Beretta ARX 160A2 Among Peshmerga

A recent photograph has been posted on the Kurdish forum Kurdistan Sky Scrapers depicting a Peshmerga fighter with a Beretta Defense Technology 5.56x45mm NATO ARX 160A2 with a 12 inch barrel instead of a standard 16 inch. The rifle sports factory sights, and has an Aimpoint CompM3 (or at least an imitation) mounted on the 12 o’clock picatinny rail. Attached to the rifle is a black two point sling. The Peshmerga fighter does not have the standard issue 30 round STANG magazine inserted, although supplies of such magazines should be close at hand due to the overwhelming use of M16A2s in the region, coming through Iraqi markets and official U.S. supply lines.

Italian advisors and trainers have been working with the Peshmerga for the duration of the conflict for some time now, but this is an indication of a stronger commitment. Italy’s Defense Ministry has been on public record urging small arms shipments to various Kurdish armed groups in northern Iraq due to the perceived threat of the so-called Islamic State within Europe. However, this was back in 2014, with this statement by the Italian Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti-

Beretta Defense Technologies is making headway in a number of MENA and Central Asian countries such as Egypt and Kazakhstan when it comes to ARX 160 sales.

Caliber: 5.56x45mm NATO, 7.62×39 M43
Action: Gas operated, rotating bolt
Overall length: 820-900 mm with 406 mm barrel and butt in ready position; 680 mm with butt folded
Barrel length: 305 mm / 12″ or 406 mm / 16″, quick changeable
Weight: ~ 3.1 kg with 406 mm barrel, w/o mag
Rate of fire: 700 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity: 30 rounds



Miles

Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at miles@tfb.tv


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  • xebat

    Isn’t the Beretta ARX one of the worse 5.56 service rifles ?
    I wish CZ would donate some CZ 805s. IMHO one of the best 5.56 rifles on the market right now. Maybe even the best next to the HK416 A5 and SCAR-L.

    • Alexandru Ianu

      Not really. Where did you get that information?

      • Petto

        I wouldn’t say that ARX rifle is bad but those ergonomics sure sucks , charging handle being too small and the pistol grip could have been better tho

    • Veritas

      You are the first person I’ve heard this from. The only complaint I’ve heard is price and that’s dropping. What does “worse” even mean?

      • KestrelBike

        The price is through the damned basement floor. That review that Alex C did back in the day made the rifle look awfully uncomfortable, and it didn’t look like he did gimmick camera work to do so.

        • Malthrak

          Always take Alex C’s stuff with a grain of salt. He…played some gimmicks in his time.

          He was the same dude that went out of his way to bash the Cz Scorpion, particularly complaining about its weight, when it weighs as much or less than most alternatives (including MP5’s of similar barrel length), and made a video comparing the $800 Cz’s weight to a slightly lighter unicorn UMP conversion that’s typically a $4K-$5k setup built off an OOP gun and then went around telling everyone in the Youtube comments they could be both commonly had and had for under $2k XD

          • KestrelBike

            Hah spot-on about HK pricing and availability for us peasants.

    • john huscio

      Opinions are mixed, some trash the ARX at every opportunity, some really love it. At $8-900, it seems like one of the best deals going for a new service rifle……..the short barreled variants are more aesthetically pleasing than the “16 versions to me.

    • Malthrak

      No, it’s a great rifle. TFB is the only place it’s not well liked for whatever reason.

      It’s ergos could be better and a change on the front 6 oclock rail would be nice, but it’s a reliable, highly modular, perfectly functional rifle.

      • john huscio

        MAC wasnt particularly impressed by it.

        • Malthrak

          IIRC he thought it was a fine rifle, just not the next best must have thing, he ended up making 3 or 4 videos on it, more than most guns.

        • n0truscotsman

          IMO, it could have been *so much more* but wasn’t ultimately. Its pretty underwhelming.

        • Aaron Hsu

          I think you’ll find that MAC seems to like the rifle a lot, and has said so in many of his videos.

    • What I know for sure is that some early ones had a loose/misaligned top rail that was remedied with a pin. Reports are mixed. I’ve seen YouTube footage of them performing well and terribly. I’m still kicking myself for not picking up a used one for $750 when I had the chance.

