Best of Beretta
Brad Taylor

New York book signing and release. Franco Beretta, R.L. Wilson (author), Brad Taylor, Ugo Gussalli Beretta.  



In the realm of Beretta collectors, few can rival, or surpass, Texan Brad Taylor. At age sixteen, he purchased his first of many, a Model 950B Minx, in .22 short. With that initial pistol, Taylor realized that Beretta built guns of quality, and further recognized that, at the time (in the late 1960s), the U.S. public was generally unaware of the merit of Beretta firearms. In those early years, that made collecting Berettas easier and less costly. That all changed when Beretta won the competition for the M9 contract.


Brad Taylor on his first visit to the "World of Beretta"1984 

Taylor gradually began to understand a number of factors, as his dedication to Beretta collecting evolved:  

Beretta carried such a variety of models that the needs of any automatic pistol shooter were met in one brand. These variations were what hooked me as a Beretta enthusiast. The company builds their products with the shooter in mind, and has long made certain there is "something for everyone"-which gave me a wide array of guns to search for in building a collection.

Model 92FS Centurion "Especially Made for Brad Taylor" - One of a special factory pair. 

In January 1984, Taylor and then Marketing Director Ugo Gussalli Beretta met to discuss the history of the family as gun makers and the contents of Taylor's collection. Ugo took a personal interest in Taylor's dedication to Beretta guns, and invited him for a tour of the Gardone factory.

Mr Beretta met with me at the factory and his people were very helpful with research on firearms, as well as organizing a tour of the massive operations, and explaining how their guns were built. With access to the Museum I was amazed at the Prototypes and experimental pieces which led to the finalproduct of the pistols I collect. It was hard to believe that one company could be involved in such a varied output. With this visit, I realized that my interest and collecting were just beginning.

Over the next several years, one could see the company rapidly growing, and finally taking its deserved place in the U.S. market. Returning to visit Gardone many times allowed a better understanding of the Beretta success story. I believe Beretta owes its remarkable success to the direct family involvement, and the personal pride which the family takes in every aspect of the company. It is not just a business, it is personal, it is the Beretta name marked on every firearm and the insistence that their products be "only the best." Following the family example, I have refined my own collection to the best and most extraordinary examples of their production that I could obtain, even specializing in acquiring serial number 14 of each model.

Though the family is extremely busy running the company, they have become good friends. As Piero and Franco assumed active roles in the business, they too added a wealth of information to my collecting pursuits. Mrs. Monique Gussalli Beretta has always been a very good friend, and has a special place in my heart. Their encouragement has proven instrumental in my resolve to put together the finest collection of Beretta firearms-mainly pistols-outside of the Beretta Museum. In tribute to the Berettas, and their firearms, I have long thought of trying to organize a Beretta Collectors Association-and hope that The World of Beretta may be instrumental in making that wish come true.

For an indication of what kind of success Taylor has achieved in his collecting, see the collage images on pages 168, 212, 232, and 302, which picture highlights from the Taylor Collection of Beretta Firearms. 

Brad Taylor & Ugo M, - Shot Show 2004 - Las Vegas

Collecting Berettas  reprinted with permission from R.L. Wilson's The World of Beretta-An International Legend