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For the last few years, Armalite has been stagnating. They haven’t taken any chances, instead iterating on their existing line of firearms and not making anything really innovative or exciting. As Tommy Thacker put it, their engineers had been told that if the military doesn’t have it, they don’t want it. They were followers, not leaders. And then they hired Tommy.

Tommy Thacker is a chamion 3-gun shooter. He knows what it takes to be the best, and how to design firearms to maximize their potential. When he took the reigns at Armalite, one of the first things that he did was take Armalite’s existing design for the AR-15 and start designing his ideal 3-gun rifle. It was something completely new to the company, something that they had never done before, and to be honest it looks like it’s going to be pretty awesome.

“We’re aiming for a hair under six pounds,” according to Tommy. “We’re going to extend the muzzle brake, add some threaded holes to make it tuneable, reduce the barrel length and pin it in place.” If the barrel is as good as we’ve seem from Armalite before, it should be one hell of a good gun.

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Another improvement that Tommy has made in just the last four months since he took control was to turn the AR-30 bolt action rifle into something that I could actually see myself spending money on and using regularly. The AR-30 we saw at SHOT Show was basically a copy of the AR-50, a good rifle but way too big for any practical purpose. Tommy had his engineers chop the barrel down and engineer a folding stock, an item so new that they only have a prototype and don’t have a production model done yet. The barrel is set up for AWC’s silencers (a sister company), but threaded for whatever can you want to throw on there.

Tommy has only been at the helm for four months, but he’s already making some big changes. And from what I can see here, it looks like we’ve only scratched the surface of the awesomeness coming down the line.

23 Responses to Tommy Thacker: This Ain’t Your Grandpappy’s Armalite

  1. Hope Tommy has the cojones to take a look at tinkering and reintroducing the AR-180. Stoner weren’t no dummy. It is a brillant piston gun 40 years ahead of its time.

  2. I had an Armalite AR-180 back in the 1970s. Brilliantly simple design and totally reliable. I wish I still had it.

  3. A proper target stock? I am interested, will they offer this for AR-15s and AKs?

    I don’t follow much gunmakers and their politics but I must admit that Tommy seems like a nice guy. Like others said I do hope they reintroduce the AR-180, it is like a NATO compliant AK coupled with the control scheme most people like. You could call it the American AK.

  4. YES! Make an AR-18 again! PLEASE! For the love of all that is holy, I so want one..

    ..after I leave this crap-ass state.

  5. Well, I for one would LOVE TO HAVE AN AR180 B, not the older gun. Just make that sucker EITHER with an alloy lower, OR….reinforce the pivot-pin , and butt-stock mounting, area WITH STEEL INSERTS in the polymer. While you’re at it, cut the barrel back another 1.5″ to 16.5, and put universal threads on it for the brake of our choice. SIGN ME UP!!!!

    • An alloy lower AR-180 sounds good to me. I also wish Windham Weaponry would revive the Bushmaster M17s with a full top rail.

  6. Wait, I thought we didn’t like Armalite because they didn’t have plans to move out of gun-unfriendly territory. I can never keep track of who we’re boycotting today.

    • Same thing with Dicks Sporting Goods. Boycott them! Unless they have a good price on Remington 700’s during Black Friday…then it’s okay.

  7. It’s the same old pukes-in-its-own-mouth-popgun since 50 years ago. You can bet your ass that it’s the same old song and dance.

    How sad.

  8. I would love to see an improved AR-180. However, I would absolutely love to see the original idea behind it brought to market, the AR-16 (AR-160?) in 7.62. The market is ripe for a new, affordable, reliable 7.62 rifle and I would be first in line!

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