AR-180B vs. Kel-Tec SU-16


October 14, 2004, 10:09 AM
err.. the title is a question and a statement at the same time..

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October 14, 2004, 10:41 AM 'Nuff said.:cool:

October 14, 2004, 11:03 AM
I have shot neither but have held both in gun stores. While I do prefer the gas system on the AR-180b I could not tell any real difference as far as sturdiness goes. They both have a lot of polymer and are very light rifles. The Kel-Tec does have a price advantage, espeacially since many see no need to pay the price for an AR-180b and would rather spend a little more on a quality AR-15. All in all, they both would make great alternatives to a traditional AR but the Kel-Tec has a creative nitch. I was considering both of those rifles at one time but I prefered the qualities in the M17 and that was my pick. That bieng said, I would have probably picked the Armalite next.

October 14, 2004, 11:08 AM

Really only because Kel-Tec pistols have really turned me off to the brand as a whole. No other reason just personal preference. I also like the gas system in the 180.


October 14, 2004, 11:10 AM
Just buy the darn AR-15 and get it over with. I was a HE-Man AR hater at one point as well but in all honesty they really are a good little rifle with lots of fun add ons. They really are like adult Legos and really fun.


October 14, 2004, 11:12 AM
Basically, if you all haven't noticed, I'm determined to get a ranch gun, that's NOT an AR.

Eugene Stoner was just that, a stoner..

It seems that the AR180B has QA/QC problems in the past, and the SU-16 just isn't designed for a high number of rounds (I've read comments like, 50 shots later, too hot to shoot, smoke smell etc..)

So both have their pluses and minus..

So currently, the horse race looks like:

Mini-14 Ranch
M1 Carbine..

October 14, 2004, 11:14 AM
Whats an AR180B? :o Pics please

October 14, 2004, 11:23 AM

Full Review

it's basically an AR, done right.. it doesn't go to the toilet where it eats, like the AR, no "BOING" sound when you shoot it because there's no main spring in the back, massive reduction in parts instead of the tumor looking forward assist that is utterly useless, (the bolt reciprecates, and so it's a positive forward assist as is) and the gas system is a lot cleaner and easier to clean.

Or I can get an Inferiorly designed more expensive AR...

October 14, 2004, 11:32 AM
twoblink, you might want to look at the Robinson XCR once it goes production and if we hear some favorable field reports. And the AR-15 works just fine :neener:

October 14, 2004, 02:10 PM
IIRC, another reason for the original AR-18 (now the AR-180B) design was that the M-16/AR-15 was expensive to produce, due to the forged/machined upper and lower recievers. The AR-18 used stamped sheetmetal (ala the MP-40 and M-3 subguns and the AKM) to greatly reduce production costs.

I'm not sure what drove the changes to the operating system.

Oleg Volk
October 14, 2004, 03:05 PM
Can you get a short LOP stock for 180B?
Can you get scope mounts other than the one attached to a cheap scope from Armalite?
Can you get a flash hider instead of a muzzle brake?

October 14, 2004, 03:33 PM
I've seen two AR-180s with a WEAVER or whatever it is rail ontop, one of which had an ACOG and stuff. :)

October 14, 2004, 04:57 PM
I have a great little AR180B. I have never shot a KelTEc rifle. I have owned a KelTec pistol. Based on that experience, I would not touch anything KelTec makes. Obligatory 'fluff and buff' indeed!

October 14, 2004, 05:57 PM
I would go with the AR180b. I was not impressed with the Kel-Tec. THe AR180b is better built in my opinion.

Oleg, yes there are weaver mounts available that mount to the AR180b. I like the quick detach feature of the mount myself.

October 14, 2004, 06:13 PM
I might consider the AR180B if it had a chromelined 1/7" twist bbl. with a removeable flash hider and an available collapsible stock.


Black Snowman
October 14, 2004, 06:20 PM
I've seen some Pre-ban 180s with folding stocks (one of the reasons for the mechanical changes from the M16) don't know if there are plans to introduce a AR-180B with one, but it would be nice.

October 14, 2004, 06:34 PM
The SU has a pretty good trigger actually. I wouldnt call it anything to write home about but its certainly no worse then the AR-180 I fired. Two felt about the same. As far as Kel-tec's reputation...I thought they had AWESOME customer service?

