Forgotten Weapons: Shooting The Early Dutch AR-10

I, for one, lament the change of the charging handle from the inside the carry-handle position to the rear of the weapon. While it has made it convenient for railed uppers, it is nowhere near as ergonomic.

Okay, now that I am off my high-horse, I would like to turn your attention to Ian’s at Forgotten Weapons’ always fabulous history lesson on the AR-10 prior to spending time on their early history and going over the not-well-known history on the sleeved barrels in the original prototypes.

Replete with slow-motion footage, the video is a great watch:

Nathan S

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


  • Wolfgar

    I did not know that some of the early AR-10 rifles with grenade launchers had a gas regulator. It is still amazing to me that when I think I have learned everything about the AR Stoner rifle system, something new pops up. Great video!

  • ostiariusalpha

    It’s a bit of a shame that Ian only got to examine that Portuguese model Artillerie Inrichtingen AR-10, instead of firing it, they’re a decent improvement over the Sudan model he did end up shooting with. You certainly don’t have to worry about loose charging handle detents letting the rear of the CH gas key guide smack you in the face, like the one on the video was threatening to do. Now all I need Ian to do is show what the heck was up with the AR-2, AR-4, AR-8, and AR-11. Those are some truly forgotten weapons.

    • While he’s at it, Ian can also find the AR-13 and AR-14. I’ve found Russ Robinson’s patent for what sounds like the AR-13, but I can’t confirm it. The AR-14 was to be a sporting version of the AR-10, but I haven’t seen how it was to be configured.

      • ostiariusalpha

        No doubt. I know the AR-13 never got out of the design stage, but any display of the schematics for a “hypervelocity anti-aircraft machine gun” and how the “squeezebore” system produced the “cloud of crud” defense would be an incredible find. What pictures I’ve seen of the supposed AR-14 in a Dutch museum look like an AR-10A sans integrated carry handle and with Sudan model furniture.

        • Here’s what I believe to be the AR-13 patent:

          As you can see, it is just an electrically-fired mitrailleuse. Load that cluster of barrels with Robinson’s Salvo-Squeeze Bore ammunition, and it would be fairly easy to put a large number of projectiles in the air within a short period of time.

          • ostiariusalpha

            That certainly does fit the descriptions of the “cloud of crud.” I have to wonder if the SSB rounds weren’t the real thrust behind the AR-13 concept, with the particular weapon firing them being a more vague, less important component.

          • The SSB concept was patented separately, and ultimately licensed to Colt.

          • ostiariusalpha

            Yes, ArmaLite was in the business of selling weapon designs. I meant that the SSB was their main product in the overall AR-13 design, with the weapon serving as more of a test bed/proof-of-concept platform for the ammunition. If anyone bought the whole package, that would have been gravy.

          • The AR-13 seems rather involved as a SSB sales technique compared to how the SSB was ultimately deployed in modified conventional weapons. ARPA’s Project AGILE was testing SSB-modified M2HB in Vietnam as early as 1963.

          • ostiariusalpha

            Quite involved, which would explain why the ammunition went on to a seperate, earlier patent filing and even into prototype development. The mitrailleuse weapon

      • Ian McCollum

        I do have some footage of the AR14 and AR16s around here somewhere… 😉

      • ostiariusalpha

        Alright, Dan, you did us all a real solid by digging up what (I’m convinced) has to be Russell Robinson’s 1962 iteration of the AR-13 in the patent files, so I dug through my own stuff for what I had on the AR-14. All I could find was some 1957 material, but at least it came with an illustration of the basic layout that they had settled on at that time.

        • Thanks for the picture!

          Odds are that you would pull the trigger group housing out of the bottom of receiver, and remove the bolt and bolt carrier through that opening.

          • ostiariusalpha

            I’d like to get ahold of some pictures of the “Stopette” for comparison, it seems to me that the AR-11 & AR-14 might have the same design relationship as the AR-10 & AR-15. The failure of the AR-11 could be what killed the AR-14.
            Another pic:

  • claymore

    Note Andrew did much better at controlling it because he was over the balance point with his aggressive forward lean stance. An indication of prior firing of machine guns.

    • iksnilol

      I thought it was common sense? I mean, the bloody thing is gonna push hard, so it seems natural to lean forward.

      Personally, I just lean forward, shout some boohoo blues at the top of my lungs while letting it rip… for like 3-4 seconds because it’s a bog standard AK and I am not made of money that allows 100 round mag dumps :/

      • Controlling an AR-10 for more than a couple of rounds takes a lot more than “common sense”, trust me.

        • iksnilol

          I know, I was just thinking full auto in general. It is a bit comparable to using a fire hose. It is gonna push against you so it makes sense to lean forward. Now don’t get me wrong, I do lean backwards and whatnot (even with 308) but that’s for accurate, slower fire. For MGs, it’s leaning forward and boohoo blues all the way.

          EDIT: Shooting an AR-10 on full auto is gonna be a bad day no matter what. 308 + such a lightweight gun.

          • Sean Dockerty

            I shot an AR10 full auto back in the 80’s. Being a gangly youth I couldn’t keep it on target so didn’t really enjoy it as much as I should but the backstop looked like it had been well ploughed. Still an attractive design.

      • Phil

        One thing on firing ANY AR-10 of original design; Don’t fire it to empty! The trigger mech house (lower in modern terms) has a weak point in front of where the bolt engages the bolt catch and the bolt catch hammers the thin section of aluminium hard. Doing this a relatively small number of times (hundreds) will start a crack down the back of the mag well from the top. This will result in eventually trashing the trigger mech housing as the bolt catch is literally hammer into the mag well.

