Review and Comparison of the TTI Benelli M2
It’s been almost a year ago to the day that I posted my review of the Benelli Performance Shop 3-Gun Edition shotgun. At the time when I bought that shotgun, I was very much the stereotypical beginner 3-Gunner with a background in pistol competition…I had almost no shotgun shooting experience. Fast forward about a year, and I LOVE shooting with a shotgun! Right now, I can honestly say that my ability with a shotgun is on par with both my pistol and rifle ability. Yes, I’m still a bit stronger with a pistol, but now I don’t avoid shooting a shotgun on stages where shooters have different options. It’s no longer a weakness in my game. On this basis, I could justify spending the money to get the absolute best version of the best shotgun currently available for 3-Gun. Because I already owned a great version of the M2 already, waiting the approximately six weeks it took for my custom M2 to be completed was also a more viable option for me than it was last year. Having done my research, and seen a few different custom Benelli M2’s over the past year, I opted for the Taran Tactical Innovations (TTI) M2 upgrade package. So I ordered a brand new 24? Benelli M2 Field Grade and had it sent straight to TTI.
Many readers may be wondering why I chose TTI to customize my M2 over the many worthy custom shops who do this kind of work. I’ve personally spoken with several of the guys that do this kind of work, and the consistent message I hear is that there’s not a tremendous functional difference in both the quality and end result that you get from just about any of the well-known, established names which modify Benelli M2’s for 3-Gun. So for me, the decision was made based on very secondary, if not tertiary considerations. For example, I have a lot of admiration for Keith Garcia, and he shoots a TTI M2. I also happen to like the look and feel of the TTI M2 a bit better than some others. And yes, I’m a fan of the John Wick movies. All really, really inconsequential reasons for my choice…but hey, it’s my money right?
The TTI M1/M2 Upgrade Package
TTI has taken what is a fairly complex ordering process and broken down the decision points into a series of check boxes and drop down boxes on their website, which functions quite well:
There’s really not that many choices to make, and most of the choices are aesthetic in nature – what color do you want that bolt release? The charging handle? How long do you want your extension tube? Here’s a photo of the shotgun that showed up to my local FFL six weeks later:
As you can see from the above, the TTI Upgrade Package for the M2 costs a penny shy of $1400.00 Add to that the retail price of the M2 Field Grade I ordered, and you’re looking at $2849.00, or about $350.00 more than what I paid for the Performance Shop 3-Gun Edition of the M2 I bought last year.
Worth The Money?
Value is in the eye of the beholder. Sometimes you have to spend exponentially more money to yield an incremental performance increase. If I objectively look at the TTI M2 and compare it to the 3-Gun Edition M2 I’ve been using for the last year, I’d have to say that the TTI is maybe a 10 percent functional improvement. Game changing? Not really. Worth the money? It’s certainly worth my money. To explain why, let’s start with some photos of both M2’s, with the TTI version on the right.
The biggest, most obvious difference between the two is the TTI stippling which is nothing short of amazing. Not only does it make a dramatic improvement when holding and firing the M2, it looks cool. Cool points count.
Another big difference between these two is in the improved TTI trigger. TTI indicates their trigger job drops about 3lbs. off the trigger pull weight on the M2. I measured the trigger pull on my TTI and got a five-pull average of 3 lbs., 10 oz.:
The corresponding measurement on my other M2 came out to be 5lbs. 9oz. That’s not quite a 3lb. reduction, but then again I’ve got about 5000 rounds through my 3-Gun Edition M2 so I’m sure that trigger has lightened from use. My TTI M2 was brand and had not been fired at the time the measurements were taken. Regardless, the TTI trigger feels greatly improved.
Both of my M2’s have had work done to the loading port, so I decided to compare the two:
To be honest, I was hoping for some huge, magical improvement on the TTI M2’s loading port which would result in a quantum improvement in my quad loading. Unfortunately, no such luck. In the photo above you can see the loading port on the TTI (right) is opened up more than on the other 3-Gun Edition M2. You can also see that (more) material has been removed from the trigger guard on the TTI M2, which should also help some. These differences will likely result in fewer missed quad loads, but not a significant drop in time. In the above photo you can also see one of the QD mounts on the TTI which will allow the user to easily attach a sling to their shotgun.
One feature my 3-Gun Edition M2 has which my TTI does not is the XS Sight Systems Express Sight – a rear sight post. I’ve grown pretty accustomed to this feature and actually called TTI to see if they would put a rear sight post on my TTI M2, which they could not do. I will say that the weekend after receiving my TTI M2 I had the chance to shoot it in a 3GN shotgun slug classifier. We were only shooting from about 20 yards, but I managed one of the best scores in the match (4th place) on this stage. So based on this performance, I’m starting to believe I won’t miss the rear sight post.
The front sight post is another significant feature difference between these to Benelli M2’s:
Again, the TTI is pictured on the right, and it has a much larger triangle-shaped post than does the 3-Gun Edition M2 on the left. Both are green fiber optic (though you can order the TTI in other colors). Having used both, I do like the larger triangle on the TTI. I’m not sure it’s a game-changer that will make a huge difference…but every little bit counts in the 3-Gun game.
The TTI also comes with a custom bolt carrier which is lighter (faster) than the stock bolt carrier, and is anodized “coyote bronze” in color. This is one of the areas which I think is fairly unique to TTI. There’s a lot of guys out there than open up the loading port on an M2. But designing a custom bolt carrier? That’s a quantum leap in both engineering expertise and manufacturing capability. Pictured below shows the difference between the stock bolt carrier on the 3-Gun Edition M2 (top) and the TTI M2 (bottom):
I’ve highlighted just a few of the modifications which TTI makes to the M2 to make it “race ready.” If you check out the product description on the TTI home page for the M2 3-Gun package, you’ll find a complete list of everything they do…and it’s a long list. As a top-level competitor himself, Taran Butler has unique insight to what a competitor needs in a shotgun. Every single modification made to the M2 has been well-thought and time-tested. The price of entry is high, but the end product truly is exceptional.
The Benelli M2 is the most popular semi-automatic shotgun used in the sport of 3-Gun. But in order to be used in the sport, the base model must be modified significantly. Benelli makes their own version of the M2 that optimized for 3-Gun (the Benelli Performance Shop 3-Gun Edition shotgun) and there are several gun smiths in the US who specialize in modifying the stock Field Grade Benelli M2 for optimal performance in 3-Gun (Salient Arms, RCI, and Hayes Custom immediately spring to mind as also having well-establish track records). The choice as to which to go with for acquiring a 3-Gun ready M2 really comes down to personal preference IMHO, and the Taran Tactical Innovations is for me, both aesthetically and functionally, the all-around best version of the M2 available on the market.
John B. Holbrook, II
John B. Holbrook, II is a freelance writer, photographer, and author of ThruMyLens.org, as well as LuxuryTyme.com and TheSeamasterReferencePage.com. *All text and images contained in this web site are the original work of the author, John B. Holbrook, II and are copyright protected. Use of any of the information or images without the permission of the author is prohibited.