since the last reload? The way the rep in the video said it, I’m leaning toward number of shells through the gun.

    I don’t keep a log but I wouldn’t mind an “odometer” on my firearms.

  • …but where’s the touch screen!
    and the ability to download ammo on the online ammo store?
    May need to wait for another Steve to make it and slap a fruit sign on it…
    but then it may need a rubber bumper to properly load…emm…

  • Mountainbear

    Shot counter. I guess it’s a neat tool. Or better said toy. Usually, if you’re focused when shooting, you have a certain grasp of how many rounds you’ve fired and how many you have left.

    Outside temperature. Yeah, okay. But when I’m already outside I already know if it’s warm or cold.

    Cartridge power. That’s where I’m scratching my head. I mean, it’s my gun, I load it, I know what ammo I use, thus I should know what kind of power the shot will have, give or take.

    I guess it’s a nice toy.

    But no cell phone? No mobile internet? No mp3?

    Imagine, add a mobile internet and you can upload your scores right to a database where your friends can see your current scores right away. Okay, that’s a toy too. Nifty, sure, but who really needs it?

    And, does it also come in pink? If not, no deal skipper! I want to be special.

  • Bill Lester

    I’ll give this option two, maybe three, years in the catalog before it’s dropped. The shot counter might be useful but then again we’ve done pretty well just counting the empty shell boxes. The temp and power info is, IMO, just a gimmick. Shell performance isn’t changed much by outside temperature. Even if it were, everyone with an iPhone or Droid could tell you the current temp. Heck, you might even run into a geezer like me that has a little thermometer attached to his shooting box. Power? Good shotgunning needs consistency and one of the best ways to do that is minimize the types of shells you use. So you know what kind of power you’re using anyhow.


    Great reference from one of my favorite movies!

  • FWIW: The ad says “Gun Pod”, not “Grip Pod”.

  • Sian

    @Jerry no kidding, I know several competition shooters who listen to music while shooting. Built-in MP3 player with a stereo plug in the grip would totally make waves.

    I should get to work on that.

  • I would have thought that this would have made a bigger splash in the SHOT Show coverage but this is the first mention I’ve seen of it- they really should have called it a tactical model and painted the receiver multicam not blue!

    I did see images of an M4 stock with a built in GPS module- either ITS Tactical or the SMGLee coverage of the show I think. I guess we’re looking at the start of a new generation of “iPod guns” with integrated electronics.

    Did you happen to get any info or images on the new handgun/cartridge combo from Rock Island Armory- the .22 TCM? I had thought it would be quite a big deal but so far only has posted anything on it as far as I can tell.

  • Greetings from Texas,
    I love computers for E-mail and reading blogs. Few things can beat the rage of discovering the F-350 one ton truck has been down for three days because of a computer issue.

    Computers are great until they go down. I can count my own shots.

  • Mr Maigo


  • Pierre Bouchard

    Where’s the slot for my iPod Touch?

  • Beaumont

    What, no espresso maker? It is Italian, after all.

  • doug

    Is it me or does the Beretta marketing campaign suck?

  • The useful purpose for the “Gun Pod” will be in helping competitors establish a maintenance schedule, particularly in regards to part replacement. Instead of having a part fail during an important competition, wouldn’t you like to know when to replace that part before it is likely to fail? You also don’t want to replace parts unnecessarily. For an equal number of rounds fired, parts will wear at different rates depending on whether heavy loads are used versus light loads, or a mix of both. For equal round counts and shell types, parts may wear differently due to the external temperature’s effect on the shells.

  • Gun Pod. Grip Pod is something entirely different. Need to fix the blog post.

  • A shot counter would be a nice thing for some shooters, who are too lazy to log their shooting, but otherwise what use is it? And if it is only to tell you you have 1 shell left in the gun it’s even less useful, I think I can keep track of 3 or less items in my head, can’t you?
    It reads the shot power, but does it use that info for any real purpose? Such as adjusting the cycling to reduce recoil or wear and tear in the gun?
    And as was said before, if I’m out shooting I think I already have a good idea if it’s hot or cold out.

    I assume the receiver will be available in your choice of colors at some point? Or did they get a really good deal on blue anodizing supplies and don’t plan on any other colors?

    I also doubt the survivability of electronics of any sort in a firearm, as well as the fact that batteries tend to die in very cold conditions, or is that the reason for the temperature indicator, to let you know when it’s about to die due to too cold of conditions?

  • You’re welcome, Steve. We all make typos. 🙂 And thank YOU for your work here; excellent blog.


    For Shot Counter check this company movie

  • vash_241987

    and now the machines are guns themselves…. 😛 I do like the odo though

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