In Fiction

The AR-18 is an assault rifle at the Seishou Academy in the Upotte!! anime and manga series.


AR-18 looks similar to her cousin M16, since the AR-15 (M16's original design) and AR-18 were both manufactured by ArmaLite. Compared to M16 however, AR-18 has shorter, close-cut hair and does not wear any hair ornaments. She also looks very similar to AR-10.

In the anime, her pants and panties have a tendency to slip down. This refers to one of the most problematic parts of the AR-18, namely, the poorly made fixation system of the gun's folding stock, which makes the stock wiggle when extended giving one the impression that it is about to unlock on its own.


While the rifle was designed in the USA and initially manufactured by Armalite and Sterling armaments, the AR-18's design was later sold to Howa Machinery Co . Being one of the AR-18 rifles manufactured by Howa makes Seishou's AR-18 one of the few native Japanese characters in Upotte. She is usually one of the most reasonable characters around and gets visibly perplexed at others' antics.

She seems to be very motherly, especially towards Galil AR. The two became close friends after AR-18 rescued her from drowning during the tournament is chpt. 15. Since then, the two have been inseparable, with AR18 being Galil's BFF and caretaker.

One explanation for her motherly nature may be that while the AR-18 was not adopted by any country, it spawned numerous derivatives such as G36, Howa Type 89, SAR 80, SAR 88, T2, MK5, T91 and Elle (although the two characters are not related).

Besides her kindness, she is also a very nice girl (gun) in general. She even lets Lisa Browning shoot with her in Upotte SISTERS!! chpt. 4 (although, it should be noted that she gets visibly annoyed when Lisa drops her onto the ground).

ArmaLite AR-18 is a good girl (gun).


AR-18 and Galil

In Real Life


The AR-18 was developed in the 60s by Arthur Miller of the Armalite company as a competitor to the AR-15/M16 aimed at the international military market (especially third world countries). The rifle was a successful design from a technical standpoint and, compared to M16, could be made at a lower cost and with simplified machinery. However, it came out too late to be able to compete with both the officially adopted by the US army M16 and the already widespread Soviet AK-47.

The AR-18 was initially manufactured by ArmaLite, although in limited numbers. The manufacturing license was later sold to the Japanese company Howa Machinery in the 60s and to British Sterling Armaments in the 70s. Despite that, less than 20 000 guns were made in total. The rifle never became a commercial success and was not adopted by any country as a standard service rifle. As already mentioned, the reason seems to have been the popularity of M16 and other rifles on the market.

In 1983, ArmaLite was sold to Elisco Tool Manufacturing in Philippines. Subsequently, the AR-18 tooling at the Costa Mesa shop in California was moved to Philippines; some of the remaining parts for the AR-17 and AR-18 were acquired by a number of ArmaLite employees.

Elisco TM had successfully produced the M16A1 for the Philippine armed forces and police, however, difficult negotiations with Colt over the M16's license prompted Elisco to seek an alternative 5.56mm rifle. The AR-18 turned out to be the only real contender.

The president of Philippines at the time, Ferdinand Marcos chose the AR-18 as the new service rifle for the Armed Forces of Philippines and the Philippine Constabulary, since it was similar to the prohibitively expensive M16. The rilfle was about to enter mass production when the EDSA Revolution began, and the rest is, as they say, history. In short, Ferdinand Marcos was overthrown and went into exile. As a result of the revolution, the political and economic priorities of the government dramatically shifted, and Elisco was unable to carry out the planned production of the AR-18. The Philippine government withdrew it support for Elisco TM and cancelled the contract with the company. The US branch of the company manufactured the AR-18 until 1987.

In 2001, Eagle Arms resurrected the ArmaLite brand and brought the AR-18 back in the form of AR-180B, intended mostly for the civilian and law enforcement use.

Even though the AR-18 was considered a commercial failure, several other firearm manufacturers used the design as the base for their own products, such as the British L85A1 bull-pup assault rifle, the Singaporean SAR-80, the Australian Bushmaster M17S, the Japanese Howa Type 89 and the German H&K G36.

Design and Prototypes

The AR-18 is a scaled down and improved version of E. Stoner's AR-16 (only two or three AR-16 rifles were made). The new design was created in 1963 by Arthur Miller, who had replaced Stoner as ArmaLite's chief engineer. The AR-18 was a rather conventional rifle manufactured out of stamped-steel components, which considerably reduced production costs. Early prototypes had a straight cocking handle and no ejection port cover.

