Beretta BM 59

The BM 59 is an automatic battle rifle developed in Italy in 1959. It is based on the M1 Garand rifle, chambered in 7.62×51mm NATO, modified to use a detachable magazine, and capable of selective fire.[4] Later revisions incorporated other features common to more modern rifles.

Beretta BM 59
BM 59 battle rifle
TypeBattle rifle
Place of originItaly
Service history
In service1959–Present
Used bySee Users
WarsNigerian Civil War[1]
Anti-guerrilla operations in Indonesia
Indonesian invasion of East Timor
Lebanese Civil War
Falklands War
Multinational Force in Lebanon[2]
Somali Civil War
Libyan Civil War
Production history
DesignerDomenico Salza
ManufacturerBeretta, Bandung Weapons Factory, Defence Industries Corporation
Unit cost$42 (1962)[3]
VariantsMark I, Mark II, III/Ital TA, BM59 Para, Mark IV
Mass4.4 kg (9.70 lb)
Length1,095 mm (43.1 in)
Barrel length491 mm (19.3 in)

Cartridge7.62×51mm NATO
ActionGas-operated, rotating bolt
Rate of fire750 rounds per minute
Feed system20-round detachable box magazine
SightsRear aperture, front post


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 This semi-automatic rifle proved itself well during World War II, but in the late 1950s it was considered outdated and obsolete and the Italian military also wanted a new rifle chambered for the NATO-standard 7.62×51mm round.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 BM 59, which was essentially a rechambered M1 fitted with a removable 20-round magazine, folding bipod and a combined muzzle brake/flash suppressor/rifle grenade launcher. The BM 59 is capable of selective fire.

The BM 59 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 BM 59s were manufactured from U.S.-manufactured M1 parts, including re-chambered barrels.

Beginning in 1990, the BM 59 was replaced in Italian service by the Beretta AR70/90 assault rifles, although some may be in service in the Italian Navy.


The BM 59 has several military and civilian variants that include the following:[5]


  • BM 59 Mark I: had a wooden stock with a semi-pistol grip stock.
  • BM 59 Mark II: had a wooden stock with pistol grip to achieve a better control during full-auto fire;
  • BM 59 Mark III: or Ital TA (also known as the Truppe Alpine), was a variant with a pistol grip and a metallic folding buttstock, that was intended for mountain troops. The BM 59 Para was similar to BM 59 Ital TA, but was intended for paratroopers. It was equipped with a shorter barrel and flash-hider.
  • BM 59 Mark IV: had a heavier barrel with a plastic stock, and was used as a light squad automatic weapon.


The rare BM62 and 69 are civilian sporting rifles with the grenade launcher and sights removed.[6] with the following:

  • BM62: Semi-auto chambered in .308 Winchester (commercial variant of 7.62×51mm NATO), came with 20-round magazines, civilian flash hider (no bayonet lug, no grenade launcher, no tri-compensator (extremely rare to have gas cylinder with bipod capability) [7] Does not normally have bipod capability on gas cylinder, or gas-compensator[6]
    The BM 59 (top left) on display at the Museo de Armas de la Nación, Buenos Aires
    BM69: Semi-auto with a bipod and tri-compensator.[6]


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Jowett, Philip (2016). Modern African Wars (5): The Nigerian-Biafran War 1967-70. Oxford: Osprey Publishing Press. p. 20. ISBN 978-1472816092.
  2. ^ McNab, Chris (2002). 20th Century Military Uniforms (2nd ed.). Kent: Grange Books. p. 158. ISBN 1-84013-476-3.
  3. ^ McCollum, Ian. "BM59: The Italian M14". Forgotten Weapons. Retrieved 2022-05-15.
  4. ^ Beretta BM 59 rifle. Retrieved on October 5, 2008.
  5. ^ Modern Firearms' Beretta BM 59 page. Archived 2010-09-02 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on October 5, 2008.
  6. ^ a b c d e Beretta's BM 59. Archived March 25, 2009, at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on October 5, 2008.
  7. ^ Beretta BM62. Retrieved on October 5, 2008.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Jones, Richard D. Jane's Infantry Weapons 2009/2010. Jane's Information Group; 35 edition (January 27, 2009). ISBN 978-0-7106-2869-5.
  9. ^ Jowett 2016, p. 59.
  10. ^ "Perjalanan Terwujudnya Senapan Serbu Nasional Buatan Pindad". (in Indonesian). 28 June 2018. Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  11. ^ "Fusil Beretta BM 59". Encyclopédie des armes : Les forces armées du monde (in French). Vol. XII. Atlas. 1986. p. 2763.
  12. ^ "German Small Arms: The Nigeria-Connection".
  13. ^ "Armi - FAL BM 59".