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By Christopher Pereira

It’s here! It’s here! Sound the alarms…Beretta has finally released a rifle many have sought after for 6+ years. The question is; was it worth the wait? I say yes with a few gripes. Let’s find out why . . .

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The ARX line makes the most of the newest materials, known as Beretta’s “techno-polymer” and quality control systems while enhancing ergonomics, lowering maintenance requirements, maximizing user adaptability. The ARX 100 features a constant contact/short-stroke gas piston system that makes it feed and fire under the most unforgiving conditions. The appearance is a smooth rifle with a very middle balance point when loaded. It is definitely front heavy but not as much as a Robinson Armament XCR or even the FN SCAR.

Lets talk disassembly.

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To make maintenance easy and trouble-free, this rifle has no pins and can be completely disassembled in a matter of seconds with no tools at all. It disassembles into 4 main parts, not including the magazine. The main body, the 1.7 twist 5.56×45 chambered; chrome lined barrel and piston, the lower trigger group, and the bolt carrier group. The body comes apart by folding the stock and pushing the metal into the receiver. The weird part is that at the same time you must be pushing up on the safety to an almost mystery notch. It’s hard to show in pictures so here is Beretta’s video:

Left-handers rejoice, this rifle is for you. Let’s say you want the charging handle on the opposite side of the rifle, like an AK. Done. Move the bolt to the maintenance position, pull out, push to the other side and your done.

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Now to change ejection, take a bullet or punch tool, and push it through a tiny hole near the rear of the rifle. This pushes a metal plate that switches which of the dual extractors works as an ejector. Most people would say that doing this could cause something to go wrong, but 2000 + rounds and multiple switches says differently.

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The accuracy for this rifle was surprising. This is a 50 yard target:

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The rounds below the middle red were all sight in for a Vortex Sparc II red dot sight, so do not count them in overall performance. The rifle while hot, 86 degrees outside in Florida, who knows how hot the rifle was after shooting the first hundred rounds at a 25 yard target, delivered the 1 ¾ cross shaped pattern you see in the red while standing. With a full powered scope and a rest, I can see it doing the same at 100.

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I see this rifle as a lightweight, easy to move carbine. If an officer who is left or right handed and has a good amount of money left over, this works as a patrol car rifle. In other calibers, like the up and coming 300 blackout, I can also see it as a small game hunting rifle.

Now for the bad. That trigger, though possible the cleanest breaking, is a heavy 10.5 pounds. I actually broke my scale before I could get a picture (I dropped it rod first, and it shoved far enough in to break the springs), but it averaged at 10.565.

This rifle is the newest, and lightest piston driven 5.56 rifle out there. It may have a few quirks, like the bolt handle and slight magazine pickiness, but it does the job very well. Give me this over a heavier piston driven AR anyday.

SPECIFICATIONS:

Caliber: 5.56x 45
Barrel: 16 inches
Overall Length: 35.75 Inches Unfolded, 28 Inches Folded
Weight (unloaded): 6.8 lbs.
Body: Polymer
Action: Piston-Driven, Semi Auto
Finish: Black
Capacity: 30 round steel magazine standard, most Ar15 mag compatible
Price: MSRP: $1950, purchased for: $1520

 

Ratings (out of five stars):

Ambidexterity * * * * *
100% ambidextrous. Bolt handle, ejection, everything can be swapped or is all ready there for left handed users.

Accuracy: * * * *
Although not the most accurate semi automatic rifle in the world, I definitely see at least a 1 ½ to 2 moa rifle, which is standard for military rifles. A lighter trigger would help maintain a tighter group. Due to 1in 7-twist rate, my specific model prefers 50 to 62 grain ammunition.

Style: * * * *
Although a little chunky looking, the sweet curves of Italian style are all there.

Ergonomics: * * * 1/2
Light weight, easy to hold, but there will always be complaints. The Charging handle is definitely a little too short. The annoying almost A2 style pistol grip can annoy my fingers when holding for extended periods, but once firing you don’t notice it. The controls, like bolt lock/release were stiff at first, but were fine after 200 rounds.

Reliability: * * * * *
Absolutely flawless. 2,000 rounds from steel case Tula to Fiocchi with very little oil. Some magazines like gen 3 pmags and High capacity surefire 60 and 100 round don’t work.

Customize this: * * * *
Although not as customizable as the venerable Ar-15, you have a monolithic upper rail, side rails, and a “coming soon” full bottom rail for any grip your heart desires. With caliber conversion kits coming in 300 blackout, 7.62×39, and 6.8 spc, the caliber customization is nearly endless.

