The Beretta ARX160 is an Italian modular assault rifle manufactured by Beretta. Developed for the Italian Armed Forces as part of the Soldato Futuro (English: “Future Soldier”) program, the ARX160 was launched in 2008 as a commercial weapon system independent from the Soldato Futuro ensemble, complete with a companion single-shot 40×46mm NATO low-velocity grenade launcher, called the GLX160, which can be mounted underneath the rifle or used with an ad hoc stock system as a stand-alone weapon.
In late 2015, Beretta introduced the Beretta ARX200 chambered in 7.62×51mm NATO cartridge.
The Beretta ARX160 departs from the previously issued AR70/90 on several points. It is composed of an upper and lower receiver, both manufactured mostly from polymer, and operates through a short-stroke piston system. It is chambered in either 5.56×45mm NATO or 7.62×39mm cartridge. Feeding is through STANAG magazines for the 5.56×45mm NATO configuration and AK-47 or AKM magazines for the 7.62×39mm configuration. Other calibres, including 5.45×39mm and 6.8mm Remington SPC were planned.
It features an ambidextrous safeties, magazine release (right side, left side, and “AK” style), bolt release and charging handle, as well as the ability to change which side spent casings are ejected, a quick-change barrel which can be removed and replaced in seconds without any tools, Picatinny rails, and a foldable telescopic stock.
The lightweight barrel is chrome lined and manufactured by the hammer forging process at the Beretta factory in Gardone Val Trompia, Lombardy. Barrel lengths for this rifle are 16 in (40.6 cm) for its standard barrel, and a 12 in (30.48 cm) barrel for special operators. The flash hider has 5 radial cuts and 4 smaller cuts to control muzzle climb in automatic firing. Barrels have a 1:7 twist to fire NATO standard ball and tracer rounds. The non-free-floated barrel is easily removed simply by pulling on slide levers and pulling it out. A bayonet lug, designed for the Extrema Ratio Fulcrum bayonet is positioned above the barrel rather than underneath it.
The ARX160 operating system is unique in that the piston moves almost 2 in (50.8 mm), while other systems move fractions of an inch. The piston follows the bolt carrier almost all the way rearward, resulting in low gas pressure levels and a less sudden and more constant push on the carrier group.
It has the ability to eject the empty shells out of either in the right side or left side for ambidextrous operation. The bolt has seven lugs and an extractor on the left and right, with no ejector. The extractors are spring-loaded and which way cases are ejected is selected by pressing a case through a small hole located past the port. It is small and optimised for the tip of a bullet to fit. The ejection port is open on both sides and directs shells at a 45 degree angle from the barrel. The cocking lever is on the bolt carrier and can be positioned on either side by pulling it out, swinging it through the ejection port, and pushing it in to secure it in place.
It features a standard back-up iron sights that are made of the same polymer as the weapon’s receiver. The front sight post is adjustable for windage and elevation and the rear peep sight has six positions to fire in increments from 100–600 meters. The primary optical sight is the Aimpoint ACIES, a domestic version of the Aimpoint CompM2. Telescopic sights, night vision systems, vertical forward grips, and other accessories will be available through the Soldato Futuro program.
The Beretta ARX160 can be chambered in either 5.56×45mm NATO or 7.62×39mm cartridge. It features a Picatinny rail on the top of the receiver, and on the 3-,6-,9-o’clock position of the handguard for mounting various optics, grips and other accessories. It is worth mentioning that the Picatinny rail that is located at the 6 o’clock position is limited, Beretta does offer an extended Picatinny rail accessory to mitigate this. It has a quick change barrel feature, a barrel length of 12- and 16-inch, a folding back-up iron sights, ambidextrous fire/safety selector, magazine release, bolt release and charging handle, case ejector that can eject the empty brass either to the right side or left side by pressing on the case ejection selector with a tip of a 5.56×45mm NATO cartridge, and a telescopic folding buttstock that is also adjustable for length of pull. A conversion kit for 7.62×39mm is also available, it requires changing the barrel, bolt, lower receiver assembly and magazine in order to change the calibre. It uses the AKM magazines for the 7.62×39mm configuration and STANAG magazines for the 5.56×45mm NATO configuration.
The Beretta ARX160 A2, also referred to as the ARX160 SF (Special Forces) is similar to the ARX160 but features a shorter buttstock, an extended Picatinny rail on the bottom of its handguard and uses a 12-inch barrel. It was developed for the Italian special forces and was later adopted by them.
The Beretta ARX160 A3 is an improved variant of the ARX160 which features some design changes. The changes includes a redesigned handguard, where its top row air vent slits have been replaced with a larger square cut outs, though the bottom row air vent still retains the thinner slits. These larger cut outs reduces some weight of the rifle while letting more air to circulate around the barrel. It features an improved pistol grip design and a barrel length of 11- and 16-inch.
