Powered Picatinny Rail Coming To Beretta ARX-160

Beretta USA have signed a licensing agreement with Prototype Productions Incorporated (PPI) that will allow them to incorporate PPI’s powered picatinny rail system into the Beretta ARX-100 and Beretta ARX-160. It looks like powered rails are finally ready to go mainstream. This video explains the technology …

The full press release is below …

ASHBURN, VA, July 30, 2013– PPIVH, the venture division of specialty research manufacturing and technology development firm PPI based in Ashburn, VA, has announced that Beretta USA has agreed to integrate their ARX-100 and ARX-160 next generation polymer carbines with the Powered RailTM technology created by PPI through the US Army’s SBIR contract program. PPI is currently operating under the Commercialization Pilot Program (CPP) Phase II of that original contract awarded in 2008.

This selection was the result of a multi-year, intense negotiation and assessment by Beretta on the Powered Rail program as they reviewed and monitored technologies world-wide for a powered rail capability. The powered rail is the next step or evolution for carbines and weapon manufacturers as they consolidate weapons, electronic accessories and EOIR devices. The PPI Powered RailTM will allow the ARX-100 and ARX-160 to consolidate power for accessories such as flashlights, lasers, night vision, thermal weapon sights, and other devices under development, while also providing data transfer and communications between devices and external resources.

“This is an exciting opportunity for the Beretta Defense Technologies alliance of companies”, said Gabriele de Plano, VP of Military Marketing & Sales at Beretta USA, “PPIVH’s innovative technology will allow us to integrate Steiner optics and Laser Devices illuminators and pointers into a unique ARX system solution”.

Joe V. Travez, Chairman of PPI’s venture subsidiary – PPIVH, and CEO of PPI, said, “We are honored to partner with Beretta, a 500 year old company that has a rich heritage of craftsmanship, innovation and tireless support for the warfighter. We share Beretta’s commitment to excellence and Beretta’s vision to revolutionize the arms industry with integrated power and data/communications. The resulting Powered Rail enabled ARX weapons will provide today’s warfighters with unmatched capability, combined with a lighter load and lower fielding and sustainment costs. Beretta has been very proactive in its approach towards weapon and accessory integration and innovation, and we believe this agreement clearly demonstrates the direction of the industry towards consolidation of power and communications on the weapon. Beretta recognizes the benefits of our Powered RailTM technology world-wide and the resulting applications for weapon manufacturers, accessory makers and integration firms developing the latest generation optic accessories. The core technology of the Powered RailTM is the lightweight, sealed bus board with its patented internal switching, which can be integrated into any weapon platform that utilizes the Picatinny Rail. This unprecedented technology acts like a durable, waterproof “power strip,” allowing accessories to be reduced in size and weight while adding an embedded, high-speed communications capability.”

About PPI

Since 1991, PPI has developed over 200 operational, market-ready products for its clients in a diverse range of technology sectors. An award-winning company, PPI is a leader in design, engineering, and manufacturing unique products for the Federal government as well as commercial sectors. PPI is dedicated to ensuring a knowledgeable base of future engineers and technology experts and works through an active education outreach program to educate and inspire students. In 2010 PPI formed T Worx Ventures, charged with the commercialization of technologies created by PPI. For more information on PPI visit www.protoprod.com. Business development Don McLaughlin – Dmclaughlin@protoprod.com

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.


  • dan

    tactical battery change

    • David

      So when the battery dies, it takes not just one accessory out, it takes all acessories out of duty.

      • RocketScientist

        Yup. Much better to have heavier and more complex accessories featuring their own batteries so the weight can be distributed in all the wrong places, and have to keep multiple sets of different-sized spare batteries than to have a single battery placed in an ideal spot as far as C.G. is concerned, and to only have to carry one spare battery around.

        • zack991

          Separate systems in this case is a very good thing, if one goes down they all don’t fail. All the latest “extra’s” comes in every flavor of battery type so having one style of batter is not a problem. Redundancy is your friend and putting all your eggs in one basket and hoping it does not break is foolish. Again this is a solution looking for a problem that does not exist. It will be in the next Call of Duty game but no real “operator” would carry this. Simple is better, murphy will be out in force on this one.

      • gunslinger

        now if you said the battery connection to the rail failed… maybe.

        but a single battery to change out (quick connect?) shouldn’t be that bad

      • avconsumer2

        You’re planning on forgetting to check the battery level meter? (or carry a spare?)

    • jogo

      battery change took more than seconds…. YOUR DEAD !!!AND BLEEDING ALREADY WAHAHAHAHA……

  • Lance

    So now you can get a rail charge for a Beretta. I know the US Army is looking into one for there M-4s as well.

  • avconsumer2

    Will wait for much field testing and reviews before drinking kool-aid.

  • JumpIf NotZero

    … Interesting, their previous version (or at least the last one I read about here, think it was them) a completely idiotic 5 wire interface per rail segment. 2 for power, 3 for data using SPI protocol. I made fun of them for this as SPI was used in the original Atari.

