Beretta 694 Shotgun Review: First Impressions

The new Beretta 694 is designed for serious sporting clays shooters with input from some of the best shooters in the world.

Beretta 694 Shotgun Review: First Impressions

The Beretta 694 is brand new to the market, having been introduced in September 2019. Designed specifically for sporting clays shooters, the 694 offers a host of well-thought-out features and details that target shooters will appreciate. 

First, the stock is designed for increased field of vision — about a 5-degree wider field of vision than previous models, in fact, which gives the shooter an advantage on low targets and can help prevent them from lifting their face off the stock to get a better view. This is accomplished in part by channels on both sides of the top of the stock. A wider comb and blade help guide the gun to the proper place on the shooter’s face, and a new pistol grip design with palm swell helps with consistent hand placement. The stock is available with drops of 35/50mm and 35/55mm — the 35/55mm features a B-Fast adjustable heel. Length of pull on the Beretta 694 is 375mm with an 18mm recoil pad and a centrally positioned trigger, but the trigger can be adjusted plus or minus a few millimeters for precise LOP fitting. LOP extensions are available as well. 

Mechanically, the Beretta 694 has a new steel opening lever with a lower profile and anti-glare finish — it’s designed to be less of a visual impediment to give you better target vision and reduce eye fatigue. To that end, the top of the receiver has an anti-glare finish as well. The receiver itself has a new shape, a steel forend iron, and 20 to 30 more grains of weight than previous models, making the gun feel balanced in the hands.  

The Beretta 694 uses the company’s Steelium Plus barrels with a highly elongated forcing cone — it’s about half the length of the barrel. Such a long forcing cone improves ballistics by keeping the shot column from deforming as it travels the length of the barrel. This leads to denser, more uniform patterns and less perceived muzzle jump. 

Newly designed ejectors are fitted with powerful springs positioned behind the ejector slide and under the stop pads. Beretta has also redesigned the forend iron catch button, making it self-adjustable and decreasing the size. Less metal means less heat transferred to the shooter’s hand during long shooting sessions. 

I had the opportunity to handle the 694 and shoot a few targets with it. Further testing is needed for a full review, but my first impressions were favorable. The 694 has an undeniably sleek and modern aesthetic. There’s no fancy scrollwork or engraving on the receiver — just a smooth, matte gray finish on the side panels with a simple blue “swoosh,” with the Beretta three-arrow logo on the bottom of the action. It’s a distinctive look. 

I’m only 5’4”, but the gun fit me relatively well without any LOP or cast adjustments, which is something of a rarity for an off-the-shelf gun. It shouldered naturally for me and broke targets with ease when I did my part. The weather was insufferably hot, humid and sunny on testing day, so I appreciated the no-glare finish and the firm grip the aggressive checkering allowed me. 

The Beretta 694 comes in 12-gauge right now, with your choice of 30- or 32-inch barrels, with or without the adjustable B-Fast stock. MSRP is $4,500, and you can read more about it at

Stay tuned for a more in-depth review in a few months. 


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