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David in Seattle writes:

I couldn’t help but notice how, well, Lands End-ish the Beretta catalog I just got is. I purchased my first Italian beauty this year – I’m talking about my Nano, now – so I’ve never had the honor of receiving the Beretta catalog before. Never mind the LL Bean-y cover or the non-existent trigger discipline as Mr. SuperTactiModel rounds a corner. He’s stylin’ in his waterproof Beretta jacket with the low-profile hook-and-loop cap flag, clearly patriotic, but on the down low. What really sent me over the edge, though, was the full selection of Beretta luggage and – wait for it – Beretta wines . . .

Wait! How could I forget the Brooks Brothers Beretta jacket? And I really like the minimalist touch of the black and white insert in my full color catalog that featured, of all things, firearms accessories.

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With all of this ridiculous (and ridiculously priced) shooting gear for the gullible-yet-affluent non-shooter, you’d think that Beretta would be raking in enough Euros to produce an 8-round extended mag for the Nano that doesn’t misfeed 75% of the time. Oh well. At least it makes a great paperweight for their line of Beretta stationery.

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67 Responses to Maybe Beretta Should Keep Their Eye on the Ball

  1. It’s always important to double check that your weapon is clear before handing it to a male model.

    • To be fair, the quality of most of the Beretta branded clothing, bags, etc is as high as it gets. I’ve played with some of the range bags and luggage type bags at a local gun store and they were extremely nice. Last XMas I got a sweater from the catalog and it’s easily one of the nicest, highest-quality sweaters I’ve ever owned. Anyway much of the stuff is expensive and I can’t argue that some of the catalog is “silly” or cliche, but I do think all of the stuff in there is really, really good and not just junk w/ a Beretta logo and inflated price tag. I normally can’t afford to shop high end luxury brands, but I think you *do* actually get what you pay for out of B’s catalog. IMHO

    • If you keep an eye peeled, you can find seconds from Filson’s.

      I have a Filson’s wool vest that I got for something like $80. It had a wee little bit of yellow on the front of the vest. It fit me. I looked closely at the little bit of yellow… noted it to the clerk and said “What’s this?” and kept my yap shut, because I already knew the answer to my own question. A phone call was made to Filson’s, a discount negotiated and I slapped down a C-note, got my change and went home with my prize.

      Got out my +2 reading glasses and a set of parts tweezers and… extracted the little bit of plastic bailing twine out of the cloth.

      When a farmer bales hay with plastic twine (as most all farmers do today – almost no one uses wire any more), you have these little bits of plastic twine about 3/4″ long that come off when the tie is made on every string. These bits get dropped on the ground under the baler.

      When the sheep men bring in their flocks to graze on hay fields going into winter, the sheep sometime pick up these bits of baler twine in their fleece when they bed down on the ground. When this makes it all the way through the weaving and felting of the wool, it looks like hell… if you don’t know how easy it is to remove. I recognized the exact shade of yellow from all the hundreds of boxes of twine I’d loaded into our balers over the years and made off with a screamin’ deal on a nice wool vest. That’s a consequence of using real American wool from the west. Plastic baler twine bits in fleeces is a fact of life, and sometimes a wee bit of it gets through.

      You can get deals… if you keep your eyes peeled in Filson’s dealers and retailers.

      This season, I got a Filson’s tin cloth coat and liner. Didn’t pay full price, either. Found an outlet in Montana.

  2. Introducing the new line of Beretta brand condoms. With Beretta condoms, unintended consequences from accidental discharges are a thing of the past.

    • I’ve bought much of my field/hunting clothing from Filson over the years. It isn’t expensive because the items just never wear out. My favorite vest and coat are nearly thirty years old.

  3. Company has been around for 500+ years, doesn’t seem too much of a stretch that they may diversify a bit.That said, I wonder how wine fits into their core competency.

