Introduced in 1964 to replace aging RP-1942K battle rifles, the first ART-18 was an almost direct copy of the 5.56mm Stoner AR18. Complaints from troops in regards to power and the nickname "Stoner's popgun" led to the development of the improved "A" variant. The ART-18A was chambered for the more powerful 7.5x50mm CAR cartridge, a shortened version of the 7.5x62mm Cordian battle rifle cartridge. It also had an improved gas system and a better stock and grip, derived from the Israeli Galil. This version came to be much loved by troopers, who dubbed it "Widowmaker". A sniper version was also produced, which came to be popular with Force Recon Expeditionaries and SIAS, as well as infantry snipers. Eventually in 1983 it was replaced with the ART-84 "Badger", although sniper variants remain in service with the Police to this day.