In this video by Forgotten Weapons, Ian features a Benelli MR1 that is up for auction at the Rock Island Auction Company.
The Benelli MR1 is considered Benelli’s entry into the tactical black rifle market. It is, however, different in many ways. First off, the Benelli MR1 is not an AR15. It may not sound like such a big deal, but it is pretty rare. In fact, it’s not an AR18 either. By not being either of those, Ian says that the Benelli MR1 is actually a novel and independent design.
In designing the Benelli MR1, what Benelli did was to take the gas system from their M4 Super 90 shotgun and adapted it into a .223 self-loading rifle. Instead of using an AR style bolt, the Benelli MR1 has a triangular, rotating bolt that is similar to the Leader T2 and Barrett M82.
The Benelli MR1 features a safe hardwearing locking system, a lack anodized receiver a fixed blade front sight, and a vertically and transversely adjustable rear sight. The gun is made of high quality materials – such as technopolymer – that are constructed in compliance with the strictest industrial parameters. The Benelli MR1 has a manual safety on trigger guard. The safety can be engaged with hammer cocked, as well as bolt open or locked.
The Benelli MR1 is being sold as a civilian rifle in the United States and in Italy, with no signs of serious attempts at military contracts. Ian says that it makes sense, given that Benelli and Beretta are owned by the same company, and Beretta has a good lock on the current Italian service rifle. He also says that he thinks the purpose of the Benelli MR1 is to grab a slice of the 5.56mm modern rifle market, which is currently populated by sport shooters who are being dragged towards ARs by all the popular media surrounding them.