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DSEI 2023: Beretta debuts new assault rifle

Beretta NARP 5.56 mm rifles in different configurations. (Beretta Defense Technologies)

Fabbrica d'Armi Pietro Beretta, part of the Beretta Defense Technologies Group, unveiled its new 5.56×45 mm rifle at DSEI 2023 in London.

Speaking to Janes , a company representative said the rifle was developed under the New Assault Rifle Platform (NARP) project and will complement the company's existing ARX160 in its portfolio. The NARP project began in 2018, with the first functional prototypes being handed over to units of the Italian Army in 2022 for testing and evaluation. The rifle is currently wrapping up NATO qualification tests, which the company expects to be completed by the first quarter of 2024, the representative said. Initial rate production is expected by the third quarter of 2024.

The 5.56 mm NARP rifle was entirely developed in Italy, utilising the core design architecture of the ArmaLite AR-15 rifle. The weapon is built around an upper and lower receiver, both constructed out of 7075 forged aluminium. Controls are fully ambidextrous, including the T-shaped cocking handle, bolt-release/hold-open catch, magazine-release button, and fire selector lever.

The geometry and positioning of the controls were carefully studied to decrease the chances of accidental actuation and increase muscle memory transition for users already familiar with the AR-15-type platforms, according to the company representative. The magazine well is flared and bevelled to facilitate magazine insertion. The NARP is gas-operated, using a short-stroke gas piston. The piston consists of two major parts, which can be disassembled by hand without tools. The rifle is also fitted with a two-setting adjustable gas regulator, and the handguard features a quick-release system using a locking lever to enable rapid access to the barrel and gas piston.

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