Kazakhstan Special Forces Adopt Beretta ARX-160 in 7.62x39mm

Despite most of the industry showing no interest in continuing to develop firearms which chamber the 7.62x39mm, Beretta delivered a 7.62x39mm of their ARX-160 not long after the original 5.56mm.  It looks like Kazakhstan may have been the first country to adopt the it. A photo from a recent military parade shows special forces carry the 7.62mm ARX-160 with the GLX-160 grenade launcher attached.

Kazakhstan Special Forces-1-1


Thanks to Albi for the tip.

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.


  • floppyscience

    Huh…I thought the only people still using 7.62×39 were those who didn’t have a choice. It’s weird to see a country adopting a new rifle in the caliber.

    • Steve (TFB Editor)

      I would say that this is true, but equally true about 5.56mm today.

      • Esh325

        Yeah, if you’re a NATO country, you pretty much have to adopt 5.56×45.

      • FourString

        Why anyone would downvote this is beyond me.

    • MacK

      New rifle in a caliber they probably have access to hundreds of millions of rounds stockpiled or access too from MRus.

      • Hedd Wyn John

        Russian special forces units are also known to use 7.62×39. The round has power and penetration that 5.45×39 can’t match. Provided you know the limits of the round beyond 300metres 7.62×39 does the job. When you want flat low recoil shooting at 400-500metres that’s when 5.45×39 and 5.56×45 show their superiority over 7.62×39.

  • Luke

    Looks pretty goofy with the 7.62×39 mag, and the grenade launcher sticking way out there.

    • zenobia123

      ex-1st SFG (abn).here. It’s a parade, all parades are goofy!

  • John Sjöström

    That rifle with a MGL on it looks very bulky and forward heavy.

    • Wizard

      they are, dont know why they still produce them. stand-alones are way better

  • Meh.

  • noob

    If ammo was at reasonable prices and you had the choice of an ARX-100 in .300 BLK or 7.62×39, which would you choose? (no cheating and saying both)

    • Matt

      7.62×39. No question.

    • Tim Underbakke

      7.62×39. It is always been and always will be cheaper than BLK.

      Now, if I could get the ARX in any caliber, AND BLK was the same price point as 5.56 or 7.62×39, then I’d get one in 5.56 and have a spare 300 BLK barrel so I could pick whichever caliber I felt like that day.

      But just looking at reasonable for BLK vs reasonable for 7.62×39, my winner has to be the x39

    • 7.62——

    • I’d wait for the 6.8 version to come out. Better ballistics than either of those calibers. I would still get a 7.62×39 but I’d need to feed it SST if I hoped to get good ballistics.

      • FourString

        Interesting. MilSurp 7.62x39mm should be easier to find, though. I do like the idea of 6.8, just wish (price taken into account) it were more accessible.

  • noob

    offtopic – is it normal to put your radio antenna straight up like that?

  • MOG

    (If I can’t spell it or pronounce it, it don’t matter). Maybe they have men strong enough to carry those 7.62s, and, the ammo. We used too, but then, we were not dressed up like armadillos with all that “catch me, kiss me, do me” gear.

    • TCBA_Joe

      You realize 7.62×39 is not 7.62×51, right? Totally different class of rifle and ammunition. We’ve NEVER used 7.62×39.
      Granted, you could just be taking a shot at those of us in uniform with absolutely no idea about weapons theory and employment outside of “if it doesn’t start with .4 (or in the case of a rifle, .3) it’s garbage.”

      • MOG

        2nd 503 CBT,173rd Abn, 1st Bde,101st Abn, M1/M14/M16. 1962 to 1965 (VN Central highlands with 101st). I said 7.62, yes, I do know the difference, and you damn right we humped them and ammo, and most anything else we needed. You arrogant boy scout, we were the Abn when there still was one. You are an embarrassment. By the way, that original M16 was garbage.

  • The Berretta rep at the NRA convention mentioned that they would be releasing it in other calibers as well if there was a demand. It will initially it will be 5.56 and .300 AAC. 7.62×39 was a caliber he mentioned. Wile the .300 AAC would only require a barrel change (takes seconds with the ARX-100) other calibers would also require a bolt change. This takes only a few minutes longer.

  • what mag does it use? std AK mags?

    • Bill

      yes, because it is still pretty much the only viable, mass produced, magazine that effectively holds the 7.62×39 cartridge.

      • FourString

        don’t forget that magpul’s coming out with a 7.62x39mm mag! whoo! (course they probably aren’t out yet? eh?)

  • Esh325

    Interesting. I thought they would have had it in 5.45×39 instead, but I guess their army has large stocks of 7.62×39 ammo. Either they are using 7.62×39 because they have large stocks of ammo, or because they personally chose a 7.62×39.

    • snmp

      That’s more price for licence of production for the 5.45×39 & AK74M/AK100 when you have for free the licence of production of AKM & 7.62×39.

      • Esh325

        What do you mean? Kazahkstan has never made their rifles, all their rifles were made by Russia under the USSR.

        • snmp

          that’s about the ammunition

          • Theri0n

            Not only. AK-74M, RPK-74M, NSV Utes guns are the main production.

        • Theri0n

          Actually Kazakhstan has got its own firearms and ammo factory producing AK-74M, RPK-74, 12.5mm Utes machine gun and variety of former Warshava pact ammo.

          • Esh325

            What’s the factory called?

          • Theri0n

            I do not remember the exact name, but you can find it if you search for the reasons why russians decided to produce new 12.5mm gun Kord in Kovrov.

