Beretta ARX 160

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ARX 160
Beretta ARX-160, Interpolitex 2012.jpg
Beretta ARX-160, displayed at Interpolitex 2012.
Type Assault rifle
Place of origin Italy
Service history
Used by See Users
Wars War in Afghanistan
Production history
Designer Ulrich Zedrosser
Designed 2008
Manufacturer Beretta
Variants ARX 160SF, ARX 160 PDW, ARX 100
Weight 3.1 kg (6.8 lb) (empty with 406 mm barrel)
3.0 kg (6.6 lb) (empty with 302 mm barrel)
Length 755 mm (29.72 in) (stock exteneded w. 302 mm barrel)
680 mm (26.77 in) (stock collapsed w. 302 mm barrel)
580 mm (22.83 in) (stock folded w. 302 mm barrel)
920 mm (36.22 in) (stock exteneded w. 406 mm barrel)
820 mm (32.28 in) (stock collapsed w. 406 mm barrel)
755 mm (29.72 in) (stock folded w. 406 mm barrel)
Barrel length 302 mm (11.89 in)
406 mm (15.98 in)
Width 80 mm (with extended stock)

Cartridge 5.56×45mm NATO, 5.45×39mm, 6.8 mm Remington SPC, 7.62×39mm[1]
Action Gas-operated rotating bolt
Rate of fire 700 RPM
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
Sights Front sight adjustable in elevation and windage

The ARX-160 is a modular assault rifle manufactured by Pietro Beretta S.p.A.. Developed for the Italian armed forces as part of the Soldato Futuro ("Future Soldier" in English) program, the ARX-160 was launched in 2008 as a commercial weapon system independent from the Soldato Futuro ensemble, complete with a companion single-shot 40mm NATO low-velocity grenade launcher, called GLX-160, which can be underslung to the rifle or used with an ad-hoc stock system as a stand-alone weapon.


The ARX-160 departs from the previously issued Beretta 70/90 weapon system on several points. The weapon is composed of upper and lower receiver, both manufactured mostly in polymer, and operates through a short-stroke piston system. Feeding is through STANAG magazines.

The weapon's unique features include ambidextrous safeties, magazine catches and charging handle, the ability to change which side spent casings are ejected, a quick-change barrel which can be removed and replaced in seconds without 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. The standard length is 16 in (410 mm), with a 12 in (300 mm) barrel for special operators. A 16 in heavy barrel with match-grade rifling for marksmen and a 20 in (510 mm) barrel are being tested. 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. An bayonet lug, designed for Fulcrum Extrema Ratio bayonet is positioned on top of the barrel rather than underneath it.[2]

The ARX-160 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.[2]

The rifle has the ability to eject shells out of either the left or right 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 one through a small hole located past the port. It is small and optimized 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.[2]

Back-up iron sights are standard and made of the same polymer as the gun'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 M2 close combat optic. Night vision systems, thermal sights, and other accessories will be available through the Soldato Futuro program.[2]

Different calibers are planned by changing out the barrel, bolt, lower receiver, and magazine. In addition to 5.56 NATO, 7.62×39mm and 6.8mm Remington SPC configurations are planned, as well as the possibility of 5.45×39mm. A prototype heavy version is chambered for the 7.62×51mm NATO as a battle rifle.[2]


Developed for the Italian armed forces as part of the Soldato Futuro ("Future Soldier" in English) program, the ARX-160 was launched in 2008 as a commercial weapon system.

Between 2008 and 2014 around 30,000 ARX-160 have been supplied to the Italian Army, Italian Navy, Italian Air Force and Italian special forces in the specific version A2 and have been since used in several missions including Afghanistan. The current program aims to replace the older Beretta AR 70/90 as standard assault rifle for the Italian Armed Forces.

Foreign interest[edit]

The Beretta ARX-160 was a Phase II contender in the United States Army Individual Carbine competition to replace the M4 carbine.[3] The Individual Carbine competition was cancelled before a winning weapon was chosen.[4]

In February 2013, the Argentinean Army received an ARX-160 rifle and GLX-160 grenade launcher for evaluation for their special forces.[5]

The Indian Army is testing the ARX-160 as a replacement for the INSAS rifle.[6]

The Finnish Defence Forces are considering the 7.62x39mm variant of the ARX-160 to replace the current service weapon Rk 62. The possible order would be worth hundreds of millions, because of Finlands compulsory military service for men and hence a big need for service weapons.[7]



See also[edit]


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