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[Ultimate Build] Best Benelli M4 Upgrades

What's sexy, Italian, and in our dreams? It's the Benelli M4 shotgun. Check out the best upgrades to make it the ultimate home defense gun.

    Do you know what sucks about the Benelli M4? 

    Well, not much due to the gun itself, but quite a bit due to American gun laws for imported weapons.

    Luckily for you, we’re gonna talk about how to fix the Benelli M4 and how to take it from excellent to outstanding (and legal!).

    Benelli M4 4
    Benelli M4, all fixed up!

    You all know I’m a shotgun fanboy.

    The Benelli M4 is a great shotgun and has become my all-time favorite tactical shotgun. Check out my Benelli M4 Review for everything.

    It is the Italian sports car of shotguns, and that fine Italian heritage makes it one of the most dependable and capable shotguns on the market. 

    We’re sure you can see the similarity.

    However, like most things, it can be made better. 

    The big problem with Italian made shotguns is this pesky little law known as 922R. This silly law prohibits the shotgun from reaching its peak performance. Without diving too deep into the intricacies of 922R, we’ll just talk about how it affects the Benelli M4. 

    Benelli M4 1
    Ain’t she purdy?

    In the U.S., the Benelli M4 comes with some form of fixed stock and 5 round magazine tube. The gun cannot be imported for civilian sale with the 7 round tube and the famed collapsing M4 stock, which is available to our lucky European firearms enthusiasts.

    You can fix it though with a few American made parts and some of that old fashioned American ingenuity (or Bubba-ing? Let’s call it ingenuity. That sounds better.). 

    I'm a gunsmith
    Put. The Dremel. Down.

    Anyways, today we will go over the parts that need to be added to un-neuter the Benelli and how to generally improve the performance of this powerful and capable shotgun. 

    My goal for this shotgun is to make it the ultimate home defense shotgun, so that was the approach I took when upgrading it to beyond basic. 

    Table of Contents


    Parts and Pieces for 922R Compliance

    Benelli M4
    Stock Benelli M4

    There is plenty of debate on whether 922R is a real issue for gun owners. Plenty of people are happy to point out that no one has ever been convicted of violating it, but as the writer of a public website, I would encourage you to, of course, always follow the law. 

    Not a good legal defense. Sorry.

    It’s my understanding that to install a higher capacity magazine tube and collapsing stock, I have to install 4 American made parts. 

    Don’t take this as legal advice, and should you need legal advice, I recommend speaking with a lawyer. 

    But, to the best of my understanding, here are the American made parts I installed in my Benelli M4 to make it legal. 

    Gotta get that ‘Murica feel on that I-talian shotgun, y’see.

    Freedom Fighter Tactical Follower and Magazine Tube 

    To hell with a silly 5-round magazine tube! However, the Benelli tubes are near impossible to find and require a shipment from Italy. They also tend to be quite expensive. 

    Benelli M4 4
    Benelli M4 4

    The Freedom Fighter Tactical magazine tube is made from steel and matches the Benelli’s M4 finish perfectly. I was a bit nervous that the tube would not match the Benelli’s grayish finish, and boy I was happy to be wrong. 

    at Freedom Fighter Tactical

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    It blends in perfectly and attaches with ease. Installation is simple, and removing the original tube does require a heat gun and a little patience to get things loosened up. The 7 round tube allows for perfect feeding and smooth loading. 

    I have the steel model, but Freedom Fighter Tactical also produces an H20 NP3 magazine tube for those with the Benelli H20 model. Admittedly, that’s a sweet Benelli, and owners now have a seven-round tube option to replace that foul stock five-rounder. 

    Benelli M4 7
    You can see the magazine tube is a perfect color match!

    There is also a titanium tube available. Titanium is extremely strong, and the finish is unbreakable. It also weighs just a bit more than half of a standard magazine tube. You can trim a bit of weight from your gun and get an unbreakable tube. 

