AR-180B Shorty Project Begins

This project could not be possible without the new NoDak Spud NDS-18S lower receiver and the fine gun-smithing skills of John Thomas at Retro Arms Works. Links at the end of the article.

The first thing that crossed my mind when the NDS-18S lower receiver was released was the possibility of building a pistol. I immediately ordered one of their lowers and started looking for an AR-180B.

For those who are unfamiliar, the AR-180B was a new version built by the new Armalite Inc. starting around 2001. Again it didn’t meet sales expectations and was dropped. Dropped too soon in my opinion.

I found a likely candidate on gunbroker and like one of my earlier Sterling guns, it was like new, unfired. My daughter and I quickly remedied that problem.

After I made sure it functioned properly I pulled the lower apart and build my new NoDak lower.

I then sent the upper off to John at Retro Arms Works. He jumped right in and after a little hick-up removing the barrel, he sent me pics of the progress so far.

AR-180B Before

AR-180B Barrel Removed


Unfortunately the front sight base on the AR-180B is larger than the barrel so it had to be sleeved.

AR-180B Sleeve

AR-180B Sleeved and Machined

AR-180B Barrel Profiled and Ready for threads

AR-180B Front Sight Base Test Fit

AR-180B Shorty Mock Up

It still needs the barrel parkerized, barrel installed,gas port drilled, and the operating rod made and fitted.


Updates to follow soon.