Website of the Week 014: Retro Black Rifle’s Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week 014 is Retro Black Rifle.¬†This site is a guide to the historic, pre-M16A2 variations of the M16/AR-15 type rifles, from the earliest prototypes through the Vietnam-War era guns, including a great number of low-production and prototype weapons.

Retro Black Rifle, or RBR as insiders call it, has been growing in place since late 2006 and is a solid reference for the “retro” AR community. This includes not only collectors of the original guns, which have exploded in value recently, but also builders of replica retro guns, usually from a combination of reproduction, surplus, and homemade parts. Here’s how the site puts it:

This site is dedicated to the “Retro Black Rifle”. It covers the AR15 / M16 Rifles¬†that were in production and used up to the mid 1980’s.

This site identifies the various:

  1. Manufacturers and Models

  2. Model Specifications

  3. Associated Accessories

  4. Sources for “Replica Builds

It also has a handy serial number list for the Colt first-generation SP1 semi-auto AR-15s. These rifles too have seen an uptick in collector interest. This list lets SP1 owners and prospective owners date theie weapons, and lets people with retro or vintage AR parts know what they have — and how rare, or valuable, it might be.

The retro building activity inspired by the site is quite strong. In recent times, the retro-heads have even begun working together to get rare and prototype parts reproduced.

While many people start on the home page and never get any further than the retro model guide on the left side of that page, there are also lively and informative forums populated by real Retro AR experts.