Christensen Arms CA-15

Christensen Arms CA15

If you are looking for a unique, lightweight AR-15 style rifle, take a look at the Christensen Arms CA-15 carbines.  No doubt, the firearms are pricey, but they offer some features that are simply not available on other rifles.  If you are looking for a high end, semi-auto carbine that can run a variety of calibers from .204 Ruger to .300 AAC Blackout, you want to learn more about the Christensen Arms CA-15.

Christensen Arms is a unique firearms company based out of Gunnison, Utah. The company was founded by Dr. Roland Christensen, who obtained a Doctorate of Mechanical Engineering.  Christensen initially started a small business that designed carbon-fiber material products for the aerospace and medical industries.

Christensen Arms CA-15 carbine

Taking from his experience in constructing products with carbon-fiber, Christensen applied his knowledge to his hobby of shooting firearms.  The primary distinction with Christensen’s firearms is that his barrels are made of carbon-fiber, instead of the all-steel construction of almost every other manufacturer.  For those familiar with carbon-fiber, the material has the dual benefit of being lightweight while also allowing for greater heat dissipation.

The barrels were such a success and had such widespread acceptance that Christensen decided to create complete firearms in addition to his unique barrels.  Starting with bolt-action hunting and target rifles, that included a carbon-fiber stocks along with a carbon-fiber wrapped barrel, Christensen Arms has recently released their own AR-15 and 1911 firearms.  This article will introduce the Christensen Arms CA-15 custom rifle.

Christensen Arms CA-15

CA-15 Recon Model

The Christensen Arms CA-15 comes with a match-grade carbon-wrapped barrel.  This is the trademark difference with all standard Christensen Arms, and a great advancement for firearm production in general.

In essence, there is a match-grade steel liner allowing for standard rifling, but the ingenious difference is that the liner is wrapped in a carbon-fiber exterior.  That carbon-fiber wrap secures the thin liner and provides the insulation needed to handle pressures during firing while providing for long-term stability.  The end result is a bull barrel that is not even close to the weight of a standard steel bull barrel.  The CA-15 also comes with a carbon-fiber hand guard.  If desired, the shooter can select an all steel match-grade barrel in “cheese grater” or spiral fluting as well.

Christensen Arms CA-15 barrel

The CA-15 has options for either a proprietary gas-piston or gas-impingement operating system to meet the shooter’s desired preference.  The receivers are custom machined from aircraft-grade aluminum.  There are optional hard black anodized Type III or Cerakote receiver colors.

The rifle can also be dipped in a camouflage pattern.  There is an ambidextrous magazine release that comes standard, with an optional ambidextrous safety selector.  In addition, the CA-15 comes with an oversized bolt-release, extended charging handle, and Hogue over-molded handle as standard.

Christensen Arms CA-15 rifle

Handling the CA-15 was a nice experience.  In addition to the slightly lighter weight on the fore-end, the CA-15’s custom receivers had a much tighter fit than some lower end AR-15’s I’ve held.  There was no rattling while handling the CA-15.  This definitely had the feel of a well-made custom rifle, but the prices reflect that quality and the advanced materials used in manufacture.

Christensen Arms CA-15 Specifications



Receivers Custom machined aircraft-grade aluminum
Magazine Release Ambidextrous standard
Barrel Match-grade carbon-fiber wrapped
Operating System Proprietary Piston or Gas-Impingement
Bolt Carrier Group Nickel-boron coated
Trigger Timney trigger (standard); Geissele (optional)
Muzzle Break Options Titanium muzzle break or flash hider
Stock Multiple Options – shown with Magpul
Cerakote Finishing Green; Burnt Bronze; Green Reaper; Silver; Reaper; Black, True Timber; Desert Digital; Natural Gear Grey; and Tungsten
Hand Guard Carbon-fiber with integrated carbon Picatinny rails (standard); Predator hand guard (optional)
Calibers .223 Rem (1:9) and .223 Wylde (1:8) standard
Optional Calibers .204 Ruger; 6.8 SPC; 6.5 Grendel, 300 AAC
Weight 6.2 lbs. for 16” version
Length Options – SBR, Carbine, Mid-Length; Rifle to 24”
Accuracy MOA Guaranteed
MSRP $3150


Christensen Arms CA-15 review

I have not shot the Christensen Arms CA-15, however, Christensen Arms provides a MOA guarantee.  I’m fairly confident that this smaller manufacturer would not give that guarantee without having the confidence in performance.  The guarantee is contingent on proper break-in, appropriate ammunition, and proper use conditions.

Christensen Arms CA-15 for sale

The price is the biggest sticking point, as some quality piston-driven AR-15’s can be had (with upgraded stocks, sights, triggers, and pistol grips) for around $1000 less.  However, if you are a serious shooter who demands only the best, then the Christensen Arms CA-15 could easily be on your short list of options.

By Aaron

Aaron is a sergeant with a midwestern police department, where he serves as a trainer, supervisor and SWAT sniper. In addition to his broad tactical knowledge, Aaron is an experienced hunter using bow and both modern and blackpowder firearms.

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