SHOT Show: Brownells New Retro Products, Optics and Slides


Brownells has been on a roll with their Retro series rifles. I love it that they are breathing new life into otherwise forgotten designs. I had a front row seat to the introduction of a few brand new products.

Josh Wayner for TTAG

The first is the new BRN-180, a new spin on the legacy design. The nice part is that the upper receiver is AR lower-compatible and is self-contained and will allow the use of folding stocks. The upper is chambered in .223 Wylde. A complete rifle is also offered.

Josh Wayner for TTAG

Brownells went back to square one – literally – with their rendition of Stoner’s ‘Serial Number One’. This rifle is about as close to the one that started it all as you can get. The rifle shows meticulous attention to detail including the front sight tower, charging handle location, and brown stocks.

Of interest is the fact that Brownells even went to the trouble to make period-correct 25-round straight magazines. These will be available separately as well.

Josh Wayner for TTAG

Brownells also introduced a line of optics. These include two very different product lines: a Retro 4x Colt-style carry handle scope and a feature-rich family of PRS-focused long range scopes.

Josh Wayner for TTAG

Brownells is also moving ahead on their line of GLOCK-style slides. Keep an eye out for more cool GLOCK-ish products to come this year.

Josh Wayner for TTAG

It’s worth keeping an eye on Brownells going forward. As these new items demonstrate, they have become much more than just a gun parts company.



  1. avatar anonymoose says:

    So they’re bringing out of more stuff that will always be out of stock until it’s discontinued in two years? Awesome!

    Also, I read reviews of their regular A1 uppers that said the carry handle notches were out of spec and wouldn’t work with the Colt 3x and 4x scopes. Have they fixed that?

    1. avatar GS650G says:

      Yeah I can’t look at their site without the dour feeling I get when it’s out of stock with no dates. And that’s on a large variety of items.

      They should take down the items if they have no stock for a month or more

  2. avatar Geoff "Bring the EDIT button back, will ya, TTAG?" PR says:

    Instead of buying a *new* retro optic, how about finding and buying the old one, if it’s so good?

    1. avatar anonymoose says:

      There are plenty of knockoffs of the original one, and you can find old used Japanese Colt optics online all the time. They stopped marketing them in the 80s when carry handle mounts and then ACOGs started becoming popular.

      1. avatar doesky2 says:

        Junky knockoffs at $50
        300$+ used Colts that are NOT plentiful (or they wouldnt be $300+)

        Seems like there is lots of space for a new scope with 1970’s quality (which may be pretty damn easy to do in 2019)

        The Retro market is booming so this scope seems like an easy win.

        1. avatar DapperGunsmith says:

          The Brownells optics are made by the same manufacturer that produced the originals for Colt.

  3. avatar Nanashi says:

    So is the BRN-180 restricted in Canada? I know AR upper makes it an AR for the mounties, but what about lower?

    1. avatar Southern Cross says:

      If anything, it looks like the offspring of a one-night-stand between an AR and an AK.

  4. avatar little horn says:

    i don’t even bother going to brownells. shit is ALWAYS out of stock. im starting to think they don’t actually sell anything, just ads.

  5. avatar Lowell says:

    They almost have the right idea with the BRN180. I’m going to buy one just because I need the BCG to reverse engineer for the rifle they should build.

    1. avatar DapperGunsmith says:

      Explain.. please… how are you better? Just talk?

  6. avatar Nanashi says:

    Another question: Since it’s an AR lower this go on a pre-86/dealer sample full auto lower?

    1. avatar DapperGunsmith says:

      The BRN180 will not work on lowers with auto sears as it cannot trip the auto sear. The origional 180s were tripped from the front of the bolt, not the rear.

  7. avatar Dave T says:

    Like other comments, Brownells inability in keeping merchandise in stock is almost as bad as their web site. It has to be the most user-unfriendly web site around. I always look for stuff in the catalog, then go on the site with the product number to find it is out of stock.


  8. avatar balais says:

    Im still waiting for their other retro stuff to get back into stock. Been waiting since november.

    I am excited about the original AR. too cool.

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