AR180B Gunsmithing; A Cautionary Tale

Good friend of the site Oscar sent me an upper that another gunsmith attempted to remove the barrel on. He got it back from said gunsmith with the message that he was unable to remove the barrel and afterwords he was unable to tighten the barrel back up.

What many do not know is that the AR180B has a unique method of barrel retention and it is not at all obvious.

If we look at a bare trunion you will note that it has a large hole through the middle with a small step.

The barrel for this gun uses an AR15 barrel extension that is turned down and press fit into this trunion. That’s it! Nothing else. Just a press fit.

What happens then when the unsuspecting gun plumber puts a barrel wrench on the barrel and clamps that flat sided receiver in his vise? It makes funny noises and turns the extension in the trunion. Not good. Oscar mentioned that it shot terrible after he got it back and I suggested he send it to me for inspection. It didn’t take long to figure out my initial thoughts were correct.

Now how do I fix it so it is safe to shoot? I want to thank Oscar for being patient with me as I have had his upper for quite some time while I try to figure out what to do.

I settled on a shallow pin. I wanted it to not show unless you were looking for it and still be able to hold everything secure.

Sneaking the Tig torch in between the bosses was challenging but ended up with good penetration after I got the amperage dialed in.

So what is the right way to remove a barrel for the 180 Bravo? Use a modified reaction wrench. Do not put any twisting force on the receiver itself.

New AR-180S Shorty Parts Have Arrived

I now have everything needed to offer shorty conversions or to sell the parts outright if you want to roll your own. CNC machined from billet steel these new hand guard caps will retain the cut down hand guards on an AR180 or 180B. Shoot me a message through the contact form if you need more details.

AR180S Pistol Grips Ready To Ship

Well I have 3 ready to ship.

I have reworked the model and done modifications to my printer and I am happy with how they are printing now.

I have also decided to put them up for sale and will print and fill orders as they come in. That might take awhile to fill as they take quite some time to print. 18+ hours to be exact.

These can certainly be used as is but really need to be sanded, polished, possibly even painted.

Here is an early prototype that I sanded and rounded the edges then polished.

First 3 will ship right away, first come, first served. Just click on the link at the top of the page to take you to the Shopping Cart.

I am really looking forward to getting some pictures of how your pistol grips turn out!

As always use the “Contact Me” link to send me an email if you have any questions.



What’s Happening at

Work has been keeping me busy and when I am home I like to relax and get out in the shop. I have been building several different weapons besides those related to the AR180 but I hope you are still interested.

Some time back I got a flat and weldments for my Cetme LC from HMG

I also got the bending jig and the build went pretty smooth considering I’m still using a cheap flux core wire feed welder from Harbor Freight.

Got it to the range a couple weeks back and it ran great. Time to give this ghost gun some paint.

The AR-180S is done after 3 years of gathering parts and building and rebuilding. Runs like a top.

I am currently in an UZI kick. I picked up a Micro kit and I am in the middle of building this as a pistol. I plan to make a folding brace using a Tailhook on the original hinge.

Still a work in progress and more welding and grinding before I’m happy enough to try and shoot it. The wire feed wasn’t working too well for the fill in so I broke out the gas torch with my smallest tip #0. I think I need a smaller one.

I really need to get a TIG but every time I get close enough to having the money together a great deal comes along on a gun or parts. The struggle is real.

Latest acquisition.

New in Wrapper Sterling 20 round mags. I think I have more than I need so I will be willing to share.

I also discovered

They are the place the AR-18 parts kits are being sourced from. 499 Euros Click Here

They also have some awesome parts for sale. Just click around and drool.

Now I need a friend in Europe who would ship them to the states. Anyone got a cousin over there? I would make it worth their while.




AR-180B Shorty Project Does 2-Gun

I was invited by some of my students to join them at the 2-Gun Action Challenge. For those unfamiliar with  2-Gun it is basically a great way to test yourself and your equipment in a dynamic environment. The two guns you need are a pistol and a rifle. I chose a Python and my Shorty 180. I wasn’t planning to win or even be competitive. I just wanted join my friends and do a little run and gun. Lots of both were to be had along with some ducking and crawling to boot. Turns out it was a Vietnam themed event this time and had I been more prepared I might have done ok. The pistol stage for example was limited to 5 rounds. Revolvers could have been competitive in more practiced hands than mine.  I was using an old school police rig with dump pouches. Speed loaders or even speed strips would have been a welcome addition.

It was my first time and even though I did badly and my shorty had malfunctions, I had a great time. I shot the Irons category and chose to use the small aperture as I felt it would be more accurate. The distances were too close and I found that was a bad idea. I switched to the large aperture on the next stage and it was at distance. Another bad idea. The shorty was barely able to get two or three shots in a row before it would short stroke. I brought a back up gun but decided to be stubborn and stick with my shorty till the end. As a result I timed out on every stage but almost cleared the last stage, one shot shy. Thinking that I needed to open up the gas port I decided to do an autopsy on it today. As I was stripping it down I noticed that the op rod was way too far recessed into the trunion. Turns out the front sight base was too far forward. Not only did that cause increased travel of the op rod, it covered up part of the gas port. I’m surprised it ran at all. Either I didn’t tighten it enough and it moved forward as it was fired or I didn’t get it in the proper place when I put it back together last time. I’ve been taking it apart a lot lately to take measurements as I have been building my AR180S clone.

I think I am hooked and I am looking forward to next months match. I might keep running the Python and pick up some speed loaders and pouches. I need some sort of mag holder for my rifle mags and I will be ready to go.

I also picked up a universal folding mechanism from Josh at I used it to fold the pistol brace on my 180B pistol. I’m liking it so far just handling it around the house. Time will tell how it works in the real world. I think I will make it my back up gun at the next 2-Gun.




One last update. I have purchased a limited quantity of original AR180B fire control pins. This has always been a problem for those of us building a Nodak NDS-18S lower from scratch. $20 a pair so shoot me an email at if you are interested in picking some up. Get an extra set for spares!