Military Wiki
BM59 battle rifle
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 .308 Winchester
Action Gas-operated, rotating bolt
Rate of fire 750 rounds per minute
Feed system 20-round detachable box magazine
Sights Rear aperture, front post

The Beretta BM59 is an Italian-made rifle based on the M1 Garand rifle, but chambered in 7.62×51 mm NATO, and modified to use a detachable magazine.[1] Later revisions incorporated other features common to more modern rifles.


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 This semi-automatic rifle proved itself well during World War II, but in the late 1950s it was considered outdated and obsolete and the Italian military also wanted a new rifle chambered for the NATO-standard 7.62×51mm round.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


The BM59 has several military and civilian variants that include the following:[2]


  • 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 BM59 Para was similar to BM59 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 BM-62 and 69 are civilian sporting rifles with the grenade launcher and sights removed.[3] with the following:

  • BM-62: Semi-auto that came with 20-round magazines that were permanently modified to only accept 10 rounds.[4] Does not have bipod and compensator[3]
  • BM-69: Semi-auto with a bipod and tri-compensator.[3]


  •  Algeria[5]
  •  Argentina: Used in the Falklands War.[3]
  •  Bahrain[5]
  •  Eritrea[5]
  •  Ethiopia[5]
  •  Italy[5]
  •  Indonesia: Under license at the Bandung Weapons Factory as the SP-1.[3]
  •  Libya[5]
  •  Morocco[5]
  •  Nigeria: Under license by Defense Industries Corporation.[6]
  •  San Marino[7]

See also


  1. Beretta BM 59 rifle. Retrieved on October 5, 2008.
  2. Modern Firearms' Beretta BM 59 page. Retrieved on October 5, 2008.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Beretta's BM 59. Retrieved on October 5, 2008.
  4. Beretta BM62. Retrieved on October 5, 2008.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 Jones, Richard D. Jane's Infantry Weapons 2009/2010. Jane's Information Group; 35 edition (January 27, 2009). ISBN 978-0-7106-2869-5.
  6. German small arms: The Nigerian connection. Retrieved on October 5, 2008.
  7. Photo of the Guardia di Rocca

External links

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).