A Visit to the GunLab – AR-180 Parts

This past Saturday I  had the opportunity to visit Chuck at GunLab.net and it was an awesome and overwhelming experience. I wished I had taken the time to take more pictures but I think I was a little in shock at all the cool guns, parts, and equipment. By far the best part of the trip was the company, Chuck and Shirley are two of the nicest folks you could ever have the pleasure of meeting.

We chatted at length about his work on the AR-180 parts he is building. The lower parts that he is making to fit your AR-180B and Nodak NDS-18S lowers were at heat treating and should be back this week. Parkerization and final inspection along with one final operation on the springs will finish this phase. They should be ready to ship very soon.

Next up he is working on uppers. We are hoping to have them available in several configurations from flats to complete uppers with trunnions and rails. He sent me some pictures of his solid model of the stamping die he is building.

AR180 Complete Die1 AR180 Complete Die2 AR180 Complete Die3

Trunnions have also been modeled and those should be coming shortly after the upper sheet metal.



I also gave him one of my original prototype AR-180C railed front sight bases and I am hoping that we can get a few of those made.


The AR-180C flat top might become a reality after all!


Finally yours truly with the only picture from my visit, holding an MP-44 for the very first time. I find it astonishing that they were able to crank these out in the numbers they did, with allied bombs dropping all around them, and that the complexity of manufacture I see in this gun was actually a time saver compared to older weapons.



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One Reply to “A Visit to the GunLab – AR-180 Parts”

  1. As my friend Arthur points out, the MP-44 was very efficiently designed for German industry (which at the time was bonkers and insane). The high number of subassemblies means work could be farmed out to different small shops across the nation, so the complexity actually represents a better utilization of the industry at hand than a simpler weapon would.

    The MP-44 definitely represents an achievement for German industry at the time, and it’s remarkable that so many were made (though my understanding is that the vast majority went to the Eastern Front, not West).

    I think the zombie-Armalite 180s are pretty disappointing, especially considering how good a design the original 18s and 180s were. Hopefully, Chuck has a good amount of success making them or at least parts for them; I’d like to have an 18-based rifle that actually functions and doesn’t blow.

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