Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Let's Talk Shot Selection

by Adam Brassfield - Pro Staff Contributor

Have you ever been hunting with someone who just takes the world's worst shots? How about someone who messes up the easiest of hunts? Well, I know a few people like that, too. Some of them can't help that they are dumber than a coal bucket. I mean nobody wants to spend theis hard-earned money on guns, shells, dogs, decoys, waders and maybe a guided hunt just for someone to mess it all up at the moment of truth. Sometimes there is no help for someone who would screw up a one car funeral.

Shot selection is the most important part of duck or goose hunting. Being able to figure out when the best opportunity is to smoke that duck or goose is sometimes a big challenge. In most groups a single person is elected to do this job and make the call for everyone to shoot. No pressure, but don't screw up or you will be swimming with the fishes! Patience is the key, which is something that I have none of. In every aspect of life patience is not an option. For me to learn this conduct of life in the duck blind was at first impossible. However, as a youngster, the first time that I pulled up too quickly and found a boat paddle connected to my ear, I kinda learned the idea.

The thought that waterfowl hunters would even think about not letting that bird get close enough to read their mail before they shot was as scarce as duck teeth. Oh, but they are out there. If duck or goose hunting were just about seeing how far I could shoot then sail a bird and getting busted because I pulled up too quickly, there would be a lot more pros out there. Waterfowl hunting is an art. It is painting a picture in your mind of what you will shoot at or move to and then carrying it out with passion. I get so frustrated with people who take 50 and 60 yard shots with choke tubes the size of a .50 caliber mortar shell, then get aggravated when they can't find their duck or have trouble shooting a limit. 

Practicing the art of back-paddling and having a little patience will help any waterfowl hunter. For crying out loud, go hunting with someone who knows what they are doing. Watch when they give the signal to shoot. See where the birds are and how they got there, then start putting your own plan in place. Shot selection is easy but we can make it very difficult if we develop bad habits. Trust me: some hunters have two brains; one is missing and the other is looking for it. Excellence is your best "plus one." Find that one thing that you do well and add good shot selection to it. It will make you a better hunter.

Adam Brassfield is a Guest Contributor for Beretta. You can follow him on Facebook.

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Feminine instinct...

Erica Rodriguez from
Washington State,
and her Px4
 As you may have noticed, we have been talking more and more about female gun ownership, lately.

Beyond the trends, the statistics and the news, it is important to recognize that, overall, our industry does not make it easy for a woman to enter the sacred halls of firearms ownership.

Heck: I would go as far as saying that, in some cases, it is even hard for a woman to cross the threshold of a gun store. It can be intimidating for any newbie to approach what is seemingly a male-only environment as it is. Add to it the fact that we're talking about firearms, with all the reverential fear that society associates with it, and you have a recipe for detachment.
And, yet, women have been joining this incredibly fun world of firearms in drones, lately.
Some say it is a result of the increasingly-high divorce rate, which creates a growing number of single women living with kids, while others say that it simply the fun of going to the range and the consequent word-of-mouth activity that does the trick; whatever the reason, recent studies prove that more and more women own guns.

I feel, sadly, that the market has not kept up with this trend, and for two reason: on one side, it is still hard to find classes where women can feel free to ask questions and learn, with the exception of some great NRA programs and what I recently learn are events and seminars dedicated to women at Sportsman's Warehouse. I meet some women who have grown up using guns. Safety procedures, loading and unloading a gun, posture and recoil control are second nature to them. To Jenn, who lives in a large city in the Northeast, that was not the case. "Simply put," she told me recently, "I don't want to make a fool of myself. So I just postpone learning."

When it comes to product availability, too, our industry makes women face an unfair entry barrier, especially when it comes to shotguns, with length of pull offerings that sometime make shotgun shooting a less-than-enjoyable experience.

The greatest obstacle, however, is visible only when you scratch below the surface. It isn't as prominent and widespread as the other two, but it is a barrier nonetheless. When I ask people "what can this industry do to attract more women?" the answer can lean toward cliches like "pink guns" and "hot men selling guns." This tells me that - in the eyes of some - female gun ownership is still not a legitimate activity.
But do not fear: not all is lost. There are examples like the NRA programs I mentioned above, to help. But help also comes in an easy-to-consume online format. One of my favorite is a website called "Girl's guide to guns." I spoke to Natalie, one of the creators of the website, recently. Natalie wants women to know that there is a serious side, a life-saving one, to gun ownership, but there's a more complex and savory side to it, that is made of social interaction, of meaningful relationships, of team-play, and of the satisfaction of "smoking" a clay or hitting that elusive bullseye at the pistol range. Memories are made, and that is worth all the gunpowder in the world.

