Gun Review: DRD CDR-15 Take-Down AR-15 Rifle

Right now in the US, the market is so flooded with AR type rifles and accessories that prices are low, stores are stocked, and most consumers (myself included) aren’t as taken with the platform as they once were. AR fatigue is running pretty rampant, and to be honest it takes a lot to get me to raise an eyebrow and nod in approval at any new AR related “innovation” (a new color finish is not innovation in my books).

So what do we have here?


Well, it’s an AR15 in a very compact case made by DRD Tactical that takes down at the barrel rather than just the upper receiver.



According to DRD:

“CDR-15 Rifle


CALIBER: 5.56 Nato
RECEIVERS: Lower/Upper machined from US sourced 7075 T-6511 Billet Aluminum
WEIGHT: 6.9 lbs.
BARREL: Hammer forged, chrome lined, 1/7 twist, parkerized finish, mid-length gas
MAGAZINE CAPACITY: 2-30 Round Magpul Pmag
TRIGGER: Standard AR type
OPTIC MOUNTING RAIL: DRD Tactical Patented QD 13″ Rail, MIL-STD 1913, Uses Magpul L-4 Rail Panels
OPERATION: Direct Gas operated, Semi-Automatic
FINISH: Hard Coat Anodize Type III Black
HARDCASE: Custom cut high density foam with pistol foam insert

CDR15 is a patented quick take down semi-auto rifle, chambered in 5.56 Nato or 300AAC. The most compact rifle/pistol transport brief case size unit, allows you to carry a 16″ carbine, 4 carbine magazines, suppressor (NFA item), Trijicon size scope, full size pistol with 12 full size pistol magazines. You can replace the pistol foam insert with our 2nd barrel foam insert, which allows you to carry another caliber barrel with more magazines.”

The case is nice and there is a cutout for your rifle’s optic:


And below the lower receiver group is a 300 Blackout barrel assembly:


Of course on top you have your 5.56 assembly and some additional mags:


The takedown system is neat and relies on an interesting barrel nut in addition to a pin on the hand guard that is further retained by a lever:




Assembly is easy and it all comes together to make a handsome rifle:



Here you can see part of the retention mechanism:



So let’s get down to business. How does this little guy shoot? Well I put on my serious gloves and got to shooting.



I put several mags worth of M193 ball and a few boxes of miscellaneous steel cased ammo through the gun to test its reliability and it worked fine with no malfunctions to note.



Patrick gave it a go as well and gave it his nod of approval (the highest praise the man is capable of delivering):



So accuracy test time. I grabbed up some nice Hornady stuff and shot four 5 shot groups with it in the usual TFB fashion:



And I was impressed as hell. It has been a while since I have shot an AR pattern rifle with an optic for accuracy testing.

Worst group of the 4:




So it shoots well and has an interesting gimmick, but is it worth it?

Well, at an MSRP of $2,091 I would say no for me personally. While DRD is a relatively new company, the people behind it have extensive experience providing weapons to the special forces market. This firearm designed for some very specific Law Enforcement and Special Operations use-cases. I am just a home enthusiast, collector and vlogger.

I would rather pay the extra $200 Tax and get a Short Barrel 10.5″ AR-15, if I needed an AR that would fit snugly in a small case, but there are definitely people who want to avoid all the NFA nonsense. In that case, this rifle might be a good option.

That said, the DRD worked perfectly, was accurate, and is a very well made gun.

Alex C.

Alex is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and Director of TFBTV.


  • Drew Coleman

    I just don’t see what problem this solves. With a normal AR-15 you just pop two pins and stick them in the bag/box and then put them back together. All this without worrying about zero shift from removing the barrel and it’s a lot cheaper. It’s a really cool concept but I just don’t think it’s any more practical than the AR-15 design already is.

    • I agree.

      • Rog Uinta

        Did you guys test for change in POI as a result of dismounting/remounting the barrel? I’m curious to know how much shift there was if you did.

        • David

          I have the 308 kit version of this and have not been able to introduce a POI change as a result of barrels mount / dismount. I had to do this frequently to get the gun working suppressed and unsuppressed ( not the fault of DRD ), and accuracy wise I found the gun consistent.

    • CommonSense23

      Its got some applications if it holds zero when resembled, but only really for the guys who do low vis work overseas.

    • Kyle

      Yeah, I don’t get the point of this. ARs break in half already. So this can save a couple of inches in a care. So what? Hell breaking them in half I could probably fit four ARs in my Condor range bag.

