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10 Things You Didn't Know About Beretta

When you're the oldest active firearms manufacturer in the world, you tend to have a rich, engrossing history. With that in mind, we've compiled a collection of facts that you might not know about Beretta. Check them out, and be sure to share your own little-known facts with us.

Few companies possess brand name recognition on par with that of Beretta. When you've officially been at your craft since 1526—488 years, for those of you scoring at home—people tend to know who you are. And, when you're the oldest active firearms manufacturer in the world, you tend to have a rich, engrossing history.

But every hunter knows that the name's been around forever (and that seeing it stamped on a shotgun is typically a very, very good thing), but there's an awful lot more to the centuries-old Italian company. After a little detective work—and some assistance from the fine folks over at Beretta—we were able to compile a collection of facts that you might not know about the legendary firearms manufacturer.

Check out our ten facts below, and be sure to weigh in with your own in the comments.

1. Beretta Holding unifies 26 brands and companies under its umbrella, including well-known names like Benelli, Steiner Optics, Uberti, Sako, Franchi, Stoeger and Tikka.

2. The Beretta Museum, located in Brescia, Italy, includes firearms dating as far back as the 1600s, and is home to guns from the estates of John Adams and Napoleon, among other historical figures. More than 900 pieces are present in the collection.

3. Beretta runs a non-profit organization, called the Beretta Foundation, that is dedicated to researching malignant neoplasia (cancerous tumors); in particular, it deals with the collection and analysis of clinical and experimental data regarding different forms of cancer, as well as the indication of therapies for patients suffering from types of neoplasia, particularly breast or lung cancer, with special attention to prevention and immunology studies.

4. In addition to high-quality firearms, the Beretta family produces a number of renowned Italian wines. So, yes, it technically would be possible to put your Beretta shotgun to work by day and enjoy a Beretta beverage by night.

5. In the late 1940s Giuseppe Beretta partnered with Luigi Castelbarco and motorcycle designer Giuseppe Benelli to design and manufacture automobiles. Beretta was tasked with producing both the engine and the square-tube frame chassis. The prototype, known as the BBC (Beretta, Benelli, Castelbarco), was presented in 1948, with a Benelli engine. It would never enter full production, but one of the original samples is on display at the Beretta plant in Italy.

6. Beretta was originally born as a manufacturer of gun barrels. In 1526, Maestro Bartolomeo Beretta was paid to produce 185 arquebus barrels by the Arsenal of Venice. The bills of sale are said to still be in the company's archives.

7. Luigi Gussalli, born in 1885 and descendent of Bartolomeo, didn’t work with firearms. He instead turned to astronautics, specializing in the engineering of multi-stage rockets. In 1923 he authored a book, titled "Can We Attempt a Space Journey to the Moon?" He regularly exchanged correspondence with some of the field's most respected minds. Unfortunately, he passed away in 1950—19 years before the United States put the first man on the moon.

8. 2015 will mark the 100-year anniversary of the production of Beretta's very first semi-automatic pistol. Though the 92FS is the company's trademark sidearm, Beretta's semi-automatic roots rest with the Model 1915, which was adopted by Italian forces during World War I.

9. Speaking of handguns... Most folks know that the legendary fictional spy James Bond has long carried a Walther PPK, both on film and in print publications. Not many people, though, realize that 007's very first carry gun was a Beretta 418. Author Ian Fleming depicted the super spy with the 418, chambered in .25 ACP, in the novel Casino Royale, Bond's very first adventure. Fleming later changed his character's signature firearm after corresponding with a particularly passionate fan.

10. Beretta was likely the manufacturer of the famed “Mayflower Gun.” The firearm is named as such because historians believe it made the trip to the New World on, as you've probably guessed, the Mayflower. Indeed, according to the markings on the rare Italian wheelock's barrel and lockplate, the gun was either manufactured or repaired by the Beretta family of armorers.

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17 Responses to 10 Things You Didn't Know About Beretta

Dieter Landre wrote:
August 25, 2014

Awesome. Rather shoot Berettas than Remington's these days

Danny Willard wrote:
August 23, 2014

I own one hand gun manufactured by Beretta. Have shot it literally thousands of times. It has never had a misfire and always performed admirably even when needing cleaning very badly. Beretta makes awesome guns.

Denise wrote:
July 02, 2014

Love, Love, Love my Berretta Neo's . Putt 500 rounds through her yesterday. I have girlie girl hands and the ease and comfort of the Neo's to my CZ Tactical night and day...

Rich wrote:
July 01, 2014

I have always had quality problems with Italian products including guns. It seems their philosophy is: It's a work of art even if it doesn't perform as it should.

Glenn S wrote:
June 28, 2014

Love their shotguns especially the 686 o/u. Beretta's Trident logo was a warning issued to battleships:first arrow warning fired at stern,second arrow at bow and third arrow will be at the ship.

David wrote:
June 27, 2014

They have purchased property and have broken ground for the new Beretta manufacturing plant in Gallatin, Tennessee. It is expected to be completed in early 2015.

mark wrote:
June 27, 2014

I was on a flight to Chile with one of your agents. How did the freezing of the shotgun barrels go? He was going to Argentina for the doves.

Elkhunter wrote:
June 26, 2014

My wife, not a gun fan. I gave her the gift of a Beretta m70 .380 nearly 30 years ago. She loved it, and it is a work of art. Nice article.

terry wrote:
June 26, 2014

I BOUGHT A BERETTA PX4 STORM STAINLESS 9mm love it would not trade her for anything.

Robert stone wrote:
June 26, 2014

1983 I purchased a 92FS from a Sergeant at the jail I worked loved the gun .in 2012 I won my PX 4 storm at a police expo in New Jersey love my Beretta man for life no other gun for me

Todd Brooks wrote:
June 26, 2014

If they are looking for a place to move Their Maryland plant They should look at Huntsville Alabama ! We just got Remington and another un named gun maker ! Here in AL we Respect and Cherish Our 2nd Amendment . We also have a Great work force and More PHD's per capita then anywhere in the world ! Known as the Rockect City . We have Redstone Arsenal which supports Our military . I hope some of the top Brass see's this .

Dave Ball wrote:
June 26, 2014

My son was one of the two winners in their 'Trip to Italy' contest; he took me as his companion (his wife wasn't much interested in guns). We got to see their private museum, their factories, their engraving shop, shot a beautiful DT-11 shotgun all afternoon, even saw the little red car mentioned in the '10 Facts' article. It was a fantastic trip; Beretta really went all out to take care of us. If they offer that contest again, every gun-lover needs to sign up. It was a once-in-a-lifetime trip.

Pete Lease wrote:
June 25, 2014

And I hear that they are moving out of Maryland because of Maryland being an anti gun state! Good for them!

Rick wrote:
June 25, 2014

Fantastic stuff!

Steven L. Rush wrote:
June 25, 2014

These are not only very fine firearms, they are works of art.

Charlie wrote:
June 25, 2014

I am going to see if they have a 100 year semi automatic pistol offered in 2015. That would be a good purchase.

Michael hembree wrote:
June 25, 2014

Awsum history. Some of the best guns made. I wish I could afford to own one of every gun you make!