Women and guns also
means endless memories
in the field.
 Do you want an example of empowered, cool, gun-toting woman? Look no further than Destinee and her videos. Watch her handle a gun safely and with impressive familiarity and you can see why I think that firearms activities are "the great equalizer." Then, if you're a guy, get in line: you're not the only one who wants to date her!

The truth, if you talk to some neurologists, is that women's brains are better equipped to be good shots: a woman's brain is more able to focus on what's directly in front of them, and can better withstand the repetitive and sometime monotonous patterns of clay shooting without wandering off.

Now: on to you. Are you a woman who shoots? What has been your experience, when you started shooting? Are you a woman who isn't shooting yet? What's holding you back? Are you someone with an opinion on the subject, regardless of your gender? Help us get better at providing the right solution to current and prospective women shooter, and let's make 2012 the year of the gentler, armed sex.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Toughest Waterfowl Gun Ever!

By Adam Brassfield - Pro Staff Contributor

Every single duck season I listen to hunters swear by their gun. They say it is the toughest gun ever made. Then about two weeks into season they are swearing at it, throwing it in the truck and changing stories. I only have one response: "If you are up to your butt in alligators, it is hard to remember that you just came to drain the swamp." Translation, if you are not shooting a Beretta A400 Xtreme then you can wish in one hand and crap in the other to see which fills up faster!

The reason I say this is I used to be in that group. I shot guns because of the tradition of my family or I saw a long bearded man shoot one on TV. It is so easy to become an industry "go around". Shooting a different gun than you did last season. When the rubber meets the road there is only one that stands alone when the bad weather moves in, Beretta. Now, you probably are justified to say "he is really harping on that Beretta." Answer: Yes I am and proud of it.

There is a difference in someone being paid to say good things about a gun on television and someone who actually believes in what they are saying. Bottom line is, I have said this before, tough hunts don't last but tough guns do and that is why I shoot the Beretta A400 Xtreme.

I leave you with this story. Towards the end of the season we hunted a day where the weather was everything from snow to hard sleet with the temps in the upper teens. Two of the men hunting with us that morning were shooting another gun that has to do with an eagle and by the end of the hunt they were shooting our Beretta's because there guns would not cycle in the extreme conditions. The moral of that story is if you are shooting a hammer then everything is a nail, but if you lie down with dogs don't cry when you get the fleas.

A true duck hunter has to get to a place in his life where he swallows his pride and decides he is going to shoot the best. I know this because I had to do it myself. So, go get you a Beretta A400 Xtreme and quit getting advice on the color of your car from a blind man.

Adam Brassfield is a Guest Contributor for Beretta. You can follow him on Facebook.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What does Beretta mean to me?

By Brad Wilson - Guest Contributor
Now that waterfowl season is pretty much done, here on the Texas coast, other than a few thousand snow goose stragglers that have yet to find their way back north, I have had some time to think back on the season.  One question that kept sticking out in my mind was “What does the Beretta brand mean to me, as a waterfowler as well as a gun owner in general?”  Though I can come up with a long list of pros that come with owning a Beretta firearm, the one word that sticks out in my mind is RELIABILITY!

From my truck to my boat, my decoys to my Beretta A400 Xtreme, I put all of my equipment through the ringer when I am in the field.  I need, no - scratch that, I DEMAND that my equipment performs to my high expectations, and I demand that every single time I use it.  I can be 110% sure that every time I pull the trigger on my A400 Xtreme it will go BOOM, and that is the reliability that I absolutely have to have.  Throughout this season it has been dropped in the mud, been rained on heavily, and was dunked in high salinity salt water (the drought here on the coast was brutal on salt water intrusion).  Every single instance I was able to pick the gun up and know that it was going to fire, and that is a great feeling.  Because of that I am able to have confidence in my tools that aide in my passion to hunt waterfowl.  I have been asked on a number of occasions this season why I shoot the A400, my response is reliability of function and fit.  Having one OR the other will not yield you the outcome that you quest, but when you combine the two the results have the potential to be deadly on the game that you seek.  With the adjustability of the A400 line of shotguns and the reliability that comes with the Beretta name, owning one of these guns is an absolute no brainer.

Knowing how reliable my A400 has been, I recently decided to purchase 2 Beretta PX4 Storm Sub Compacts in 9mm and .40 S&W that my wife and I would both use as our EDC weapons.  After going to the range and burning 100 rounds through each, I would have to say that the reliability of function is prominent in Beretta’s hand guns as well.  One difference between these pistols and my shotgun is that my and my family’s lives depend on the function of the handguns day in and day out.  Unfortunately in the society that us law abiding citizens face every day there is the possibility of some criminal deciding to mistakenly make us a target.  It is a relief knowing that my Px4 Storm will thwart off anyone that decides to make that mistake.  This is why I am able to have confidence in my tools that aide in the protection of myself and my family.  Once again, a no brainer!

