Transparent Polycarbonate AR-15 Lower Receiver

Tennessee Arms Company have published a video showing a prototype clear polycarbonate AR-15 lower receiver.

This is just a prototype and not yet available for purchase. Prototype transparent lower receivers have been made before, but I cannot think of any that have made it to the market. Transparent polymers are usually not as tough as equivalent opaque polymers. This is because a low degree of crystallinity is required for light to pass through a polymer, rather than be scattered, but a higher degree of  crystallinity is associated for toughness (impact-resistance and ability to bend back into shape). So you can generally either have a transparent but brittle polymer or a tough but opaque polymer, but not both.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Graham2

    The point of this product is?

    • USMC03Vet

      To scare anti gunner into action.

      • Dan Atwater

        How could this possibly scare anyone?

        • John

          lol, my first thought was someone saying something a la Die Hard 2:
          That punk pulled an AR-5 on me. You know what that is? It’s a porcelain gun. Doesn’t show up on your airport X-ray machines, and it cost more than you make in a month.”

          • USMC03Vet


            Incoming “this is a clear danger to law enforcement that won’t be able to see clear weaponry”.

          • billy bones

            The fact that many aursoft guns are translucent will stir the Bloomberg pot.

            Mistaken for a toy?

            Needs an orange FH 😉

        • USMC03Vet

          Do you get wifi under your rock?

          • Dan Atwater

            I’ve seen the clip and I fail to see how it’s relevant. Is there something inherently more terrifying about having a single part on the gun be transparent? Or do you think that this guy is using “ghost gun” to mean “gun that you can kind of see through” and would cry even harder at seeing his fear finally made into reality? Or maybe you just post the same comment underneath every article here that has anything to do with ARs, because this product is every bit as likely to scare someone as anything else. Like that Tac-con trigger they posted about a couple days ago.

            Of course, it wouldn’t be TFB without people complaining underneath new product announcements.

          • USMC03Vet

            Are you serious or are you just a masterful troll?

            1. Get that stick out of your ass.
            2. My clearly obvious point was to depict completely irrational know nothing anti gunners sensationalizing firearm technology while outright lying about it’s capabilities.

            I don’t understand how that went completely over your head, but apparently others seemed to get it just fine. I guess it wouldn’t be TFB without individuals without any reading comprehension abilities.

          • Dan Atwater

            I get what your point is and I’m saying that it’s unlikely people will see this as anything to freak out over when there’s much “scarier” things out there (hell if you turn out to be right I’d take it as a good sign that the idiots are that desperate for something to drum up public fear over) and even if someone did it wouldn’t gain any traction–and in the unlikely event that it does it would be forgotten about in a week, except maybe among our circles as a “shoulder thing that goes up” type inside joke.

            So MY point is that you don’t need to worry about it, so simmer down and try not to let what the idiots might whine about get in the way of enjoying your hobby.

          • gunslinger

            it IS a ghost gun

  • FinallyFree

    The discussion above about crystallinity vs. clarity and strength is incorrect. Polycarbonate also has issues with some solvents, and is so probably not a great polymer for this application. Any lubricant or solvent will affect the clarity and strength. Usually such parts would be glass-fiber reinforced (or other filler).

    • Mark N.

      In other words, it won’t be long before it is translucent and not transparent, right? Bummer. Maybe they should try clear aluminum?

  • bfreeordie

    No practical or tactical value…other than to mis direct the anti gunners attention. For that, Thumbs Up!

  • clinton notestine

    would be a cool demo piece for different triggers

    • noob

      and also demo the difference in carbon buildup between a DI upper and a piston upper after a few thousand rounds.

      actually if you bought two transparent lowers to dirty up that would probably be a hit video on youtube.

  • Freedoooom

    I don’t think there needs to be any sort justification for this other than I want it.

    BTW they have a new video on it where they use Geissele trigger and also the HK translucent mag.

  • Cymond
    • Mark N.

      I thought I’d seen this clip before!

      • gunslinger

        something seems wrong here

  • Blake

    next up: sapphire glass AR lowers; yours for only $5,000

    • gunslinger

      ruby, and emerald and diamond. hey it works in Call of Battlefield: Modern Black Ghosts 3.

  • Lance

    Not worth it stick to good old Aluminum.

  • Jow Blow

    You’ll have to forgive me , its been a few years since I’ve worked on a set of a large production film. So I can’t cite the current spec for material protecting the camera that is clear and won’t distort a photon’s pixel for the shoot. Although a decade ago they had a special clear plastic called (that did not distort the image and we’re talking when magnified for your movie screen level of perfection) that protected million dollars worth of cameras from shrapenel and the personnel. Kindly note how the equipment is mentioned first , that is the attitude. Gear over lives, so is getting “the shot”. The billing was bullet proof and sheets were thick comparable to walls on a receiver verses double or triple strength plexiglass…..
    Point being we have clear plastics that are thick enough and durable enough. When screwing in a metal buffer tube, who would notices embedded mental rings for extra reinforcement. The whole thing wouldn’t be clear but most of it could be.
    The Closeness of special effects, the crew( far more expendable than a talent hence actors can’t do most of their own stunts by insurance and/or production regs due to risks for delays) and camera(s) used to be a lot shorter with less remote set ups and quality controls. So history and cross industry usage should be giving us something close and useable. Besides the entertainment industry may invent a lot of specialize neat gear but we also borrow from ever industry out there. Example most concerts use chain hoists inverted compared to how they are normally used in other industries. When it comes to rigging, grips, stunts safety and constantly pushing the new defined edgeeven farther is the norm.
    Which when you think about about how many firearm terms are used in the film and photography industry, you have to wonder….

  • Leigh Rich

    EP Armory made one when they first came out with their 80% lower. They had a clear one advertised however it was not reinforced with Kevlar like the rest. Never made it to production. looks EXACTLY like your lower.

  • Donald McKenna

    My $.02…
    We’ve got children getting shot and killed for carrying airsoft guns because they so closely resemble real firearms, so lawmakers press to have airsoft guns manufactured in wild neon colors or out of clear plastic to take away the confusion.

    Now, we have gun manufacturers making parts like this. Sadly, all I foresee this doing is getting some kid carrying a clear plastic airsoft gun murdered by a cop that can’t tell the difference. What practical purpose could this possibly serve?

  • Fred Johnson

    I just want to know how many rounds that brass receiver insert will stay put if the rifle isn’t shoulder fired? That is, if there is nothing to support the buttstock while the bcg and buffer are doing there thing. Like an AR pistol without a Sig brace fired at arms length.