Why Finish One Project When You Can Start Two More

Work progresses on the AR180S Pistol Grip and I am almost happy with the result but in between test prints I do other stuff to keep my mind busy.

How about a 9mm blowback version of the AR180? Sounds like fun! I think this could be an easier way to build a 180 since bolts and carriers are hard to source. I think this bolt could be made with less sophisticated machines and from less expensive steel.

The pistol that got me thinking about this some years back , the 9mm Australian Automatic Arms SAP 9mm.

What do y’all think? AR15 magwell adapter, Slightly modified. (Shown with my long neglected square tube prototype)

3D printed prototype bolt that uses an Uzi extractor and retaining pin.

Trunion design that has the barrel entering from the rear and utilizing a press fit. Although there would be room to fit a cross pin if needed.

What I am thinking it would look like. Maybe a DOE style hang guard retainer and front sight?

Got a 9mm barrel blank from Green Mountain and a chamber reamer from MidwayUSA.

Still have some work to do on the bolt design as I discovered it would not lock the hammer onto the disconnector. I really love being able to print some stuff and test fit it before making stuff out of metal.

Project 2? Selling some stuff to finance all these projects.

I have a very limited supply of Sterling 20 round steel mags for sale. $120 each shipped with tracking. PayPal gladly excepted if you kick in a bit to cover the fees.

Other spare parts as well, just ask for my price list.

Shoot me an email through the contact form if you are interested.


AR180S Pistol Grip Prototype

Been wanting a better pistol grip to use on my Nodak NDS-18S lowers pretty much since they came out.

I used an ArmaLite grip but only bought a couple before they stopped selling them. (Sound familiar?) It also didn’t have the right shape.

Since I have been working with Fusion 360 I have been thinking of all kinds of things to design. Why not a better looking pistol grip.

I’ve still got a few kinks to iron out then I can make a more detailed print. I’m confident it would be a functional part when I am done and will certainly put it through it’s paces. It is very comfortable in the hand.

I’m diggin’ it. Anyone else?

Stormwerkz Charging Handle Install

Just finished installing one of Josh’s charging handles on my AR-180S Shorty and I’m really loving it.


4CAB8E22-9C6D-454D-B5D8-DEA0F774A2FB_zpseli4c4c2 (1)

A quick couple passes with an 1/8″ endmill to open up a slot and she fits like a glove.

This unit is very well built and reminds me a lot of the early Howa charging handle.


Check out the charging handles here as well as many other cool AR-180 and AR-180B parts and accessories.

Early Howa AR-180 Part 2

One feature of early Howa AR-180 rifles that is unique is the flash hider, or recoil compensator as it is referred to in the factory documentation.

These were of a different design and had serial numbers stamped into them. What I did not realize was that the barrels were also different. As you can see in these two pictures, the contour of the barrels is not the same between this early Howa shown first, and the early Costa Mesa shown second. I plan to remove the flash hiders to see if the threaded sections are the same. I suspect the Howa will have shorter threads because a lock nut is not used. Late Howas also have the same contour (the step up at the muzzle end) so this may not be true as they use lock nuts.



The fact that no lock nut is used means that special care had to be taken to get the flash hiders to be timed properly. I believe that the flat washer behind the lock washer must have come in different thicknesses to accomplish this.

Finally, one of the fantastic guys over at the AR15.com Retro Forums (isplice) reports that where the flats ended up and where the serial numbers were stamped was not consistent.


If viewed from the firing position my example has the flats at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock with the serial number stamped at 9 o’clock. On gun 96x, the flats are in the same orientation but the serial is stamped at 3 o’clock. Guns 34x and 82x, the flats are at 6 o’clock and 12 o’clock and the serial number is stamped at 6 o’clock.

Reader and AR-18 Guru, Pete points out that he has noticed a difference in the windage knobs on Howa guns and all the others. I looked through the picture I shot this weekend and sure enough, he was right.

Howa – Knurled


Costa Mesa – Lines


I have found the earliest incarnation of the extra cut out on the bolt carrier as seen in my last post.

This picture is of the very first AR-18 serial number X001. It was scanned from an early  AR-18 manual. If you look closely you can see that the cut out is along the full length of the bolt carrier.

Bolt Carrier Cut_zpsypezaskf

The first AR-18s did not have a dust cover, it was a later improvement after military testing found fault with the opening allowing dirt and debris to get into the action. When the dust cover was added the cut out was shortened so that the second cut could be made. This second cut is there to cam open the dust cover.

More updates will be coming soon so please comment and subscribe so you don’t miss a thing.