New Benelli M4: Just Add Water

Benelli M4

Benelli recently announced a new version of its popular M4 shotgun: the M4 H20. As the name – and look – would suggest, the standard M4 has been upgraded to a more corrosion resistant variant.

The new shotgun uses a Titanium Cerakote finish to achieve a greater degree of corrosion resistance. Parts that have been Cerakote treated include the barrel, receiver and magazine tube. The company also states that “critical internal components are also coated.” The bolt has a black Cerakote treatment.

Benelli states it conducted extensive testing with the Cerakote process and the M4. According to the company, the Cerakote process protected metal in a 3,500 hour indirect salt water spray test that was conducted in a 95˚ F chamber. Additionally, Benelli tested the impact resistance of the finish. It found that the Cerakote process offered protection that exceeded the testing machine’s ability to measure, which topped out at 160 inch-pounds. (Can any readers can chime in on this level of impact resistance – is this as impressive as it sounds?)

The 12 gauge gun has a 5+1 capacity and is equipped with ghost ring sights. A traditional stock and a pistol grip stock are both available. Sling attachments and a modified choke are standard. A Picatinny rail is on top of the receiver should you want to add a red dot. The MSRP is $2,299.

Richard Johnson

An advocate of gun proliferation zones, Richard is a long time shooter, former cop and internet entrepreneur. Among the many places he calls home is


  • Mike

    160 inch pounds is equivalent to about 13.4 foot pounds. From what I’m seeing is airguns can achieve this. An 8gr bb going about 880 fps would be 13.74 foot pounds. Guess it’s all relative but seems decently strong.

    • Gary Kirk

      Yeah, they forgot to mention their testing apparatus is a daisy red rider..

  • Zach Robinson

    The gun isn’t new, it appears as if Benelli has simply changed the coating they’re using. My shop had these in stock three years ago that we received on an LE order, but the barrel, bolt, mag tube, and receiver were coated in NP3. I understand if they’re trying to match the appearance of the NP3 by using that particular cerakote color but if Benelli is cerakoting at this point why not just use black/FDE/OD/grey/etc?

    • Twilight sparkle

      That was my thought exactly, with np3 you just deal with the color and enjoy the enhanced performance over other coatings… but if you’re gonna cerakote why would you make your gun stand out? Maybe the Benelli designers play too much call of duty…

      • Anonymoose

        I liked the looks of their old 3-color desert M4…

    • Nashvone

      It would seem that most maritime duty shotguns of yore had some sort of nickle finish for protection. I believe Benelli is carrying on this heritage. Of course, you could buy four Mossberg 500 JIC and enough ammo to sink your rowboat for what this thing costs.

    • Bill

      Because everyone one knows “marine” guns are some form of stainless steel color, since the beginning of salt water.

      The only upside is that a black Benelli that’s been sitting in a cruiser under direct sunlight during August will spot-weld itself to your hands if you touch the metal parts.

  • A Fascist Corgi

    They need to start putting adjustable stocks on tactical shotguns.

    • Christian Hedegaard-Schou

      They can’t unless they make them in the US.

      922(r) and “sporting” and all that nonsense.

      • clampdown

        I hate the way M4 stocks look on shottys. A telescoping, locking buttstock within the traditional stock would be neat.

  • Paul B.

    Benelli HAS been offering cerakote for a long time. I work at a gun store that is a Benelli dealer, AND I do Cerakote there too, and I think this is stupid. Also, what kind of machine tops out at 160 inch pounds besides a waffle press? Also in response to the collapsible stock thing, go look up 922r. Same deal with why they don’t ship with full length mag tubes.

  • clampdown

    You can get a much cheaper “maritime” Mossberg 500. My family owns a fleet of 8 tugboats; they are fiercely conservative but hate guns. If I had my way, we’d have a stainless shotgun in the wheelhouse of all the boats, though I’m not sure how the Coast Guard would feel about that. I know there isn’t much to entice a pirate to take on a tug, but you never know what may happen on the seas. If would’ve definitely been useful on the shrimp boats we used to run to deal with the large sharks and rays that couldn’t find their way out of the “turtle hatch” in the nets.

    • TheNotoriousIUD

      Unless your tugs are operating off the Horn of Africa then you are probably good to go.

    • Michael Rice

      “It’s used for flares, Officer.”

      • clampdown

        He had one shrimping “acquaintance” (back in the days before cell phones you got to know all kinds of interesting people on the VHF radio) who lived on his boat and had a veritable armory (which he proudly showed my dad) where his canned food should’ve been and once told my dad to look across his bow…where said “acquaintance” was proudly flying a vintage Nazi flag, as if my dad would be enthused. He wasn’t and told him to put up and never fly it near him again.

        • Michael Rice


  • roguetechie

    Shotguns and pistols are the two areas where I’m a firm convert to the idea of mostly buying Turkish/Chinese clones of “classic” designs rather than pay 2-6x as much for “the real deal”

    While I’d absolutely love to have a “real” benelli pump/semiautomatic and an equally “real” Ithaca 37… My budget just doesn’t allow for it.

