The Beretta ARX 160 is the new assault rifle being adopted the the Italians. I first mentioned it on in blog post last October and now thanks to REMOV I have the specs and some detailed photos (copyright Armi e Tiro/Beretta). According to REMOV the R&D cost 4 million euros, 70,000 man hours and 500,000 rounds of ammunition for testing!
Click to expand the photos.
The weapon has been designed to be modular and easy to maintain in the field. It has an upper/lower polymer receiver, much like the AR-15, a gas piston system and a rotating bolt. An interesting feature, for an assault rifle, is the ultra-quick change barrel system. Beretta claim barrels can be swapped in two seconds without tools by simply depressing two latches in the upper receiver! Quad Picatinny rails allow for accessories to be attached.
Ergonomics have been an important design goal in the development of this rifle. To this end the ejection and charging handle can be switched from one side to the other in no longer than a minute. All selector switches and buttons are fully ambidextrous and the folding stock is collapsible (four position).
The rifle will come three variants: the Special Forces (12″ barrel), Carbine (16″ barrel) and Designated Marksmen / light Sniper (16″ heavy barrel). This is the first time I have seen a designated marksmen rifle come standard with a 16″ barrel and is another step in the current trend towards shorter carbines and sub-carbines.
The standard rifle configurations are chambered in 5.56x45mm NATO and use STANAG (M16) magazines. By swapping the bolt head, lower receiver and barrel the rifle can be reconfigured to use 5.45x39mm, 7.62x39mm or 6.8mm SPC rounds.
12″ barrel (bottom and middle) and 16″ barrel (top)
The GLX 160 grenade launcher can be quickly attached to the ARX 160 or be used as a stand-alone weapon. In its most basic configuration is weighs less than 1 kg (2.2 lbs) and 2.2 kb (4.8 lbs) when fitted with a collapsible stock and grenade iron sights.
The GLFCS ( Grenade Launcher Fire Control System ) is a range finder / ballistics calculator for the GLX that attaches to the ARX 160 allowing for accurate fire.
Not much has been said about this rifle while the Bushmaster ACR and FN SCAR have been getting all the attention. I think the ARX / GLX 160 is an impressive package and I look forward to seeing how it performs in Italian service.
Credit for this blog post needs to go to REMOV who provided me with a lot of information. Thanks Remi.