Neo-Retro: The 21st Century AR-180

Neo-Retro, via Brownells, Inc., Geissele Automatics, LLC, NoDak Spud, Law Tactical LLC, and Magpul Industries Corp.

Thanks to Brownells introducing an AR-180 upper receiver and Nodak offering the Spud NDS-1815 lower receiver, you can build your own AR-180 clone. This one was built by Frank Woods.


Brownells BRN-180 18.5″ barrel URG

Nodak Spud NDS-1815 lower receiver

LAW Tactical Gen 3-M folding stock adapter

Geissele Super LPK

Geissele SSA

Magpul Type 1 rail panels

Magpul Fixed Carbine Stock

Magpul MOE Grip

Magpul MS1 QDM sling

Magpul M-LOK QD socket

Troy Micro height M4 style BUIS

Tried to get it as close to the AR-180 I could in looks while also taking the newer architecture into account. I already had the stock and it looks damn near close enough to the original AR-180 stock while also being aesthetically in line with the M-LOK rail. The BUIS were chosen because they closest resembled the AR-180 iron sights in both height and appearance (yes, I know they’re backwards.)

I didn’t give it the Tiger Stripe layout treatment because I’m convinced Brownells has an AR-180 style AR15 grip (along the same lines as their AR10 and Retro A1 grips) in the works that they’re staying tight lipped about until SHOT. That’ll be the finishing touch on this otherwise quick turnaround of a Black Friday project.

-Frank Woods

11 Responses to “Neo-Retro: The 21st Century AR-180”

  1. thebronze says:

    Why did Brownells make this in .223 Wylde?

    • Yawnz says:

      .223 Wylde was designed to fire both .223 Remington and 5.56x45mm accurately, especially the heavier bullets. Is that somehow bad?

  2. Scott says:

    The TangoDown BattleGrip looks quite a bit like the original AR-180 grip. And the guy who designed the fusion lower also makes a grip that is pretty close to the original. As for the sights, I think the Daniel Defense fixed iron sights look a little closer to the original, but the Troys do look closer than most folding irons.

    • Snake says:

      The Fusion Grip is 3D printed made out of a material not as durable as the polymer most grips are made from. Not dropping $50 on a grip that isn’t drop safe.

      • Scott says:

        Fair enough. When I build a lower to go with my BRN-180 upper, I’ll probably use a TangoDown myself, unless Brownells really does come out with a retro grip like the original post speculates. Still not sure what kind of stock I’ll use. I’m really curious about the folder Nodak Spud has on theirs on the sales page.

  3. Shillelagh Pog says:

    Now make some interchangeable mags for both platforms so I dont have to mill perfectly good GI’s

  4. Cuvie says:

    It would be neat if they continued this series by making a Howa Type 89-ish lower receiver and handguard

  5. SShink says:

    uh, why ?

  6. LigerNoir says:

    I have never wanted an AR-18…, but I kinda want this.