Overall * * * *
The rifles many positives out weigh the few negatives. With endless optic mounting abilities, bountiful amounts of magazine options, its lightweight, and the ease of switching barrels and cleaning, it out ways the trigger and small charging handle. I believe with some fine tuning this rifle will fit my needs well.

 

41 Responses to Contest Entry: Gun Review-Beretta ARX 100

  1. I just don’t know that I’d be able to deal with that trigger, and I’m entirely not sold on what benefit I’d be getting over a good lightweight DI AR to be able to drop all of the extra coin (and learn a new platform). I think the higher sight plane might make me cranky alone, as well as the short hand guard length and lack of modularity compared to an AR. I guess I just haven’t made the mental paradigm shift to the superiority of a piston yet. Maybe I’ll get there.

  2. I believe this is legal in Maryland too. Dealers may have to pin the mags however.

    Anyone know if the trigger is adjustable? 10.5 lbs is awfully heavy.

  3. This is the third or fourth review of the rifle I’ve seen and it seems mediocre at best. They’re not flying off the shelves either…..seems like Beretta has kind of missed the target in more ways than one with this thing.

    • Yep, and missed the mark with the Beretta Pico and the Nano.

      I view the company and its newer products in a rather paranoid way. They start out trying to design an innovative gun that would sell well but then there is this “mysterious force” within the company’s design team that wankers some aspect of the new design. My bet is that the mysterious force is some idiot manager that doesn’t know much about gun design.

      • Definition: Paranoia

        1.Psychiatry. a mental disorder characterized by systematized delusions and the projection of personal conflicts, which are ascribed to the supposed hostility of others, sometimes progressing to disturbances of consciousness and aggressive acts believed to be performed in self-defense or as a mission.

        2.baseless or excessive suspicion of the motives of others.

    • It’s 1500 + dollars. There’s a glut of ARs on the market for a lot less coin. I’m not an msr fan, if I was I wouldn’t shell out for this when there’s so many cheaper alternatives that do a good job out there.

      • Botach sells them all day for $1200, at least last I checked.

        Also gonna guess those ARs don’t have a quick-change barrel, full ambi-operation, and fast-switch ejection.

        Once someone comes out with a decent aftermarket trigger, it’s gonna be a helluva gun.

        • For well under $1200 the AR could (if so desired) have a quick change barrel and full ambi controls. It wouldn’t be able to switch ejection. That AR would also have a hell of a lot lighter trigger pull than 10.5 lbs, too.

          I guess it all depends on what aspects are most important to you. For me: this thing looks awesome, but I’d hate that trigger pull and that price. I can barely get the wife to approve a very rare $500-$600 gun, much less one twice that much.

    • Remember, the main point of this rifle is to be the main service rifle for the Italian Army. The civilian market is secondary here.

  4. Seems like the trigger and magazine compatibility could have been easily worked out early in development and resulted in a superior product to what it currently is.
    Little work for a big payoff. Instead it’s a poor mans SCAR and at $2,000 you may as well just get a SCAR.

    • I got one of these at Botach.com for $1123.00 last February.

      The second time I took it out to the range after going thru 3 mags I started getting failure to fires, primer was not being touched. The firing pin had lodged in the bolt, and I had to put it in a vise and punch the pin out.

      One could say I am fairly underwhelmed with this rifle.

  5. It mystifies me how Beretta( and Tavor) charge so much and can’t include a decent trigger. Probably from being around Guns for only 5 years. What do I know-I’ll stick with a $600 Ruger Ar or S&W sport for fun…anyhow good review!

    • Well the tavor has the excuse of being a bullpup. There are trigger upgrades like super sabra and super scar geissele that will get them nice but for the price it would be nice if they were included.

      For me, I’m still more than happy with AR’s and AK’S.

      Just built a 5+ pound AR with 16″ pencil barrel and 12″ FF rail… hard to top that for general utility in a proven platform with 100% proven components for under a G.

      • There’s also the free 5 minute trigger job for the tavor where you punch a pin and remove a spring which halves the pull weight.

    • Because the AR has been around for over 50 years!! I can’t think of a U.S. gun company that DOESN’T make an AR or AR accessory in some form or another. The supply is over-saturated which is why they are so cheap. If the AR came out today with all-new proprietary parts and zero aftermarket support it would cost as much as these new, exotic semi-auto clones too.

