The CDR-15 from DRD Tactical, available in 5.56mm NATO or 300 Blackout, flies under the radar, allowing you to enter any situation discreetly. Yet within a few seconds—I had it down to a little over 10 seconds—you can assemble this AR- platform rifle and have it up and running, ready to carry out the mission at hand.

DRD Tactical is a company that truly thinks outside of the box when it comes to building AR-style rifles. The company has become well known in the firearms industry for making innovative takedown rifles, starting with the 7.62mm Paratus and leading to its most recent creation, the .338 Lapua Magnum Kivaari. But you shouldn’t overlook DRD Tactical’s first takedown 5.56mm AR, the CDR-15. According to a DRD representative, with the CDR-15, “You have this little briefcase or knapsack with you, and if things go south and you have to make ‘contact’ in a bad situation, you can put the rifle together quickly, defend yourself with two to four magazines, and get out.”

Covert Takedown

Likes the company’s other rifles, DRD Tactical designed the CDR-15 so that it breaks down into two primary components—the upper/lower and the barrel assembly/handguard—for discreet carry.

The upper and lower receivers are machined from a billet of 7075-T6 aluminum before being hardcoat anodized. The lower has an enlarged triggerguard compatible with shooting gloves and, as I’ll mention later, gloves can be an important consideration. Textured “shelves” are present on both sides of the lower, above the trigger, to rest your trigger finger when not firing. The magazine well is flared for fast, fumble-free reloads. The trigger, magazine release and selector lever are all mil-spec. My test rifle also came with a Magpul MOE grip and six-position-adjustable stock, though current models were B5 Systems stocks.

Now for the upper receiver. I tested the CDR-15 with both 5.56mm and 300 BLK barrel assemblies, making my test gun a multi-caliber weapon system. The barrel assemblies include the barrel, flash suppressor, gas block and gas tube. DRD also supplies a metal cap that protects the barrel’s chamber and the end of gas tube. The cap fits over the breech end of the barrel and prevents debris from entering the system while protecting the gas tube. According to the DRD representative, “Once zeroed, the point of impact will remain within 1 MOA for both chamberings.”

The barrels themselves are cold-hammer forged and chrome lined. Both the 5.56mm and 300 BLK barrels have 1-in-7-inch twist rates, are Parkerized and use mid-length gas systems. Surrounding the barrel assemblies is DRD’s proprietary 13-inch handguard, which attaches to the upper receiver via a retaining pin and cam lock. The handguard features a top rail for sights while the sides and bottom are drilled and tapped for accessory rails, including Magpul L4 rail panels.

There are a few options for transporting the CDR-15. DRD Tactical offers an 18-by-14-by-7-inch Pelican hard case that stores the entire rifle, optic, magazines and ammo. The top half holds the barrel assembly, handguard and two 30-round magazines. The bottom half of the case holds the assembled upper and lower receivers. With the stock completely collapsed, the rifle easily fits inside, even with a Trijicon-sized red dot or compact scope mounted. Two more 30-round magazines fit in the bottom of the case, and there’s also a slot for a sound suppressor. All of the components fit into high-density foam trays and are secured with hook-and-loop straps. Nothing rattles during transport, and all of the parts are nicely balanced in the case so it is easy to carry. In all, the case is very discreet.

Another carry option is a soft case, and I tested the CDR-15 using the VooDoo Tactical Discreet Level III Assault Pack. This is a knapsack-sized pack—not a large combat pack that yells “combat ready.” The padding in the knapsack hides any outlines the rifle might make. The main section holds the receivers and barrel assembly. The second compartment holds the handguard. In the two smaller outside pockets I could carry a total of six 30-round magazines.

To assembly the CDR-15 after transport, lock the bolt to the rear. Remove the end cap from the chamber end of the barrel assembly, then insert the barrel and gas tube into their respective holes. Tighten the knurled barrel nut by hand. Another neat feature? A castle nut wrench will work on the DRD Tactical barrel nut since it has the same cutouts. You would probably only need to use the wrench if you plan on running up a high round count, however. “Finger tight” suffices for the amount of rounds you will most likely be carrying. Pull the handguard retaining pin, unlock the cam lock, slide the handguard over the barrel and align the notches. Push the retaining pin back and lock down the cam. Now you just need to add a loaded magazine and charge the rifle.

Range Time

For testing, I mounted a compact Leupold VX-R Patrol 1.25-4x20mm compact scope using Leupold’s Mark 2 Integral Mounting System (IMS) with 30mm rings, which provides the correct height needed for an AR. The scope’s FireDot SPR reticle is made up of a duplex crosshair with large and small tic marks on the fine horizontal and vertical crosshairs in 2.5-mil increments. At 5 mils, the tic mark is slightly larger. At the center is a 10-mil circle, with an illuminated red dot appearing in the dead center. With the illumination intensity on the lowest setting, the dot’s diameter is the same size as the crosshair. The reticle’s holdover tic marks are calibrated for 5.56mm and 7.62mm NATO ammo, but it can also be used with other chamberings of similar bullet weight and velocity, making it very versatile. This scope is well suited for close- to mid-range work. I also wanted to use a magnified scope to see if the point of impact shifted when barrels were swapped.

At the range, I loaded mil-spec steel magazines and Magpul PMAGs and assembled the CDR-15 from the VooDoo Tactical pack. I got on target at 25 yards knowing I’d need to tweak the zero at 100 yards, but I wanted to warm the rifle up. I fired for speed and found it handled very well.

Without waiting for the barrel to cool—but wearing gloves, of course—I swapped the 5.56mm barrel assembly for the 300 BLK barrel assembly, then hand-tightened the barrel nut. I was up and running again with the larger, heavier round. The windage was correct, but the elevation was lower. Exactly what I had expected. At 100 yards, I swapped the barrel assemblies again and tweaked the reticle for a 100-yard zero. A few magazines later, I found the CDR-15 preferred lighter 55- and 62-grain bullets. I suspected the rifling was not well suited for heavier 77-grain bullets, but I wanted to see what the rifle would do. After all, you might someday find yourself in a situation where you can only use the ammunition you have on hand.

With the heavier bullets, the rifle created 2-inch, five-shot groups on average. Lighter bullets clustered into 1-MOA groups. Not waiting for the hot barrel to cool off, I again switched to the 300 BLK barrel assembly. These rounds were slightly lower than the 5.56mm rounds, and they grouped nearly as well. After firing numerous boxes of ammo downrange, the rifle was still easy to take down and reassemble. Fouling on the gas tube did not interfere with barrel swaps. The barrel nut did not seize up. The rifle ran as advertised. It also did not seem to have a preference for any particular magazine.

With ammo depleted I disassembled the rifle and packed it back up in the knapsack, slung it on my shoulder and walked away after a successful range trip. If you’re looking for a discreet takedown rifle that’ll remain consistent and reliable, make sure you check out the CDR-15.

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  • Caliber: 5.56mm NATO, 300 BLK
  • Barrel: 16 inches
  • OA Length: 35.7 inches
  • Weight: 6.8 pounds (empty)
  • Stock: Collapsible
  • Sights: None
  • Action: Direct impingement semi-auto
  • Finish: Matte black
  • Capacity: 30+1
  • MSRP: $2,091-$2,200

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