      • rjscribbles

        You can pick up a brand new one for $850 in Houston Texas at Academy Sports. It is really tempting to pick one up for my collection.

    • Yenokh Yagoda

      HK managed to do what Kalshnikov did: taking the best of existing design ideas and merging them together creating an impeccable product. Nothing compares to HK 416-pattern rifles. All of them are top-notch. And the best of course is the M27 or its MR223 version.

      All other rifles, including the over-rated SCAR, are just second-rate at best. Most other rifles are just garbage, compared to the HK416.

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0bb2cde59e7df6bfb4a821a0403565acf6bef6b8de7e16c690d264c3759e26cc.jpg

      • CommonSense23

        Where did you get this amazing idea? Adding a op rod isn’t a good idea to a AR15.

        • Yenokh Yagoda

          Depends on the hands and the heads of those who is adding it.

          • CommonSense23

            No it doesn’t. The AR15 design is not made for a external piston. This causes a lot of issues. And the 416 doesn’t fix them.

          • Yenokh Yagoda

            Yes it does.

            HK416 fixes all of them. More than that, HK took the good qualities of the AR and made them better. HK improved ergonomics of AR. And the result is a high-end rifle which gives a shooter the comfort and ease of use of the piston gun plus the ergonomics of AR taken to a new level, thanks to the better stocks, better grips, better rails and handguards and ambidextrous controls.

            And on top of all that HK has the best barrel.

          • CommonSense23

            Way to read all the marketing. So is that why 416s break more than M4A1s. Lets see better stocks and grip. That is purely shooter preference. The HK rails aren’t even close to the best around. Ambi controls are a joke and this is coming from a lefty. The barrel is really their best selling point.

          • Yenokh Yagoda

            I am right-handed and still think ambi controls are good.

            There is no proof that HK breaks more often than M4, no details about the test, about the ammo used in the test, about what “more” stands for.

            And the rail on the HK is the best rail. You can take it off in a few seconds.

          • CommonSense23

            M855A1 test, 416s broke more than the M4A1. HK doesn’t dispute. Army dust test. HKs broke more in one, tied the M4 in another. Socom maintenance schedules have more maintenance required than the M4A1.

          • Yenokh Yagoda

            That’s it.
            You are not supposed to test the rifle with the ammo it wasn’t designed to use.

          • CommonSense23

            What. The dust test used M855, which the 416 was designed for. And the M855A1 test, the older gun, the M4 wasn’t designed for 855A1. But broke less than the 416.

          • Yenokh Yagoda

            You said the rifles ended up equal in the second dust test? And if M4 broke less than the 416 with the M855A1 does not mean that the 416 should brake more than M4A1 with M855.

            Again it is not clear what “more” stands for. How much more?

      • n0truscotsman

        Admittedly, Im a HK fan and have a love/hate the 416. I like how it shoots, how it feels, etc. I believe it to be the best of the op rod piston ARs.

        However, Im a firm believer it would truly be superior to the M4 if it was traditional DI/internal piston operated rather than short stroke gas operated. I think that concept, which sparked its birth, has actually proven to be a detriment to the overall design rather than an improvement in terms of durability and reliability.

        Im amazed at how much better the stoner rifle has become since the good ol days.

        • Yenokh Yagoda

          How come no one outside the US think like that?

          • Blackhorse

            Sermon
            Besides small Spec Ops and Police usage, the only large European purchases for standard military issue is France and Norway.
            The M4/M4A1 has more customers by far and add M16 series and it’s massively more customers.
            So please explain this statement better.

          • Yenokh Yagoda

            You are a low IQ person. “More” is not better. The best is less than common. You should have known that.

          • jono102

            So just like the AK, PKM and SVD…more of them doesn’t mean they’re better?

          • Yenokh Yagoda

            Sure.

            If more meant better than AKM should have been called the best rifle.

          • TW

            I’ll put my LWRC M6 IC up against a 416 any day. It’s lighter, just as accurate, and in my opinion looks better. Didn’t HK get the memo years ago people don’t buy full RIS rails anymore. O and the m6 is cheaper.

