The Italian Army is now fielding the Beretta ARX 160. Beretta has been teasing the civilian gun market with the ARX 160 modular carbine since at least the 2011 Shot Show. I was able to paw an ARX 160 SF (Special Forces) at NDIA and was very impressed with this weapon system. This carbine makes extensive use of corrosion-resistant polymers in both the upper and lower receivers, resulting in a very lightweight (6 lb) weapon platform . . .
The ARX 160 continues the move away from direct gas impingement in favor of short-stroke piston designs. The latter keeps the action free of carbon, turning what would otherwise be a four to six hour cleaning job into a much easier 45 minutes. The gun is designed to be run with little to no lubrication, which further adds to keeping the internals free from of dust and debris.
Maybe the most impressive feature about the ARX 160 is that it’s built with selective and redundant ejectors and extractors, so the operator can transition from one set to another via the use of a small ejection selector switch. Just flip the switch to change the direction that empty shell casings are ejected. If one set malfunctions or gets gummed up, the operator can switch to the alternate set in seconds.
The ARX 160 also features:
- Quick change barrel capability (no tools required, takes seconds);
- Chrome-lined hammer-forged barrels;
- Ambidextrous and redundant controls (safety / selector switches, bolt hold open latches, barrel release latches, magazine releases, etc.;
- Multiple ambidextrous sling attachment points;
- SCAR-like 4 position collapsible folding stock;
- Flip up BUIS;
- AR ergonomics and uses standard AR-15 magazines;
- No small parts or disassembly pins.
If this thing shoots half as well as looks in the showroom, Beretta may have a real winner on its hands. The Beretta rep let slip that commercial production of the ARX 160 would likely begin by the end of 2012.