The Beretta 692 over/under due for the U.S. shortly (VIDEO)

The Beretta 692 is their most recent 12-gauge over-under, announced a few weeks ago with great fanfare, and it will be coming stateside shortly. Beretta plans to make them available in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2013.

Designed primarily for competition shooters, this semi-premium double-barrel shotgun is more than just a renovated 682, as it was built from the ground up to take advantage of modern manufacturing technologies, add other improvements as well, and bring in a new aesthetic with Porsche Design lending a hand to the cosmetics.

Irwin Greenstein over at Shotgun News was one of the lucky people to be treated to the launch in Italy, and he came back impressed.

“While Beretta hails the 692 as a ‘totally new shotgun,’ that’s not entirely precise. The Beretta 692 uses the selective mechanical trigger group of its 682 forerunner, which had a smooth, unobtrusive pull of 3½ to 4 pounds. Otherwise, the Beretta 692 is a smorgasbord of innovation.

“For starters, the Beretta 692 steel receiver is an immediate signal that the 682 aesthetic has been relegated to yesteryear. The concentric waves engraved on 682’s matte gray background have been streamlined by the embossed, blunt-nosed contour of a 600 Nitro Express bullet that made its debut on the silvery DT11. The blocky gold markings on the 682 were replaced with black gold on the 692’s burnished receiver. Beretta also added a black composite opening lever with a soft-touch polymeric insert.”

With an expected price tag of around $5,000, the 692 isn’t likely to be a common sight in the field, although we have no doubts to the shotgun’s hunting capabilities. And while five grand isn’t something that many people would throw down lightly, Beretta is betting that the 692 will put pressure on other more expensive over/unders.

Beretta plans to start with two lines of 692, the 692 Sporting and the 692 X-Trap. The Sporting has a 3-inch chamber, will be available in 28-, 30- and 32-inch options and have interchangeable chokes. The X-Trap has a 2-3/4-inch chamber, 30- and 32-inch barrels and fixed chokes.

Part of what drives the price of the new shotgun is the premium barrel design, a cold hammer-forged, vacuum-treated “Steelium” barrel with an impressive 14-inch-long forcing cone.

The 692 also uses adjustable weights in the stock to fine-tune the balance to your individual preferences. The 692 isn’t light and it isn’t heavy, depending on the configuration, about 7.7 to 7.8 pounds.

As shotgun competitions grow increasingly popular in this country, demand for more affordable over/unders is growing, too. Yeah, $5,000 isn’t small change, but when many of these shotguns are pushing $8,000 to $10,000, it’s nice to see a modern, lower-priced alternative coming to the market.

And of course, if you can’t get enough of all things Beretta, check out their Facebook page.

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