Beretta BM59

The Beretta BM59 is an Italian-made rifle based on the M1 Garand rifle, but chambered in 7.62×51mm NATO, and modified to use a detachable magazine. Later revisions incorporated other features common to more modern rifles.

Beretta BM59
Class Manportable
Type Rifles
Manufacturer Barretta
Origin Italy
Country Name Origin Year
Italy 1959
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Algeria View
Argentina View
Eritrea View
Ethiopia View
Indonesia View
Italy 1959 1990 View
Libya View
Morocco View
Nigeria View
Somalia View
Bahrain View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Barretta 1959 View

After World War II, Italy adopted the US-designed M1 Garand rifle in .30-06 Springfield (7.62×63mm) and also manufactured it under license. This semi-automatic rifle proved itself well during World War II, but in the late 1950s it was considered outdated and obsolete and the Italian military also wanted a new rifle chambered for the NATO-standard 7.62×51mm round.

To meet these requirements, Beretta designed the BM59, which was essentially a rechambered M1 fitted with a removable 20-round magazine, folding bipod and a combined flash suppressor/rifle grenade launcher. The BM59 is capable of selective fire.

The BM59 was adopted in 1959 and served with Italian, Argentinian, Indonesian, and Moroccan armies. In the early 1980s, semi-automatic versions were imported to the United States and sold to private collectors. The earliest BM59s were manufactured from U.S.-manufactured M1 parts, including re-chambered barrels.

In 1990, the BM59 was replaced in Italian service by the Beretta AR70/90 assault rifles, although some may be in service in the Italian Navy.

Type Battle rifle
Place of origin Italy
Service history
In service 1959–1990 (Italian service)
Used by See Users
Wars Anti-guerrilla operations in Indonesia
Indonesian invasion of East Timor
Falklands War
Somali Civil War
Libyan Civil War
Production history
Designer Pietro Beretta
Designed 1950s
Manufacturer Beretta, Bandung Weapons Factory, Defence Industries Corporation
Produced 1959
Variants Mark I, Mark II, III/Ital TA, BM59 Para, Mark IV
Weight 4.4 kg (9.70 lb)
Length 1,095 mm (43.1 in)
Barrel length 491 mm (19.3 in)
Cartridge 7.62×51 mm
Action Gas-operated, rotating bolt
Rate of fire 750 rounds per minute
Feed system 20-round detachable box box magazine
Sights Rear aperture, front post

End notes