    Some people will quote the trite, and usually RIGHT, buy once cry once saying I have been more than pleased with my Stevens 320 and TriStar Tec 12!

    Buying cheap and doing the leg work and skull sweat it took to get working upgrade components which I then took the time to do very proper installation and modification work for, I wound up with two guns that are very much bet your life on them reliable without paying potentially divorce inducing MSRP’s.

    • Anonymoose

      You can get a Benelli pump or an Ithaca Defense gun for pretty reasonable prices. The M3 pump/semi will cost you an arm and a leg (but not both arms and both legs like an M4).

      • I’ve bought a few legs, shotguns are cheaper.

        • Swarf

          Pencils down, please.

      • roguetechie

        Yeah, the tec 12 is a clone of the m4 operating system wise from my understanding… (Could be the both arm and both leg model or the 3 limb price bracket model, for my purposes etc which one specifically is immaterial…)

        My logic broke down something like this:

        1. 20 gauge ammo prices make my soul cry

        2. Damnit!!! My wife is likely to hesitate in a life or death HD situation because 00 buck + 12 gauge Mossberg with plow handle grip has recoil etc characteristics that are both painful and downright dangerous to her if she tries to fire the gun quickly / in anything but the 2 shooting stances she can use the gun in and even those two impose very slow fire rates with large gaps between each trigger pull…

        3. The only places that have them in stock online right now want right around $500 for the JIC model! *soul tears*

        4. Wait… J&G or was it AIM … Have this tec 12 thing in stock and it’s $489! *soul tears of joy*

        5. The internals of this tec 12 thing are a very faithful repro of the benelli gun I want but would never spend that amount on a ****ing SHOTGUN! *IF I were a girl I’d be very moist right now*

        6. I need a pump/semiautomatic shotgun that faithfully reproduce the operating system of the benelli for my reference collection. As an aspiring small arms designer NOT buying one especially since it’s $11 cheaper than Mossberg JIC would be fiscally irresponsible since I already have a Mossberg, an 870, and an M37 clone! *going to do it “for the financial well being of hypothetical progeny who may one day exist” very pleased that buying this shotgun is all but mandatory “for the children and the future”*

        7. My wife will be happy because she thinks the aguila mini shells are ” cute”! *if I buy two, several boxes of aguila mini shells, and some pink duracoat the wife can have one all to hChilders
        8. When I build my one shotgun to rule them all it won’t have that proper Sauron + Mordor + Trojan horse in mind virus jewelry format synergy unless it is a childers 20 round double stack detachable box magazine feed optional, bottom load bottom eject m37 style true ambi, AND selectable operating system between pump action and semiautomatic SHOTGUN!!!

        9. OOhhh there’s already step by step how to instructions
        that include information about which magazine tube extensions work!
        *how perfect is this? Definitely buying two now in honor of it’s ammunition capacity upgrade path being FOR THE CHILDREN TWICE! once for the tube upgrade which is a stopgap measure FOR THE CHILDREN while I work out the Carroll Childers double stack 20 round detachable box magazine… If I buy two guns each of which is FOR THE CHILDREN TWICE … The whole endeavor becomes 2 x FOR THE CHILDREN SQUARED!!!!*

        Needless to say, yes I’m totally batshit nuts…

        But I also really did buy two one of which really does have key parts with pink duracoat finish.

    • $925 is divorce inducing? Because that is what I paid for my Beretta 1301, and you can get the tactical model cheaper. And it doesn’t require working over to get reliable.

      Not only that, but they aren’t some knock off either.

      • roguetechie

        Even though our view points are across the board diametrically opposed on this issue I’m not gonna pretend like your points aren’t very much valid…

        I’d say that for 80%+ of gun owners and recreational shooters the situation is exactly as you describe, and for them you’re dead on right about every single point that you made!

        For me though, you can read the reply I wrote to Anonamoose and pretty plainly see that I’m not even from the same species of your average gun owners!

        If average gun owners were land mammals then I’m a deep sea dwelling pistol shrimp that fires cavitation bubbles at other sea creatures he wants to eat… When the bubble smacks one of my fellow partially blind and likely hard shelled deep ocean dwellers the collapse and impact mechanics create brief flashes of light and brief but outrageous heat stunning it or physically pulverizing it’s hard carapace exposing squishy soft innards to pressures that buckle steel and etc with ease…

        In other words we’re very very different animals with different motivations needs etc!

        Also, I’m not certain what your pump OR semiautomatic Beretta shotgun and it’s $900 something dollar price have to do with my $500 TriStar gun whose internals are a faithful reproduction of a benelli gun that the user can flip a switch to toggle between pump action and gas operated semiautomatic operation which retails for >$2000 each and is used by various military and police units!

