Tracing the Evolution of Beretta’s Iconic Silverhawk Shotgun

The Beretta Silverhawk Side by Side has left its mark on the history of shooting sports and hunting. It was first introduced by the renowned Italian firearms manufacturer, Beretta, in 1960. Known for their long-standing tradition of producing high-quality firearms, Beretta designed the Silverhawk to meet the needs of hunters and sports shooters who demanded precision, reliability, and quality in their firearms. The Silverhawk quickly gained popularity for its side by side barrel configuration, a design that was once the mainstay of the shooting world but had become less common with the advent of over-under shotguns.

The Silverhawk was named “Silver” for its distinctive silver receiver, and “hawk” as a nod to the agility, precision, and speed associated with this bird of prey. The design was primarily targeted at the American market, where the side by side configuration was still popular among hunters and clay shooters. Despite being designed in Italy, the Silverhawk captured the classic American shotgun aesthetics, thereby appealing to a wide range of shooters.

In terms of manufacturing, the Silverhawk was a step beyond the traditional hammer-forged process used by Beretta. This new approach involved the use of modern machining techniques, precisely cutting the receiver from a solid block of steel. This resulted in a stronger and more durable firearm, a trend that Beretta would continue to follow in their subsequent designs.

Notable Features and Design of the Beretta Silverhawk


The Beretta Silverhawk is renowned for its distinctive design and superior features. Aesthetically, the Silverhawk embodies the classic elegance of a traditional side by side shotgun, featuring a silver receiver beautifully decorated with intricate engraving. The silver finish is contrasted with well-figured walnut wood for the stock and forend, adding to the overall elegance of the shotgun.

The Silverhawk features 28-inch barrels with a solid rib and a bead front sight, designed for easy target acquisition. The shotgun is chambered for 2.75-inch shells and uses Beretta’s reliable single selective trigger system. This allows the shooter to choose which barrel to fire first, offering more flexibility and control during shooting.

Furthermore, the Silverhawk is designed with a boxlock action, a popular choice for side by side shotguns due to its strength and reliability. The shotgun also features automatic ejectors, which expel spent cartridges automatically after firing, thereby simplifying and speeding up the reloading process.

Historical Importance and Usage of the Beretta Silverhawk

Historically, the Beretta Silverhawk played a significant role in maintaining the popularity of side by side shotguns at a time when over-under designs were growing in favour. Its introduction in 1960 brought a fresh breath of air in the shooting sports world, offering an alternative to the traditional over-under configuration.

The Silverhawk was primarily used for hunting and clay shooting sports. Its reliable performance and precision made it a favourite among hunters, particularly for bird hunting. On the other hand, its balance and easy handling made it a popular choice for clay shooting sports.

Despite being discontinued in 1986, the Beretta Silverhawk still holds a cherished place in the hearts of many sports shooters and collectors. Its classic design, superior craftsmanship, and historical value make it a prized possession, often seen in gun collections and occasionally in shooting competitions.

Beretta Silverhawk’s Evolution and Modern Iterations

The Beretta Silverhawk was reintroduced in 2004, nearly two decades after its original production stopped. This new Silverhawk was an improved version of the original design, incorporating the enhancements of modern technology while retaining its classic aesthetics.

Despite retaining the signature side by side configuration, the new Silverhawk featured several improvements. It was now available in 12, 20, 28, and .410 gauges, broadening its appeal to a wider audience. The shotgun also featured a new, more reliable selective trigger.

In 2011, Beretta introduced the Silverhawk 471, a further refined and updated version of the Silverhawk. The 471 model embodied the tradition and elegance of the original Silverhawk, enhanced with modern manufacturing techniques for improved precision and performance. Today, the Beretta Silverhawk continues to be appreciated by those who value the blend of tradition and technology.

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