    This counts as a 922R part, as does the precision machined follower FFT makes. This follower is modeled after the stock Benelli follower to ensure reliable performance. The follower is an American made part and available in a variety of colors. 

    Benelli M4 3
    Lemme just show her off once more.

    I went with high visibility red, so it’s easy to see under the shell lifter. The followers also come in black, green, and stainless. It glides through the magazine tube ultra smoothly without any issues, burrs, or catches. 

    at Freedom Fighter Tactical

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    These two components are 922R compliant and perfect for the Benelli M4. You already want a 7-round tube, and the follower is a cheap and easy upgrade that functions without issue. 

    Mesa Tactical Truckee Forend 

    The included forend with the Benelli M4 is a simple two-part polymer handguard that is perfectly acceptable. However, it’s far from modular, and I wanted to add lights, lasers, kitchen sinks, an espresso maker, and more. 

    Mall Ninja AR-15
    Too much of a good thing is still too much

    Plus, this counts as a 922R part, so it was a simple decision. 

    There are numerous handguards out there that add modularity to the Benelli M4; this includes a Surefire model, one from Strike Industries, and one from Mesa Tactical. Mesa Tactical makes lots of shotgun parts, and one is the Truckee. 

    Benelli M4 7
    Mesa Tactical Truckee 11″ Forend

    The Benelli M4 Truckee handguard comes in both a standard 8.5-inch model and this fabulous 11-inch model. To install the 11-inch handguard, you have to remove a snap ring that holds on the sling keeper. This install process is not complicated, but the instructions kind of suck, as do the pictures. 

    There is no installation guide online either, so you gotta use the crummy included photos. Once installed and put together through the Truckee is quite lovely. It has a slight bit of play, so installing a PEQ 15 and expecting a perfect zero is a fool’s errand. 

    Addams Family Shotgun
    Not gonna stop you from scaring the bejeesus out of a home invader.

    Also, hi, yes–it’s a shotgun.

    The Truckee 11-inch handguard offers not only a little M-LOK slots, but it pushes them further forward. I wanted to mount my light further than the 8-inch handguard allowed, and I could with the 11-inch model. 

    at Brownells

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    This kit is made from aluminum and features that same darkish gray finish that the barrel and magazine tube have, which makes it quite aesthetically pleasing. It’s also comfortable to grip and provides a good base for accessory mounting. 

    Geissele M4 Hammer 

    I needed four total American made parts to ensure 922R compliance when using a collapsing stock and 7-round magazine tube, so the upgrading continued.

    The Geissele M4 Hammer was a limited production item, and the prices of the out of production hammers are insane. This hammer was a gift from a friend, and I had no idea it was a collector’s item until very recently. Talk about amazing friends, huh?

    Geissele M4 Hammer
    *sad face*

    This M4 hammer is a little tighter than the stock model and seems to be equally well made. I did not notice a difference in trigger pull or improvement, but the hammer is an American made part. When things come from a company as renowned as Geissele, I trust it to work as much as the stock Benelli M4 hammer. 

    Geissele M4 Hammer 1
    The precioussssss!

    If you want to improve both your trigger pull and add two 922R components, then check out the FFT Trigger Pack kit. This kit comes with a hammer and trigger, as well as the Wolff Gun Springs trigger kit. The FFT Trigger Pack is simple to install and tools wise you’ll need a pair of Snap Ring pliers to swap the parts. 

    at Freedom Fighter Tactical

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    The Other Upgrades 

    Outside of the parts that allow you to rock and roll legally, we have numerous upgrades we’ve made to the M4 to make it a more competent blaster. 

    Holosun 507C 

    Let’s start with the sighting system I’ve put together. I know I wanted a miniature red dot sight simply to reduce size and weight. Smaller sights allow you to reach over the top of the gun and port load without a big sight getting in the way. 

    Benelli M4 10
    The Holosun 507C

    The Holosun 507C is the optic of choice, and while it’s easy to say I chose it over the Trijicon RMR to save money, that’s simply not true! The Holosun 507C offered me a variety of features that made it a better optic for my purpose. 

