The ARX160 offers a 21st century battle rifle that is…

The ARX160 offers a 21st century battle rifle that is compact yet can switch barrels and calibers easily in moments.

Beretta’s AR70 assault rifle and its successor, the AR70/90, are among the least known modern military rifles among U.S. shooters. This can be attributed to various factors: the only major country to use the rifle is Italy; in general, Italian soldiers don’t turn up very often in newscasts from the battlefield, though a reasonable number have served in Afghanistan; and only a small number of civilian-legal semi-auto AR70s were ever imported into the U.S. Despite their lack of recognition, the AR70 and AR70/90 are good rifles that have served Italian armed forces for many years. As the AR70/90 will soon be replaced by the Beretta ARX160, it seems like a good time to have a look at its pros and cons.

AR70 Specs

Beretta began development on what would become the AR70 in 1968. At the time, the Italian armed forces were equipped with the Beretta BM59, a very good 7.62x51mm NATO battle rifle based on the M1 Garand but with select-fire capabilities and a detachable box magazine. However, as the NATO standard became the 5.56x45mm, a new rifle in that caliber was needed for Italian forces. In addition to the basic rifle, a version with a folding stock was developed, as was a version with a shorter barrel and folding stock for airborne and special forces use.

Italian troops armed with the AR70/90. The soldier in the foreground has a Trijicon ACOG mounted on his rifle.

Trials of the AR70 and limited issuance to Italian troops showed some small flaws that required fixing prior to the rifle being adopted for general issuance. These changes were incorporated in 1985, and the new rifle was adopted in 1990 and designated the AR70/90. At first glance, the AR70/90 looks similar to the M16, though upon closer examination some differences can be noted. Among the most obvious similarities are the carry handle and hinged upper, which can be opened and rotated downward. The original AR70’s upper receiver had a square cross-section and used stamped bolt guides. However, this design was not deemed sturdy enough for military service; hence, the AR70/90 incorporates a trapezoidal upper receiver and separate bolt guides welded in place for greater durability.

An Italian San Marco Marine on ship interdiction duty armed with an AR70/90.

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  • Al

    last, but not least, Italy was never conquered or ruled by non-europeans. Who is the ruler of America, today? who does AJ serve?

  • Al

    Italian Military a Joke.
    Italy may have been defeated in WWII and this is why you scorn us. But Consider the cost Britain and France both lost their colonial empire and now are no longer world superpowers but just ordinary nations. Don’t mess with Italy, mate…there is a price to pay. By the way…we have two aircraft carriers, more than any other nation except the US. And in 2012 the vega rocket (mostly built in Italy) put a satellite in orbit. Which means we can build ICBMs if we wanted to. If you ever get your hands on an AR 70/90 you will see that it is not a rifle but a work of art, a masterpiece. It does not jam like an M-16 but goes bang every time you pull the trigger.

  • Al

    Italian Miltary…a couple more things.
    Eugene of Savoy, the greatest austrian general who made Austria a superpower was italian.
    the generals Raimondo Montecuccoli and Ottavio Piccolomini did such a great job during the Thirty year war that Germany lost one third of its people.
    Detroit MI was founded by mr Tonti, an Italian, who was De la Salle leutenant and explored much of the Midwest. And Eusebio Kino was another italian who explored Arizona and California and founded a lot of the spanish missions, one hundred years before the anglo pioneers got to the west. And Napoleon…spoke italian better than french!!

  • Al

    Yes…what a joke. Italians invaded Russia 4 times (the romans, napoleon had italian troops with him,the crimean war and WWII). After the Battle of Marignano Bartolomeo D’Alviano and Gian Giacomo Trivulzio inflicted such a defeat on the hitherto invincible Swiss that switzerland became a neutral nation….forever. Italy also dealt with two others superpowers: Austria and Turkey…both no longer are superpowers. Japan surrendered before any marine had set foot on the japanese mainland and surrendered because the Emperor ordered it. When The king of italy ordered Italy to surrender in WWII the country split in two and the North formed a republic which continued to fight for 600 more days. And remember that London, Chester, York were founded by Italians and Britain was a roman colony for 4 centuries.

  • Cody

    Remington Military ACR from over seas…

  • JoeBee1988

    What kind of stock is used in the last picture ?

  • AJ

    Italian military……what a JOKE!!!