The Beretta ARX100 is a semi-automatic only variant of the ARX160 intended for the civilian market. It features a Picatinny rail on the top of the receiver for mounting various optics, on both sides of the hand guard for mounting various accessories and on the bottom of the handguard for mounting various grips, a quick change barrel, a barrel length of 16 inch, a folding back-up iron sights, ambidextrous fire/safety selector, magazine release, bolt release and charging handle, a case ejector that can eject the empty brass either to the right side or left side by pressing on the case ejection selector with a tip of a 5.56×45mm NATO (.223 Remington) cartridge, and a telescopic folding buttstock that is also adjustable for length of pull.
ARX160 .22 LR
The Beretta ARX160 .22 LR is a rimfire variant of the ARX100, chambered in .22 Long Rifle cartridge. It features an 18 inch barrel for the carbine configuration and an 8.5 inch barrel for the pistol configuration and uses a 5-, 10-, 15- or 20-round magazine.
In late 2015, Beretta introduced the ARX200 chambered in 7.62×51mm NATO cartridge. It operates through a short-stroke gas piston system with a rotating bolt, capable of fully automatic and semi-automatic fire. It has a cyclic rate of fire of around 600–650 rounds per minute.
The ARX200 is planned to fill the gap in Italian infantry armament between the 5.56×45mm NATO assault rifle and large-calibre bolt-action sniper rifles, based on combat experience in Afghanistan. The Italian Armed Forces has ordered four hundred ARX200s for trials and evaluation. It’s also expected that the first batch of ARX200s will be delivered by the end of 2015. They are also testing on how to introduce a battle rifle into small infantry units. Possibly 2 to 3 designated marksman rifles and battle rifles are planned for use at squad level.
The Italian Army is planning to introduce two configurations of the ARX200; a battle rifle and a designated marksman rifle. The battle rifle configuration is to be equipped with an interface for the Beretta GLX160 grenade launcher chambered in 40×46mm NATO, a foldable telescopic stock with adjustable cheek rest, shock absorber back plate and four fixed sling attachments. On the other hand, the designated marksman rifle configuration is to be equipped with a fixed buttstock and a computerised Intelligent Combat Sight (ICS), developed by Steiner Optics (a subsidiary of Beretta Defense Technologies), which integrates a laser rangefinder, an inclinometer and a ballistic calculator into a compact 6×40 optic.
The ARX200 has three gas settings; normal, adverse and suppressed firing. It features a fully ambidextrous controls that include the bolt catch lever, magazine release button and fire selector. Unlike the ARX160, it lacks the capability to change which side the empty shells are ejected. However, the charging handle remains reversible and can be switched from the right- to left-side of the upper receiver and the barrel locking bolt is located in front of the magazine well. It is equipped with a quick-change, free-floating, cold hammer-forged barrel which can be removed and replaced in a minute using one wrench. It has a weight of 4.5 kg without a magazine and 8.6 lb (3.9 kg) unloaded, a length of 730 mm with the stock folded, 890 mm with the stock collapsed and 1,000 mm with the stock extended, a 406 mm (16 in) heavy barrel (excluding the flash hider) with match-grade rifling with four right-hand grooves and a 279 mm (11 in) twist rate, a monolithic upper receiver with a long Picatinny rail on top made of steel-reinforced polymer which includes internal rails for a weapon bolt carrier, a more streamlined forend for operators who use the C-clamp grip when shooting, and Beretta claims that the it has an accuracy of 1.5 MOA with 5 shots at 100 metres. The polymer lower receiver is equipped with a modular magazine well for the new Beretta 20-round polymer magazine and also has a special magazine-well adapter that can be removed in order to use the M110/SR-25 magazines.
|Mass||3.0 kg (6.6 lb)
(empty with 304 mm (12.0 in) barrel)
3.1 kg (6.8 lb)
(empty with 406 mm (16.0 in) barrel)
|Length||914 mm (36.0 in) (stock extended)
864 mm (34.0 in) (stock collapsed)
686 mm (27.0 in) (stock folded)
(with 406 mm (16.0 in) barrel)
813 mm (32.0 in) (stock extended)
762 mm (30.0 in) (stock collapsed)
584 mm (23.0 in) (stock folded)
(with 304 mm (12.0 in) barrel)
|Barrel length||16 in (406.4 mm)
12 in (304.8 mm)
|Width||80 mm (with extended stock)|
.22 Long Rifle (ARX160 .22 LR)
|Action||Gas-operated rotating bolt|
|Rate of fire||700 rounds/min (ARX160)
600–650 rounds/min (ARX200)
|Muzzle velocity||920 m/s|
|Effective firing range||5 position rear sight up to 600 m (656 yd)|
|Feed system||30-round detachable STANAG Magazine, 100-round detachable C-Mag drum magazine (5.56×45mm NATO)
AKM magazines (7.62×39mm)
|Sights||Back-up folding iron sights and integrated Picatinny rail for various optical sights|
- Italian Army – 25,000 ARX160 and 800 ARX200.