    The Holosun 507C on a Glock

    This includes some things like the sideloading battery, the easily accessible controls, and the more competent solar panel. The biggest reason I chose the 507C was the reticle. 

    Or should I say reticles? 

    The reticles include a simple red dot, a 32 MOA circle with a red dot, and a 32 MOA circle. I wanted the 32 MOA circle for a specific reason. Shotguns have spread, right? 

    Holosun HS507C, View
    Holosun HS507C, Red Dot View

    Well, I wanted to use that 32 MOA circle to pattern my buckshot inside of. This way, I know the max range in which my buckshot will stay in that 32 MOA circle. I know the longest shot I’m going to take is about 12 yards inside my home. 

    At 15 yards, my chosen buckshot load patterns entirely in the 32 MOA circle. The reticle and perfect zero help me account for the pellets and ensure I know where every single one will land as long as that reticle covers that portion of my target. 

    Benelli M4 11
    The 507C provides a perfect reticle for patterning a shotgun!

    Red dots are also faster than iron sights, and speed is critical for CQB purposes. The Holosun 507C is a durable shockproof optic that seems to have no issues with the gun’s recoil. It’s held steady for nearly 300 rounds of assorted shotgun ammo without a problem. 

    at OpticsPlanet

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    It’s light, small, and best of all matches the Trijicon RMR pattern for mounting purposes, which leads us to the…

    Scalarworks Benelli M4 Sync Mount 

    The Benelli M4 comes with an optics mount that works but pushes the optic well above the sights. The Scalarworks Sync mount replaces the stock mount and allows my optic to co-witness with the iron sights. 

    Benelli M4 10
    You can see how low the mount situates the red dot compared to the rear sight, visible in the lower left corner.

    The sync mount has an innovative and fantastic system mounting system that uses a key slot design that goes under the mount to improve how stout the mount is. Two bolts go under the mount, and two go through it. The design eliminates play and movement and keeps things tight forever.

    at Amazon

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    It’s made from precision machined 7075 T6 billet aluminum, which is incredibly strong, and your optic mounts to it quite nicely. Perfect for cowitnessing with my optic. 

    Meprolight Night Sights 

    I already like the stock sights on the Benelli M4 and didn’t necessarily want to replace them. The Meprolight night sights are identical to the stock M4 sights, except for the addition of tritium inserts. 

    at Amazon

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    These glowing inserts make finding the sights quick and easy regardless of the time of day, or external environmental factors. These sights are easy to install and are made to last. These bright glowing sights are perfect for low light situations and as a backup just in case my optic dies. 

    Esstac Shotgun Card 

    The Esstac shotgun card is a unique side saddle mounting system that is made from nylon and uses hook and loop to attach it to your gun. These shotgun cards are nearly universal and do not require any crazy installation procedures. Stick it on and go. 

    Benelli M4 9
    Esstac Shotgun Card

    These are the original shotgun cards and are still the best choice on the market. One of the big benefits from a tactical perspective is that if you reload the gun and run the side saddle dry, you can rip the card off and toss another on. That’s not too important for home defense, but it is interesting in case Zombies come. 

    Dog with zombie arm
    When fetch goes really, really wrong.

    I went with the four-round model to reduce weight and keep the gun a bit more balanced. The cards run from 4 to 7 rounds. They provide a very tight grip for your shells and don’t let them lose with ease. 

    at Esstac

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    Carlson’s Cylinder Bore Choke 

    The Benelli M4 came with an improved choke that was causing all sorts of chaos with a lot of my buckshot loads. I initially assumed it was a cylinder bore, as the website states it should be, but maybe I just got unlucky? 

    at Amazon

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    Either way, a Carlson’s stainless steel cylinder bore choke was a simple addition to clean up my buckshot patterns and improve consistency. It threaded in without an issue and has remained tight over lots of shooting.

    STNGR M-LOK QD Mount 

    Since I removed the sling point, I had to add another. I already had an M-LOK handguard, so an M-LOK QD point makes sense. There are lots of options, but I went with STNGR. 