          • Yenokh Yagoda

            HK offers more than one handguard model.

          • Blackhorse

            So you’re now saying because the AK is used by more countries and in larger numbers it’s not as good as a M14? Really? LMFAO nice to know Sermon

          • Yenokh Yagoda

            I have never used numbers as an argument.

          • Blackhorse

            You just used numbers as a argument
            Quote
            “You are a low IQ person. “More” is not better. The best is less than common. You should have known that.”
            You definately used numbers and you specifically stated “The best is less common” which is a reference to numbers ie lower numbers but still numbers.
            LMFAO

          • Yenokh Yagoda

            Perhaps it looks like that for low IQ people.

          • Blackhorse

            So still no argument?
            Just personal attacks?
            LMFAO just more proof you’ve been proven wrong

      • Blackhorse

        Sermon
        The SCAR even had less stoppages than the HK416 in tests.
        HK416 weighs 2 lbs (1/3) more than and costs 3Xs as much as the M4.
        The op rod causes tilt to the bolt with excessive presumes on the bolt. This causes premature lug failure along with excessive bolt chamber wear.
        Most of its better features can be incorporated into the M4 and still be half as expensive and almost 1 lb lighter.
        Norway is having problems with the gas regulator freezing up after going from a warm building/vehicle into the freezing temperatures outside. Which takes a lot more work to fix than the M16/M4 system requires (which seldom happens).

        • Yenokh Yagoda

          Norwegian rifles are of the earlier model and the issues of the gas regulator were solved with using appropriate lubricant. The later model has this issue fixed. And the M4 has much more problems in the cold temperatures, like freezing up of the controls, and the dust cover, and the magazines.

          Even if it’s true that some parts wear out faster on the HK it doesn’t make M4 a better rifle. The HK barrel is still the best, and the barrel is more important and much less expensive part than the bolt. Even if it’s true, then the comfort of the use of a piston gun compensates for that. But it’s not true, it’s just a rumour.

          • Blackhorse

            You do know that the HK416 uses all those same controls, magazines, and covers. LMFAO it is after all an improved M4.
            Those failures are documented and aren’t even the half life of a typical M4.
            The gas system still has issues if not properly oiled and maintained, which is more than the M4 requires.

          • Yenokh Yagoda

            HK uses polymer fire selectors and polymer dust cover, and its controls are not 100% the same. The changes are small but important.

            And all rifles have to be maintained, oiled, greased. Even the AK.

          • Blackhorse

            Hahaha keep trying

      • john huscio

        Theres nothing the 416 does better than the Sig 516, PWS, LWRC, LMT, ect.

        Well built piston guns get the job done all the same…..and most of the aforementioned companies do it at a lower pricepoint than HK.

        • Flounder

          I would say your statement is not entirely true due only to the fact that the rifles you mention have not seen the extensive testing that the 416 has.

          Even the best rifles get revised after extensive testing.

          BUT! All the rifles you mention are exceptionally good to my knowledge.

          • Yenokh Yagoda

            Not just that.

            Even if the 416 does nothing better than the aforementioned counterparts, it still has a better barrel, better looks and better ergonomics.

            And the MR223 or M27 is also more accurate.

    • jono102

      The ARX 160 and CZ 805 are fine in isolation but when run side by side with the likes of the C8 IUR, MARS-L or the 416 they don’t compare as well with functionality and accuracy among other things. The ARX is full of “interesting” but not really needed or essential features i.e. adjustable ejection and cocking handle. It doesn’t take long for the folding stock to get loose. The 805 is more solid and better suited to military use but really still in development with up to 2 or 3 iteration in its short history.

      The ARX would be better suited to Law Enforcement “patrol rifle” role for situations where a rifle is sometimes required. This would play to its strengths being light weight and compact would be more beneficial to a Police Officer than being more robus in the hands of a soldier in the field.

      A driving factor for the rifles was a domestically produced service rifle, which is what Italy and the Czech Republic got. The other bonus for them is their apparent willingness to offer license/domestic production to countries.

      I’m guessing the POTD is more of a posed photo with a borrowed rifle from an Italian “Advisor” given the fact there’s no mag fitted and one of the primary optic’s for it in Italian service is the Aimpoint.

