Thursday, July 24, 2014

AR-180: Armalite's Other Black Rifle

*AR-18 stock folded*
A pal owned one of these, back when you could buy these types of firearms in California before the faked hysteria that later resulted in the semi-auto ban(s). I always enjoyed shooting it and regret not getting one when I could, but I was a broke-assed freshly de-mobbed G.I. at the time - (S9)
Production was started in 1967 on the rifle based on some limited orders at the Howa factory in Japan (ArmaLite at the time was more of a design and prototype company, not a manufacturing facility), and even this was problematic. The Japanese government forbade the shipment of weapons to nations actively involved in the war in Southeast Asia. As a result, production was moved to Costa Mesa, Calif.
The AR-18 had a civilian counterpart called the AR-180. This was designed to be a sporting rifle or a police long arm, and was semi-automatic only. It sold marginally well. It seemed that the only enthusiastic users of the AR-18 were those in the Irish Republican Army, which used illegally purchased and stolen ArmaLite rifles in Northern Ireland against the British, and even nicknamed the rifle “The Widowmaker.”  (Note: The rifle was equally popular with the Police, the RUC, Royal Ulster Constabulary, working one of the most dangerous beats on earth at that time - S9)... In 1980, after roughly 16 years of production in Japan, the U.S. and, later, in Dagenham, England, production ceased....
Fictional: Arnold with AR-18/180 in "Terminator"

Real: IRA "Black Widow" with AR-18/180

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