Designed in the 1960s and built by Pietro Beretta , the AR70 was adopted by the Italian military in the 1970s. A gas-piston design that borrowed from a lot of earlier autoloaders of the era, the 5.56mm AR70 was developed in lieu of acquiring a license from Colt to produce M16s to supplement Italy’s BM-59, the latter an upgraded M1 Garand in 7.62x51mm NATO with a box magazine.
A very stylish-looking rifle — hey it’s a Beretta — it was also adopted in small numbers around the world by countries such as Indonesia, although today it is being phased out in its country of origin by the more modular ARX160. In a closer look at the origin of the gun, American Rifleman covers the AR70 above. Want to know more? Ian McCollum with Forgotten Weapons covers an example of the same species in more detail, below.