Robar Hints At Lightweight AR-15 Using Titanium Components

Robar-Teases-Lightweight-New-Rifle-670x447

Earlier here at TFB, we mentioned in an article regarding some new developments in metallurgy that titanium has not traditionally been used as a material for firearms manufacture due to the difficulty and expense of working it. This is true, but it’s also true that techniques have been developed that substantially help reduce the time and cost of working titanium, and one recent product of gun manufacturer Robar being shown off at RecoilWeb is proof of that: An AR-15 using polymer upper and lower receivers, and some titanium components that tips the scale at just four and three-quarters pounds. Expected MSRP? Less than two grand:

Robar-Teases-Lightweight-New-Rifle-670x447

4.75lbs is quite light, but the most remarkable thing about this gun is the use of titanium components, while still staying under the $2,000 mark. Image source: recoilweb.com

Three years ago, Nemo Arms was showing off their TI[ONE] .308 caliber AR pattern rifle, made almost entirely from titanium components, and retailing for $100,000. The TI[ONE] was more of a manufacturing demonstrator than a real product, but the high price tag is still reflective of the difficulty of working that material. A year later, in 2013, a company called Amalgamated Ti announced they would be offering titanium lower receivers “later that year”, though by March of 2015 the release date was the same: “later this year”.

Robar’s offering does not use very much titanium (my guess is they are using the material for the castle nut, receiver plate, trigger group, lower receiver pin holes, barrel nut, gas block, and other minor components), but even that small quantity raised the price of the PolymAR-15 from about $1,700 to almost $2,000. Even so, it’s encouraging to think that strong, weight-reducing titanium components for AR-15s could make it to market, even if they are more expensive.



Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


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  • PK

    This has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the recent paper on titanium-containing alloy manufacture using novel methods. Different end-goal entirely.

    • Darkpr0

      The paper referenced is about aluminum-steel alloys, and does not contain titanium as a major component.

      • PK

        Brain fart. Thank you for the correction! 🙂

  • rusrs?

    I can’t get over the polymer receiver. Pass.

  • Michael Valera

    Al is 60% lighter than steel, while Ti is 40% lighter. All volumes being the same.

    • daniel

      Ti is substantially stronger than Al, allowing less of it to be used. Therefor, a lower made from Ti uses less material because it needs less material to contain the pressure.

      • Michael Valera

        You can already get lightened Al uppers and lowers. Ti is notoriously difficult to machine. The $200 Ti lower is vaporware.

    • Well, you’ll noticed Amalgamated Ti has apparently had a hard time bringing them to market.

  • hami

    Anyone who has to stand around all day guarding something with a rifle would appreciate these lightweight ARs I bet.

  • Jack

    4.75 lbs with a poly lower and upper at $2k. I’ve got a mag Tactical upper lower combo with some other fairly common “light weight” components that comes in at the same weight at half the cost.

    I like that there’s progress in getting Ti into firearms but this example leaves a lot to be desired.

    • Sadler

      Robar also guarantees sub-MOA accuracy with good ammo. That’s likely not something you’re getting from your build.

      • Jack

        Sub MOA from a carbine isn’t something I’m worried about. If you want to pay for that, rock on. I shoot most of my carbines with open sights or red dots and reman ammo. I’m completely happy with 2 MOA or less. Which all my other builds do with no problem.

        • Bobb

          It’s also pretty easily attainable for most guns. Just get a good barrel and you’ll be fine. So spend $80 more on a barrel.

          • Jack

            I’ve got a Daniel Defense barrel on the build. I didn’t skimp on the parts. I’m pretty confident that with some decent ammo, magnification and some patience I could get MOA or better with my build.

  • Vitsaus

    Still too heavy for serious use. Think of all the weight they could save if it had no pistol grip or stock. I’d even take off the forend and just mag well grip it, or be really tactical and wear some kind of heat resistant glove so that I can still do the Costa grip, but with my mitten-protected tactical hands on the barrel directly. Yeah, this is still impractically wasteful of material.

    • iksnilol

      There’s so much weight in the handguard, just remove it and use a careful magwell grip 😀

    • Cymond

      Heck, without a stock, it becomes a pistol, so shave off as many ounces as possible with a super short barrel. There’s some company offering a 6.75” barrel, that should be even lighter than a 7.5”.

  • RICH

    AR’s are so inexpensive at this time you can hardly justify the cost of one at $2 grand !

  • Tyler McCommon

    I mean it’s interesting they’re working more with Titanium but I’m still not all that interested in putting that much money down on what is essentially a 15% lighter version of a gun I already own.

  • lifetimearearesident

    Interesting but not like going from some heavyweight to a lightweight. The existing light weight aluminum AR15 alternatives already on the market are light enough for me. I wonder if we could actually get to a point where a rifle is too light. I realize the 5.56 is not exactly known for it’s recoil but would say a three gunner actually prefer a little more weight? Thinking about shot recovery time here. Thoughts?

    • iksnilol

      The dynamic shooting comp guys in Norway use heavy rifles. HBars with muzzle brakes. Usually weigh around 4-5 kg unloaded.

  • aka_mythos

    When it comes to a titanium lower I don’t think we’ve seen the type of machining that would actually make it worthwhile. Most companies playing with exotic materials just machine them to the nominal dimensions which as others have pointed out means that the way they’re being made a titanium lower ends up heavier. This is obviously to maintain compatibility with standard AR controls and keeping machining simple. But to take advantage of the material, machining can’t be simple. If it were done right you’d end up with something that looks like the BAD556 lightweight reciever sets, but even more extreme. When we see that, then we’ll know we got something.

  • Renov8

    Amalgamated Ti from what I hear has the best chance of building a complete rifle. less barrel from Ti…….and keeping it priced within reach of most gun owners. I think the issue is getting enough seed money to get going. They also make fishing gear out of Ti…..in use today.

  • Sianmink

    These high-end lightweights are neat, but what I’m really interested in is how light I can build one without spending more than what a second-tier AR would cost off the shelf. I’n shooting for 5.5lb or less.
    Still working on that, starting with a Tennessee arms polymer lower and a Faxon 14.5″ pencil barrel.

  • Cal S.

    Good night. 4.5lbs, with a (likely) $2,500 price tag? Meh, no thanks. Just make the components and let people build with them if they want…

  • Jared Duet

    I had the opportunity to talk with 2A Armory and play with their BLR-16 rifle. It achieves similar weight and price with a 7075-T6 upper and lower plus lots of Ti.

  • Paul White

    fat enough to make it hard to get a good hold! Damn. I’m not thin myself but wow

  • st4

    Additional contact points for increased stability?

  • Esh325

    As much as I don’t like the AR, one thing that has impressed me is it ability to be extremely light weight. Not many other designs can pull that off. I wonder how much a 10 inch SBR version would weigh? 3 pounds?

  • smartacus

    holy smokes! I’ve owned at least two Kawasaki Ninjas that weighed less!

  • iksnilol

    An SU16 weighs pretty close to this and costs way less.

    It also doesn’t have the sub moa guarantee but that’s for another time.