        One reason I use the term “trigger mech housing” relates to how the Dutch controlled the guns… the upper (to us uncontrolled) was the firearm and thus is serialized on AI rifles and is their “controlled part”. The lower (to us) is their “trigger mech housing” and is uncontrolled… so Dutch AR-10 shooters all make sure they have several spares as they do crack/break.

        Typically their solution is to put a drill round in the mag first and then load their live ammo on top. This way the last round is followed by a dummy and it chambers saving the impact on the bolt catch. Putting the bolt onto the catch manually does not cause issues.

        • iksnilol

          I did not know that, thanks for the info. It might not be useful knowledge for me (I don’t use ARs, even less likely I would use an AR-10 of original design) but it is surely useful for somebody else.

    • You mean Patrick? He has a lot of experience firing machine guns, and even taught me (not a stranger to them) a thing or two.

      Even so, I think everyone was impressed with that burst. The AR-10 is absolutely a pain to shoot on full auto (it’s not really fun on semi, either). I actually asked Patrick to shoot that 20 round burst so I could have the footage for a later article. I was so impressed by it, I forgot my camera manners and you can hear me congratulating him at the end!

      • claymore

        I thought in the video he said thank you Andrew?

        • Alex is the one who owns the gun. He’s the tall lanky guy. Patrick is the redhead in the red shirt.

  • Fred Johnson

    A good blog post. Thank you.

  • cmbv79

    I know several Portuguese “Paras” Veterans, and all they say is how amazing
    this rifle was.

    • Certainly seems more friendly to hump around for days on end than a G3 or a FAL.

  • James

    Wasn’t the charging handle changed due to it getting hot as hell? Wanna say I read about it in the black rifle.

    • Yes, Jim Sullivan says the same thing as well. After three or four magazines the cocking handle got too hot to actually touch unless you were wearing thick gloves. Which is sort of a problem, especially if you’re a Portugese Paratrooper in the sweatbox that is Angola.

      I’m sure there would have been a way to mitigate that, but relocating it to the back was probably easier from a technical standpoint, as well as a foolproof way of defeating the heat transfer issue.

      • DrewN

        I can attest it gets hot. And if you get a stoppage you need something like a section of broomhandle to get any leverage, if my memory doesn’t fail me the handle of an entrenching tool is too big.

        • Phil

          What was also interesting is the first gen of “forward assist” was built into these cocking handles. The incredible noise made over the M16 forward assist always seems to miss this part of the debate. There were also several variations of the inside the carry handle cocking handle; solid units that popped out the back in the same location as the AR-15 charging handle is (though powered from the front) and several versions that were telescoping over covers that kept the dirt out when the actual “cocking handle” bit was returned to forward. These mostly did not protrude out the back of the upper receiver. You can usually tell the forward assist versions as the finger blade is on a pin and it can be pushed down to engage the carrier and force closed the bolt.

          If you guys ever get to the Dutch Army Museum in Delft, ask to go up “into the attic” and look as there are even more variations on the AR-10 than Reed Knight has in his museum. (This needs to be planned and cleared ahead.) Also be sure to check out their “interim-10” which was an M1 Garand modified to 7.62NATO and accepting AR-10 mags (plus a bunch of other very cool mods). I’ve shot one and to be brutally honest IT is a better choice than the big 4 7.62NATO rifles! (M-14, FAL, AR-10, G3).

  • G0rdon_Fr33man

    Ian should have a look at the L.A.R Grizzly… I know many on here know about it, but in many ways it´s a “forgotten” and very underrated pistol, and one of the first true “automags”.

    • Ian McCollum

      Well, only first if you leave out the Mars… 🙂
      I’ve handled a couple, but never done a video – they would be a good subject.

      • G0rdon_Fr33man

        You got me there. I saw your Mars-video. An overwhelming amount of people I meet on the range have never heard of the Grizzly, and there aren´t many good videos on it on youtube +1 if you manager to track down a 10-inch longslide version, which were made in very few examples.

  • Sianmink

    The AR-15 charging handle issue is what has me looking at an ARAK-21 upper. Forward-left charging handle is <3

  • Adam aka eddie d.

    Excellent video Ian, thank you!
    The stainless steel carrier group is very interesting!
    I thought it was just old, scuffed up chrome plating.
    Isn’t a stainless bolt fragile?

    I loved the outtakes at the end too!
    “This is your shoulder thing, that goes up and makes the gun more evil”, lol!

  • Thank you for the link! I really wish there was a lot more published information about the Portuguese experience in these conflicts back then. There’s some really great pictures here.

  • Blake

    That was awesome, thanks for the vid.

  • tts

    Love the child tracking capabilities of setting 3, deliciously evil! 😉

    Thanks for the great video guys

  • Zebra Dun

    This rifle appears to recoil every bit as hard as the M-14.
    Perhaps the in line stock and light weight just won’t handle the 7.62 x 51 mm.

  • Hank Seiter

    I had a chance to by a “converted” AI semi-auto Portuguese contract AR-10 back in 1980. I had the money but I also had a family to support. If I remember correctly, the asking price was $1599 plus shipping to an FFL which I had at the time. Of course I regret not buying it now. However, today I own an Armalite AR-10 “classic” and a Rock River LAR-8 with a Wilson cryogenic barrel … the latter is a true MOA rifle. The modern Armalite AR-10 is very light, so it probably closely approximates the shooting sensation of the early “original” AR-10s. And I have to say, putting several hundred rounds of 7.62 through a seven pound AR-10 in a single session can get uncomfortable if one isn’t wearing a padded shooting vest or body armor. In any case, they’re definitely a cool rifle platform.

  • whamprod

    “Shoulder thing that goes up”……… BWAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAA!!!

    Nice job getting that in there.

  • Michael Riley

    Charging handle was changed due to heat buildup issues caused by the gas system.