The ARX-160 Assault Rifle Made Italian is gas piston-operated, using a rotating bolt for breech locking, and firing from a closed bolt. The ARX-160 Rifle can use magazines designed for it, most magazines designed for the particular chambering used, or STANAG magazines. Though several lengths of barrel will be delineated below, the barrels are actually quickly removed and changed in the field with no special tools. The receiver is of light-alloy-strengthened polymer, with the upper and lower receivers collected by quick-release locks instead of push-pull pins like most military weapons these days.
|Baretta ARX-160 Assault Rifle|
The ARX-160 assault rifle uses a surprisingly small length of action, making the overall length of the ARX-160 assault rifle it self surprisingly short. Above the receiver is a full-length (extending to the front sight) MILSTD-1913 rail made of aircraft-quality aluminum. Unlike most conventional-design (ie, non-bullpup) rifles, the ARX-160 assault rifle can be assembled to be left-handed or right-handed; this is necessary due to the short length of the receiver. This includes the charging handle, which is attached to the bolt carrier. The fire controls themselves are ambidextrous. The fore-end also has three MIL-STD- 1913 rails (at 3, 6, and 9-o’clock). The lower rail is specially strengthened to be able to solidly-accept grenade launchers, shotguns, foregrips, and bipods. The stock is also polymer and folds to the right as well as being telescoping to adjust further to shooter size and the tactical situation. The stock has a textured rubber plate to eliminate slip, not as a recoil pad.
|Baretta ARX-160 Assault Rifle|
The ARX-160 assault rifle has a total of six sling attachment points, allowing the use of almost all types of slings in use today. The primary development chambering has been 5.56mm NATO, but the ARX-160 can be quickly changed to 6.8mm SPC, 7.62mm Kalashnikov, or 5,45mm Kalashnikov by a change of barrel, lower receiver, and bolt head. Maintenance and field stripping are said to be very simple (one Beretta designer said that if you can play with LEGOs, you can maintain an ARX-160 and add any component). Currently, the ARX-160 assault rifle is designed with a 12-inch-barrel Special Forces Carbine (SFC) version, a 16-inch standard carbine, and a16-inch Designated Marksman Carbine version, with a heavy-profile match-quality carbine and a floating barrel. 14-inch, 20-inch, and 20-inch Designated Marksman versions have been rumored, and you know I could not resist that. Designated Marksman versions below include a bipod and a light telescopic sight.
|Baretta ARX-160 Assault Rifle With GLM|
Called during development the Baretta AR-160X Assault Rifle, the Baretta ARX-160 assault rifle was originally designed to compete in the US SCAR competition. Other than by US testers, the Baretta ARX-160 was first seen at SOFEX 2008 in Jordan. It lost the SCAR competition, but remained in development; currently, some Italian special ops units are using it, Albania’s nascent special ops units are using it (they have some 100 of them), and it is being used as a base for Italy’s Soldato Futuro program, something similar to the FN and the Belgian government’s F-2000 rifle family, France’s PAPOP system, and the US Future Soldier program. It is still being developed as of January 2010, but most of the development of the rifle itself is complete.
What’s being developed now is various equipment and packages/add-ons for the Baretta ARX-160 and the Soldato Futuro program. Some of these “add-ons” include a laserpointer, a thermal imager, a rangefinder, a ballistic computer, an ACOG-type sight, a combination thermal imager/day telescopic sight/ACOG/laser pointer, a 40mm underbarrel grenade launcher, and a 12-gauge underbarrel pump shotgun designed for use with magnum shells. I say “add-on” because these accessories are designed so be semi-integrated with the Baretta ARX-160 upon which they are mounted, reducing bulk. For now, I will limit my scope to the rifle itself.