WON Landing Page OCT 2022

The Benelli Experience: More about the Ethos

I wonder how many people were betting against me in my fight to not like the Benelli Ethos? Since my last post, the Ethos has been in the hands of both friends and fellow shotgun shooters alike. The opportunity to try out shotguns before buying them just doesn’t exist unless you know someone that owns a specific model and is willing to let you give theirs try. I was excited to let anyone interested (or not) have the chance to try the Ethos out. 

Sponsored by Benelli

Benelli Ethos Model 10462 Stock website photo

I never mentioned to “Women’s Outdoor News” or on my social media accounts that I had a personal challenge to leave my comfort zone of familiarity, and only use the Ethos in my everyday shotgun activities. I am going to admit I am self-conscious when shooting shotguns that are not my tried-and-trusty familiars, so this challenge had me feeling a little wary. Add in the uncertainty of the field, and the fact that I am a late blooming clay shooter/hunter, I knew this personal challenge was going to be an epic failure or a shocking success. 

I mentally programmed myself go hard or fail great.

Once the Ethos made it back to Kansas City, Missouri, from my California desert shenanigans, I embarked on my personal mission of getting the shotgun into as many hands as possible. I also wanted my circle of shooters to have “The Benelli Experience,” because it is not every day you have an opportunity to share a Benelli shotgun! My fellow chapter members at Pheasants Forever in Johnson County, Kansas, and the Kansas City Heartland chapter chuckled at my rebellious commitment to not liking the Ethos. It never failed; good-natured harassment with the Ethos in hand, they chanted, “You know you are going to buy that gun, right?”   

Butler Delta Waterfowl Women Duck Clinic

Waterfowl season opened and I was more than a little bit skeptical of taking the Ethos to the marsh. Since this is not my personal shotgun, I had a fear of the getting it muddy and falling in the marsh, but I decided that wouldn’t stop me, especially when presented with the prospect of a waterfowl hunt with my squad, the wildHERness gals. We hauled out our decoys and posted up, in hopes of landing a little dinner. We had great morning together and the Ethos performed spectacularly, helping to harvest our first specklebellied goose!

Once my circle of clay busters learned that I had a temporary loaner Benelli, the texts came rolling in asking for “The Benelli Experience.” Clay dates were made, tempting others to give it a try. Finally, the last remaining goal was to challenge my friends at the Powder Creek Ladies League to share it with the sporting clay crew. I’ll suffice it to say that I was met with very little resistance. 

Kris Shooting the Ethos

Next up was the challenge of mentoring solo and a personal whitetail hunt. It was rifle season, and I had the honor of mentoring one half of my original handgun mentors on her first whitetail hunt, and this was also my first time solo scouting and setting up my own blind. You’re probably wondering what does rifle whitetail season have to do with the Ethos? Nothing, but I brought it along so she and our other friends could take it for spin. We also heard that there may have been turkey on the property we were hunting, so the Ethos and turkey tag lived in the blind with turkey loads in case we didn’t see any deer but happened to see gobbler on the loose. A lady should always be prepared, right?

Lady Trying the Ethos

It was time to get a tune-up and coaching session from John Francis Wings & Clays. We invited Ryleigh Abrahams, a young lady that we originally met at the Colby Kansas Governor’s Ringneck Classic , via Brittany French with Outdoor Mentors.  I am not sure if we stole her , or if she stole us, but she is growing into an amazing young hunter and stepped up to help wildHERness  mentor our huntHER  youth mentoring program. She recently had fussed at me for not inviting her to “The Benelli Experience.”  We set a date, she and her mom drove 95 minutes to hang with the wildHERness squad for a little Ethos time and coaching session.  I do recall her turning around and yelling, “Darn it SB! I don’t want to like it either!”

Ryliegh Benelli Experience

The more I shot the Ethos, the more I understood why Benelli has a such a highly regarded reputation. I have always thought they made beautiful firearms and admired them from afar, but I would have never considered investing in one without trying it out. I wasn’t asked to share “The Benelli Experience,” but I wanted my community to take advantage of the opportunity I was given.

Marsh testing out the Ethos

By the second time I shot this shotgun, I began to think about how I could budget for it. It retails for $2149.99. It didn’t help that my circle of friends and acquaintances kept teasing that I was going to become a Benelli owner, but I wasn’t willing to admit it just yet and still in denial. A couple of gentlemen even said Benelli might give it to you as much as you are sharing it with the community. I called them nutcases. Why would Benelli give an almost middle-aged, non-professional, local-yocal one of their sexy firearms? I was privileged just to have it on loaner! I came to terms and stopped denying that had fallen in love with this shotgun. Even more, I liked having the opportunity to share it and invite one more person to go shotgun shooting.

Imagine my absolute elation when I received a phone call from Barbara Baird, the publisher of “Women’s Outdoor News,” to check my email. Benelli emailed both me and “Women’s Outdoor News” that the Ethos is a gift to me!! These were the words that they shared:

“After reading your article, we were very impressed with your outreach and would like to keep right on doing it and Benelli would like to support this effort by giving/donating this gun to you and your efforts of women’s outreach. Obviously, we love reading about our products, but seeing what you are doing and how you are going about it, puts a smile on our faces and a great feeling in our hearts.“

I am going to be honest and share that I teared up … OK, I cried and read it eight times … probably snorted in Barbara’s ear over the phone.  I am still at loss for words. But the Ethos journey does not end here. 

Once I cleaned my face up,  I packed up and headed to a women’s waterfowl clinic – partnered with Butler County Delta Waterfowl and wildHERness. It was a weekend packed with education, blind construction, decoy placement, dog handling, target practice and a hunt scheduled for the next day.  The ladies were able to take what they learned and apply it in the field. It was hands-on, we (literally) broke ice on the lake, set up a decoy spread and layout blinds. While the ducks did not cooperate, we made new hunting friendships, snuggled the dogs, shared the snacks and passed the coffee. The Ethos appeared at target practice for all to take it for spin. 

Now, my mission has transformed a bit. I refuse to be the only person hoodwinked into loving the Benelli Ethos.

 I am looking forward to inviting more ladies to expand their shooting sports experiences. I still cannot express an adequate amount of appreciation to Benelli. This gift will allow me to continue convincing one more person at a time try out the Benelli Ethos. One extra shotgun provides the chance for one extra person to come along. The lighter shotgun will also aid in reducing my exertion level while pheasant hunting, which I am definitely looking forward to experiencing next season.

Sharenda with Ethos
Sharenda with Ethos

Thank you, from my whole heart, to Benelli. I will continue to share “The Benelli Experience” with anyone who has the slightest inkling to shoot.

Discover more about the Benelli Ethos.

  • About Sharenda Birts

    Sharenda Birts is the Director of Community Affairs and one of the 4 founding members of wildHERness, a diverse group of outdoorswomen passionate about providing females with a connection to the outdoors through workshops, events, mentoring and community service. Her passion for the outdoors began when she began to learn how to safely handle a firearm and clean it. She does not come from a family background of firearms or outdoorsman and did not have any exposure to the outdoors until she joined a sporting clays league that persuaded her to attend a pheasant hunt. Although Sharenda is a new hunter, she is passionate about sharing her adventures to inspire other city born-and-raised minority women – with the message that they, too, can learn how to explore the outdoors, no matter what their ages. Sharenda is an NRA certified pistol, shotgun, and metallic cartridge reloading instructor who comes from a background with 25 years in the banking and equity investment industry. She also admits to being addicted to clay sports, along with upland and waterfowl hunting. Sharenda’s gearing up for angling and fly-tying in the near future.