    Benelli M4 13
    The Magpul AFG and the STNGR QD socket

    STNGR makes some awesome handguards, and I’m running two of them of different AR builds. I trusted the company and picked up their M-LOK QD port. It turned out to be a great choice. It’s well made, easy to install, and precisely made. 

    Blue Force Gear Padded Sling 

    Is this a surprise? I mean, I use these same slings for basically every gun build I do. I’ve used one for almost a decade now, and I mean the exact same one. It’s an unbeatable modern two-point sling. 

    Benelli M4 5
    So comfy, so tactical.

    The BFG Vickers padded sling is very well made and sports a quick pull tab that allows for instant adjustment of the sling to a tight hands-free design to a lose and mobile mode. The extra part of padding increases the comfort of the sling, and the Benelli is not the lightest weapon out there. 

    at Brownells

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    That extra padding is comfortable and worth the additional cost, at least it is to me. 

    Magpul AFG Gen 2 

    The Magpul AFG Gen 2 is a direct-attach M-LOK accessory that mounts to the handguard perfectly. It allows me to pull the gun into my shoulder a bit tighter and increases my ability to control the gun and its recoil. The AFG gen 2 is more compact and allows for increased control over the gun.

    Benelli M4 6
    The Magpul AFG

    This seems like an instant and easy upgrade and perfect for the Truckee handguard. It also positions my hand to better use my chosen light. 

    at Palmetto State Armory

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    Streamlight TLR RM 2 

    A home defense gun has to have a light, right? Well, the TLR RM 2 is a new light, but one I’ve grown to appreciate quite a bit in the last few months. Check out my review of both the RM 2 and its smaller sibling, the RM 1, too!

    Benelli M4 8
    The TLR RM 2, mounted and ready to rock!

    Its ramp style design makes it easy to use without a pressure switch, but you can use a pressure switch if desired. 

    Streamlight Mag Tube Rail TL & Streamlight TLR RM2
    Streamlight Mag Tube Rail TL & Streamlight TLR RM2

    The way this light mounts is perfect for use on the Truckee and provides me an ergonomic optic via the simple push-button switch. It offers both a momentary and constant-on mode that’s perfect for home defense. 

    RM2 vs Photogenic barrier
    RM2 vs. Photogenic barrier

    It throws out 1,000 lumens of light with a 10,000-candela backing. This gives a good wide throw with lots of spill. It lights a room up and cuts through darkness quite easily. 

    at Brownells

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    It’s perfect for both inside my home and even outside it should those pesky zombies or cold war-era Russians invade. 

    Ammo of Choice

    Federal FliteControl 8 Pellet 

    Federal FliteControl is one of the most effective shotgun loads on the market. It’s designed to keep the tightest pattern possible through a specially designed wad. This type of pattern is often one big hole inside of 15 yards or so and this previous errant pellets from becoming flyers. 

    Federal FliteControl Insides
    Federal FliteControl Insides

    The eight pellet variant reduces the chance of the famed 9th pellet flyer greatly and does an excellent job at maintaining a tight and consistent shot pattern. This load is exceptionally high quality and reliable, consistent, and the one load I trust the lives of my family with. 

    This reduced recoil load still cycles 100% in my semi-auto Benelli M4. I’ve found almost all semi-autos handle the Federal FliteControl without issue. 

    at Lucky Gunner

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    The Flitecontrol loads simply the best in class, and unless I need to dispatch targets beyond home defense range, I have no reason not to choose Federal FliteControl 8 Pellet buckshot. 

    Boom, Bang, Pow

    This Benelli M4 build has been about seven months in the making. I knew after I purchased the gun, I would be spending a whole heck of a lot more money on it. 

    Benelli M4 12
    *heart eyes*

    That is one thing that should be mentioned. The Benelli M4 is not a cheap gun, and neither are most of the compatible upgrades. The good news is that most of these upgrades are durable, duty-driven designs that aren’t made in questionable locations and are of dubious quality. 

