Beretta ARX / GLX 160

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.

01 Arx 160 Assault Rifle

02 Arx 160 With Glx 160 Grenade Launcher
GLX 160 grenade launcher attached.

03 Arx 160 Carbine

04 Arx 160 Buttstock Folded

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).

07 Arx 160 Stripped

08 Arx 160 12 And 16 In Barrels

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.

Picture 8-29
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.

Picture 9-26

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.

Picture 10-21

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.



Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • The weapon had a good feeling in the booth at Eurosatory 2008. The design is as good for touching as for looking – a straight index finger is actually comfortable (very much unlike with SCAR iirc).

    The barrel change and grenade subsystem handling are very quick.
    Weight and front heaviness feel normal.

    • Sven, thanks for your comment.

  • Canthros

    If I were Magpul, I might be pretty torqued about this.

    That said, can’t say as I much care for the looks of that thing.

  • mattling

    I look forward to seeing it in scifi movies. That thing looks badass.

  • rutgers95

    Seems pretty interesting, glad we got another in 6.8!

  • Matt Groom

    I think it looks kinda ugly for an Italian design. They usually have such cool looking heaters, this one is kinda ‘blah’.

    I wonder how many lugs the bolt has? Fixed ejector or spring loaded? Is there a buffer system? Are the barrels chrome lined?

    5.45×39 is an excellent idea, since it has the same sized rim as the 6.8 SPC and both of those cartridges are going to be popular with civilians, so it’s ready to sell in the US if they want to build it here. You think 16″ barrels were an accident?

  • Cmathews

    So it has a polymer upper as well? Is this the evolution of the Beretta RX4 Storm, or an entirely new direction?

  • Overload in CO

    Any chance we’ll see a semi auto version here in the US?

    • Overload, I have heard nothing to indicate that they will produce a civilian version. On the other hand Beretta does produce civilian semi-automatic rifles, pistols and shotguns so maybe they will.

  • woodfiend

    I think it’s a really cool gun, but the rails on the fore end make it look unbalanced. Just looks like more style could have been put into the fore end to make it “morph” more into a more natural looking weapon.

  • jdun1911

    A member of AR15 from the Italian Army posted information on the rifle. There are some interesting comments that was brought up. You guys might want to take a look.

    IMO plastic are bad in military rifles.

    http://www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=1&f=5&t=865517&page=1

  • AK™

    The last picture reminds me of the M8.

  • Andrew from Italy

    Some info on this weapon, directly from Italy:

    1: you swapped the changing times…. you can change barrel in no longer than a couple of minutes and can swap the ejection side in 2 seconds, it has a hidden switch you can activate with a bullet point for that.

    2: The weapon is not mutuated from the px4-cx4 family, it is an entirely new weapon, enginereed specifically for the Italian army. It sports 10 international patents and for now a civilian version is not in their minds.

    3: the main features of this rifle are:

    The fact it works with no (or a very small quantity of) lubricant, thus making it really resistant in adverse environment

    It will be available in 5,56 Nato, 7,62×39 and 6,8 SPC

    The ejection swap switch, wich allows to shoot from angles with the camera provided in the “Soldato Futuro” system without being pummeled by hot cases 🙂

    It has a great stability in auto shooting, it’s very accurate and his weight is lower than most of other assault rifles, while still having a 16″ heavy barrel.

  • AK™

    I’ll take mine in Ferrari Red please 😉

  • Lorenzo

    As an Italian I can say it’s one of the ugliest rifles I’ve seen in my life.
    I think Beretta could do much better in design as this.

  • Rijoenpial

    Guys,

    I think this gun puts the ACR to shame: it is ambi in EVERY SINGLE WAY: bolt catch, bolt release, ejection ports, cocking, barrel removal, etc…

    There are two videos, two italian, and one from SHOT SHOW 2010 where this beauty of engineering is being demonstrated: please, time out the time the guy takes to remove the barrel! It puts ACR to shame, not to mention the real show-stopper: the dual ejection ports!!