      Now on to the trigger, this was designed for the military. Unless one is a sniper/marksman in their battlegroup, having a “great” trigger is not a big issue especially when the bigger issue is dealing with gun-noobs which your average infantryman is especially one from a European country having virtually no experience with guns. They are more worried about dealing with negligent discharges than having sub-MOA accuracy which in the heat of battle you are not going to achieve anyway with adrenaline surges and the fear of being killed at any second; you just want to hit what you aim at.

      This rifle was designed to go to war not punch pretty little holes on paper at a safe, sanitized range.

  6. ‘This rifle is the newest, and lightest piston driven 5.56 rifle out there.’

    Actually, if the manufacturer’s numbers are correct, the Mini-14 is about an ounce lighter with a synthetic stock, either with a 16″ barrel with a muzzle device or an 18.5″ barrel without device. And it has a piston. Only below the barrel instead of over. 3 ounces heavier with a wood stock.

    • Good point. And for the price of one Beretta ARX I could have a Mini-14 with all the right fixin’s, leaving enough left-over to make the wife happy.
      And maybe it’s just me, but the ARX is a pretty fugly rifle. It’s not something that tickles my fancy at all.

      • I chose the Mini partially for the more traditional look with a wood stock, and I’ve since ‘inherited’ an Olympic Arms AR15. The Mini has it’s advantages. I wanted a scoped rifle with backup irons, the Mini comes with both sights and scope mounts. I don’t care for the charging handles on ARs, especially with a scope. The magazine release on the AR is in almost the exact same place as the cross bolt safeties on my 10/22 and my Winchester 1300, which led to one, and probably only one embarrassing magazine drop. And one other thing that you kind of have to compare them side by side to notice, the spent powder smell is much stronger out of the AR. So now whenever I clean the ashtray under the slide on the Mini I’m reminded that the AR would be blowing all that soot back in my face. That can’t be good.

        Of course the Mini only comes with a lightweight barrel unless you get the target model, so an AR with a heavier barrel would probably make a better ‘battle weapon’ as opposed to a ‘self defense rifle’. But the same could be said about the Beretta.

  7. I can say that the trigger is a smooth and crisp one. It does lighten up over time, but it would still be considered heavy by most match trigger lovers. This review is a bit out of date on a few things.

    1. There is the SBR kits available now from Botach and Beretta USA.
    2. You can pick this rifle up new from Botach for under $1200.
    3. The lower full rail and charging handle extension are both available now.
    4. You can buy an aftermarket charging handle replacement that gives you more purchase if you don’t like the extension.
    5. With an optic on, the balance of the rifle is quite nice.
    6. Magazines that don’t have an over-insertion tab will work fine.
    7. There is someone who is working on an aftermarket trigger, no release date.

    IMO, people don’t quite get this gun unless you use it and really live with it for a while. The maintenance ease really pleases me, and it’s just a convenient and easy gun to have with you. It’s extremely versatile, great for your range buddies, and can easily satisfy someone who wants a futuristic AK-style rifle as easily as someone looking for a more ergonomic and nicer running SCAR at a cheaper price point.

    If you are in love with the almost ricer like AR-modding lifestyle then the ARX will probably leave you wanting, but if you want a high-quality out of the box experience with a very capable rifle, then this is a good rifle to pick. It is a very smooth and comfortable shooter, it’s rugged and well made, and it just works.

    I think the complaints about the trigger are overblown, especially given that everything about the trigger is good except for the weight. If you are used to the weight of a DA/SA gun or a revolver, then there is nothing to see with the weight of the trigger.

    Living with the gun gives me a lot of confidence in its capabilities; it’s just easy and comfortable to live with this rifle as my primary range, HD, and miscellaneous carbine.

  8. I’m not really an AR guy, but I don’t see much here that would make this Beretta a better choice than one of those. For $1500, shouldn’t you be able to buy or build a much nicer AR-pattern rifle than this?

  9. I realize that you can build an AR15 for $450 dollars these days, but once you sbr them and start running a can, you realize why they are $450. They don’t hold up well to the extra blowback.
    Between cleaning, I have a 1000+ rounds through my ARX100 (10″ barrel w/ YHM Ti Suppressor) and have not had a single malfunction. It just keeps running no matter what you do to it. I love my sbr piston-driven AR, but it stays in the safe now because the ARX does everything more reliably and is a noticeably lighter rifle. As some of the other replies stated before me, the trigger is heavy but smooths out over a few hundred rounds.

