Premiere at the DSEI in London: Beretta BDT unveils the NARP "New Assault Rifle Platform"

BDT is a complete system provider in the official world of military, law enforcement and other security-relevant institutions. With the companies Beretta, Benelli, Sako, Steiner, RWS, Swiss-P, Norma, MFS and Centanex, BDT can cover a wide range of weapon systems, optics as well as training and operational ammunition. A great advantage here is that the overall system of weapon-optics-ammunition is perfectly matched from the outset and can also be specially configured according to customer requirements. 

New Beretta NARP assault rifle platform - a short retrospective

In 2007, at MILIPOL in Paris Beretta first introduced the modern ARX 160 assault rifle in 5.56x45 mm NATO with many innovative design details. It had nothing in common with the previous Italian AR70 and AR70/90 rifles of 1972 and 1985. Connoisseurs of the subject agree that the ARX series, which has been steadily expanded, is basically undervalued compared to makes from competitors such as FN or HK. The modular and multi-caliber ARX 160 uses a gas piston operation with a rotating bolt. In principle, this is a mixture of a short-stroke and long-stroke piston systems. In a Garand- or Kalashnikov-style long-stroke systems, the gas piston travels the same distance as the bolt carrier. In a short stroke system a la Tokarev SVT-38/40 or 30M1 carbine, the gas piston travels a shorter distance than the bolt carrier. 

In the ARX 160, the gas block is permanently connected to the barrel by a pin. Above the gas block and parallel to the barrel is a solid tube, also pinned, and a steel cylinder can move back and forth on this tube. This cylinder replaces the classic gas piston and when the gas tapped from the barrel is injected into the cylinder through a hole, it runs back and gives the impulse to the bolt carrier. The Beretta system is unique in that the cylinder, under the influence of gas pressure, operates like a "short stroke" gas piston system only initially, and then over a longer travel distance of nearly 50 mm, it imparts a longer lasting, constant push to the bolt carrier like a "long stroke" system. The amazingly simple system operates extremely reliably at comparatively low gas pressures thanks to its design, and is self-regulating and self-cleaning. The really smart thing about the ARX system, however, is that it does not blow out the excess gas that enters the gas system during the reloading process. That, in turn, has distinct practical advantages in covert operations with signature or silencers when the adversary has thermal imaging or tube-based night vision technology. All other known new assault rifles with indirect gas-operated systems blow out the excess gas, making them easy to detect on the first few shots. For the sake of completeness, it should be mentioned that the ARX 160 A3, which has been improved in detail, was introduced at DSEI 2013, the ARX 200 in 7.62x51 mm NATO was introduced at MILIPOL 2015, and the "Designated Marksman Rifle" (DMR) version of the ARX 200 was introduced at the World Defense Show 2022 in Saudi Arabia. On duty, Beretta ARX rifles have been introduced not only in the homeland, but also in countries such as Albania, Algeria, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Kurdistan, Poland, Qatar, Mexico, Romania, Turkmenistan. 

The brand new Beretta BDT assault rifle NARP in detail together with Steiner Optics (rifle scope, red-dot and laser sight)

The brand new Beretta New Assault Rifle Platform (NARP) in 5.56x45 with 11.5" and 14.5" barrels fully equipped with Steiner Ranger riflescope, Steiner MPS red dot sight and Steiner DBAL-A3 laser sight.

The name "New Assault Rifle Platform" (NARP) already indicates that this is an expandable family of weapons. Other calibers such as .300 Blackout (7.62x35 mm), 6.5 Creedmoor or 7.62x51 mm NATO are already being considered by the manufacturer. Shown at DSEI was the NARP with low-tolerance lower and upper receivers made of 7075 aluminum in 11.5" (292 mm) and 14.5" (368 mm) barrel lengths. In these configurations, the NARP weighs 3.2 kg and 3.3 kg respectively when empty with the polymer magazine inserted. Of course, all STANAG 4179 metal or polymer magazines can be used, and the funneled magazine well facilitates quick magazine changes. However, other barrel lengths such as 7"/178 mm, 16"/406 mm, 18"/457 mm and 20"/508 mm are already being planned for a wide range of applications from CQB to DMR. Due to the lack of a further model designation, we call the basic model in 5.56x45 NARP for the sake of simplicity. 

The Beretta NARP with its characteristic light metal M-LOK handguard in absolute lightweight construction. The length-adjustable stock is designed to be foldable in order to shorten the transport dimensions in a very confined space (prototype).

Like many of its competitors – such as Fabrique Nationale (FN) Herstal with the SCAR, Heckler & Koch (HK) with the HK 416/417/433/437 or SIG Sauer with the MCX – BDT is now using the straight AR design that dominates the western world for the NARP presented to the world public for the first time today, just as Eugene Stoner once conceived it in the mid-1950s. But the kinship ends with the outer shell and compatibility with AR-15 accessories. Inside, it is not the direct impingement system of the ingenious designer (22 November 1922 – 24 April 1997) that does its job, but the indirect short stroke gas operated system, which is much easier to maintain and less prone to malfunctions. In addition, the barrel bore axis is positioned even lower than the stock, which promises maximum controllability when firing. By the way, the length-adjustable stock can be folded to shorten the transport dimensions in a very confined space (prototype), which is not possible with ordinary M16/M4 rifles due to the recoil spring unit in the buffer tube. However, Beretta relocated the spring unit to the  upper receiver. 

The Beretta NARP in both side views with its characteristic light metal M-LOK handguard in absolute lightweight construction. The large window cutout allows quick access to the adjustable gas block.

Developed entirely in Italy as early as 2018, the Beretta NARP was created in close cooperation with the Italian armed forces and has all the characteristics of a modern assault rifle of the 21st century. Due to a comparatively heavy, prismatic bolt assembly, the theoretical rate of fire is 700 rounds per minute. The NARP has reportedly already completed all typical NATO trials and passed the MRBS ("Mean Rounds Between Stoppages") functional reliability test with flying colors at around 15,000 rounds. The rifle is compatible with the Beretta GLX 160 grenade launcher in 40 mm, which was developed for the ARX 160. Of course, a decisive factor in the field is also the signature reduction. On the muzzle flash hider, which in turn sits on a standard 1/2 "x28 muzzle thread, for example, the ideally suited Beretta B-Silent silencer made of Inconel 718 Stainless Steel can be mounted with a quick detachment system, in which case the gas block setting should be changed from "N" to "S". In terms of heat signature, the silencer exhibits a temperature range of less than 40°C after 90-round strings. In the stress test, eight 30-round magazines, or 240 rounds, were fired in rapid succession without any degradation in performance. 

A long STANAG 4694 mounting rail sits atop the upper receiver and the easy-to-handle light alloy handguard with M-LOK interfaces, providing ample space for optics and night sights of all types. The freestanding pistol grip can be mounted at various angles on the lower. The Beretta NARP is consistently designed for ambidextrous handling with controls on both the left and right (safety/fire selector, magazine release button).

With the T-shaped loading lever at the rear of the upper receiver, forward assist and controls, the Beretta NARP is identical in handling to a classic AR-15.

For more information about the Beretta BDT NARP

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