Issue Nov Dec 16
When Italian firearms manufacturer Beretta announced plans in 2014 to build a new, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Tennessee, the intention was for the new facility to supplement the company’s existing manufacturing operations in Maryland. However, once the ribbon-cutting ceremony took place at the new facility in Gallatin, Tenn., the new facility was the home of all manufacturing operations for Beretta USA. A combination of generous incentives from the Tennessee government and changes to gun laws in Maryland made the move a prudent one from Beretta’s perspective, but the capabilities and space afforded by its new manufacturing plant mean the company likely won’t skip a beat in the transition.
The new facility covers 160,000 square feet on a 100-acre plot that will include an outdoor firing range. The new facility is expected to manufacture nearly half a million firearms each year, which will all be shipped immediately to the company’s warehouses in Virginia. Among the six types of firearms that will be produced at the Gallatin facility will be the M9 pistol, which is the standard sidearm of the United States armed forces. The facility will also produce the latest variation of the M9, known as the M9A3, which was designed specifically for use in desert environments and carries more rounds than the original M9. The facility also will be the origin point of five more pistol models as well as one shotgun model.
Beretta is one of the most popular brands of firearms in the United States, and the company’s Gallatin facility not only provides it with state-of-the-art facilities to meet that demand but also room to grow along with it. According to reports, the facility was only operating at about 30 percent capacity when it opened in April, and Beretta had announced plans to move production of additional firearms models to the Gallatin plant in the near future.
The Gallatin plant’s technology and capabilities demonstrate that Beretta USA is ready for the future, and that future has been built on a solid foundation of history that reaches back five centuries and 15 generations of the Beretta family. “[Beretta] is an Italian company born of the dream and capability of a renaissance craftsman,” the company says. “Thanks to the courage, vision and skills of its lineage, its name has earned international status for its high-tech content, performance and for the Italian style that distinguishes its products.”
The Beretta name has stood for quality weapons since at least 1526, and over the years the family has adapted the company to keep up with the times. Over the centuries, Beretta has moved into new technology, new production methods and new markets at a regular pace, helping to continue the traditions started by Bartolomeo Beretta, whose first documented sale was to the Arsenal of Venice in 1526.
“Already in production in the early 1500s, Beretta products were chosen by the highly discriminating Republic of Venice because of their excellence,” the company says. “As the Beretta name became synonymous with uncompromising quality, design, materials, construction and performance, word spread beyond the Italian borders, establishing a tradition that has carried over, uninterrupted, through 15 generations of Berettas.”
In the early days of the 20th century, Pietro Beretta took over the company from his father and introduced modern manufacturing techniques, including patented technology for specific mechanisms and simplifying the construction process. “The modernization process was continued by the sons Giuseppe and Carlo, securing the company’s multinational character with commercial and production activity in numerous European countries and the United States,” the company adds. “These efforts created successful ventures in the military, law enforcement and private sectors.”
On the Edge
One of the main constants for Beretta through the years has been that the company’s efforts to keep its manufacturing capabilities on the cutting-edge of the industry have been critical for its success. “Almost 500 years of business have enriched Beretta with enormous experience and knowledge, which allowed it to develop specific and superior technology in the field of precision mechanics,” the company says.
“The production departments feature fully automated work centers and highly qualified craftsmen, a prerequisite for achieving the degree of precision and high quality contemplated by its design projects,” the company says. “The design department has advanced systems for calculating pressure by using the finite elements method. The laboratories are equipped for research in impulsive-dynamics applied to the weapon-ammunition system, for metallographic analyses and fatigue tests.”
Although the vast majority of Beretta’s firearms are produced for sporting purposes, the company says it is proud of the fact that law enforcement agencies and militaries around the world have chosen to arm their personnel with pistols manufactured by Beretta. “The greatest success story regarding pistols is the fact that the American armed forces and state police forces started using the Beretta 92 series in 1985,” the company says. “Subsequently, the French National Gendarmerie and Air Force also opted for a similar solution.”
As the company prepares its new facility in Tennessee to carry on its traditions into the future, Beretta USA says it will continue to hold true to what has made it successful for half a millennium. “Industriousness, inventiveness, traditional methods, attention to the needs of its customers and its craftsmen, as well as ongoing research, technological improvement and state-of-the-art manufacturing methods are the foundation on which Beretta has built its image,” the company says.