  • Twinkie

    Shameful that Kazakhstan has a more advanced rifle than the US.

    • Bill

      It’s not really more advanced, just different. We can’t justify a whole new weapons system and the extreme cost associated with it until the 5.56 is completely surpassed and a new caliber is adopted because it is leaps and bound flat out better. (this isnt a reply defending or supporting the 5.56, just stating the realities). Until then, the M4 will continue to be updated.

    • TerminalBRD

      Keep in mind that this is the Kazakhstan Special Forces. Our special ops types use some pretty high-speed kit as well (for example the Mk 16/Mk17 SCAR and the HK416). I’m betting that the regular line Kazakh units are probably still using beat to hell AK-47s/AKMs in 7.62x39mm while our regular grunts are toting M4A1s and M16A4s with advanced optics and targeting systems so we’re still better off in terms of military equipment.

      • Grunts do not use the M4A1. They might in the foreseeable future but as of now the M4A1 is only available to those in SOF units. You’re thinking of the M4.

        • jph

          I’m a grunt and I use an M4A1.

          • eaa

            I’m a grunt, and I’m certain you don’t. If you were a grunt, I’m willing to bet there’s an M4 in your company’s arms room with your name on its buttstock.

        • spencer

          The US Army is in the process of transitioning it’s trigger pullers to the M4A1.

          “PHASE I PIP: Fleet Conversion to M4A1s
          “Project Manager Soldier Weapons (PM SW) initiated Phase I by modifying its contract for the production of M4s to the M4A1. PM SW took delivery of 9,582 new M4A1s to complete this action. In support, TACOM Life Cycle Management Command will have fielded approximately 6,000 M4A1 Carbines to the 101st Airborne Division by September and plans to field an additional 3,000 M4A1s to another unit within the next several months.

          PM SW also held a competition for the manufacture of 24,000 additional M4A1 Carbines. The Army awarded a contract in April to Remington Arms Co. The award came under protest and the Army is currently developing several courses of action to comply with the Government Accountability Office ruling and concerns regarding the competition. Once the contract dispute is resolved, other services will be able to place M4A1 and M4 orders against the contract as well.

          The main thrust of Phase I is to upgrade existing M4s to the M4A1 configuration. The Army authorized the conversion of all M4s to the M4A1 standard with the upgrade currently budgeted for 300,000 M4s. The Army will complete the upgrades through the purchase of components that support modification work orders (MWO) that will be applied by Small Arms Readiness and Evaluation Teams (SARET).

          The Army awarded six contracts for MWO kit components to date. Five of the awarded contracts went to small businesses. The awards reflect a success in the Army’s strategy to broaden the opportunities for small arms contractors and strengthen the diversity of the industrial base. PM SW anticipates awarding the final contract this summer for the barrel and bolt assembly. SARET is scheduled to begin upgrading M4s at a maximum rate of 8,000 a month beginning in late summer 2013.”

          Source US Army’s PEO soldier M4 Carbine Product Improvement Program.

          • Joe Schmoe

            Having myself used an M4A1 during my whole career, I can tell you the number of times I’ve actually switched the selector to “Auto”: Twice.

            Once on a range just for fun, and the other time on a boring exercise where I just wanted to waste some M193 ammo so I could replace it with SS109 ammo, so I made my M4A1 a little machine gun for fun.

            Practicality of hitting something meaningful with the M4A1 on full auto: 0.001%

          • zenobia123

            In 4 tours of Vietnam I never fired auto in a firefight, it’s too damn inaccurate. It’s great for the movies.

      • Theri0n

        AK-47 are no longer in use since 1961 when all AK-47 and AKS-47 where totally replaced by really legendary AKM and AKMS within soviet armed forces. AK-74 for 5.45mm were introduced in early 80s, but mainly within USSR borders while soviet occupation forces in Afghanistan used primarily 7.62mm AKM/AKMS rifles down to withdrawal at 1989.

        Almost all post-soviet countries use AKM/AKMS 7.62/AK-74/M/S RPK-74/M 5.45mm weapons with 1/4 ratio as main firearm set.

        Only Azerbaijan is going to replace AKs with AFAIK HK-416 (great idea, wish Kazakhstan does either) and this is possible because they do not have significant stocks of 7.62×39 and 5.45 ammo so it won’t be expencive to switch to NATO standarts.

    • zenobia123

      Ever killed a man, with a rifle, that was trying to kill you? I have!
      You don’t know what your talking about.

  • Cuban Pete

    Big fan of the Russian .30cal. Big fan. But why would anyone ever buy a modern rifle and put that old cartridge inside it is beyond logic.

    • Ben

      It probably has something to do with Kazakhstan being right underneath Russia.

    • Esh325

      .308 is 61 years old and .50 BMG is nearly 100 years old, yet they still make guns for them.

  • Big Daddy

    Having carried a M203 I can say that those rifles with the 40mm GL will be difficult to handle. The attachment is too far forward making it difficult to load. There isn’t a way to fire it properly, how can you pull the trigger correctly? There’s no real grip. Using the magazine on the M203 wasn’t the best but it was there, this weapon has really nothing to grip properly. Also the weight at the end of the rifle, I would think that aiming and firing would be difficult, especially under duress during a real firefight. The rifle itself looks good and probably performs well enough. This looks like a case of the bean counters choosing their weapons not the men going to fight with them.

  • Spencer

    No Borat jokes??? Where is everyone’s sense of humor?