So there you have it, two instances on a long list that spans over some 500 years where the Beretta brand has proven that their name and reliability work hand in hand.  I own many different guns, but I can honestly say that my Berettas get the nod every single time I know that there is a potential for me to need to actually use my firearm.

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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Why do I shoot Beretta?

by Adam Brassfield - Pro Staff Contributor

As I travel all over the country I get asked the same question time and time again: "Why do you shoot Beretta?" While there are other logical questions to ask, such as "why does a bear poop in the woods," or "why does a Lion chase a gazelle," or "why does it take air to breath," I am a redneck and this is the best I can come up with. As a professional duck hunter I demand the best firearm made. One that can go through the nastiest conditions, the toughest storms and the roughest elements. Now, I understand those who shoot certain guns because their grandfather shot it or their mom baked it but the difference between us is I HUNT EVERY DAY!! I have to be able to depend on a gun that outlasts even me.

The common answer to most hardcore duck hunters is that they bought the gun and now they display the sticker on the back window of their truck. Let me just say this: tough hunts don't last, but tough guns do. That is why I shoot Beretta, and the fact that I would rather jump bare foot off a 6-foot step ladder into a 5 gallon bucket of porcupines than to shoot another waterfowl shotgun. I would challenge every waterfowl hunter to take the Xtreme challenge: go to your local gun dealer and shoot the knew Beretta A400 Xtreme and then tell me that your other gun is better. By the way this blog prohibits liars.

In closing, I just want to say that all duck and goose hunters work hard for the equipment they purchase and, like most hunters, not everyone can purchase a shotgun in today's market. However, I would much rather spend my hard-earned money on the best - and I mean the best - waterfowl shotgun EVER made than to go hunting like a bird dog trying to point in a field full of elephants. Again, I am a full believer that the new Beretta Xtreme is the best gun money can buy and I would not be caught dead without one in my hands.

Adam Brassfield is a guest contributor for the Beretta Blog. He can be reached on Facebook.

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Tough decisions...

Almost weekly, I receive a call, an email, or some type of communication, asking why Beretta is not present at a specific show.

The question has always the same effect on me: heartburn.

The fact is that the real answer is "We should be there." There is nothing as important (and as satisfying) for us than to be in direct contact with consumers. It's an opportunity to learn from real users of our product, to receive important feedback and (truth be told) to spend a few hours basking in the sun of how much Beretta is loved and welcome in communities across the United States.

The reality, however, is a little harsher: we can't be everywhere, every day. The choice of what show to attend is as gut-wrenching as the choice of what cause to sponsor. We'd love to do them all, but cannot.

We make our choices based on the location, the traffic, the time of the year and the number of consumers we'll be able to reach during the event.

What are some of the shows and events you attend? Where would you like to see Beretta, either directly or through some of its retailers?

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Concealment is the key

by Brad Wilson - Guest contributor

Many folks tend to believe that waterfowl hunting doesn’t require the concealment that other forms of hunting demand. Contrary to that popular belief, concealment could make or break that “once in a lifetime” hunt. Following are a few tactics that I use personally that could potentially help you in the field.
Most late season birds that make it down to the Gulf Coast have been shot at, called at, and have seen just about every type of J hook diver line decoy spread that could possibly be thrown at them. They have been what we like to call educated. Adam already touched on decoy set ups for Field Hunting Mallards, and he or I one will post a separate in depth blog about decoy placement in the near future, but you do need to understand that your spread can aide in your concealment tremendously.
Whether I am in a blind in a rice field or a boat blind in the salt marsh, one thing I will do is get out while everyone is set up in the blind, walk out about 50 yards and look at the set up. If the blind seems to stick out like a sore thumb or someone is not concealed in the blind, then one of 2 things has to happen:

A) the blind needs to be concealed better within the natural habitat in the field or marsh, or

B) we ditch the blind and opt for natural concealment from grass, tree stumps, or any other natural cover.

