Lets look at the more interesting side of AR-18 serial number 057.
There are early features everywhere over here!
Of course like the other side you see no reinforcement at the front of the mag well. The most obvious difference is the lack of a dust cover. Early testing showed that there was just too much space for dirt and debris to get into the action. This was fixed during later production.
No curved charging handle on these early models, just like the AR-16 that proceeded it. To my understanding the spent cases would sometimes hit the charging handle and bounce back into the ejection port. To remedy this they changed the design to act somewhat like a shell deflector.
Reminds me a lot of the AR180B.
Other features that may not be so obvious, the reinforcing ribs in the upper extend all the way to the rear. They stop short on regular production models.
Finally we move onto the lower receiver. Compare the front of the trigger guard to the one in your gun safe.
(What do you mean you don’t have one?) (Go get one.) (You know you want to.)
On regular production models the front of the trigger guard serves double duty as a guide for the rear of the magazine. Not so on this example.
Let me know what you see that is different. There is at least one more thing that can be seen in the above photo. Can you spot it?
Friend of the site Andrew Huber had the opportunity to look over more than a few weapons at the West Point museum and one of them is a very early example of the AR-18. Serial number 057.
Lets look over a few of his pictures and compare those to later production examples.
The most notable feature from this angle is actually what it is missing, the reinforcement around the front of the mag-well. While not as strong I think it has a sleeker look to it. Next would be the roll marks. They certainly made a few changes when they went into production. Unlike the first prototype that is shown in early literature this example uses the traditional folding stock retention stud. Like the first prototype this one does not have a dovetail scope mount on the upper receiver.
It also features an inspection mark on the upper that I have never seen before.
Do you see any other interesting details that I missed?
Make sure you respond, share and subscribe. I’ll dig into the other side of the receiver in the next article so stay tuned. Awesome stuff and I can’t thank Andrew enough for doing the hard work gathering these pictures?
A new pistol grip design that will fit standard AR15 lower receivers is now available.
As with the previous design these can be used as printed or sanded and polished to your liking. I have found that a quick sanding with 120 grit sandpaper followed by a few coats of primer then a gloss black top coat works fantastic. It requires much less time than a complete polish job.
Brownells just announced their newest BRN-180 offering and I’m sure you can probably figure out I’m really excited about it, the BRN-180S. A 10.5″ version of their BRN-180.
It does not appear to have an appropriate flash hider. I think I can fix that.
They will be available in the store as soon as I get them parkerized. Keep an eye out.
How about the elephant in the room? Whats with that lower receiver? That is the first prototype of the Fusion Lower Receiver in the flesh. Ready for some testing. They will be available as an 80% “Paper Weight” as soon as I can get the last few details ironed out.