      • Kipling had it right. “A man can never have too much red wine, too many books, or too much ammunition”

        Stands to reason…

    • Agree. They would be foolish not to build their brand, expanding into goods their customers may like. Their gun business is already strong, but guns last a long time. Fashion, wine, are consumables. There is no harm done for customers who already have much better sources for clothing, wine, and accessories. H&H regularly sends out a catalog with clothing items. Fine.

  4. Who cares?

    Glock sells t shirts that run more then $80 a pop.Chevrolet isn’t in the fashion business either,yet they sell swag too.
    As the saying goes,it’s just business.

    Note conceptually Beretta is a sporting arms company which just happens to make a few tactical firearms on the side.Their core business isn’t making M9s ,but selling high dollar shotguns to wealthy folks.Here in the US their “duty” guns are what we think of,but overseas CCW is a myth and gun rights constitute a historical memory,so guns are purely competition or hunting oriented .It’s much like high end Bentleys which come with complimentary luggage-you want the premium swag to go with the $4000 shotgun you just spent $1500 getting the Eurotrash Permit for .

  5. They probably should have sued Chevrolet back in the 80’s/90’s to protect their name. I’ll never hear it without thinking of that heinously ugly car instead of guns.

  6. i love my Beretta, but (we) Italians do take it over the top with style. It’s good to diversify, but companies that get away from their core business tend to suffer. Apparel companies that fail to anticipate a change in fashion get clobbered. Defending yourself or hunting with a quality firearm, that never goes out of style.

      • IF they buy it, sure. But lots of apparel companies have gone bankrupt because the markup is meaningless when customers move on to the next fashion trend and the company is left with a pile of unsold inventory. Then the inventory gets sold in the discount rack, and suddenly the name is associated with cheap goods.

        That said, Italians are very good at designer apparel, and they are particularly good at making functional products like shoes that work well and also look good. Still, for Beretta, its all meaningless if they start producing crappy guns. As I said, I love my Beretta.

  7. There is a whole market of things for the “gullible-yet-affluent” crowd: wines, yachting, “sports” clothing, etc….

    There is much money to be made off douchebags….

    • Not really. In my experience starting many businesses, one rule seems to hold: “Sell to the classes, live with the masses; sell to the masses, live with the classes.”

      • Exactly. People wanting to know stats and details behind that little bit of wisdom should read “The Millionaire Next Door” – which details the spending habits of millionaires and deci-millionaires who make their own money (as opposed to inherit it, or marry it, as some people do).

        People who make their own money are actually quite frugal, on the whole. The most common automobile owned by these people? Ford F-150. Typical amount of money these guys spend on a suit? $300. And so on.

  8. It’s called Horizontal expansion.
    The Brits tried it with Dunhill, it was Fabulous!
    Yanks have done it, disguised as work wear (LL Bean, Carharrt, Levis, ad nausea)
    The French would have, but they are too busy reading Sartre and smoking cheap cigarettes.
    The Italians? The only way they make money is through over-priced exports

    • If people followed the development of the Burberry brand, lead to enormous growth and profits by, of all things, a fashion girl from small town Wisconsin, people wouldn’t sniff at Beretta’s efforts.

  9. I don’t know, the pictures are definitely from the Lands End portfolio, but the marketing tactic (right down to the wine) is quite Italian, and straight out of the Ferrari playbook.

  10. It’s all about branding. Over at Lotus, Bahar is moving the company from selling t-shirts to selling entire fashion accessory lines. Why limit yourself to a core product? (As long as you keep the core product relevant, natch.)

    The Germans long ago realized that you could sell a $500 leather jacket with a giant roundel reverse-stamped on the back, Benz has always had trinkets in the service room, and there was always PorscheDesign merch at the Porsche dealer.

    In the end we are hardwired to be tribal on some level.

    While it may appear (and be) a bit shallow, the world is a much safer place when dealing with people who are worried about being in the Range Rover Owners Club, and less about stealing a Range Rover so they can kill someone from a different tribe with a club.