An AR-18 bullpup conversion made during the development of the L64.

Some design details:
  • the rifle's action is powered by a short-stroke gas piston.
  • the bolt is similar to that of the AR-15, with 7 radial locking lugs engaging corresponding recesses in the barrel extension.
  • the cocking handle slot has a spring-loaded cover that can be closed by the user to prevent debris entering the receiver; the cover opens automatically when the bolt carrier moves rearwards after the first shot.
  • the recoil springs are housed within the receiver.
  • the rifle was designed with a side-folding stock with a hinging mechanism (which unfortunately had a tendency to become loose).
  • the sights are of similar design to those of the AR-15.
  • the internal parts are accessed by opening the upper receiver, which is hinged on a pin located in front of the magazine well.


The AR-18, even when produced for the JSDF, was never officially adopted by any country as a standard service rifle. It was however sold in small numbers to police and law enforcement organizations, as well as armies and security forces of nations such as Botswana, Haiti, and Swaziland.
Female IRA fighter, 1970s

Female IRA volunteer with her little ArmaLite.

The AR-18 also gained some popularity in the hands of the Provisional IRA, who secretly obtained it from the United States in the early 1970s. The rifle quickly became the symbol of PIRA's armed campaign under the nickname "Widowmaker". It gained such fame amongst Irish militants that their strategy of parallel political and paramilitary campaigns was christened the "Armalite and ballot box strategy". The Irish ballad "Little Armalite" tells of how the AR-18 helped the organization in their conflict with Britain.

In the 80's, the AR-18 was to replace the M16A1 as the new service rifle of the Philippine army, but the plans were cancelled after the Bloodless revolution (EDSA revolution).

A variant of the AR-18, the SAR 80 (designed in Singapore) was used by a number of countries.

The AR-180 version was sold on the civilian market.


The standard AR-18 variants manufactured by ArmaLite, Howa and Sterling differ only in minor details. For example, ArmaLite and Howa rifles had a satin gray finish, while Sterling rifles sported two finishes (a black, enamel-painted and a blued one). All standard variants were equipped with a sling, cleaning kit, and a knife-type bayonet with scabbard. An optional bipod with a case was available. The AR-18 was also munfactured in a “commando” variant with a 10-inch barrel with a cone flash hider.

The civilian AR-180 version is capable of semi-automatic fire only and is identical in appearance to the AR-18 with one exception; the selector has only two positions (it lacks the "AUTO" position found on the AR-18).

Sterling manufactured a small number of sporter variants called the AR-180 SCS, of which only 385 are reputed to have been made. This vesion has a large single-piece wooden thumbhole stock, a pistol grip and modified magazine release controls. It also lacks the ejection port cover.

Sterling also manufactured a small number of a shortened version, named the AR-18S. This version uses the same basic mechanism and folding stock as the standard AR-18, but has a 257 mm (10.1 in) barrel and the overall length of 765 mm (30.1 in) with the stock extended. The shortened barrel is fitted with a cone-shaped flash suppressor to address the additional muzzle flash caused by the short barrel. Some AR-18S rifles have an additional pistol grip attached to the underside of the handguard.

AR-180, note the plastic fixed buttstock.

In 2001, the new ArmaLite (Eagle Arms) resurrected the AR-180 model as AR-180B. The old version's stamped-steel lower receiver was replaced with a plastic one, and the new model now accepts AR-15 magazines. It also features an AR-15-type trigger unit, which results is greater availability of spare parts. The original folding buttstock was replaced with a plastic fixed buttstock.


Despite the fact that the AR-18 was generally considered to be a simple, accurate and reliable rifle, it still suffered various malfunctions during its evaluation trials carried out by different countries including the United States and the United Kingdom. During the US trials, the AR-18's performance was found to vary depending on ammunition used, and the evaluating board concluded that the AR-18 would require additional minor changes before it could be considered for adoption as a service rifle. The British Ministry of Defense found the gun unsatisfactory during mud and sand trials. The rifle was also known for its loose folding stock, which caused problems after extensive use. In 1965, Armalite made several minor modifications to the design, but unfortunately, no army was interested in acquiring a new 5.56 mm service rifle.

Durability and Reliability

As mentioned, the AR-18 is a simple, cheap and considerably reliable gun. However, malfunctions may still occasionally happen and the rifle's reliability seems to depend on the type of ammunition used. Harsh environmental conditions (dirt and mud) may also have a negative impact on its performance. Moreover, the hinging mechanism of the folding stock is prone to becoming loose (especially after extensive use), which makes the stock wobble.

