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 . . .
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.
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.
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.
The accuracy for this rifle was surprising. This is a 50 yard target:
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.
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.
Caliber: 5.56x 45
Barrel: 16 inches
Overall Length: 35.75 Inches Unfolded, 28 Inches Folded
Weight (unloaded): 6.8 lbs.
Action: Piston-Driven, Semi Auto
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.