  11. The swag strategy is a VERY good one. First, it is likely very profitable and funds expensive R&D and manufacturing of firearms. Second, it is one effort among many that normalizes the RKBA across society, and one that pro-2Aers ought to be thrilled to see. Think about how Harley Davidson merchandise helped transform the perception of that brand. We see it everywhere, from grandmas, grandpas, bikers, businessmen, and down the line to teenagers. It was all part of a campaign to normalize the brand, take away the cultishness/bad connotations of biking and make H-D part of the American mainstream. Beretta is doing the same thing, normalizing the brand, and by consequence, normalizing the product. Let’s hope Beretta-branded merch becomes as popular as Lands End in time.

  12. I don’t know why anybody would buy clothing or “gun” accessories endorsed by Robert Blake!

    Ooooh, Beretta not Barretta?

    Never mind.

  13. In Heaven, the British run the police, the French do the cooking, the Germans do the repairs, the Swiss run the railroads, and the Italians are the lovers.

    In Hell, the Germans run the police, the British do the cooking, the French do the repairs, the Italians run the railroads, and the Swiss are the lovers.

      • French cooking – Tolkien said it best – “I am in fact a Hobbit in all but size. I like gardens, trees, and unmechanized farmlands; I smoke a pipe, and like good plain food (unrefrigerated), but detest French cooking;”….

  14. Actually this is not a bad thing. What a great way to make the rifle “just another fashion accessory” and shooting clothing all the rage.

    Think about it.

    I bought a pair of shooting glasses at the big horse show this past spring and I love them. Wear them everywhere – running, bicycling, riding my horse, etc. They make a hell of a cool fashion statement.

  15. I’ve noticed a lot of Italian companies do this like Ferrari, Lamborghini, Fiat, Pagani, I could go on but I’d need to do some more research.

  16. I don’t see the problem. They are trying to market to upscale customers. What’s wrong with that? Remember that in Europe, owning a shotgun or other weapon is a bit upper crusty for the most part.

    You don’t have to buy their stuff, why do you care about their image marketing?

    My wife bought a beretta bag to carry her .22 Neos when we go to the range. It is very L.L. Beanish and that’s why she likes it.

  17. This can’t hurt the firearms industry or Beretta. I don’t see a downside. And hey, if it ends up normalizing guns in some way, I’m all for it.

    I have my Benelli Nova tactical and love it. I’d consider a CX4 at some point in the future. Their handguns just don’t interest me one way or the other.

  18. When I sent that post in, laughed at some of the pictures, laughed at some of the text (about your Zen moments with you, your bird dog, your over-under, etc.) but I think the one thing that put me over the edge was SuperTactiModel. I have no problem with the diversification, but having a model who’s never touched a firearm before with finger on trigger doing a dynamic entry just to sell a jacket and hat – just rubbed me the wrong way.

    Love Beretta, love my Nano – the single-stack 9 that we wish Glock would make – but I think the catalog either needs to be a firearms catalog or a clothing catalog. Handing an AR to a photoshoot model? Oh please.

    Trying to mix the two…not my cup of espresso.

    And don’t worry – he’s not about to put a round into the guy next to him – that’s a legless jacket. The Tactical Ripstop Bomber Jacket, $189.

    • Round the edges of your 8-round mag’s follower and your issue should go away. Some of them seem to stick once they get really low in the mag body… 7 or 8 rounds loaded. Mine was sticky at first and made a loud “click” as I pushed the 8th round in. I think the follower was passing a lip at the bottom of the mag or something. It was hard to strip the 8th and then 7th round out of the mag, but then the next 6 were great. The gun never had a feeding issue because of it, though. At any rate… after loading and unloading it (typically via shooting it through the gun) a handful of times and leaving it loaded all of the time, it broke in and became smoother, but just lightly rounding off the sharp edges of the sheet metal follower with a metal file made it perfect.