October 14, 2004, 06:37 PM
damn its not CA legal....:(

October 14, 2004, 07:08 PM
I'm certain the SU-16 is CA legal...

October 14, 2004, 07:12 PM
I meant the AR-180

October 14, 2004, 07:15 PM
Oh...i knew that I was.....testing you!

October 15, 2004, 01:17 AM
I own a SU-16 and it is definatly not meant to be fired a whole lot things heat up rather fast. First time i took it out it got so hot that it would still burn you after you took it out the bag from the range 20 minutes later. Then again it was 101 degrees out side that day :)

October 15, 2004, 08:14 AM
If i needed the compactness, the SU would win, otherwise, the AR180B. Although the new Robinson XCR would probably rate over the 180B. :)

October 15, 2004, 08:31 AM

This one??

Seeing as how Tamara and I see eye to eye on things, I think I should end my misery and just ask her for 5 recommendations, and pick the last one.. :D

Matt Sutton
October 15, 2004, 12:08 PM
I bought one of the first 1000 AR-180Bs off the line for the retail price that they originally set. It was very reliable and accurate. It shot everything without a hitch, Wolf, handloads, etc. My friend bought a later production unit, and its chamber is very tight. It chokes on everything but US commercial .223rem. He's also experienced vertical stringing as the barrel heats up.
I've made a little collection of posts that Armalite has made about the 180B on their own forum and These are out of context, but you'll still get the point. It's surprising to see Armalite talking down their own product.

Yes, we can make a gas system based on our AR-180 system, but we don't plan to.

ArmaLite is the ONLY company that makes both the 15 and 18. We can use either system with the 15. Some people prefer the 18 system because less crud gets into the system.

We choose not to make an 18 gas system for the 15 for 3 reasons:

1. There isn't enough customer demand.
2. The gas tube provides better accuracy. That sliding gas tube is the main reason the average 15 and 10 outshoot a FAL or M14 so severely.
3. The fouling that bugs so many people is technically almost immaterial. The problem is that most shooters (especially in the military, where bad habits are reinfoced) clean obsessively. To the point of damaging their rifles.

There's no real advantage to the system, and much disadvantage.

We know that some with firm opinions will criticize these positions, but unless there's substantial customer interest in such a rifle we don't plan to build one.
We could, but we've looked at the Stoner gas system and consider it the superior system. The slip fit into the upper produces a more stable, accurate system than even our own 180 system so we don't figure on switching it.

A better question would be: Can we put a Stoner gas tube system on a 180?

We know that the carbon that comes into the upper of t 15 or 16 drives folks nuts, but it's very cosmetic. We're too hung up on getting every bit of schmutz out of the rifles.

Relax and shoot already.

As for the polymer lower, we know that many people prefer metal.

Let's ask a question: If ArmaLite made the 180 with a forged lower and made some other changes like chromed bores (raising the cost of the rifle by about $100) would you be interested?
We don't plan to put liners in the 180 at the moment, but it's not
out of the question.

First, the polymer based rifle is intended as a general purpose
device, not a service rifle intended for hundreds of rounds.

Second, the handguard gets hot even with a liner and

Third, the material used in the handguard doesn't fail until the
barrel has hit a transformation temperature that basically destroys
it. It handles 500 degrees, so the liner doesn't protect the

We'll do a temp/time curve and see what it looks like with and
without a liner.

We might use another successful technique that's sturdier than the
liners: aluminized paint.

If temperature becomes a really bad issue the rifle can be fired
using the mag as a fore grip. Sounds stupid, but it's a technique
used by the Army Reserve's Combat Match team, which the boss used to
shoot on.

I sold my 180B and have an AR-15 on order. I recommend you skip the KT and the 180B and get an AR.

October 15, 2004, 04:05 PM
I think the perceptions about AR unreliability are unfounded. I've read too many reports from experienced trainers, designers and combat vets to doubt that the direct gas system is very serviceable for any realistic uses. Most of the tests done on rounds between cleanings without failure hover around the 5,000 round mark with the ar15--just keep the rifle relatively clean and practically lubed and it will serve well. Have you been hearing about the nightmares involved with using the supposedly reliable AK with the Iraqi forces?
Why go to a system that reduces accuracy and increases weight, especially in an unproven rifle design?
I can't think of a more practical or ergonomic rifle to use on the ranch than a AR15.


