At the 2014 SHOT Show Media Day, I got the opportunity to fire a few rounds through Beretta’s ARX-100, the civilian version of the ARX-160 rifle developed for the Italian military. At first glance, I thought it was just another black sporting rifle. However, in true Beretta fashion, they painstakingly included some features that I consider a requirement on modern weapons systems.
Need to lose that empty mag? No problem, the ARX-100 has three, count ‘em, three magazine releases. The user gets one on each side, plus a bonus European-style mag release right in front of the trigger guard and behind the magazine. Don’t like a right-handed charging handle? Simply pull the bolt back and flip the handle through the middle of the ejection port to go southpaw. The AR-style safety selector is ambi too—no switching necessary. A selector button also allows the gun to quickly switch between ejection directions. This means you can have your empty casing fly out the left or right side depending on your dominant shooting hand.
Quick Barrel Change
For 300 AAC Blackout shooters, simply pull the bolt back, twist the barrel and pull it out for an easy change from 5.56 NATO. As you know, you can use the same magazine with either caliber. The barrel change simplicity is similar to that of the Steyr AUG.
Reliability and Accuracy
The ARX-100 is piston driven, rather than direct impingement for long lasting durability and low maintenance in harsh environments. The trigger was very crisp and recoil was negligible. Accuracy was more than excellent and handling was on par with the majority of AR style weapons we’ve tested.
Beretta includes storage space in the A2 style grip, Picatinny rails for endless accessories, and the ability to accept standard AR-style magazines to include old-style PMAGS. The stock is collapsible and folding, which gives the weapon usability in tight quarters and in vehicles. Expect to see plenty of these weapons in the near future. We all want weapons we can afford, and Beretta plans to market these weapons below the $2,000 mark.