SHOT 2014 — Benelli Ethos, Fast Handling and Smooth Shooting

By Dave Dolbee published on in Firearms, General, Reviews

I admire fine shotguns, but have never owned one. Don’t get me wrong; I have plenty of shotguns in various sizes ranging from .410 to 12 gauge. Shotguns for my purposes have been mostly self-defense or slug guns for larger game. I have also been blessed enough to have a host of friends with liberally stocked gun safes and the attitude that guns are for shooting. When they could not shoot one personally, they were more than hospitable when I offered to take a gun or two out for some fresh air.

Picture shows a wood stock autoloading shotgun.

The ETHOS is the perfect balance of art and technology.

Times change. While looking through one of the guns safes, I recently realized that with a bit of finagling, I actually could fit in another shotgun without buying another safe. That was exciting news and conjured images of a fine sporting shotgun that I recently ran through its paces at the 2014 SHOT Show—the Benelli Ethos.

The Ethos is Benelli’s next generation of Inertia Driven autoloaders. The Ethos is elegant and features fine lines and balance. In fact, the Ethos relies on many of Benelli’s latest innovations and design concepts, but a close examination will show that it is a new platform.

The Ethos takes form and function and blends them with improved ergonomics. Select AA-Grade European Walnut form the stocks. The Progressive Comfort recoil-reduction system—a lightweight recoil reducer that automatically adjusts to the size of the load—ensures the Ethos will not beat you up with full game loads but will also cycle 7/8-ounce loads with ease and reliability.

Benelli "Ethos shotgun with black receiver

The Benelli Ethos features a two-part carrier latch, beveled loading port and redesigned carrier.

The Ethos takes reliability to a new level. Benelli introduced a new locking system that features a detent mechanism to the bolt body. The system guarantees lock up—even when you ease forward the rotating bolt instead of letting it slam home.

Building on the reliability theme, the Ethos features a two-part carrier latch, beveled loading port and redesigned carrier. Combined, these features ensure the shells glide into the magazine fast and easily. The Ethos utilizes an enlarged bolt release for quick access and handling in the field. Best of all, the design is friendly to shooting gloves or when the mercury heads south.

Topping the Ethos is a replaceable carbon-fiber rib to save weight. The interchangeable front sight enables shooters to quickly switch between a red, yellow or green fiber optic—all come standard with the Ethos.

Ace Luciano shooting Benelli Ethos

Riding along with the author at the 2014 SHOT Show was The Shooter’s Log writer Ace Luciano, who also gave the Ethos high marks.

“The superbly balanced ETHOS is designed with all the features that make this latest Benelli semi-auto not only a pleasure to shoot but also a beautiful gun to own. Shooters will enjoy the benefits and pleasure of handling and shooting a top-quality semi-auto shotgun that embodies the perfect balance of art and technology to specifically meet their needs, whether it be for upland birds in the field or clay birds at a range,” Benelli’s VP of Sales Tom DeBolt said. I would have to agree. In fact, I may take my own Ethos for some fresh air very soon.


  • Gauge: 12 Chamber: 3-inch
  • Magazine Capacity: 4+1
  • Choke: Crio C, IC, M, IM, F
  • Sights: Interchangeable fiber-optic front sight
  • Length of Pull: 14 3/8 inches
  • Drop at Heel: 2.25 inches
  • Drop at Comb: 1.5 inches (includes shim kit to adjust drop and cast)Overall length: 47.5 inches (26-inch barrel), 49.5 inches (28-inch barrel)
  • Stock: AA-Grade walnut with Progressive Comfort recoil-reduction system
  • Finish: Anodized or nickel-plated receiver with blued barrel
  • Weight: 6.5 pounds
  • Minimum Recommended Load: 7/8 ounces
  • MSRP: $1999 (black anodized receiver) $2199 (nickel-plated engraved receiver)

Have you shot the Benelli Ethos? Tell us what you think in the comment section.


Growing up in Pennsylvania’s game-rich Allegany region, Dave Dolbee was introduced to whitetail hunting at a young age. At age 19 he bought his first bow while serving in the U.S. Navy, and began bowhunting after returning from Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Dave was a sponsored Pro Staff Shooter for several top archery companies during the 1990s and an Olympic hopeful holding up to 16 archery records at one point. During Dave’s writing career, he has written for several smaller publications as well as many major content providers such as Guns & Ammo, Shooting Times, Outdoor Life, Petersen’s Hunting, Rifle Shooter, Petersen’s Bowhunting, Bowhunter, Game & Fish magazines, Handguns, F.O.P Fraternal Order of Police, Archery Business, SHOT Business,, and others. Dave is currently a staff writer for Cheaper Than Dirt!

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