      Maybe Beretta and CZ should have taken a page out of HS Produkt (Croatia) book and got a lot of rifles to Iraqi Army like they did with the VHS-2. It may not be the best rifle around but it has had a lot of operational use/evaluation and some good wide spread PR.

    • Aaron Hsu

      I’d say the ARX is one of the best 5.56mm NATO service rifles out there today. They’ve proven to be very reliable on the whole, exceptionally lightweight, and most of the “complaints” that people have about them now are adequately answered in the aftermarket, with the two exceptions being a replaceable grip (really overblown for a service rifle, IMO) and caliber conversion kits (likely won’t show up until the Beretta USA factory is running at better capacity). You can get a full length 6 o’clock picatinny rail (pictured in the article), a two-stage ShootingSight aftermarket trigger, extended charging handle, and so forth. They are extremely easy to maintain and run very clean (more than any other rifle I’ve seen), have good ventilation, and are very comfortable to shoot even in more extreme conditions (such as freezing temperatures, which is where I noticed a big difference). I honestly don’t get the hate that some people have for the rifle.

      And with their current prices they are an outright bargain compared to other 3rd generation service rifles like the SCAR, 416, ACR, and so forth.

      • jono102

        “I’d say the ARX is one of the best 5.56mm NATO service rifles out there today”
        What is your basis for that, personal experience with it and other contemporary’s?
        It has very limited military service history to base it off and civilian use or employment has little to do with use in a military context. It is only the general service weapon in its country of origin who aren’t going to bag something they make and want to export or sell.

        In regards to price, the unit price isn’t much of a consideration for a service rifle for a military compared to “life of Type” costs. The ARX being largely polymer and new to service, the likes of “life of type” cost is unknown i.e. how well will the polymer uppers/lower perform at the 5, 10 or 15yr mark of service life. It maybe cheaper up front but you may spend more in the long run maintaining it.

        • Aaron Hsu

          My basis would be a general engineering analysis of the rifle, personal experience with it and other contemporary rifles, and what limited public information is out there on the performance of the rifle and its contemporaries.

          All of the “new” service rifles are new enough that we don’t have a lot of data on how they hold up over long years of hard use; we definitely don’t have the amount of data on them that we do for say, the AK or AR family of rifles. It will probably be another 5 – 10 years at least before we have the sort of long term comparison of the various rifles that are out there now to see how they work over time. That includes “total cost of ownership” questions.

          In what limited public testing and information that is out there, it appears to be competitive with other rifles in terms of reliability, the design is certainly geared towards high reliability in its design. It can compete well in terms of features (of which I consider weight to be of a great importance), and so forth. It has major advantages in terms of logistics, ease of maintenance, and the like.

          It is a set of engineering trade-offs like any other, but I think it’s a very competitive service rifle. Now, if we’re talking about what the American public wants out of their semi-automatic .22 caliber rifles, that might be a different story. I’d say it’s underrated in that segment, but understandably so.

          • jono102

            Competitive on paper possibly but contrary to what is circulated, not at service/LE rifle trials. Looking at who uses it and who doesn’t is a bit of an indication as to how successful it is. Problem being is people tend to think of innovation and engineering as being more important than practicality and function. I did find the ARX pretty interesting from a design point of view but after a bit of firing you quickly realize it doesn’t stack up against the current AR’s etc and the big selling “features” Beretta pushes aren’t really of much use in a service rifle.
            There is also a big difference between the needs of a Military service rifle and the needs (many and varied) of a rifle on the US commercial market.

          • Aaron Hsu

            Having fired a number of AR’s, SCARs, and other modern rifles that are in vogue, I found the ARX significantly more enjoyable and more competitive for me than the competition. I’d also disagree about the features not being useful on a service rifle, when those features are some of the same that have been used as excuses for procurement before.

            Like I said, I think the ARX is struggling against an initially high price point and a strong AR confirmation bias in the US commercial market, but we’ll probably just have to agree to disagree about its suitability as a service rifle.

            On the US market, if they would only get the 7.62x39mm conversions out the door, they could really broaden their marketability.

