Identifying Costa Mesa 30 Round Magazines

In the early days of production and sales in Costa Mesa, Armalite offered their own 30 round steel magazines.

These are often misidentified or overlooked because they have no markings at all.

You will notice that the bases plate shown in the picture below have no markings and feature a hole on one end. These are the ones you are looking for. (The top magazine has the incorrect base plate)

Costa Mesa 30 Round Base Plate

Unlike the Sterling magazines, these have no hole on the side of the magazine.

Right side.

Costa Mesa 30 Round Right

Left side.

Costa Mesa 30 Round Left

They also feature a unique spot weld design that I have seen on no other magazines. Three equally spaced spot welds are more prominent than the rest.

Costa Mesa 30 Round Spot Welds

You will also not that these magazines are designed with a full curve and not the partial curve of the Sterling or M16 magazines.

Costa Mesa 30 Round

Good luck with your hunt for these highly desirable magazines.

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Armalite AR-180 Accessories: Sharp Shooter Kit

The Sharp Shooter Kit is an incredibly hard to find accessory that was available for the Sterling AR-180.

I believe these may be the only pictures of said kit on the internet.

Not much is known of these and I am still searching for more information as we speak.

I first heard about the Sharp Shooter Kit in a few forum threads but didn’t even know what it consisted of. In fact I received this kit and didn’t know what I had. I assumed it was some aftermarket accessory that the seller threw in with my gun when he shipped it.


It was only after seeing this scan of an old Armalite hand out, that I put it all together.

Sharp Shooter Kit 1

The Armalite Sharp Shooter Kit consists of a neoprene/nylon cover for the hand guard and butt stock. Perhaps you too have had one of these and didn’t know what it was.

Here you can see the overall view, please note that the velcro strips have been added after the fact. I’m not sure I can remove them without damage to the sleeve.

Sharp Shooter Kit 2

The next picture shows the butt stock or “Cheek Pad” as Armalite calls it.

Shapr Shooter Kit 3

The final picture shows the vent holes that are cut in the top of the hand guard sleeve. There is also one hole in the bottom.

Sharp Shooter Kit 4

One of the points made in the hand out is that it “Increases shooter comfort”. Although I have not had this gun to the range yet I can tell without a doubt, that is true. I shouldered this rifle a few times while shooting these pictures and with the cold temps outside, the cheek pad made for a much warmer place to lay my face.

Please let me know if you have one of these kits as I would like to put up more pictures and compare them to mine.