MAC Tours The Accokeek Maryland Beretta Factory

Tim of the Military Arms Channel recently took a trip to Beretta USA’s Accokeek Maryland facility. Beretta is the oldest major firearms manufacturer in the world with over 500 years experience making guns, but has only had a presence in the United States for 35 years. The Accokeek facility was set up to support production of the US military’s M9 service pistol, based on the Beretta 92 handgun. The video overview of MAC’s tour is embedded below:

One of the things highlighted in the video is the Old World-style hand-fitting that is used to finish each model 92 handgun, including the M9. These techniques, though they have a very long history, are still very viable for weapons manufacture today.

Beretta has begun an initiative to create a powered rail system. The powered rail concept migrates the current distributed power sources for accessories on the rifle from each individual attachment to a central power bank located on the rifle itself. Beretta’s rails are integrated not only for power, but also data, as well, allowing removable accessory control panels to be attached to the rail wherever the user decides is appropriate.

The powered rail concept is one that NATO is highly interested in standardizing among its member nations. A powered accessory rail would cut bulk and weight while reducing logistic strain by standardizing battery types, as well as improving configurability. Whether such a rail will be standardized by NATO, and the degree to which retrofit will be possible for existing rifles remains to be seen.

Beretta is demoing this powered rail system on their ARX-100 polymer framed rifle. The ARX-100 is a relatively lightweight design featuring a toolless-detach barrel, accessory compatibility, and – most oddly – reversible ejection. As Tim notes, each ARX is test-fired with a high pressure proof load before shipping, an unusual practice in civilian rifle production.

Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at


  • micmac80

    ”Tim notes, each ARX is test-fired with a high pressure proof load
    before shipping, an unusual practice in civilian rifle production. ”
    Nothing unusual in Europe no single firearm is allowed into the market without a shooting a proof load and getting a seal that confirms that.

    • Anton Gray Basson

      It was surprising to see that proofing isnt standard practice in the US

      • DW

        Many AR15 bolts claim to be HPT (high pressure tested), maybe it’s another way of proofing? I don’t know what they do when they HPT the bolt though, someone enlighten me please.

        • micmac80

          HPT means exactly that it was tested with a high pressure proof load.

        • It means firing a proof load.

    • Zach

      It’s not really uncommon practice here in the US, the only bolts and chambers that aren’t high pressure tested are made only by the lower quality AR manufacturers, and any other type of next generation combat rifle is. It’s also army mil-spec and in the M4 TDP.

      They’re basically trying to hype up the ARX by acknowledging practices that are always standard for any comoany worth it’s salt.

      • Giolli Joker

        The dirrence lies between testing in house or in a third party independent test center.

      • I don’t think most civilian rifles – taken in the aggregate – are proofed. The high end ones are, yes, but of course Beretta will advertise that they do this.

        I didn’t repeat Tim’s statement that he’d “never seen that before” specifically because of the HPT practice for mil-spec bolts.

        • Military Arms Channel

          Every tour I’ve been on (which at the time this was filmed was 4, this footage is 9 months old) no manufacturer fired proof loads. So, as I said in the video, I had never seen it done before. As noted above, for AR manufacturers this has become common for higher end rifles or rifles advertised as mil-spec (if they’re being honest). I would hazard a guess and say most AR manufacturers (or should I say “assemblers”) don’t do this and such companies number in the hundreds. None of the domestic AK builders I’ve seen proof their rifles. As for handgun manufacturers I’ve seen, none have proof tested every handgun. So, as implied, the process isn’t all that common in the US given my experiences.

          • Tim,

            Thank you for commenting. It wasn’t my intention to sound like I was doubting what you said, I just know of manufacturers making HPT bolts so I didn’t want to repeat what didn’t come from my own personal experience.

            I agree with you that it’s not very common in the US, though far from unheard of (again, if higher end manufacturers are to be believed).

          • Military Arms Channel

            I didn’t think you were being negative in any way, I just wanted to clarity my comments and position. 🙂 Thanks for sharing the video and keep up the outstanding work.

          • Oh, good! Lack of facial expressions in text and all that.

            You keep up the great work, too, Tim!

    • Right, it’s not as common with US civilian guns. I should have clarified that.

  • Nicks87

    Any word on that Beretta striker-fired pistol?

    • Apparently not. Maybe it’s not being made in Maryland?

    • According to what we hear from Beretta here in Italy, it is not going to hit commercial (read: civilian) markets before early 2016. But that may just be for Europe.

      As for where it is made, I’ve handled a prototype they had “behind the counter” at their booth at the IWA expo, last March, which is the same they had on display at the IDEX expo where it was first showcased. It clearly says “made in Italy”.

  • iksnilol

    Don’t you guys proof weapons before distributing them?

    Seems stupid not to.

    • Zach

      The only companies that don’t are very low end AR manufacturers, any reputable company does and the bolts and barrels are marked as such.

      It’s just hype for a standard feature to make the ARX look better.

    • It’s not required. :

      • iksnilol


        That might explain some kabooms.

        • John Evans

          What kaboom a are you referring to? And why would you criticize Beretta for doing that. If it’s not required and they do it anyway, they should be praised and not criticized.

          • iksnilol

            You got it backwards. I am criticizing those who don’t proof their guns. And people (rightfully sometimes) question my reading comprehension.

            The kabooms I am referring to are those who could have been avoided if the gun was proofed but wasn’t (better for it to blow up in a testing facility than in your hands after some years).

          • It depends. In Europe, they ARE required by law to do that, both in-house and elsewhere: no firearm is allowed to enter civilian markets if they aren’t proof-tested one-by-one by a CIP-certified national proofing house.

  • Tim U

    I found the video very informative. Definitely liking the ARX more than I did before.

    If I could get one with the powered rail, I’d be tempted to adopt it for the battery standard.

    • See Alex C’s review of the ARX for a dissenting opinion.

      • Fracking Saves

        I’ve fired two different ones and didn’t run into the problems Alex did. A mil spec trigger feel but it broke around 6lbs and I had hair over 1MOA @ 100 yards with Hornady VE 55gr. Using Lake City M193 spread it out a bit more but not anything major. I DID dust my knuckles, though but other than that, both ran beautiful.
        I wonder if he just got a “Monday/Friday” example. Lol

        • I had wondered about that, too. Beretta, unfortunately, did not seem keen to fix the problem.

  • HKmaster

    At around 14:15 I don’t think BUIS are supposed to do that…

    • Don

      I agree 100%. I’d love to here the explanation for that one.

  • My review:
    Beretta, with that facility I know you can do better.

    • I really wanted to like the ARX, but as more details of its design and operating mechanism became available I soured to it. Your review didn’t help. 😉

  • John Evans

    Why do you keep saying Beretta is the oldest firearm company?
    They are not.
    They were making parts and finally jumped into guns in the last 125 years or so.
    Heck, Colt has been making guns longer than Beretta.
    Isn’t Zanotti the oldest gun maker?

    • iksnilol

      Because Beretta is the oldest firearm company. Cannons and arquebuses are firearms.

      They were founded in 1526, Zanotti started about 101 years later in 1625.

      Though Beretta doesn’t have over 500 years of experience, I will give you that.

    • As far as I know, they are the oldest gun company continuously in operation as the same entity. Beretta was founded in 1526 (the date of an order of arquebus barrels, is apparently where the company traces its founding) by Bartolomeo Beretta, a gunsmith. If 185 arquebus barrels isn’t “making guns”, I don’t know what is.

  • jcitizen

    Me want! Quick change barrel good!

    Edit: on second thought, it isn’t hard to find quick change barrel kits for ARs, and they are probably more accurate too.