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-likeĀ” 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.


    • A Shot Show video (nutnfancy maybe) Ben Cook of Beretta said well under $2000 MSRP. If it settles in the $1200-$1500, I’d say it may find it’s way into my safe.

      • +1 when the massada/ACR turned into a total fail, this and the CZ Bren 805 became my new hope for a plastic fantastic combat rifle

        • Too bad the ATF has pretty much stated they’ll be blocking the CZ805 from import until about 2017, I’ve always been a huge fan of CZs.

          In the meantime I still have my XCR in 5.45, 5.56, and 7.62, now if only RobArms could get a damn clue how markets work and release the .300 BLK barrel.

  1. Civilian ARX? Vaporware. They’ve already been teasing U.S. shooters since before SHOT 2011. Joe, be really careful around Berettas at the live fire demo: the booth director carelessly stuck a pistol right in my eye at the SHOT show day at the range. RF saw it happen.

    • Yikes, I was always really impressed by their both people. They usually seem to know what they are doing in the shot show booth vids

      • The two Beretta reps at NDIA were very knowlegeable and professional. Unfortunately, Beretta did not show up for range day!

  2. It boggles the mind that the EU nations continue to develop new small arms. They’ve shown recently that they have no inclination to be involved in anything resembling a shooting war… and their present and future budget issues insure future military cuts will be necessary. The Italians might just as well continue fielding the Carcano.

    • I don’t think it is the EU. Beretta probably had a hand in all the various advanced carbine development (XM8 and such) programs. When those got scrapped they took the research and saw what the military and civilian market wanted and thought to themselves, “Oh I can TOTALLY do that.”

      6lb modular assault rifle? Primarily made out of stamped steel and injection moulded plastics? Damn cheap in bulk. Count me in!

    • There are over 7,200 Italian soldiers engaged in missions abroad, of which 4200 in Afghanistan (52 killed), the fourth contingent of troops after the U.S., UK and Germany. This seems to me it means to be “involved”. More respect for the Allies please!

  3. I wonder why Beretta didn’t enter the ARX in the US Army’s Individual Carbine Competition? (Or did they, and I just missed it?)

    • why bother the fix is in so why waste the time you know how the army works don’t you?

  4. If it delivers everything they say it delivers and doesn’t cost a small fortune *cough ACR* it will be a real winner. I think the main reason the ACR ended up where it is (successful, but not overly so) is because Bushmaster promised a $1500 gun, and delivered a $2500 one. The ARX looks like it has some significant advantages over the ACR and SCAR (I wouldn’t know for sure, because I own neither), and if it can be offered for closer to AR prices I’m sure it will be a hit.

    • It’s a Beretta, so it won’t be cheap. The CX4 is around $900 and that’s a blowback pistol caliber carbine with a (reportedly) crappy trigger, nothing fancy about that.

      This will probably be less than $2000 as Beretta says: $1999.95

    • ACR is to big to heavy and you can’t depend on the hunk of junk remington killed the idea in the board room with the suits leading the way. The scar is not much better.

  5. this looks cool, but 2g’s is too much when they have competitors like the LWRC m6-SL at 6.4 lbs, with EXO (nickel-boron) internal coatings. cleaning that thing is crazy easy, and the piston parts only need t be cleaned every 2500 rounds on their recommendation. One can be had for $1500, and it is an awesome gun, i love mine.

  6. I think this as ACR & SCAR killer. With the quick change barrel I can not weight for Beretta or a third party company to come out with a 300 blackout or 300 whisper barrel. Then I will pay $2500. For home defense you don’t want bullets flying through your home super sonic.

    • 300 black out is pure junk and just a new fade just go ahead and get an AK and be done with it.

  7. We’re a in awe of the new ARX-160, but the military is outing the .223 caliber, which simply doesn’t have the terminal velocity, as exclaimed by U.S. soldiers; however, the .243 is the perfect reckoning caliber. I mean if it will take down a 1000 pound elk, surly it will take out a human! It’s a matter of time I suppose and it’s a common round. Anyway, there are a few of us who use the .243, as we don’t believe you need more when it’s the perfect juggernaut in delivering exceptional terminal velocities, aside of the .308 caliber. And the .243 remains reasonable in price, as should be.
    We hope Beretta considers the .243 in the near future, who knows, the U.S. military may jump on the band wagon realizing it’s the obvious choice.

    • 5.56x45mm is perfect ammo they did the right thing buy upgrading the bullet and notice no more complaints, also i like the mk262 for taking out the bad guys.:-)

    • The .243 Win is known for being a barrel burner. The military needs long-lasting barrels so so .243 Win is not viable.

  8. 300 black out is pure junk and just a fade. it will pass with time like a great big terd.To weak, to expensive,to old tech,save your money.

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