October 15, 2004, 07:03 PM
Is the Saiga .223 really that much heavier that it's much lower cost, solid reliability, and upgradeability don't "outweigh" that downside?? If you converted to some of the fairly common 5.56 hicap mags you'd have better mags, for about the same price as AR mags...

October 15, 2004, 10:45 PM
Funny that Armalite WOULD say that about their own product.
Could be that the AR180B actually functions better than their AR type rifles?
I have shot an AR180B fairly extensively.
It was solid, reliable and just as accurate as any AR15/M16 battle carbine.
For $650.00 or thereabouts who cares if it can mount a flash suppresser or whether a sliding buttstock can be mounted.
This is a Volksgewehr,(peoples rifle), for the 21st century.
Word is these will indeed be available with standard A2 flash suppressers now that the ban has faded away.
These rifles are still very good buys in a market crowded with more of the same.
The Ar180B is a better rifle than the Kel Tech master blaster or most Mini 14 rifles.

October 16, 2004, 08:19 AM
The benefit of America vs other places in the world is..

If I hate the AR, I'm free to do so. If I don't want one, EVEN IF IT'S SUPERIOR IN EVERYBODY ELSE'S MIND... I don't have to buy one. I'm not in the Army!!

Most of you have it wrong, it is not that I think the AR is unreliable; I don't like the engineering of it. That's it. I don't agree with the engineering basis in which the AR is formed. Ownership of one will then bother me till my dying day. And why on God's green earth do I need to do that to myself?

If you don't like to eat carrots, even if they are good for you, and your mom's not around, don't eat the carrot! Don't give yourself un-due psychological stress; that's what a girlfriend is for!!

October 16, 2004, 02:15 PM
Go twoblink!

October 16, 2004, 07:19 PM
Fair enough. I reacted because of my assumptions formed from seeing posts from others.

That said, I would also look into a shooter grade surplus M1 Carbine--which has terminal performance similar to the AR15 (and, I guess the other rifles we are discussing) out to about 150 yards--if that meets your needs.

My major concern about the kel-tec and ar-180b are how they appear to be made to a much lower quality/price point given the features that I've read about.

October 16, 2004, 07:31 PM
(HOWA) AR-180 Without the "B"

October 17, 2004, 02:50 PM
I own a 180B and have been very happy with it (had two, sold one to the guy that'll watch my six). I have run it against my friends' Bushy's and RRA's and it is more accurate and reliable from what I have seen. There are some stipulations that you have to understand though. 1) Don't even think about using aftermarket mags in the B's. Stick with USGI only! Nothing else has the reputation of working in them 100% (USGI is what it was designed for). 2) The three I've shot have tight chambers. Forget lacquer coated ammo. Wolf poly coated works fine but seems REAL inaccurate. Federal M193 works great!

BTW, FORGET the suggested retail price on these mine were $569 & $579 (ANIB and NIB). The same dealer has another for $569, e-mail me for details if interested. What AR-15 are you going to get for that $????? Oly Plinker? I'd rather have poly than cast......

Check out the 180b section on ARFCOM. Lots of info on there including some from Armalite themselves (no plans for a folder - ACE is working on one, yes on the flash reducer, as soon as we get time on the chrome lining). Get the AR-180b, enjoy the reliability/cheap mags/ability to use AR match trigger assemblies, etc and use the extra dough to buy more ammo!!! :D

AR-180b - the only black rifle I'd buy multiples of......

October 17, 2004, 03:39 PM
I'm not sure this is entirely a fair fight.

Around here I've seen the SU go for about 450 and as low as 425, the AR goes for 550 up past 600 depending on location.

October 17, 2004, 08:12 PM
I have both a AR15 and a AR180B. The AR15 has less recoil, or slap, than the AR180B. The AR180B is my 13 Y/O daughters gun, so I added about a pound of weight to the stock to cut the slap. I love them both. Cleaning the 180B is a snap. Simply wipe it down with a rag and clean the bore.
Both shoot the same as far as I can tell. I do prefer the modular design of the AR15, and the ability to hang stuff on it. But I like the simplicity of the 180. Both fill my needs nicely.
I briefly considered a Kel-Tec, but my Daughter did not like it much, and I was less than impressed with it.

Just my opinion.....


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