Beretta is a family owned, Italian firearms manufacturer. Official documents can be traced back to 1526, when the company supplied 185 Aquabus barrels to the Arsenal of Venice. However, it is likely that the company was operating nearly 100 years before that. In any event, it is the oldest, active, firearms manufacturer in the world, having been passed down through 15 generations.
Over the last 100 years, the company's production base has grown from 10,000 sqm to 110,000 sqm and Beretta now produces approximately 1,500 weapons a day of which approximately 75% are exported to around 100 countries. The company's headquarters are Near Bescia in Italy and in addition to a large production facility in the USA, it has several other international holdings located in Greece, Portugal, Spain, France, Switzerland, Germany, Finland, UK, Turkey and Russia.
The company produces a wide range of portable weapons including:
- Semi-automatic pistols
- Rifles and carbines
- Submachine guns
- Machine pistols
Beretta supplies firearms to the Armed Forces and Police Forces of Italy as well as many other countries around the world. In 1985, the company was chosen as the supplier of handguns to the US military with a contract for 500,000 weapons.
A contract for the French National Gendarmerie and Air Force followed and in subsequent years Beretta has not only continued to supply the US Army, Air Force and Police Forces with significant numbers of weapons, but has also supplied handguns to the Spanish Guardia Civil and the National Turkish Police Force.
In addition to its defense and law enforcement products, Beretta is world famous for its sorting firearms, which make up about 75% of its production. Beretta has had a great deal of success in competitive sports. Having won its first gold medal in clay pigeon shooting at the Mebourne Olympics in 1956, Beretta went on to win Olympic medals in Rome (1960), Munich (1972), Montreal (1976), Moscow (1980), Los Angeles (1984), Seoul (1988), Barcelona (1992), Atlanta (1996), Sydney (2000), Athens (2004) and Beijing (2008).
In the London Olympics in 2012, Beretta won Gold, Silver and Bronze medals. With an equally impressive record in all International competitions, Beretta has had more success in competitive sports than any other manufacturer.