Cheaper Than Dirt! recently had a chance to talk with officials at Beretta and check on the progress of the move to Tennessee we all read about a few months ago, and take a quick run through some of the new products for 2014. The result: we got even more than we had bargained for!
The new plant will be in Gallatin Tennessee, which is about 20 minutes outside of Nashville. Cheaper Than Dirt! wanted to update our readers as to the progress of the move, so we reached out to the folks at Beretta and requested a few pictures. Unfortunately, Beretta told us that currently the new site is still rolling hills and lines on paper. It makes sense; this was not a move that had been planned for years. Instead, it is a move prompted by the draconian lawmakers in Maryland. To set up an entire new facility, with manufacturing capabilities and staff members, takes more than a few months.
Currently, Beretta has mock ups of what the plant will look like, and plans to break ground this fall. In the beginning, the plant will feature manufacturing and engineering. However, the first two things that need to happen between breaking ground and turning the lights on will be developing the infrastructure itself and hiring the key people necessary to take it from foundation to full deployment. This will include engineers, key staff to ensure the machines are properly laid out and a staff to hire the remainder of the required employees—today’s estimates have this number at around 300 people. Beretta’s current thinking has the plant fully operational in 2015.
This is not only good news for gun enthusiasts in Tennessee, but also shows the direction Beretta has been moving in the last several years. In an interview with Beretta, officials confirmed to Cheaper Than Dirt! that its engineering and R&D departments in the United States have grown several times over in the last seven to eight years. This has resulted in products such as the Nano, U22 Neos and now includes the A300 Outlander shotgun, Pico and ARX100.
It is typically easier to start manufacturing a new product in a new facility than to relocate manufacturing of a current product. Beretta’s original plans were to manufacture the ARX line in Tennessee, believing the residents making the product should not be barred from also owning the product. However, at this time, it is currently too early to foretell what the political landscape will look like and definitively say which products will be manufactured at any specific U.S. plant.
As with any large corporation, Beretta is still ironing out some of the details and hopes to have a more definitive plan some time next month. Beretta has assured Cheaper Than Dirt! that it will be among the first to hear of the news, so be sure to check back.
Made in the USA
Introduced at the beginning of the year, the ARX100 started shipping in May 2014. A noteworthy fact of the ARX100 is that the barrel is manufactured right here in the U.S.—a first for Beretta. Another new Beretta product made in the U.S. will be the Pico, a sub-compact pocket pistol chambered in .380. The Pico is the little brother to another U.S. manufactured pistol, Beretta’s 9mm Nano, which has been a top-selling pistol for the last several years. A key shotgun is Beretta’s A300 Outlander, which is also a U.S. manufactured product.
To be fair, the A300 is also manufactured in other locations around the globe. Manufacturing facilities build A300s for their local market, which means in the North America, they are made in Maryland. Part of the reason behind that decision is the fact the A300 is considered a price-point offering aimed at the hunting market or someone new to the shooting sports who may not be ready—or in a position—to spend $1,700-2,000 for a shotgun, but still wants the quality and reliability typically associated with owning a Beretta.
Tactical and 3-gun
Beretta is one of the few companies manufacturing all three guns used by serious competitors of 3-gun. Complementing the ARX100 are Beretta’s 1301 Tactical and 1301 Competition. If the first thing that comes to mind with the words Beretta and competition is clay shooting, you would be right. However, 3-gun takes a shot at busting clays from an entirely different angle. The 1301 Competition is a black (shot)gun designed for 3-gun competition and more than worthy of doing whatever it takes to run one through it paces. Rumor has it, that a certain Cheaper Than Dirt! writer has a complete 3-gun setup on its way, so be sure to check back for a complete range report in the near future!
2014 has marked the year where Beretta has taken a step back by expanding or refining product lines to fill in the gaps consumers have clamored for engineering to address—particularly in the areas of upland and competition shooting. As evidence, although launched last year in Europe, the Beretta 692 Competition Grade over-under shotgun finally made its way to our shores in 2014. The 692 was built on the legendary Model 682 which dominated for over a decade and features some exciting enhancements.
Major advances of the 692 and DT11 include replacing the stepped cones for restriction of the barrel to a barrel with a progressive conicity utilization. The new design uses a single step for the 692 and no steps at all for the DT11. The progressive restriction of the 692’s barrel provides a tighter and thus more predictable pattern. That is more than lip service for serious shooters. As proof, Kim Rhode, a five-time Olympic medalist—including three gold medals and several national championships and member of the U.S. Shooting Team—recently signed on with Beretta and selected the DT11.
Whatever your shooting pleasure Beretta not only has you covered, it has your back. In addition to a lineup that has something for every shooter, Beretta’s expansion to Tennessee was in response to Maryland lawmaker’s draconian rules imposed upon its citizens. Companies with that kind of moxy are the ones we, as shooters and supporters of the Second Amendment, need to be supporting. Of course the fact that Beretta offers some of the finest firearms on the market doesn’t hurt either.