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Yesterday at Range Day, we got to shoot Brownells’ way-too-fun and popular BRN-180 upper on their newly announced BRN-180 lowers.

They’re out with two types:

100-036-374 BRN-180 Forged Lower Receiver

  • Replicates appearance of original AR-180 lower
  • Integral Picatinny Rail segment for easy folding stock or brace install
  • Accepts most modern mil-spec AR-15 components
  • $129.99 retail
Brownells BRN-180 lower
Courtesy Brownells

080-001-382 BRN-180M Billet Lower Receiver

  • Machined from solid billet for strength and durability
  • Appears more like standard AR-15 receiver
  • Integral Picatinny rail segment for easy folding stock or brace install
  • Accepts modern AR-15 components
  • $149.99 retail

The forged lowers aren’t in yet, but should be shortly. Also new is a short-barrel version of the BRN-180 upper, which is called the BRN-180S, strangely enough. Here’s the Brownells press release . . .

brownells BRN-180S upper
Courtesy Brownells

Hot on the heels of one its most-exciting SHOT Show launches ever, Brownells has unveiled the BRN-180S – the new, short-barreled version of the BRN-180 complete upper assembly debuted at the 2019 SHOT Show.

Designed in conjunction with Primary Weapons Systems and FM Products, the BRN-180S retains all the desirable features of its big brother, but has a  10.5″ barrel for those wishing to build an AR-180-style pistol, or –with the required ATF paperwork and tax stamp – a short-barreled rifle (SBR).

Another new feature on the BRN-180S is a clearly-marked adjustable gas system, allowing the user to quickly tune the upper for either unsuppressed or suppressed shooting.

“The reaction to our 2019 SHOT Show announcement of the original BRN-180 was one of the largest, most-positive we’ve seen,” said Brownells Director of Product Management Paul Levy. “The most-common request from customers was for us to come out with a short-barreled version of the BRN-180. Thanks to PWS and FM Products, we were able to do that.”

Available for pre-orders now, the BRN-180S will make its first public appearance at the 2019 NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits April 26-28, in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Built around a short-stroke piston system, the BRN-180S drops onto any mil-spec AR-15 lower and makes it easy to attach either a folding pistol brace or folding stock.

Just like the BRN-180, the BRN-180S can be fired while folded.

 Features of the BRN-180S Upper include:

  • 10.5″ barrel
  • .223 Wylde chamber
  • 1-8″ twist rifling
  • Twin internal guide rods
  • Polymer ejection port cover
  • Easy-to-remove M-LOK® handguard
  • Original-style 3-prong flash hider
  • Reciprocating side charging handle
  • Adjustable gas system

Listed on the Brownells website as #078-000-537, the BRN-180S upper assembly retails for $799 and does not require an FFL to purchase.

To learn more about the BRN-180S, visit the Brownells BRN-180 page.

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  1. I haven’t shot one of these, especially with a suppressor. It seems this would eliminate getting gassed in the face? Is this true? If so I may consider building one in the future.

    • Gas in the face has nothing to do with piston vs di. The gas is coming out of the chamber while bore pressure is still high.
      That being said an adjustable gas system like this near the muzzle could run very well suppressed. I will be keeping an eye on it for exactly this reason

      • I find most of the gas that hits me in the eyes seems to come out of the charging handle, since this charges on the bolt directly and has the short piston I would imagine I don’t have to consider full seal goggles to shoot this.

        • Good point on the lack of charging handle. Will be considering it even harder now.

          The rtv trick has worked well for me keeping the charging handle sealed.

        • 100% correct Jeff The Griz. In my experience the chamber being only 5.56 mm is where the back pressure is generated that gets that toxic gas right into the face. I have a piston AR and DI ARs and shoot them silenced… they are the same. The goggles are an excellent idea, as is a P-100 respirator when shooting with a can. That gas is toxic and the State of California has determined it to be a known Carcinogen… but so is the State of California.

        • Wait, Steve…

          Are you saying you’re shooting suppressed within the State of CA? How are you doing this legally?

  2. Needs more 300 Blackout in that short of a barrel. Especially since Barnaul is going to be making cheap steel cased 300 BO. Finally!

    • .300 BLK shoots like a dream out of the (optimal) 10.5″ barrel on my AR. Still have another finished lower waiting for a build, so if I ever seen a slightly more compact upper in, say, a 7.5″ or 8″ barrel, I might get it.

    • Only problem I see there is the WWSD lower has an integrated fixed stock, which defeats at least one part of the ar180 design.

    • This upper is about as antithetical to the WWSD project as you could get.

      The entire point of WWSD is go back to the original intent of a light weight (and specifically DI) carbine. The BRN-180 is a chunky monkey (even the 10.5 is heavier than a 16″ WWSD upper), and it’s a piston, which is also verboten.

      Aside from not fitting with the very premise, you also couldn’t use the BRN-180S on a WWSD lower without getting a tax stamp, as the WWSD lower has an integrated stock.

  3. Wait… what? The BRN-180S came out over *months* ago. In fact, I believe it’s been available since last summer…

    • Yeah I don’t quite get this either. The BRN-180S came out early/mid last year. So is this the same thing? Or is this double new? Not only is it not new, a number of people have had issues with it. So have those been fixed or what? Poor reporting (and bizarre from Brownells to show this as “new”.

  4. @I Haz A Question It’s called the 2A. What commiefornia is coming is what’s illegal not the other way around. The government has no say on what arms you have or when you carry them. It’s called infringment.


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