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Brownells Adds BRN-PROTO, Retro 4X Optic | SHOT 2019

Brownells is quickly gaining a reputation for announcing some super cool stuff that makes not only the casual gun owner drool, but also the hardcore gun nerd need to stay seated for a bit. The new BRN-PROTO is yet another product that will make gun lovers of all types willingly spend college funds on another “investment” for the future.

Before we get to the rifle, the magazine that Brownells announced is worthy of some attention. The original prototype Armalite rifles were tested with 25-round magazines but only 200 or so of them were ever produced. Brownells felt that the new BRN-PROTO needed to be fed by the right magazine so they reverse engineered the 25-rounder. Sadly there is no indication if they are going to be selling the magazine on its lonesome, but they are pretty cool nevertheless.

According to Brownells, the BRN-PROTO was designed to be as close to AR-15 serial number 1 as they could get it, right down to the trigger style charging handle.


When you pull the bolt carrier group and charging handle out, it isn't hard to see why the original design was abandoned. The trigger portion of the handle sits right on the gas key of the bolt carrier group and conducts heat rather quickly. That said, it is still old school cool.


Brownells finished the muzzle off with an early duckbill style three prong flash hider.


The BRN-PROTO even uses the early front sight base that is reminiscent of the original AR-10 rifles.


Again with the theme of keeping things as correct as possible, the front pivot pin is NOT captive and uses a ball detent to keep it from falling out of the rifle.


Paul Levy of Brownells did make sure to point out the new heat shields inside the handguards and made mention that they would also be offering the heat shielded handguard upgrade to BRN-10 owners in the near future. No word on pricing at this time but they should be available in the near future.


The BRN-PROTO is available for preorder on the Brownells website currently with an MSRP of $1,299.

If the BRN-PROTO wasn't enough, the new Retro 4X carry handle scope they dropped was the cherry on top. Brownells tracked down the manufacturer that produced the original Colt 4X carry handle scopes and asked them to produce something as close to the original as possible with updated internals. The result is a scope that looks period correct, but will out perform the original Colt units every time.


The elevation knob on the Retro 4X scope has some updated labeling, but is dang close to the original in shape and feel.


As mentioned earlier, the quality of the internals far surpasses the originals. When looking through the scope at Industry Day at the Range we were met with a bright and distortion free picture.


The Retro 4X Carry Handle Optic will sell for $299.99 when it starts shipping later this year. You can find more information on the Brownells website.

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One response to “Brownells Adds BRN-PROTO, Retro 4X Optic | SHOT 2019”

  1. William Stephens says:

    What are the ramifications of firing a BRN10 without the heat shields in the handguards? Specifically, I have an Aero Precision M5E1 using the BRN10 barrel assembly but the heat shields were discontinued and out of stock. Any help would be appreciated.

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