Salient Arms International Benelli M2

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Take one of the top competitors in all of practical shooting, add his two gunsmiths that have worked with him since his career began, house them within the umbrella of a professional security company, and a new custom shop is born—Salient Arms International. Then for good measure, throw in Tony Pignato, whose web store Velocity Shooter is Salient’s distributor, and get ready for what is sure to be Pignato’s tireless marketing blitz of Salient’s newest custom gun, the Salient Benelli M2.

“Salient Arms International is a division of Salient Security Services, which is a diversified corporation that has been providing executive and personal protection services to VIPs and celebrities all over the U.S. and abroad,” Pignato said. “Rob Melhorn and Fred Lindley are the key members of the Salient Arms International firearms production division and have over 30 years of combined experience in custom and competition firearms. Both Rob and Fred have been Taran Butler’s gunsmiths since the beginning of his professional shooting career. Taran is also a professional consultant to Salient Arms specifically for the competition firearms production. With his numerous years of experience and product knowledge, he was a perfect choice for USPSA/IPSC and multi-gun product development.

“My company, Velocity Shooter, was brought in to provide a link from the manufacturing to direct customer sales. As Salient Arms International’s primary source for product purchase, I also provide guidance on marketing and retail relations based on my experiences with the competition and firearms industry,” Pignato continued.

Competitive shooters had already become cognizant of Salient Arms, mainly due to the efforts of Butler, as pictures and samples of Salient custom pistols have been trickling out of California to competitions all over the country for more than a year. Radical slide work had definitely already put a stamp on the young custom shop.

But the M2s are something unique themselves, completely “freaked out,” as Butler would put it, and already causing a buzz on the 3-gun circuit with Rob Romero and Kurt Miller reportedly among the recent converts.

Externally, the Salient Benelli features upgrades to the safety button, magazine tube and nut, along with Arredondo’s signature oversized carrier release bar. Internally, the operating system is completely overhauled, including the bolt carrier, extractor, trigger, and chamber, along with enhancements said to reduce perceived recoil.

“We use a DMW (Dave Metal Works) magazine tube and magazine nut built to our specifications because of the proven product performance and quality craftsmanship, the Benelli magazine extension clamp because it provides quality, ease of removal and integration into our performance platform, and Wolff magazine springs because of durability and it’s a quality product,” said Pignato.

“The Salient Benelli M2 has a much better trigger pull, a match trigger,” Butler said. “It’s a faster loading gun, the ease of loading is like glass, and your thumb doesn’t get caught on that half-moon cutout on the factory lift gate. When the bolt recovers, because it is lighter, it doesn’t dip the front sight at all. And if the bolt is partly out of battery, you can still put a round in the tube without the round getting seized up in the gun and causing a catastrophic jam.”

Not only does the Salient upgrade the current M2 platform, but it brings back one feature left over from the days  when H&K first imported the shotguns that have become a mainstay in 3-gun.

“We bring it back to allowing it to do a ghost load,” Butler said. “We modified it to where you can get that round below the bolt, sitting on the carrier like the original H&K pre-ban Benellis. It gives it that extra round that other shotguns can’t have.”

The company is currently developing a program for current Benelli owners to send their shotguns in for the complete Salient treatment. For more information on Salient Arms, visit To purchase the Salient Benelli M2, as well as other firearms, along with nearly any piece of gear for practical competition, contact Velocity Shooter;; 859-533-3612.

Note: Image 3, of Rob Romero, was provided courtesy of  Xiaoyuan Liu, Atlanta Collegiate Competition Shooters.

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