On many occasions, I had to trade the comfort for a cypress tree, in order to fool the birds into the spread. Don’t be afraid to change your concealment mid-morning if what you are currently doing is not working.
The next misconception is camouflage selection. Many guys think that if their shirt, pants, jacket, waders, socks, and underoos aren’t all the same pattern, they won’t kill ducks. I have guys in my crew that wear anything from the newest stuff to old school camo and hats. Facemasks are another tool that you may want to utilize in certain situations. Your main concern is to have your silhouette broken up. As long as you don’t look like one solid color to the bird then you should be fine. Be resourceful once again and use your natural surroundings to help in your concealment.
One thing that I normally see when I step out to survey my hunters is gun barrels. Your number one concern while hunting should be safety, so if someone is out in front of the blind, by all means have your gun barrel pointed up and away from others. While you are in an actual hunting situation, keep your gun barrel pointed out at the decoys, low, and away from everyone else. One thing my guys tend to practice is "no hands on the gun" until you are ready to “Cut 'Em” and the shot has been called. My personal preference for my Beretta A400 Xtreme was Max4 camo. One reason was the durability of the coating that Beretta uses and its ability to resist rust, which is a huge issue on the Gulf Coast. The other reason is the ability that I have to further conceal myself and my tools.
Remember: you can have the fanciest clothing, highest-end custom duck or goose call, and the best looking decoys on the market, but if you aren’t hidden well, the guy that is will be the one killing the birds. Concealment is 90% of the game so don’t hide from it!

Brad Wilson is a guest contributor for the Beretta Blog. He can be reached on Twitter or YouTube. You can also Subscribe here.

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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Hunting out of Layout Boats

by Adam Brassfield - Pro Staff Contributor

In every duck hunting situation there is reason to use different methods. Some hunt out of a stationary blind, some out of boat blinds and some out of smaller techniques. My first thought is I have to be able to pull my Beretta A400 Xtreme up to my line of sight in one motion. This ensures that crazy drake is smacking the water. With that being said, hunting out of a layout boat is acceptable in most environments.

Now that I have all that proper language out of my system, let me break it down for you. I love layout boats especially ones made by Four Rivers. They have three models to choose from, depending on your needs, theyare super comfortable and I can carry all my decoys. They also have motor mounts on the back for a trolling motor or a small mud motor.

In total comfort I can blow on my duck call, control my dog and keep my Beretta Xtreme handy for the shot. I know what you are thinking: a lof of this proper language is killing me too. Bottom line is: I love this tactic in every situation except hunting in the Atlantic Ocean. Most people have never even tried hunting out of layout boats. Mainly because they think there is no way to be effective. This thought process in not logical. I understand to each his or her own, but I am all about killing ducks. To have to look at ducks landing in shallow water 200 yards from your blind or boat is torture. Do not accept anything but the best. That is of course why I shoot the Beretta Xtreme!

The next time you go hunting, be prepared to kill ducks where they are. Doing that out of a stationary blind or boat blind on a daily basis is extinct. Go get yourself a layout blind from Four Rivers and smoke them water turkeys.

For more information on layout blinds go to if you are not shooting a Beretta Xtreme just go take a look at the Xtreme product line.

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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A hunter, a race-car driver, and a sailor walk into a bar...

How do you sell a $100,000 gun to someone who already has everything?
For the first time ever, Beretta sponsored this year the "Cavallino Classic" event, in collaboration with racecar maker Ferrari and super yacht brand Ferretti, in an affair designed to entertain and market to millionaires from all over the United States.

The event, which took place in West Palm Beach, Florida, was part of a three-day extravaganza that even included a race among Ferrari owners.

Beretta participated in one of the Cavallino Classic events called the "Yacht Hop" at Rybovich Marina. This particular event allowed Ferrari owners from all over the country to meet in the stunning setting of the top-class marina to display almost 100 of their prized vehicle, enjoy hors d’oeuvres, visit super yachts and luxury vessels by Ferretti and Riva (each worth millions of dollars!) and fondle $100,000 Beretta premium guns.

On January 20, the Beretta mobile showroom parked at the Marina, waiting for the event staff to display over $1 million in premium shotguns, including the famed SO10, SO6 and Jubilee. The arrival immediately drew the interest of the Marina staff: many of the employees stopped polishing the chromed rails of the yachts to take a pause and enjoy the engineering marvel and artistry that is our line of premium guns. By 7pm, the Marina was hopping, music was playing, and the Beretta staff, which included Dallas Gallery manager Ian Anderson, New York Gallery gunsmith Ed Anderson and pro shooter Will Fennell, were entertaining the rich and famous of the Cavallino club.

The event was a thorough success, and Ferretti Yachting and Ferrari are already looking forward to inviting us to next year’s event.

As a note of trivia, the link between Beretta and Ferretti yachts does not end at the fact that both are iconic Italian brands, but runs much deeper: Ferretti yachts exists today thanks to seeding money from the Beretta family (who has been a nautical family for many years.) Additionally, when Ferretti set up shop, the owner spent quite a bit of time at the Beretta factory, understanding the secrets of industrializing a process that had historically been artisanal.

So: some of you are probably reading this and wondering what makes a gun worth $100,000, when it really shoots the same ammo in the same way as your $1,500 686 Onyx. Here's a video that explains the mechanics behind a premium shotgun. Think of it as a 12 ga. Cartier watch.
If you'd like to see more pictures from this awesome event, make sure you visit our Facebook page!