By Mark Keefe
OK, I’m pretty sure that is not a real word, but if it was actually in the dictionary, it perfectly describes the Beretta ARX, or at least the version I fired at Media Day On The Range. Of course, the futuristic ARX is the current modular selective-fire service rifle of the Italian Army made by Beretta in Gardone, Italy.
The version I shot is indeed a Beretta ARX but chambered in, wait for it, .22 Long Rifle. It has all the handling and controls of the center-fire rifle. Of course it differs in being semi-auto only, and I’m not sure a grenade launcher would fit. Not having one available (the grenade launcher) on Monday, I am unable to report accurately on that.
The rifle is made by Umarex in Germany for Beretta under license and breaks down just like the 5.56x45 mm NATO ARX, and the bolt handle, which is mounted to the bolt, is reciprocating and reversible. It is fed from the same magazine Umarex uses in the Colt and Heckler & Koch AR-platform rimfires, probably the best .22 rimfire magazine I have ever used.
The bad news, despite its awesomeness, it will not be available until later on this year. Of course, the fact that the new gun is featured in the “Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare” video game franchise doesn’t hurt.