For years women have been forced to adjust to shotguns designed for men. Recently, as I described in an earlier column, Caesar Guerini® began marketing smoothbores designed for women with their Syren® line of over/under and semi-automatic shotguns. Now another Italian manufacturer is offering guns designed for women shooters.
Franchi Arms is part of the Beretta®/ Benelli® family of firearms manufacturers in Brescia, Italy. The company was founded in 1868 and now it has added models specifically designed for the ladies. These guns are offshoots of the company’s other lines and are named “Catalyst”; this designation signifies the designs are for women shooters.
Two models are available, the first is the Affinity Catalyst. This is a semi-auto shotgun chambered in 12 gauge. The drop, cast, pitch and length-of-pull are all tailored to a woman’s build and with its light weight, 6.6 pounds, it will make a long day in the field much more enjoyable. The gun is stocked in A grade walnut, comes with interchangeable chokes and a shim kit for even more stock adjustment. Optional extended chokes and recoil pads add even more versatility to the gun. Barrel length is 28 inches and the chamber will accept 2 ¾ and 3 inch shells. Suggested retail price is a very reasonable $ 969.00.
The sister gun to the Affinity Catalyst is the Instinct Catalyst. This is an over/under 12 gauge, also with 28 barrels. The Instinct is also chambered for 2 ¾ and 3 inch shells. It has automatic ejectors, a barrel selector, interchangeable chokes with some options, and an automatic safety. The gun is stocked in A grade walnut with a satin finish. It weighs 7.2 pounds and has a suggested retail of $1469.00; again a reasonable amount for a quality O/U.
While my experience with Franchi shotguns has been quite limited, I have found their guns to be well designed, nicely finished, and most importantly, very reliable. These two new offerings are less expensive that the Syren guns and give women another option to enjoy the shotgun sports. I am really pleased to see some firearms manufacturers finally build guns specifically for women. I suspect the new Franchi Catalyst guns will be big hits; let’s hope the other manufacturers take notice and expand their lines for the ladies.
Be safe and good shooting.