Beretta is all fired up

Fabbrica d’armi Pietro Beretta S.p.A. is an internationally renowned Italian firearm manufacturer supplying firearms extensively to civilians, law enforcement bodies, and militaries around the world.

The company is among the world’s oldest and most respected corporations, having been owned and operated by the same family for nearly 500 years. Established originally in 1526 by gunsmith Mastro Bartolomeo Beretta, it is currently owned by direct descendent Ugo Gussalli Beretta with the running of the company in the hands of his sons Franco and Pietro.

The company is part of the Beretta Holding Group, which encompasses key manufacturers of field and competition firearms and optics, as well as trading and distribution companies in Italy and abroad, with a total workforce of 2700 and a total annual turnover of 400 million euros. The Group’s oldest company, Fabbrica d’Armi Pietro Beretta, has been handed down over 15 generations and has a turnover of 140 million euros. “Our customers are law enforcement bodies, the military, and hunters in the commercial markets around the world,” says Pietro Beretta, vice president and CEO. “The military accounts for about 1.5 per cent of sales, eight per cent is law enforcement and the large remainder is comprised of hunting and outdoor sports. Our manufacturing facilities are situated mainly in Europe – in Italy, Finland and Spain – and we have two plants in the US as well as one in Turkey.”

Almost 500 years of working activity have enriched Beretta with enormous experience in the precision mechanics of portable firearms. From the turn of the 20th century to the present day, Beretta’s production facilities have grown from 10,000 to over 76,000 square metres and Beretta currently produces around 1500 pieces each day. Around 90 per cent of production consists of sporting firearms and 75 per cent of its arms are exported to 100 countries. Beretta supplies firearms to Italy’s armed and police forces as well as law enforcement units such as the Spanish Guardia Civil and the Turkish Police Force. In 1985, Beretta was chosen to produce the M9 9mm Parabellum sidearm for the US military, winning a contract for 500,000 units, which has been continued with numerous follow-up orders. Beretta’s extensive US plant in Maryland produces pistols for the military, law enforcement and civilian markets in the US.

In the early 1990s, Beretta began to supplement its traditional sporting guns with a complete range of accessories and apparel for hunting, clay shooting and outdoor sports. This hugely successful clothing and accessories line is sold in gun retailers across Europe and America, as well as through the Shop in Shop chain worldwide, netting Beretta over 23 million euros annually.

Beretta’s sustained success is a result of carefully combining traditional products with modern upgrades, its customer-oriented service, ongoing technological improvement and efficient manufacturing methods. Pietro believes the Beretta family is a key factor in the company’s overwhelming longevity: “I think our success is partially due to being owned by a family that reinvests the largest percentage of its profits every year in improving quality and keeping products up-to-date. Investing significantly in production also allows us to maintain manufacturing efficiency and ensure we always have the best technology in our facilities. For Beretta’s development up until now, being family owned has been very important.”

Beretta’s activities in the vast range of field, competition and military firearms have brought the company global recognition for its broad product range that includes side-by-side shotguns, overand- under shotguns, self-loading shotguns, hunting rifles, express rifles, assault rifles, submachine guns, lever-action rifles, single-action revolvers, double-action revolvers and pistols. Beretta products have a reputation for being well made, durable and dependable. The company’s recently launched AL291 Urika 2 is the fastest and most reliable semiautomatic operating system on the market, and the Px4 Storm provides maximum firepower in any special duty situation. “The Urika 2 is designed for use in hunting,” explains Pietro. “Our intention was to create a very modern semiautomatic shotgun with new features that are in keeping with traditional characteristics, making it ideal for hunters. Our new Beretta Px4 Strom .45 Special Duty is the most advanced sidearm of its kind in the world, and we think that law enfor ement bodies will appreciate its performance and functionality.”

Owing to its exceptional reputation and unwavering commitment to developing new products, Beretta’s market position is very strong: “The market for Beretta is continuously improving, as is the law enforcement business worldwide,” comments Pietro. “Eastern Europe and Russia have becoming stronger markets, the hunting sector is improving all the time and our scope optics activity is progressing well.”

The company’s future looks secure as Pietro reveals that Beretta has plans to focus on new areas in order to progress in the future: “In our Group we have a division in the optics business in scope binoculars, which is an area we will expand in the next two years. We also have some interesting new products related to firearms aimed at law enforcement. Development is very important – Beretta is ideally positioned to be developed through acquisitions with investment in foreign countries. For the coming years, I think the main aim is to become the biggest supplier overall for hunters and police officers from guns to clothing, establishing that we are the only company required.”

Products: Firearms and accessories
Sites: Worldwide
Employees: 1000