  10. Really curious too see how Beretta is gonna implement 300 BLK in a piston system. Otherwise… just wish it didn’t have to look so fugly.

  11. That has to be one of the worst reviews I’ve read on this web site. I’ve handled and shot this gun. I couldn’t measure the trigger pull because my gauge maxed out at 12 pounds and didn’t get through the crappy trigger. when you pull the bolt handle you skin your knuckle on the side of the gun. That is just two of the gripes with this crappy, overpriced gun. Shoot before you buy. This gun is a loser.

  12. I looked this rifle over vs a used SCAR 16. The ARX was $1400 from the LGS and the SCAR 16s was $1700. After some trading and emptying my gun fund I walked out with the SCAR. I liked the feel of the rifle better and the trigger was much better. I don’t mind the heavier trigger in my guns as I use my guns for stuff other than hard core precision paper punching. My Tavor had an 8lb trigger and it shoots just fine.

    The ARX has one big advantage. Caliber changes are easy. For a 300blk SCAR you are looking to spend as much as you did on an ARX from Botach. Plus there are permanent modifications to the bolt carrier.

    At this point, I would only look at buying one as a collectors item. My SCAR was going to fit that role until I shot it a few times. Now it is one of my go to rifles.

    I find a lot of people that hate on certain rifles have never held or shot the gun they heap the hate on.

    • The ARX does have a polymer receiver, but unlike the design of the G36 as I understand it, there is a heat shield that is not polymer designed to protect and dissipate the heat in such a way to avoid the warping issues that the G36 is famous for now.

  13. I didn’t notice any mention of a manual safety. If it does have one then I don’t see the rationale for the heavy trigger even for the military applications. Most Beretta guns that I have seen have manual safeties.

  14. This gun keeps staying on my radar.
    The price in the past was keeping me from buying it. I am a left handed shooter and want only 1 223/556 rifle. If I can get this for under $1200 I may finally buy it. I have priced ambi and dedicated AR rifles and they right at the $1200 price point

    I have never owned an AR 15, but I have shot one a couple of times along with a SCAR. I shot the scar better and liked how it felt in my hands.

    I also like the potential for changing barrel length and calibers in the future. I hope beretta doesn’t back out on this.

    • Botach seems to have them for $1195 or thereabouts last time I heard. Also, Beretta has already released the SBR kits for them and the SBR rifles, so you can pick up both barrel lengths now from Beretta USA or Botach.

  15. Bought a new ARX-100 last week. After 150 rounds (.223, M193 and M855) I have had ZERO problems. What little powder residue finds its way into the action just wipes off. Uses virtually no lubrication (doesn’t gum up or attract crud). Even the smallish charging handle works fine after you practice with it a few times. The fully ambi controls and ejection allows my “lefty” daughter to train and fire with it with no awkwardness. The one overwhelming deficiency in this rifle is the gosh-awful utterly ridiculous excuses for open sights that are factory supplied. They are unacceptably high, very dark (poor imaging even in bright light – completely non-functional in any diminished lighting), bulky and generally clunky. A Trijicon MRO is on the way as well as a set of Troy Micros in the H&K style. These should cure the atrocious issued sights. At that time I will shoot for accuracy and see what happens.

    • You’re 100% right. Those factory sights are a joke and completely the wrong height for the gun. I put an aimpoint micro on top of the rail with no spacer. Haven’t found the right iron sights for it yet.

      • The Troy Micros are absolutely perfect for the ARX-100. The circle within a circle sighting (HK-style) is fast, bright and spot on and they fold down to almost nothing. Your head is in a normal position for sighting…not some exaggerated heads-up sight pose. Lots of snow still on ground – only shot 50 meters for sighting…sooo much better than the Beretta sights. As the range opens up I will try for 100 and 200 meter accuracy. I’ll keep the absurd plastic Beretta sights to show people how a truly awful “iron” sight looks, feels and works (sic).

  16. Have my Arx sbr’d with a 10 inch barrel 556. Absolutely love it. Now that I have a over 1000 rounds through it the trigger is much lighter maybe 6-7 lbs. I’m a little pissed about no 300 blk out barrels avail yet considering the beretta people have been showcasing 300 blk out barrels in videos for over a year!! Why aren’t they avail yet? The arx100 itself has some very cool features, the quick change barrel system, lightweight and rock solid reliability with little to no maintenance won me over bigtime. I used to always grab my tavor on range days. Now I grab arx100. I am concerned about beretta not following through with caliber conversions tho. Which is the main reason I sbr’d this gun. Fingers crossed

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