Nous Defions/Arsenal Democracy AD-16 (Billet Receivers) and AD-15 (Forged Receivers) 5.56mm NATO/300BLK Tactical AR-15 Rifle/Carbine/SBR’s with Ambi (Ambidextrous) Controls, KeyMod or M-LOK Modular Tactical Handguards/Rail Systems and Ballistic Advantage Barrels! (Video!)

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By David Crane
david (at) defensereview (dot) com

February 22, 2016

As if a really interesting and utilitarian new (suppressed) combat/tactical pistol holster wasn’t enough, Nous Defion/Arsenal Democracy also showed DefenseReview (DR) their latest 5.56mm NATO (5.56x45mm NATO)/.223 Rem./300 Blackout (300BLK) tactical AR (AR-15) rifle/carbine/SBR’s (Short Barreled Rifle) at SHOT Show 2016. They come in the form of the AD-16 with billet lower receiver, and AD-15 with forged lower. The AD forged lower is a brand new lower, and helps bring the cost of the AD-15 under the magic $1500 USD threshold. In fact, the standard AD-15 carbine/SBR package wil apparently come in below $1400 UD, if you can believe it. The AD-16 (billet lower), is a bit pricier around the $2,000 USD range. Both models can be had with the Arsenal Democracy F117 (also written F-117) Ambi (Ambidextrous) 45/90-degree Safety/Selector Switch, Ambi Mag Release (AMR) Button/Lever, and either a KeyMod or M-LOK tactical handguard/rail system, all designed and developed in-house.

For the barrels, Arsenal’s teamed up with Ballistic Advantage, whom DR met at SHOT Show 2016 at their booth. Nice guys. The Ballistic Advantage barrels we examined at SHOT looked very well made, and Arsenal’s head honcho Dave Pavlick told us they’re very accurate, and, so far, he’s very satisfied with their overall performance, including accuracy, durability and quality of workmanship. The Ballistic Advantage barrels in the Arsenal Democracy guns are all Melonited, i.e., salt bath nitrided/carbo-nitrided/nitro-carburized for corrosion-resistance/rust-proofing. Meloniting is essentially the American equivalent of Glock’s Tenifer metal treatment, and replaces chrome lining. We assume the chambers are also Melonited.

The AD-15 forged lower (lower receiver) looks high quality and is still nice looking, although it’s not as interesting looking as the AD-16 billet lower, which can be more intricately and interestingly cut for a more unique visual aesthetic.

The only ambi feature not yet available on the Arsenal Democracy lowers is an ambi-BCG (Bolt Carrier Group) catch/release button/lever. Pavlick told us that this feature may be available on future generation AD guns. DR wouldn’t mind seeing Arsenal integrate the LMT (Lewis Machine & Tool Company) ambi-BCG catch/release button/lever into the AD-15 and AD-16 as an upgrade feature, since the LMT unit utilizes a very simple, elegant and ergonomic design, and may just be the best ambi-bolt catch/release mechanism we’ve experienced. Coincidentally, we got to try the LMT ambi-lower with ambi-BCG catch/release button/lever on the LMT Defense MARS-L (Modular Ambidextrous Rifle System-Light) at SHOT Show 2016 Industry Day at the Range.

Regardless, the AD-15 and AD-16 are really nice as is, and definitely worth considering by anyone looking for a high-grade, feature-rich boutique tactical AR rifle/carbine/SBR that’s good to go as a fighting gun, right out of the box. Premium features and tactical AR accessories like a Cerakote Micro-Slicked BCG, Primary Weapons Systems PWS EBT MOD 2 Buffer Tube (with what we presume is a PWS tungsten powder heavy buffer of some sort), MagPul ACS-L Carbine Stock Mil-Spec (AD-16) or MagPul MOE-SL Carbine Stock Mil-Spec (AD-15) and Silencerco Trifecta Open-Prong Pingless Flash Hider/Mount round out the respective packages, depending on the model and how much the end-user is willing to spend.

By the way, let’s not forget the Arsenal Democracy 5.56mm NATO/300BLK PDW 8.5″ (8.5-inch) with Arsenal Democracy PDW Stock (Telescoping/Retractable Buttstock), which DR got to see last year at SHOT Show 2015. It’s one badass little 5.56mm/300BLK PDW package.

Company Contact Info:

Nous Defions, LLC
48 Commerce Lane, Ste. 7
Freeport, FL 32439
Phone: 850-296-2122
Email Contact Page:
Facebook Page:

Ballistic Advantage, LLC (AR Rifle Barrels)
2516 JMT Industrial Dr. #108
Apopka, FL 32703
Phone: 407.347.4584
Email Contact Page:

© Copyright 2016 (DR). All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without receiving permission and providing proper credit and appropriate links. If you are reading this article anywhere other than, please email us the website address/URL (where the unauthorized DR article reprint is located) at defrev (at) gmail (dot) com. Thank you.

All embedded (DR) photos and videos were shot with an Apple iPhone 6s Plus smartphone still/video camera.

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About David Crane

David Crane started publishing online in 2001. Since that time, governments, military organizations, Special Operators (i.e. professional trigger pullers), agencies, and civilian tactical shooters the world over have come to depend on Defense Review as the authoritative source of news and information on "the latest and greatest" in the field of military defense and tactical technology and hardware, including tactical firearms, ammunition, equipment, gear, and training.

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