    Now though… I’m only seeing 2 contacts per rail section. Which means the data is being trnsfered one of two ways…

    1. Every other pair is power then data. This means accessories would have to autoswitch depending on their placement and also would be required to span at least two powered sections each.

    2. Their data comm is over the power lines. Like those home Ethernet extenders that go over AC power from point to point. If it were me, I would use LIN bus but their 4-30VDC tells me it’s not likely LIN with its low limit of 12V for most transceivers. Their “high speed” data is relatively high I’m sure as there isn’t a lot that needs to be transferred. But still, a chained network like this probably means Master and Slave network, that would be a poor choice IMO. This works well over high voltage AC because its easy to hide a carrier signal in, your vacuum doesn’t care. But to do this on a DC signal means you need a decoupling capacitor on the device to keep its own power supply smooth considering the power being feed is irregular because its also a pulsing data feed, larger electrolytic caps means cost, weight, and failure points in every device.

    Number 2 is more likely. And this is better than the last implementation that had an old inefficient physical layer for data. Although I still think they are making choices that they’re likely shooting themselves in the foot with.

  • Clint Notestine

    if you really need a dedicated power source beyond what a light and maybe sight needs you should rethink how your gun is layed out

  • zack991

    Sorry but I hated this idea when it first came out, this is a solution looking for a problem. The term KISS comes to mind and this is certainly not a smart idea of putting all systems on this rail. There are much better, more dependable options on the market right now. If you use this you better hope Murphy does not come a knocking when you need it the most.


    One of the largest arms manufacturers in the world just selected a powered rail technology to integrate optics and electronic accessories. Multiple options for redundancy – pistol grip; butt stock; or directly on the rail. Users should contemplate the reasons why the selection was made and what the future holds versus holding on to old, out dated prejudices. The future lies with integration on the weapon and the ability to communicate between accessories on and off the weapon. The SBIR contract that sparked this technology is now in the 5th full year. Product has matured AND been selected by NATO.

  • annerajb

    so which accesories exist that can use this powered rail?

  • TangledThorns

    Oh goodie, it’ll make the ARX-100 heavier which is not why I was interested in it.

  • hellllem

    Most likely made for high power devices, like smartphones and thermal sensor optics. Part of the future warrior program. Still a dumb implementation and NATO sucks.

  • PatrickPM

    This seems like it solves a problem that doesnt exist

  • jabrauwnie


  • Joshua

    Not sure how I feel about this. The battery better be damn powerful to run a white light, Peq and a optic.

    My X300Ultra I run now gets 2hrs of run time on 2 CR123 batteries. My EXPS 3-0 gets 600hrs on one CR123, and the PEQ-15 gets less than 6 hrs.

    I guess running everthing on one battery defeats the idea of this……Their M4 solution is also a joke.

    They are stuck on the crappy ARS mounting solution instead of FF designs for their M4 variant.

  • Mike Knox

    I’ve heard from hobbyists how close this design trend gets to soft-air guns..

  • slapnuts

    I did something like this on my AR 4-5yrs ago. While it has its merits, I am not entirely convinced its necessary. I do like having the battery in the buttstock as it allowed me to make my lights very small and very very light weight. But seriously, a 12oz battery and a keyboard on your rail? Was this done to meet some sort of obtuse demand from the military or was it just lack of foresight on the designers part? Weight and complexity don’t really go well with field usage. But then again this is the military so its probably a lowest bidder sort of thing. Giving me motivation to revisit my design and do it in a more better way that this.

  • jogo


  • I Ren

    This is just asking for trouble. There isn’t any issue with battery mounted accessories, but is an increased reliability on them really necessary or even advantageous? True, it all depends on POU, but having what essentially is becoming a battery-powered rifle (as the system increasingly depends on optics and accessories to achieve performance) is like going to engage your enemy rigged to a timer. Once that timer (the battery charge) clicks to zero, all those fancy gadgets fail and what are you left with now?

    It’s worrying how this battery-powered accessory hype is increasingly defining aspects of the weapon rather than the other way around. Integrating a battery system into a rifle will only cause needless troubles and tries to solve a nonexistent problem.

    If you need that much electronic gear as to need one of these stock-rail systems to function, there’s a problem with you not with your weapon.

    When you shoulder a firearm, you depend on it and everything attached to it to work all the time every time. Having a battery attached to anything decreases its reliability because batteries degrade and electronics malfunction in ways that you may not be able to fix. It makes it more of a Russian Roulette situation every time you add a battery powered device to do something else because when it fails (it’s not a matter of if) what are you going to do when you increasingly rely on that instead of your own ability and training to accomplish a certain task? Are there uses for accessories? Oh yes. They are important. But this concept is ridiculous and needless.

    A firearm is an analogue device and it works because it is so. If you want a fancy bells and whistles Las-Vegas light show, go play COD. Accessories should say accessories and not become integral parts of small-arms.