    The Italian links:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YK4CcvW3I3M&feature=channel

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ptYAwft0dU

    The SHOT SHOW 2010 one:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JejzPiUYYzg&feature=fvsr

    Great rifle and the design is futuristic, not to mention very functional…

    By the way, the ACR is almost all polymer, and I trust Beretta more to make a good rifle than the beginner Magpul! At least. the ARX is already serving one Army! What about the ACR?! Overpricy, overhyped and over-stealing from other companies’ patented designs, it seems!

    This ARX is the real deal and a couple of design changes would make it the BEST around!

    Remember, three points for ejecting the mag and two activation modes for the dual ejection ports, the flipside one and the one activated with a pin, like the guy from armietiro used to change ejection ports…

    Very impressive and the complete ambidextrious rifle out there… Even the bolt release is located where a right handed or a left-handed person can activate it, the same one the XM8 had… in the center, not two switches on e on each side… I was glad at least this XM8 feature outlived that weapon’s shelving…

    Beretta, very good entry! Congratulations!

  • Reabo

    I just finished reading the write up in Small Arms Review and, I am truly salivating over the semi-auto version that I hope to be able to sell in my Gun Shop. Belissimo Beretta, what a fantastic weapon…………

  • Meltron

    whats the sight in the first picture?

  • JoeB

    I just saw a review of this gun at shot show and it is abosolutly incredable. Blows the ACR out of the water in terms of weight and innovation in my mind

  • SF_albania

    Am an Albanian soldier, currently in Special Forces training, and have been issued the ARX 160 about one week ago. Of corse it’s batter than the Type 56 (chinese AK 47)i have been using till now. I cannot compare it to the ACR or SCAR, as i have never testeg those weapons, but i can say that it is superiour compared to the G36 and Hk416, which i have tested for about a month. The part i liked the most is how easy it is dissasembled, a lot easier than the AK. as for reliability, i haven’t had the opotrunity to torture it by now, so i can’s be sure, but it seems pretty reliable. I have never had stoppages till now. The weight is great too. i used to match with the AK, and my armf fell off, but the ARX is more than 1KG lighter. the accuracy is the same as the Hk416.
    The only thing i don’t like at the ARX is the buttpad, just because i’m not used to it.

  • JP

    Wow…there really is so much hatred out there for the ACR. Besides the fact that is grossly overpriced (even though MSRP doesn’t reflect what they are actually selling for, they are still very expensive), it really didnt have that many flaws. I have owned one for over a year, both pre-and post recall. I never hand any problems with mine double firing, but I use only NATO loads. From what I have been able to find out the cause for the double firings was more inconsistent primer thicknesses on different ammo brands and self loads that was causing the problem more than an actual mechanical malfunction. I personally have fired over 2000 rounds through mine without any malfunctions. As far as the engineering goes, they did take the things that they liked from different platforms and combined them, getting rid of the things they didn’t like. If there was any patent infringement then lawsuits would be filed.

    I’m not saying I don’t like the ARX. I am a huge fan of Beretta and they make great weapons. But to claim that this blows the ACR out of the water is ridiculous in my opinion. It does have some features that the ACR doesn’t have but the same can be said in reverse. I like the multiple magazine releases, the reversible ejection ports and the lighter weight of it. I’m not sure how I feel about the stock, not having an adjustable cheek pad. The other thing that I think would be an issue for me is that in order to change the caliber, you have to swap the entire lower receiver. If I am going to spend a huge chunk of money on a carbine that is supposed to be capable of multiple calibers, I want to have to change as few parts as possible. Caliber change on the ACR is much simpler, and while I am still waiting for my 6.8mm barrel, its the only additional part I will need to purchase in order to make use of that feature.

    Then of course, there is the fact they don’t even have a civilian version of it yet, or even a rough idea of when to expect one. In my honest opinion, if you like them and can get a good deal on a ACR Enhanced, don’t hold your breath for this one to become available. You more than likely have enough time to save to pay whatever the price tag may be when this thing hits the civilian market.

  • Pneuma

    One amazing gun! Disappointing it’s so fugly. 🙁