    • John

      Takedown weapons are for the person who has a gun range down the street in a metropolitan area and doesn’t want to walk down the street with a bag conspicuously ~30 inches long in front of city cops.

      Would rather fit it in an inconspicuous knapsack

      • Zachary marrs

        Who has an ar15 upper that is 30 inches long?

        You can still make a normal ar15 very short.

        • John

          A 16″ AR upper assembly is 25″, which still doesn’t fit a backpack without looking suspiciously long.

          The reason I said 30 inches is that, after having looked into how to transport rifles, I concluded that it was the best length to carry an AR separated into upper/lower halves, an AK/Vz58 with stock folded, AUG, or a Tavor. They range from 25-28″ in length. 30″ would be the length of the case that can accommodate the lengths of the above weapon

          • Zachary marrs

            even then, you can get a good ar, and sbr tax stamp, and still have money left over.

            id hardly call a tennis racquet bag suspiciously long.

          • John

            Sbrs are a no-go where I live.

            I’m not saying to shell out several grand for the DRD system but what I’m saying is that there is a place for people to have a takedown AR.

            A lot of people reflexively say “the AR already separates into upper and lower halves” but there are logistical issues with that.

            As for the tennis bag, I’ve tried tennis bags and they do a mediocre job. The bag flops over and the handle sags which shows something much narrower and heavier than a racket is in there.
            A golf bag with a cozy around the muzzle works better but who walks around with that. Lacrosse bags fit long guns without pistol grips like shotguns but again, half the bag flops over like the tennis bag

          • Zachary marrs

            foam is still a thing isn’t it?

            there are simple stupid solutions to the problems you mention

          • John

            I listed a general list of problems with carrying such bags. Sure, there easy fixes like foam but there are other problems like the sagging of the entire bag. The point I was trying to make is there is a slew of issues with it.

            Regardless, arguing about the viability of carrying it in a tennis bag is a straw man argument. If you want to take that risk that’s fine with you but I’m not willing to.

            Again I will remind you I am not suggesting that spending two grand on the drd system is the solution. But take down guns have their place.

            P.S my solution was to install a quick change barrel nut that returns to zero that cost $20.

    • Stan Darsh

      I agree. However, it would be nice to see a quick change barrel system like this on something like an MP5 or HK33 that would make caliber conversions a reality.

  • Edeco

    Looks nice, but I like taking the upper off. Keep the optic fixed to the barrel.

    • MPWS

      This makes for lot shorter package when dismounted. For barrel to receiver alignment look at cut in top front of receiver. If fit between both is reasonably tight you have no zero shift issue.

      • Edeco

        I always have a zero shift issue because it’s always possible. I don’t care if it’s negligible (your idea of negligible or mine) and under control when the DRD gun is new. Another joint is another potential source that could act up three years from now. Not the end of the world, but not worth it to me to kind of save 7 inches.

  • BattleshipGrey

    The quick change barrel is one of the few innovations left to the AR platform, given the multitude of calibers available to it these days. Otherwise the “take down” label is a bit misleading, since the AR already breaks down into two convenient parts.

    Now a real innovation would be to have quick change barrels for the least cost on run-of-the-mill ARs.

  • MPWS

    As usual I give thumbs up to your write-up Alex. What I like is that your work is impartialy written and you accompany it with lots of easy to comprehend photos. Same for your companion of choice Patrick. You are a team to contend with.
    This receiver-barrel connection appears to be highly efficient as it is simple, versatile and foolproof; good product overall.

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    I dont see any use for it but to each his own.

  • Like the nondescript case! Very covert. *snort*

    • Theroo1

      Yeah, they need to offer a non-TactiCool version that fits in a standard Briefcase like the TAC2 takedown rifle from a few years back. Since I already owned one of those rifles I was able to place my own Kit gun version of the CDR-15, made by Area53, into it with little modification. Now that is Discreet Cary.

  • Flounder

    Alex, you should take full advantage of your youtube channel and give us a complete field strip of the rifle. That would highlight it’s innovation the best. And compare it to your favorite AR just for fun.

    The pictures just don’t quite do it justice.

