As yet another major firearm manufacturer announces a "groundbreaking, game-changing" product that is anything but, I have to ask - when will we see something that's truly innovative?
Every new firearm that's been announced for the last few years - heck, probably more - has been presented to the consumer as if it is nothing short of revolutionary - in fact, that word is often used to describe the new product of the month. Almost invariably, though, this "revolutionary" firearm is simply an amalgamation of previous designs packaged in a new shell with a fancy name.
The Nano does not change any games, despite Beretta's claims to the contrary. Its major design feature, the removable frame insert, is very similar to what we saw a few years ago in the Sig P250, which is in fact licensed from Steyr in the case of the P250 (Kudos to Steyr for being the originator of this design, even if nothing has really come of it). Even if being able to change grip sizes without changing serial numbers is mildly interesting, Sig has discovered that people prefer their handguns actually function before they think about whether or not they would like to have two grip sizes or change between different calibers.
In the long gun market, we have items like the Benelli Vinci, described as, you guessed it, a "revolution" in shotgun technology. It's basically the Benelli operating system in an easier-to-manufacture package, with the side benefit of it being more suitable for rapid disassembly. Its most promising technology is the concept of a quick-change tubular magazine that could be manufactured in several lengths, but Benelli isn't interested in selling this to civilians.
The silver lining for me is that products like the P250 and the Vinci haven't done very well on the market. Unfortunately, at least in the case of the P250, this has more to do with a complete lack of reliability than the fact that the weapon wasn't worth buying in the first place.
It's my opinion - worth what you paid for it - that twenty-year-old - or perhaps even older - specimens of these companies' firearms are more reliable, durable, and useful than their newer designs. Sig P228, anyone? Benelli M1 Super 90?
I don't know when we can expect to see true innovation, with the potential for market success, from a firearm manufacturer, but I don't think it will come from any of the companies that seem to currently be led around by the nose by their P.T. Barnum-like marketing folks. We need another Browning, another Stoner, another Glock. Not another Beretta Nano.
Can anyone identify where I am?
(Keep an eye on The Firearm Blog for more info over the next few weeks).