Valtro PM-5: The Best Shotgun You’ve Never Heard Of
You’ve seen shotguns before. They line the walls of our favorite gun stores, you hear about them in stories about your relative’s latest duck hunting trip. The versatility of the ammunition, and the ease of use make it a choice hunting and special purpose service weapon. Your local hunters and armed forces alike have used them for everything between trap shooting to breaching doors in Afghanistan.
For such a versatile weapon there is one major flaw that, in my opinion, makes its viability in combat much lower than it should be. The tube magazine that has been in use for over a century. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not downplaying the tube magazine on a shotgun. Though, the reload time on a tube vs. a detachable box magazine is quite drastic, even in the hands of a trained operator.
A few manufacturers realized the niche demand for such an item. Notable examples including the Franchi SPAS-15, Beretta M3P, and Valtro PM-5. This is where the Valtro PM-5 comes in. Back in the 1980s, a small Italian arms manufacturing company named Valtro sought to create a light, simple to operate, and affordable shotgun for military and police use. Their creation was the PM-5. Little known, the PM-5 was actually contracted out to be manufactured by Benelli. A household name in the shotgun world known for quality craftsmanship.
The PM-5’s receiver is milled from aluminum, other parts being high grade steel and polymers. This build combination created a light, yet sturdy weapon that is fit for rough usage. The original Valtro PM-5 shotguns were offered in configurations with varying barrel lengths, sights, and either a solid or top folding stock.
Valtro saw decent sales all across Europe. Selling PM-5s to law enforcement and governments throughout the continent. Some still use them to this day, most notably the French Navy. Even being spotted in action in Afghanistan, the reach of this shotgun was nothing short of impressive.
Now, you may be wondering why you rarely, if ever, see these in the states. As far as I’m aware, all the PM-5s imported into the United States were done so by one man. A famous California 1911 pistol craftsman by the name of John Jardine, main associate of Valtro USA, and the only incoming source for these PM-5 shotguns. Initially, they were sold to the public with very little advertising. Their numbers were low in civilian sales as they were mostly marketed for law enforcement and government use. Some sources say Mr. Jardine later on refused sale to civilians out of fear of the PM-5 being used in mass shootings. Though that is strictly online rumor and cannot be confirmed.
Unfortunately, all good things come to an end. As Valtro declared bankruptcy, another Italian company by the name of Brixia quickly purchased the business. Including the license to continue producing PM-5s. The now Brixia PM-5s are currently being sold to the civilian market in Canada, as well as other law enforcement and government agencies across the globe. New additions to the updated Brixia PM-5 include a side folding wire stock, updated sights, picatinny rail, and a ported barrel to reduce upward climb while firing.
Valtro is no longer producing or importing PM-5s, and Brixia PM-5s unlikely to ever enter the States. It seems the PM-5 will only exist as a collector’s item in the United States. Obtaining one of these rare gems can run you anywhere from $1000 all the way to $2500 depending on condition and accessories. However, the lack of information online may have dealers improperly informed as to what they’re peddling, and they may ask a much lower price. In my opinion, you should jump on one if you find it. You definitely won’t regret it!