        But yeah, considering that I bought my first two tec 12’s from j&g or aim surplus same day same order at $489 each plus shipping and ffl transfer which didn’t add up to $1100 for the pair after shipping and etc…

        I had another tab open to a site selling the benelli model that TriStar had literally 1:1 duplicated the operating system and etc from (aka dimensionally the parts were damn close to IDENTICAL though I’d wager that exact alloys etc were not carried over and I’m 100% CERTAIN that the same machining etc processes were not used between corresponding parts of the two guns…

        Yeah, there was a $1200+ dollar disparity between ONE benelli and TWO TriStar tec 12’s!

        I literally could have bought ONE Benelli for the same $ amount 4.5 TriStar tec 12’s would’ve coated!


        2 Benelli versions of the gun would’ve cost me around $5000 after shipping etc…

        Which would’ve been the same price as buying between 9 and 10 tec 12’s!!!

      • roguetechie

        BTW… Your Beretta has absolutely zero to do with the price of the Benelli M4 nor the TriStar Tec 12 .

        There was a $3900 price delta between 2 tristars and 2 Benellis the day I made my purchase of 2 Tristars aka… I could’ve got 7 more Tristars and a few hundred rounds of good quality 00 buck to feed my NINE TURKISH SHOTGUNS WHICH ARE 1:1 CLONES OF THE BENELLI IN QUESTION !!!

        slight difference sparky

        • Yes it does. You seem to think that your choices are binary Turkish knock off, or $2k Benelli.

          While you can get a 1301 which has a similar operating system (they are owned by the same company) for half the price of the Benelli, while still supporting a company that does it R&D with something other than a photo copier.

          • roguetechie

            To be honest, I can’t justify a nearly $1000 Beretta or any other brand shotgun…

            Had I not found the tec 12 for literally less than I could get a Mossberg JIC at that particular moment I would have went a different route most likely involving buying, trading, swapping, and cajoling myself a couple autoloading shotguns one part at a time.

          • And I can’t justify buying blatant copies. Companies spend a ton of money, R&Ding new designs, testing new designs, and finally getting them into production. Yes that work comes with mark up over the cost of simply making the parts.

            Companies like Canik, Tristar, and others leech off of other companies while their customers become a drain on the industry. One or two things will happen, we will start to see patent wars, or it will go the way of the electronics industry with the products built by the lowest bidder.

          • roguetechie

            With the government contracts benelli has I gotta say I honestly just don’t feel all that bad…

            I most definitely definitely believe that a certain amount of IP protections etc absolutely NEED to exist in order to make R&D / product development etc worth doing!!!

            However, we in the US and Europe especially have taken some of these “protections” etc way too far which has actually had more deleterious effects which are cumulative, stacking, and seriously jacking us up in ways which are blowing up very dangerous debt bubbles while also guaranteeing that we will continue to lose core competency across whole industries. …

            To be replaced by ever narrowing and shrinking numbers of people and companies which have access to the bleeding edge in a given field. Worse yet, mergers and other BS are fortifying and isolating these ever shrinking walled garden

    • Swarf

      I’d take an IAC Hawk 982 over an actual Remington 870 that came out of the factory yesterday, that’s for sure.

  • Tim

    Ooooooh…”titanium coating”…….that means it’s……absolutely nothing.

    • Swarf

      Titanium Cerakote.

      So, kind of even less than nothing. They just mean “titanium” as in “grey”.

      • roguetechie

        Bu…. But…

        Titanium dioxide is WHITE!!!

  • MrBrassporkchop

    Holy macaroni! 2 grand!?

  • Rody

    Why not use NP3, NIB or some other nickel coating like the Remington 870 Marine Magnum, instead of Cerakote. I got excited when I saw the picture especially since I have an 870 Marine Magnum and this would have been nice to add to the collection if it wasn’t Cerakoted.

    • A Sinuous Beast

      They did….5 years ago… the first M4 H2O featured an NP3 finish, NP3 coated internal components, full length mag tube, collapsible stock, and an MSRP of $2269.

  • CS

    Some years ago, Benelli offered a now discontinued stainless steel version of the M4. I’d like to see that make a return rather than a cerakoted version of a current offering.

    • Reef Blastbody

      The M4 Marine, I think it was.

    • Ken

      It wasn’t stainless. It was Robar’d with their NP3

  • iowaclass

    What’s with the weird little ribbing section near the front of the tube magazine?

    • Christian Hedegaard-Schou

      It’s a magazine block to avoid 922(r) issues because it’s an imported shotgun. With a regular magazine tube, it would hold too many rounds to be “sporting”.

      Thank your local BATFE office.

      • iowaclass

        Totally makes sense now. Horrible.

    • Swarf

      Will Robinson Rings. Space age danger.

  • Swarf

    I’m not chemist enough to know what H20 is or would do to a shotgun, but it sounds… fluffy.

  • tony

    I prefer my shotgun with a conventional rifle stock; cough…cough…no pistol grip

  • Gary Kirk
  • Synchronizor

    Be honest, with the shotgun being called “H2O”, was that “just add water” title a reference to a certain Australian TV show?

  • Swarf

    That was… specific.