  • ReadyOrNot

    You know Erdogan and his hounds won’t be happy about this development

    • mikewest007

      If Germany’s pissed off at Erdogan, the rest of the EU is as well.

      • German imposed austerity measures on the rest of the EU have changed the internal dynamics and its no longer the same old EU.

        • mikewest007

          Maybe, but it doesn’t mean they’ll support genocidal dictators out of spite…

          • woll3

            Being against one doesnt mean that you support the other.

          • Flounder

            What? Did no one ever teach you about Machiavellian politics? And how often they line up with international politics.

          • Then why is Merkel sucking up to Putin?

    • moonstar

      You know nothing about that issue. Turkey and Peshmerga have good relations but it is not true for PYD/PKK.

    • Kurt Akemann

      Actually, Turkey has relatively good relations with the Kurdish authorities in Iraq. Its the YPG in Syria whom they hate.

    • neckbone

      Good. I trust the Kurds more than anyone in the whole region. Yes even over our so called strongest ally in the Middle East.

      • Timtim

        Yes you can trust kurds but not ypg pkk who did 12 suicide attack in turkey and working with assad,iran,russia,usa,eu keep rising usa,assad and russian flags

    • Timtim

      Are you serious has some mental problems or intent making propaganda or ignorant ?
      1.) learn difference between kurds and marksist leninist terorist pkk and ypg who did 12 suicide attack in turkey
      2.)turkey has no problem with iraqi kurds even turkey and peshmerga joint operation against pkk ( operation hammer and dawn )
      3.) thats why internet and social media dangerious bcoz of bunch of ignorants and remember during coup check how many kurd went to street when erdogan calls hope you get huge point

      • ReadyOrNot

        Triggered Turks are an interesting bunch.

  • Major Tom

    No wonder there’s the concern that US rifles can’t beat modern body armor. Everybody and their dog is using the Syrian Civil War as a proving ground for all their newest toys both weapon and armor alike.

    • Kurt Akemann

      This rifle was shown in Iraq, not Syria.

      • noob

        Tndeed, but this ISIS thing doesn’t really respect the Sykes–Picot Agreement.

  • Ben

    How come that guy can get a full length 6:00 picatinny rail but over here on the US civilian market, Beretta can’t wrap their minds around ditching the goddamn grenade launcher mount in favor of a little extra much needed real estate on the south end of the rifle. The ARX is really frustrating. It could have been a success here if Beretta would have just fixed a couple little things.

    • Malthrak

      I really like my ARX, but I totally agree it feels like a rifle that’s 99.8% of the way to being *the* rifle to beat, but has a couple tiny stupid issues that hold it back…that really should have been fixed.

      Also, TFB, this “Join our Newsletter” thing that keeps popping up after you close it when trying to comment, and your insane loading times as a result of these ads, has made me remove you from my adblock whitelist. STAHP.

      • BillyOblivion

        To be an AR killer they’d have to convince Special Forces, Army Rangers (meaning the whole army) and the Marine Corps to field them.

        The M16/AR15 isn’t America’s rifle because it’s a better design than others, and it’s certainly not because it’s built better (some are, some aren’t). It’s America’s rifle because “we” designed it, “we” built it, and “our” military uses it.

        There will be no “AR killer” until the USG decides to switch to a different platform.

    • Aaron Hsu

      Full length 6 o’clock picatinny rail mounts are available here in the U.S. Additionally, an aftermarket two stage trigger from ShootingSight is available with very positive reviews. You can also purchase an extended charging handle. The only thing really missing right now are caliber conversion kits.

  • noob

    I’m more interested in how the Peshmerga fighter in the thumbnail has perfected the ability to stick his feet to a wall sideways like Spiderman.

  • int19h

    I always wondered, why is its upper rail so high above bore?

    • Palmier

      Because its a piston system, the piston is above the barrel like an AK so the rail has to go above that.

      • int19h

        It feels like it’s higher than usual on piston designs even.

  • Paul Rain

    They should give him some decent boots to betray the Assyrians and Yezidis in. Asolo makes a good boot. Beretta- not so much.

    • john huscio

      I prefer scarpa