Nov 8, 2014

Weapons of Choice: Beretta ARX

Beretta ARX-100
Third Generation Rifles are starting to escalate in popularity in the civilian market. The first generation of assault rifles originated in WWII that included the US M14, German G3, British LA1 and FN FAL. Included in that bunch as far as popularity goes, but not in assault rifle category, is the Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) and the Thompson Carbine/submachinegun. Soviet Russia and communist bloc countries also introduced the SKS and AK-47 – most of the rifles, except BAR (30-06) and Thompson (.45ACP) are in 7.62mm. Some people like the Thompson carbine because it uses the same cartridges found in semiautomatic sidearms – making it practical. The same reason why those who like the firearms of the Old West have rifles chambered in .45 Long Colt and single action pistols in the same caliber.

Croatian VHS Assault Rifle

The second generation rifles are M16, M4, FAMAS, CETME, and G36. All these weapons introduced the use of plastic in their construction and chambered for 5.56mm. The communist bloc had the AK-74 with 5.45mm chambering.
The ugly Bullpup assault rifle never really got any popularity in the United States, although FN Herstal has produced a model in the Bullpup configuration. Maybe it is because of the 'Star Wars' look about it. Not familiar with them or have ever worked on one.
M4 Carbine with silencer
As the 21st century rolled into its first decade, the most used caliber remains the 5.56mm and the assault rifle design of the M16/M4 in civilian configurations has become popular because of their dependability. However, seeing that there were those in the market for a higher caliber assault rifle that is chambered in 7.62mm, which is acceptable as a big game hunting round, and the requirement of hitting longer ranged targets – the assault rifles began to shape into the third generation rifles.

The third generation rifles are being made by historical manufacturers like FN Herstal, Sig Sauer, CZ-Bren (Czech), and now Beretta. Out of all those European manufacturers, Beretta has been in existence the longest.
Third generation assault rifles include: FN SCAR, SIG 556 and SIG 716, Beretta ARX 100, and the H&K 416 rifles. Czech made CZ-805 is also included in this European lineup. In the US, the third generation rifles are still on the AR 15 platform with some converted to the better piston gas system that rifles like Beretta ARX offers. Another newcomer to the list is the Ohio Ordnance reconfiguration of the WWII Browning Automatic Rifle in 30-06 caliber just like its predecessor, the M1918 BAR. The new Ohio Ordnance rifle is the HCAR that is available in a deluxe package for under $5,000. It is designed to replace the M1918A3 SLR that Ohio Ordnance offers, complete with walnut stock for $4300. It is an exact replica of the WWII rifle that won fame among the combat troops. The HCAR is designed to weigh less and have a better safety mechanism and bolt-action, modernized into third generation configuration.
Beretta ARX-100 with grenade launcher attached
The Beretta ARX 100 is chambered for 5.56mm/.203 caliber and customers of Beretta are looking for the company to produce one chambered for 7.62mm/.308 caliber.
I would like to pause for a moment and give folks some important advice: You can fire .203 caliber ammunition in rifles chambered for 5.56mm – but not recommended to fire 5.56mm in rifles chambered for .203 caliber ammunition. The same goes for rifles chambered for 7.62mm and .308 caliber ammunition. If you want to safely shoot both the military round and the civilian round in your rifle, make sure it was made to fire 5.56mm or 7.62mm. Normally the manufacturer tells customers in their manuals about this situation – and some rifles have both the military and civilian calibers stamped on the barrel. It is definitely an either/or rifle than.
No issue as far as steel case and brass case ammo and only issue was with certain magazines as described in the video at the end of this article.
The Beretta ARX is piston driven, which is better than the standard M15/M16 gas tube system in terms of maintenance and prevention of buildup of residue and grime. While in the military, the only issue with the M16 was the flimsy gas tube and when it got bent somehow, it was a problem and soldiers were trained to pay attention to the tube to make sure it did not become fouled with grime and grit. The ARX-160 is standard issue for Italian military and is a selective fire full-auto firearm that has a grenade launcher attachment quickly removed or installed when needed for military operations.
ARX-160 with full accessory attachments
The cool thing about the Beretta ARX is that it is flexible and conforms to either a left-hand shooter or a right-hand shooter – and the transition is a snap. You can change the charging handle to the left or right as well as which way the spent cases extract. The stock is solidly built for a fold-over. It comes with a Picatinny rail that afford one to add accessories, even the M16-style grenade launcher under the forearm rail. Of course, that is not a consideration for civilian applications unless you want to use it for a flare launcher – handy for marine on-board firearms. I did some research and flares are available that are colorful and dynamic ballistics that can be used for Independence Day celebrations.
Back to the subject …
The Beretta ARX is made in the USA, which represents the third generation firearms like Barrett has manufactured like the Model 82A1 .50 caliber sniper rifle system. 
The other unique and handy specialty of the Beretta ARX is that the barrel can be changed without special tools and complications. It is what will eventually replace the AR platform, despite it being an easy firearm to field strip for usual maintenance. The only downside of the ARX is that you cannot change the stock, grip, or forend, like the AR platform. It has three ways to release the magazine: left, right or bottom releases. As I previously stated, Beretta will eventually offer more calibers in the ARX platform, which will be good news for those who want a home-defense rifle, a target-range rifle, and hunting rifle all in one package. It is a rifle where you can shoot hundreds of rounds without fouling the chamber and keeping relatively clean. The only thing reminiscent to an AR platform is its flash suppressor. Some things are just too good to replace. Muzzle brakes can easily replace the muzzle flasher as easy as AR platform rifles are in changing.
It may be the prototype of the future US military standard-issue rifle. Beretta already has the contract that replaced the old M1911 standby in military issue sidearms. Will Colt come up with something in the line of third generation rifles like Beretta or will Beretta USA get the contract for ARX-160? Time will tell.
I have selected a professionally made video that covers the field test of the Beretta third-generation rifle, thanks to YouTube
If you want to step up to a gas piston third generation rifle, I recommend taking a serious look at the Beretta ARX - which will soon allow you to change the barrel and reconfigure your rifle to popular (because it is cheap) 7.62x39mm used in AK rifles, as the video pointed out. As far as looks, it is something one can become accustomed to and make you wonder why you didn't change sooner. Am I a Beretta fan - you bet. Watch for my review and take on the Beretta defense shotgun as well as the Benelli  beautiful hunting shotguns (Berelli was bought by Beretta).

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