Italian soldiers of San Marco Regiment with the Beretta SC70/90 rifle (Rome, 2007)
|Place of origin||Italy|
|In service||1972–1990 (AR70/90 .223)
|Used by||See Users|
|Wars||War in Afghanistan, Iraq War|
|Weight||3.99 kg (8.80 lb) (varies slightly)|
|Length||998 mm (39.3 in) (varies slightly)|
|Rate of fire||650 RPM (varies slightly)|
|Muzzle velocity||950 m/s (3,100 ft/s)|
|Effective firing range||500 m (1,600 ft)|
|Feed system||30-round STANAG Magazine
100-round C-Mag drum magazine
The Beretta AR70/90 is a gas operated self-loading assault rifle chambered for the 5.56×45mm NATO cartridge, and is the standard issue service rifle of the Italian Armed Forces. The weapon is also designed to be fitted with a rifle grenade, and has grenade sights. The AR series comes in many variants such as the AR90, with a wire folding stock, for use by paratroopers.
The Beretta AR70/90 assault rifle was developed in the 1980s when the Italian Government decided that its military and law enforcement agencies needed a new standard service weapon. It was made to be compatible with other NATO weapons by the adoption of standard 5.56mm STANAG loaders, whereas the AR70/90's predecessor, the BM59, derived from the U.S. M1 Garand, was chambered in 7.62 (.308), another NATO caliber which today is considered suitable mostly for sniper or machine gun use. There is a semi-auto version of the AR-70/90 called the AR 70/90S which lacks a flash hider and bayonet mount.
The AR-70/90 is manufactured according to 1980s standards, i.e. with limited use of polymer plastic parts and using stainless steel whenever possible (a Beretta staple). It weighs approximately 4 kg in standard configuration. It has three firing positions (full auto, three-round burst, and semi-auto) and a safe, and has a carrying handle not unlike the Vietnam-era M16, a long, bulky barrel, and a hollow stock. It is usually fitted with an ACOG or a red dot optic.
As of late 2010 the AR70/90 is supplemented in service by the new Beretta ARX-160, a totally new project which sees a great leap forward in soldier-to-weapon interfacing, several major developments in sighting and firepower such as the integrated (and also detachable) grenade launcher GLX-160, and the "Future Soldier Program" integration.
|Version||Caliber||Length||Barrel length||Mass||Effective range||Rate of fire|
|AR70/223||5.56×45mm M193||995 mm||450 mm||3.8 kg||400 m||650 rpm|
|AR70/90, SC70/90||5.56×45mm NATO||998 (756) mm||450 mm||4.07 kg||500 m||670 rpm|
|SCP70/90||5.56×45mm NATO||908 (663) mm||360 mm||3.8 kg||350 m||670 rpm|
- Burkina Faso
- Egypt: Used by Police forces
- Honduras: Delivered 1,000 in 2006.
- Italy: Army has 105,000 AR70s and 15,000 SCP70s in service; the weapons are also in service with the Navy, Air Force, Carabinieri, Guardia di Finanza and Polizia di Stato. Those models are going to be decommissioned in favor of ARX-160.
- Malta
- Mexico 
- Qatar
- Jones, Richard D. Jane's Infantry Weapons 2009/2010. Jane's Information Group; 35th edition (January 27, 2009). ISBN 978-0-7106-2869-5.
- Giorgio Beretta. "Italia: ecco le armi esportate da Berlusconi a dittatori e regimi autoritari". ControllArmi. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
- Alvaro Diaz. "Las Fuerzas Armadas de Honduras comenzarán el 2014 con nueva cúpula militar. El país busca en Israel asistencia técnica para repotenciar los F-5". Retrieved 11 November 2014.
- "Modern Firearms". Retrieved 11 November 2014.
- Beretta Defence company website
- Beretta Defence catalog
- Modern Firearms
- Video of operation on YouTube