      • I have a small 22LR Taurus, $135 new and yet it seems to have a better track record than these Italian Jobs! (Yes I did go there, consider it supportive condemnation)

        • Extended magazine aside, the Nano has been a rockstar. Early models wouldn’t reliably eject light-loaded plinking ammo, especially with 115-grain or lighter bullets, but the gun wasn’t designed for that. It was designed to cycle self defense ammo. NOBODY has had issues with that working. Yet, due to complaints from customers who wanted to plink with their Nano on the range, Beretta tweaked the barrel design very quickly and was able to get the gun cycling with basically every ammo on earth within a couple months of its release. Mine has fed, fired, and ejected every single one of hundreds of rounds, shooting everything from 92-grain copper bullets to steel cased Russian crap to weak 115-grain reloads to +P self defense ammo and 147 grain hollow points, etc etc. It’s designed to run +P all day long and it’s a stout, reliable, VERY accurate little gun that’s sleek, light, and super easy to carry. It’s certainly one of the best CCW options out there, no question. Normally this is where somebody would argue S&W Shield or XD-S, but those seem to have all been recalled. So… NANO (which I chose over those two anyway because it’s smaller, lighter, and sleeker).

  19. You guys are aware that Harley Davidson makes more money off the non-motorcycle stuff that they sell/license than what they make off the bikes? John Deere also make a pile of money off of “T” shirts, hats, toys, tools, etc. Winchester and Remington have sold clothing for a long time also. This is not a new thing here.

  20. Like Joe says, nothing new here. Beretta is a high end gunmaker with high end accessories to go with. YMMV, but I’ve found it best to buy the best once and be done with it, as opposed to buying cheaper stuff over and over.

  21. After reading the comments I can only conclude that there is a lot of reverse snobbery among the armed intelligentsia. Sounds to me like proletarian chic’. I bet that most of the clothing in the catalogue is made for Beretta by the same people who make it for other less exalted brands of shooting gear. If you saw it at Cabela’s or Gander Mountain you would buy it in a heartbeat for the same price. There are only few things in the catalogue that I wouldn’t consider style wise. There is a field jacket that I am seriously considering after checking for similar products at other hunting related retailers.

    I have occasionally taken some good natured ribbing here for my preference for LL Bean clothing over 5-11 gear. Clothing from these “upscale” retailers enhances the conceal in concealed carry. LL Bean Obama loving preppies are generally not associated with the firearms community. While you tacticool guys get IDed as a gun carrier I will be content walking around looking like a gun grabber, snickering because my Bean safari vest hides my 1911.

  22. Too many TTAG AI’s think the gun market is just about TactiKool black plastic and anodized aluminum.

    Since I know a little bit about the side of the gun market that is made from wood and blued steel, allow me to explain to whom Beretta is marketing here: People who buy guns that cost about what your cars do.

    Beretta makes handguns, it is true. None of them are especially notable, IMO. Yes, they make the M9/92, blah, blah, blah. It’s a POS, but that’s just this man’s opinion, having detailed stripped a few of them while having to take special care that I nailed down all the springs and detents that want to launch off into outer space out of these wretched POS’s. The M9/92 is a classic case of “design by government committee.” And it shows.

    Almost nothing else in Beretta’s line of handguns is notable. That they actually make a pistol chambered in .25 ACP shows that some of their pistols are more for show than “go.” That they don’t make a real target pistol, in .22LR or anything else, shows that they’re not serious about sporting pursuits in handguns.

    The rifles that Beretta actually makes (with a Beretta name) are in the high five to low six-figure price range, and I doubt that they’d sell many of these when there are other, better names in double rifles. They sell Sako, Tikka and other names in their lineup, because the Beretta Holding Group owns Sako, Tikka, Burris, Franchi, Benelli and others, not because Beretta is known for quality bolt guns.

