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Old 02-07-2017, 12:59 AM
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Default Benelli M4...finally a viable weapon light mount

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The Benelli M4 uses a special operating system (for Benelli), the ARGO (Auto Regulating Gas Operated), specifically because the Benelli M1 did not function well with an optic and light and NV/laser mounted to it, due to the ID (Inertia Drive(en)) system requiring a certain amount and speed of firearm movement during recoil. Hence the ARGO.

Unfortunately, a proper light mount has not existed that allows one to take advantage of this. It has been very similar to a 500 # torque capable engine mated to a transmission only rated for 300# of torque. The heart is willing, but there's no way to get it to the tires!

Enter (after almost 2 decades...) AVA. They designed a mount which uses the barrel hanger. Unfortunately, it also impinged the barrel, which transmitted not only vibrations to the mount and light more than necessary, but also more heat to the junction, and deformed (ever so slightly) the barrel, in the same manner a scope mount deforms a scope tube. Then AVA came out with their Gen 2 mount, which removed the barrel from the equation, and "shrouded" over the barrel. It is/was much improved, and remains a very good solution.

However, I chose to use Impact Weapon Components. This is the lightest mount that I know of for the Benelli M4, It also does not touch or enshroud the barrel at all, allowing for a cleaner FOV, less weight, and less vibration/heat transfer.

It is attached by removing the snap-ring and sling mount from the rear barrel hanger of the Benelli M4. It has a groove which mates as cleanly with this groove as any Geissele or Nightforce mount I have ever thrown a 30 or 34mm scope tube into. It's honestly surprising, given how "rough" the barrel hanger looks. I used Loctite 243 to affix all hardware, although IWC claims this is "optional"---shotguns vibrate!

Don't worry about losing your sling mount, the IWC offers ambi QD anti-rotation cups.

Once my M300 was mounted, and I had mounted the entire contraption, I used feeler-gauges to measure the "ring gaps" on either side. They were quite tight, at what I estimate to be 10-15 in-lb. only allowing a few thousandths gap on either side. I do not feel that the "low" torque is an issue because of how solidly the ridge interfaces with the groove of the barrel hanger. It is my opinion that this is PLENTY of force to hold the mount in place through all manner of use and abuse.

The mount is very unobtrusive, and tucks the light into the 11:30 (or 12:30) position very tightly. The tail cap is easily and instinctively activated with the thumb, and the entire operation is as low-profile as it gets.

This accessory is one of those that you feel "was made for/grew in that place", not a "that looks bolted on..." type solution. Further more, it can be left in place indefinitely. It is not required or even helpful to remove it to fully disassemble/clean the weapon.

The entire contraption, including hardware and battery, once the removal of the snap-ring and sling plate is subtracted from the sum, only adds a net weight of 4.1oz to your Benelli M4, using the M300 Ultra scout light (300 lumens)

Here are some pictures. The white-wall shot is from roughly 3m, so as to show barrel shadow. The magazine tube is obviously not in place, but its effect is easily imagined, as it mirrors the barrel in length and size, roughly. The sights are not "whited out" as depicted, this is simply the result of photography not matching reality, but they ARE directly illuminated by the spill of the light. This is not optimal, but it is not a deal-breaker in any way, either. The last photo in series much more accurately depicts how the front sight looks to the user, while the previous photo accurately depicts how the light impacts the environment. I could not show both in the same photograph accurately due to my camera (Galaxy S4) not being up to the task. While I would prefer more contrast (front sight not illuminated/target illuminated only), again, you can see that this is only a minor quibble and not at all a true issue. It may even be a boon, if you are the type who likes to run a fiber optic FSP.

It is my opinion that this rugged, low-profile combination, allows the Benelli M4 to finally, honestly become a viable home and self-defense weapon. I refuse to run anything without a light, if I can help it, and certainly not a "primary" type weapon that is to be traveled with or kept at the bedside. DO NOT SHOOT WHAT YOU CANNOT SEE AND IDENTIFY!
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benelli, benelli m4, impact weapon components, iwc, m1014, scout light, shotgun, surefire, wml

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