Due to its inexpensive production (stamped steel), the AR-18 is not a viasually striking gun and one may even call it crude. Particular rifles may also vary in quality, since the AR-18 was manufactured by several companies over the years.


The selector is located on the left side of the receiver above the pistol grip. Rotating the thumb piece of the selector to the middle (vertical) position limits the AR-18 to semi-automatic fire, and rotating the selector all the way forward allows full-automatic fire.

To disassemble the rifle, depress the small plunger on the upper right of the back plate behind the rear sight and push in the back plate and its dual guide rods against their recoil springs. With this plate pushed in the upper receiver can be opened to hinge on the pin located in front of the magazine well. Next, pull the recoil spring group completely out of the upper receiver. Then pull the cocking knob back until it lines up with the enlarged hole in its channel behind the ejection port. Pull the cocking handle out and tip up the receiver to allow the bolt carrier and bolt to slide out of the back of the receiver. The bolt group can then be disassembled in much the same way as that of the M16 rifle. The piston and operating rod can be removed by first pulling back the piston and then lifting it.


  • United Kingdom - for trial use only.
  • Japan - JSDF
  • Botswana
  • Haiti
  • Swaziland
  • Malaysia – used by VAT 69 Commando of Royal Malaysian Police during the Communist insurgency war.
  • PIRA, OIRA and Ulster Volunteer Force
  • Lebanese Forces militia – used in small numbers by commando units.


As mentioned, the AR-18B can be purchased from ArmaLite (Eagle Arms). As for the original AR-18, you are on your own. The production of this rifle ceased in the 80s, so it does not come as a surprise that is has become a rare and expensive collectible.


  1. Wikipedia (
  2. The World's Assault Rifles (Johnston, Gary and Thomas B. Nelson, 2010).
  4. A Historical Review of Armalite (2010,
Upotte!! by Kitsune Tennouji
Seishou Academy Battle Rifles

M14 - FN FAL L1A1 - HK G3A3 - AR10 - LF 59 - SCAR H

Assault Rifles

FN FNC - Colt M16A4 - Colt M4A1 - SIG SG550 - L85A1 - Armalite AR18 - IMI Galil AR - SAKO RK 95 TP - HK HK33E - Steyr AUG - T91 - CETME Modelo L - FARA 83 - FN CAL - H&K41 - HK G41 - HK G36 - SAR-21 - Tavor - SR 88A - Sig 540 - SCAR L - Remington ACR - Taurus ART556 - FN 2000 - AK5


Benelli M3 - Remington 870 - Mossberg 500

Sub machine guns

HK MP5 - IMI Uzi - Beretta M12S - Steyr TMP - MAC 10 - Jatimatic/"Cobra" - Colt M635 - FAMAE SAF - FN P90 - H&K UMP - HK HK53 - HK MP5K - HK MP5SD - HK MP7 - Hotchkiss "Type Universal" - MAT 1949 - MAS 1948 - Star Z84 - Sterling Mk4 - Walther MPL - Micro Uzi - Mini Uzi - Calico M960 - Rexim-Favor - Smith & Wesson M76 - Socimi Type 821


Modern Lit - M1928 Thompson - FG 42 - Springfield - M1 Garand - MP40 - Mle.1949 - SIG Sk46 - M3 submachine gun - M1941 Johnson - Suomi M1926 - Armaguerra OG44 - Springfield - Professor

Akaganekou Battle Rifles / DMR /Other

SVD - PSL - RPK - Saiga 12K - Vintorez VSS - OSV96 - "The Major" - PKM - RPD

Assault Rifles

AK-74 - AK47 - AKM - AKS-74U - AN-94 - HK32 - Kbk wz.88 Tantal - M70 B1 - Maadi Misr - vz. 58 - SKS - Type 63 - Type 86S - AMP-69 - RPK-74 - AMD-65 - Pm. 63 - PMKM - Vepr - Vepr-1V - AEK-971 - Zastava M85 - StG 942

Sub machine guns

PP-19 Bizon


Howa Type 64 - Howa Type 89 - Curly - Beretta BM59 - Beretta SC70/90 - Benelli M4 - Fanchi SPAS12 - FAMAS - FN FAL - Type 10 - Leopard 2 - Beretta ARX 160 - Valmet M82 - "Bakemono"

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