    Beretta’s big strength and name is in shotguns, especially Nice[tm] semi-autos and Very Nice[tm] over-and-under shotguns. That’s their prime market, where they’re making big coin on every sale. At the lower to mid-range, they’re in the same market as Caesar Guerini, Fabbri, Fabarms, Fausti, Perazzi, Zoli, etc. There’s a ton of nice shotguns being made in Italy in the price range of, oh, $4K up to $20K+.

    At the high end ($40K and up), Beretta has finally broken into the market of the “best gun” makers, like H&H, Boss, Purdey, etc. Their latest high-end guns are real sidelocks, with their highest-end O/U ($90K and up) being a true sidelock, which is something relatively unique in the shotgun market. Guns at this price range are all hand-finished and fitted, with stocks made to fit you, etc.

    It is to these people (the $5K to $50K shotgun buyer) that the fashion end of the catalog is aimed. If you look at H&H’s catalog, you’ll see that they are doing exactly the same thing. Many (but certainly not all) of the men who buy guns in this price range are the sort men who book hunts on private land or at Orvis hunting lodges (and rarely have any success, much less eat what they kill), drive high-end sports cars (with automatic transmissions, because they don’t know how to use a clutch) and sleep with women who, while they are very easy on the eyes, turn into psychotic, crockery-launching witches behind closed doors.

    In other words, the same sort of people who work at hedge funds or big-name law firms, went to Ivy League schools for the connections, etc.

    There are real estate agents who exist only to sell these same types of people ranches here in the west.

    • “It’s not the crate, it’s the man (or woman) in the crate.”

      That actually cuts both ways with Beretta. The handguns that you see as a POS in the hands of an expert will be more effective than me or you with whatever we carry and the same expert with a “el cheapo” 870 or Savage Axis will beat a not so good rich guy with a $20K rifle or shotgun.

      • That might be true, but in the hands of an expert, a spear or a rock in a sling might be more effective than most amateurs with guns.

        The point is, from my perspective (as a guy who takes apart guns and services them rather than just shoots them), the M9/92 is a POS. It is a design with far more parts than necessary, brought about because certain features on the gun were added after the central core design of the gun was done. Rather than go back and re-design the gun, they grafted various issues onto the core design. Guns that are designed from the ground up with all the features they want are much simpler, have fewer pieces, etc.

        As for the 870 vs. $20K shotgun: Some of the best trap shooters in the US have won big money with a 870. Year after year. Most of them had custom stocks, tho.

        • I understand your perspective but ultimately a gun is meant for the shooter not the gunsmith. The M-9 is accurate and reliable and those are the characteristics that most people buy guns for. I don’t normally handle my wife’s M-9 except on the range because after 40 years of shooting 1911s I cannot adjust to a safety that goes the wrong way and I absolutely hate the DA on the first pull. She is fine with both.

        • But there is a deeper level of “quality” which is what some of us (being at least DG and me) subscribe to.

          It’s like a 350 Chebby. It’s a POS wth a lousy design and horrid build quality in stock form, but you can replace almost every part in it with something better and polish that fecal matter till it isn’t rough. It’ll never shine because of the design, but it’ll at least work.

          Sorta like a 1911. Spend $4K+ on one that addresses as many of the design flaws as possible and it might work more than it malfunctions.

  23. I like how the jackets come with the color embroidered on them. I’m sure it’s so we can match our pants without putting too much thought into it.

  24. Sure, their catalog is pretty Abercrombie / LL Bean – esque. At least their apparel is built well. Some gun companies are slapping their name on complete garbage.

    TTAG sells swag, too. I’m looking forward to my olive green shirt, although I’m not going to look nearly as sexy as the young lady with the AR. I hope the TTAG swag is legit.

  25. Their catalogue is put together nicely….The goods that they put their name on are just as good , and much more reasonable..without the Beretta logo( relabeling). Gouging at it’s pinacle.

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