  • Chris laliberte

    I think the no-tool / no bench vise barrel change is what makes this system appealing, not the “take down” portability. I see very few applications where saving the 6-8″ length of the receiver makes a huge difference as far as concealing/carrying the rifle broken down, compared to the normal AR separation of the upper and lower. However, being able to quickly change barrels in the field without tools means flexibility to go from SBR CQB to 20″ precision marksmanship, in a choice of different calibers (.223, 300 BLK, 5.45, and 7.62×39) in a matter of minutes, and have your handguard stay exactly the same. It’s a little slower than just swapping uppers, but it’s much more cost effective–you don’t have to buy full uppers, including your personalized handguard, light, BUIS set up, which can get super expensive. And, having exactly the same handguard and accessories for your shooting stance and grip is highly desirable.

    You’re gonna have trouble with your optic when you change calibers like that (at least between 5.45/5.56 and .30 cal), but it seems like for red dots at least, it would be possible to use your iron sight co-witness to dial in your different calibers with at least a good rough zero point in the irons’ sight picture for each barrel.

    This is not a new innovation. The Robinson XCR created this option many years ago, and the Bushmaster ACR did the same thing. Both of those used or introduced some other innovations that ended up being decent–side charging, ambi bolt release and catch, and side folding stock for portability. These were piston driven, and (along with the SCAR) had some difficulty replacing the AR with it’s gas system which fires more smoothly when shooting fast–few competitive shooters run the SCAR/ACR/XCR and I suspect it’s because of the clunkiness of that huge bolt mass moving the way it does, it introduces kind of a wave into the recoil motion of the rifle that’s hard to eliminate even with a very solid shooting stance.

    However, for both the ACR and the XCR, the barrel/bolt caliber conversion kits ended up costing around $600, which is CONSIDERABLY more than what you need to spend to get a standard AR barrel and matching bolt–even springing for full bolt carrier groups for each caliber, each barrel/bolt combo could be around $250-300, which is a big improvement.

    I’ve already got all my different caliber uppers, so this system doesn’t have much appeal for me, but I could see it gaining ground for new AR owners if there are any here in the upcoming future.

  • FarmerB

    I frequently carry my full sized SIG 550 to/from the range and competition in a black rectangular soft-skinned bag – with the stock folded. It doesn’t look much like a gun bag at all. Anyway here recently, one of my (musical) neighbors asked if I played keyboards, and I realized it was because he’d seen me schlepping this bag to the car. Perfect, I thought.

    • Jwedel1231

      Most ARs don’t have folding stocks, else this item would not exist.

  • Dan

    Were you shooting at JCSSA?

  • James

    I have had mine for around two years now and it is my favorite AR because it fills pretty much all the roles I need an AR for in one (made my own) case. I can go from a 8″ 300 black barrel running a can for close in work to a 6.5 Grendal DMR rifle with a change of a barrel and bolt, and a quick change of optic, in about two minutes.

    That is the longest conversion time of all my caliber sets because I have to switch out the BCG and optic. For everthing else, its under a minute. Plus I have everything in one case to run .223/556, .300 BLK, 6.5 Grendal and 7.62×39. I am planning on adding a .50 Beowulf barrel to the lineup just because you never know when you will need to put down a charging zombie elephant. For me it is the ultimate SHTF gun.

  • LilWolfy

    The main advantages of quick barrel change systems are:

    * Discreet carrying in a small case without losing barrel length
    * Ease of caliber change

    • Zachary marrs

      A normal ar can already do both of those.

      2 pins.

      Thats it, just 2 pins

  • Mcameron

    ooooor… could just buy an AR pistol and be done with it.

  • itsmefool

    You could always carry it in one of these…

  • Michael R. Zupcak

    Can anyone tell me if a 10.5″-barreled AR upper will fit diagonally in a briefcase (leather or aluminum)? Can anyone tell me the exact length of a 10.5″ barreled AR upper with A2 flash hider? I know that’s a lot to ask so I’ll keep my expectations to a minimum. Thanks 😉

  • MACinCT

    Great write-up! It was especially interesting to hear you mention AR fatigue. I’d love to hear you fully flesh out those thoughts in a stand alone post. I really like my AR (Stag), but still don’t fully understand all the hype. Thanks for your great work.

  • disqus_B71aIc56lI

    Duke Togo aka Golgo 13 uses a take-down version of the AR-15 or the M16A1 variant stored in a typical business attache case for his usual hit jobs but he couldn’t do full auto on his rifle because when the regular rifle is reworked into a take-down rifle, the rifle’s metal alloy’s integral strength is comprised to the point and the rifle breaks apart after hundreds of rounds. This version is what he may want if he’s in tight jam in very nasty firefight that blocks his usual escape routes and full-auto fire is his only way out.