We all know Beretta as the world’s oldest operating firearms manufacturer and, of course, the company that holds the US Military contract for pistols, although the military is looking to replace the M9. They decided to streamline their Beretta 486, a 12-gauge side-by-side shotgun, and they partnered with Marc Newson to get it done. Newson’s the designer Apple recently brought on to create their next line of products, making him an interesting choice for firearms design. Sidenote: Newson also came up with a new draft beer machine design for Heineken last month.
Visually, the most obvious change is the way they’ve lowered the tail of the receiver so wood separates the receiver and selector, giving it an appearance Beretta calls “extremely elegant and instantly recognizable.” The receiver is edgeless now, too; the slight break between the wood and steel on the original 486 vanishes with a nice, smooth fit. And for another visual change it’s now laser-engraved with an Asian-inspired dragon-like design Beretta said is meant as a homage to pheasants. The old 486 came with a hand-engraved floral design or, if you were in Europe, an optional game design.
Aside from a lot of attention to the receiver, the trigger guard was set back a bit while the trigger itself remains an Anson with leaf springs – and it’s now fixed to the receiver by inserting the guard into a milled guide. Okay, that involves the receiver, too.
Other changes include a slimmer forend and a new opening lever. Of course, the shotgun still has Beretta’s cold-forged OptimaBore barrels with Triblock technology.
Performance-wise, reviews of the original 486 were good; reviewers billed it as well-balanced, reliable, and lightweight at a hair over 7 pounds. So will the obvious aesthetic changes affect how this shotgun shoots? Hard to say. We all know how seemingly minor alterations can affect a gun for better or worse, so only time will tell. The first 486 had an MSRP of $5350, and this Marc Newson design’s MSRP hasn’t been unveiled yet, but it seems likely it’ll be even higher.
Would you buy one?