by Jason J. Brown - Thursday, October 12, 2017
Brownells has established itself as one of the world’s premier firearms retailers, offering a massive variety of guns, parts, tools, and equipment to help enthusiasts find, build or upgrade their firearms. Judging by the beauties they brought to the fifth annual IraqVeteran8888 Range Day in Georgia this year, one might think Brownells has cornered the market on time travel, too.
Okay, not really, but the great minds at the Iowa-based firearms mega-seller definitely identified that “what’s old is new again,” and delivered on demand for the retro rifle crowd looking to kit up with legendary American arms.
Brownells recently introduced their Retro M16 components line of AR-15 furniture, joining their existing selection of retro-styled receivers and parts to allow builders the chance to recreate the beloved, sought-after original M16 rifle in incredible historic accuracy.
In an industry where it feels like every engineering possibility has been conquered, perfected and replicated ad nauseum, the simple-yet-classy nostalgic cool of the Brownells Retro M16 line is a welcome change at the workbench and on the range. Gone are the M-LOK slots, precision adjustable stocks and flat-top optics-ready receivers, supplanted by perfect copies of their predecessors including triangular handguards, A1 carry handle uppers and 20-inch pencil barrels.
Brownells teamed with retro rifle receiver experts NoDak Spud and other component manufacturers to bring together every part needed to replicate early M16s and AR-15s, down to the smallest detail, from teardrop forward assists, three-prong flash hiders, flat slip rings and more.
“Customers have a deep desire for nostalgia, and they wanted to be able to build their own version of an early AR-15 or M16A1,” said Brownells CEO and NRA President Pete Brownell. “We’re proud to offer these classic-looking parts to help accomplish those builds.”
The retro rifles were a hit on the range, constantly found in the hands of eager shooters looking to get a feel of yesteryear. Former NRA Brownells Youth Ambassador and college student Remington Little Finding a Second Family in the Shooting Sports Community, who clocks in at nearly 50 years younger than the first AR-15s the Brownells components replicate, took turns demoing a traditional black-on-black M16A1 clone and a “Colt gray” rifle with green retro furniture reminiscent of the Air Force’s earliest contract models.
Despite a range filled with the most advanced firearms commercially available, Little said there’s just something “cool” about the throwback guns, and said he plans to build one of his own.