A novel hybrid dynamical model for singlecoil, short-stroke reluctance actuators is presented in this paper. The model, which is partially based on the principles of magnetic equivalent circuits, includes the magnetic phenomena of hysteresis and saturation by means of the generalized Preisach model. In addition, the eddy currents induced in the iron core are also considered, and the flux fringing effect in the air is incorporated by using results from finite element simulations. An explicit solution of the dynamics without need of inverting the Preisach model is derived, and the hybrid automaton that results from combining the electromagnetic and motion equations is presented and discussed. Finally, an identification method to determine the model parameters is proposed and experimentally illustrated on a real actuator. The results are presented and the advantages of our modeling method are emphasized.