    You have to be a real shotgun fan to want to go this far with a gun, and I’m just that kind of fan. I sold guns, parts, and optics to fund it, and I’m still happy with my choice. 

    What upgrades would you make? Am I a mad man? Let us know below. Interested in home-defense shotguns? Then check out our hands-on review of the Best Home-Defense Tactical Shotguns!

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    16 Leave a Reply

    • Commenter Avatar
      Tom K

      Regarding the Mesa Tactical...it looks cool but not really that functional.

      This 8.5" is advertised as the “easy” version. You will have to remove the 2 shell extension every time, and if you have an H20 version, you will scratch the shell tube up as you fiddle around trying to get this seated, as the pistons and the barrel and the two plastic pieces and the stock all have to be aligned just so. The top is open, and you can see the cylinders so the pistons are exposed to the elements. You can’t mount anything nearest the muzzle as there is not enough clearance for the m-lock screws underneath. The finish is slick so you will likely need some m-lock inserts. You may better off with a CDM Gear ROC-12S Low Profile Light Mount with Built-In Sling Swivel Dock. I’m still looking for the IWC picatinny rail…but the owner died on Feb so not sure if these will ever go back in production.

      Sometimes it’s just hard to improve on a great original design.

      June 15, 2023 12:58 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Hey Travis, great article! any updates or changes that you made now?

      April 13, 2023 10:36 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      The Magpul afg-2 is not an mlock attachment. You need the standard afg. Thee links are also incorrect

      April 19, 2022 2:50 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      William Sallai

      Can the Benelli M4 reliably shoot Mini-Shells (Buck & Slug)? It would make for easier training and also a high-volume, accurate weapon for home defense.

      February 21, 2022 4:53 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Mike B

        Nope!! Jams on extraction most of the time. Not for home defense at all.

        February 21, 2023 6:35 pm
        • Commenter Avatar

          I only shoot Hornady light home-defense loads and it’s cycles perfectly every time.

          February 24, 2023 2:22 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Robert Greer

      Is there an adjustable stock for the m4?

      July 6, 2021 8:46 pm
      • Commenter Avatar

        yes, if you've got the $$$: freedomfightertactical . com/collections/m4/products/copy-of-70130-benelli-m4-recoil-spring-tube-m4-le-3-position

        September 24, 2021 4:49 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      I agree with nearly everything in your article, EXCEPT........your choice of optical sight.
      The "holosun" sight is made in china. That by itself kills any chance I would ever buy one.
      The communist chineese are our ENEMIES plain and simple. By purchasing anything made in china is akin to outrite financial support of our enemies.

      February 23, 2021 10:15 am
      • Commenter Avatar

        Dumbest comment to date.

        August 24, 2021 3:41 am
        • Commenter Avatar
          Joe Smith

          What's dumb about not supporting your enemy?

          Mike's mantra in life is "thank you sir may I please have another"

          February 5, 2022 11:30 am
          • Commenter Avatar

            You believe everything you read? Bet you love Trump and live in a trailer as well. Reality is you never stopped living with your parents and haven’t been any further than your city limits.

            February 5, 2022 11:39 am
            • Commenter Avatar

              Love how people who can't and don't know how to debate something insult others instead.

              March 14, 2022 4:44 pm
            • Commenter Avatar

              So true

              March 22, 2022 4:05 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Joe Smith

        Absolutely agree Alpha. Would like to see Pew Pew offer more non-Chinese manufactured options. Have zero interest in aiding that wretched place.

        February 5, 2022 11:31 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      I couldn't afford an M3 (I always wanted a convertible shotgun) so I ended up with the Tristar Tec12, the good quality M3 clone and I need to bring it up to snuff but, there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of aftermarket M3 parts and it will be an experiment to see what can fit. I just know that if I spent my money on a "real" M3, I'd have none left for any kind of upgrades. Any suggestions??? lol

      December 14, 2020 4:22 am
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