Ruger SR-556 Takedown Review | A Highly Portable and Reliable AR

Being able to effectively and effortlessly break down the Ruger SR-556 Takedown into segments, this gun could very well be the definitive knapsack AR. It is conservative and discreet, to be sure. It's no secret that Takedown rifles have an alluring appeal, what with their Transformers-like construction and operation.

In just a few twists and snaps, the SR-556 is ready for action. It's a polished AR that you can take to task and revert back to its original form in a matter of seconds. But is it the right weapon for your needs? And how does it compare to other best AR pistols out there? Let's jump right into my Ruger SR-556 Takedown review and find out.

Is the Ruger SR-556 a Good Rifle?

As it stands, the general makeup of the AR-15 platform basically makes it a takedown rifle. As you likely already know, you can remove the lower receiver from the upper receiver, thus breaking the AR down into two components.

What's more, the regular AR-15 with a 16-inch barrel has an upper receiver that measures 24.5 inches in length. And if you're using a muzzle, that length becomes significantly more. It's difficult enough trying to comfortably stow away more than 24 inches of weaponry.

But where the Ruger SR-556 Takedown shines is in its ability to let consumers take off the barrel from the upper receiver, thereby reducing the lengths to around 18 inches. With the stock collapsed, the lower receiver measures 15.75 inches.

In doing so, you're left with a highly portable unit that is a breeze to carry in a knapsack. Moreover, the simplicity of Takedown's design makes it a compelling entry into the AR universe.


  • Breaks down into three main components
  • Three 30-round PMAG magazines
  • Piston-driven operating system
  • Chrome-lined mil-spec barrel
  • Includes convenient knapsack
  • Ruger's Elite 452 AR-Trigger
  • MOE SL collapsible buttstock
  • Front and rear folding sights
  • Magpul MOE pistol grip
  • KeyMod handguard
  • Flash suppressor

Break Down the Takedown


When breaking down the Ruger SR-556 Takedown, the task is complete in a matter of seconds. About ten, in fact. This design is ingenious, serving to give you an easy-to-use AR that means business.

The Ruger SR-556 breaks down into the following three components:

  • Upper receiver assembly/Handguard assembly
  • Barrel/piston system assembly
  • Lower receiver assembly


Pull and Twist

Gun Review: Ruger's SR-556 Takedown in 5.56/300 BLK – Tactical Life Gun  Magazine: Gun News and Gun Reviews

The first step you need to take in disassembling the SR-556 Takedown requires you to pull out the pivot and takedown pins. Then, you need to separate the lower assembly from the upper assembly. Follow this up by removing the bolt carrier group from the upper assembly.

Now you're ready to move the slider bar that's located near the rear of the rifle and under the handguard. Once complete, simply twist the barrel assembly in a clockwise direction. With the muzzle facing away from you, you then need to pull the barrel off of the handguard.

And that's it. You're left with three pieces that easily fit inside an included knapsack. It comes equipped with pockets that accommodate each component. There are even MOLLE straps on the knapsack, giving it a tactical appeal.

Easy, Discreet Storage

Best of all, once the SR-556 Takedown is broken down and placed in the knapsack, you can't tell that you're carrying an AR rifle. Thanks to pockets for each component, there is no noticeable rattling or clanging when you're in motion.

This is the kind of discreetness you want when carrying any kind of weapon. Measuring 22.5 x 7 x 7.5 inches, you don't have to worry about a massive unit weighing you down. Inside, there is room for three 30-round Magpul magazines, which are included with the Ruger SR-556 Takedown.

Even with all three SR-556 Takedown rifle components fitted into the knapsack, there's still room for more. Ruger has clearly put a lot of thought into the takedown concept, ensuring that the breakdown system is repeatable and reliable.

The SR-556 is already easy to take down and transport in two pieces, with fewer parts to keep up with and fewer chances for something to go wrong when the barrel is removed from the handguard.

Another great advantage of this gun is that it maintains zero at a lower cost. In my experience, I always store it in my firearm storage to keep it clean and protected from dust. I'm truly impressed with its ability to hold zero. In my case, I even got an extra barrel for 300 blackouts, and the takedown system allows me to easily switch between calibers.

With 300 blk out, it has advantages over .223 due to the shorter barrel. It's arguably the best small-size rifle cartridge folder you can get. I've tried to create a similar setup with a 6-inch barrel and a law tactical folder, but I'm still fine-tuning everything to achieve the perfect performance, whether suppressed or unsuppressed.

Stellar Craftsmanship

Toward the end of the barrel, you'll find lugs designed to fit into grooves located in the upper receiver. These components ensure a secure lock for each piece, even with extended use.

Additionally, all the parts snap together, eliminating the worry of losing any pieces during the process. What's even more convenient is that no tools are required for assembling or disassembling the SR-556. DRD Tactical deserves praise for their ingenious design, incorporating a proprietary barrel nut in their takedown rifles, resulting in compactness and accuracy upon reassembly.

They offer AR variants and a DI version, resembling a takedown SCAR. Speaking from personal experience, the Ruger SR556 was my first rifle purchase after immigrating to the US in 2012, and I've never encountered any issues with it. Regular cleaning and cautiousness during assembly and disassembly are key.

Piston AR Platform

I appreciate that Ruger used its piston system AR platform for this rifle. It's a tough and sturdy design that has construction you can count on to stay in place, even after rough use. You certainly don't have to worry about this gun exploding into pieces if you drop it.

When using a rifle, you want peace of mind that you don't have to use extreme care. Caution, sure. But no one wants to have to treat their rifle like it's a fragile piece of equipment. Another big plus is the fact that Ruger lets you swap out calibers.

SR-556 Takedown Conversion Kits


You just need to buy Ruger's conversion kit options to make it happen. Thanks to these convenient kits, you can switch over to 5.56mm NATO or .300 AAC Blackout. Although not entirely unique, it's a clever idea that essentially gives you more shooting options at a lower price range.

They're still not cheap, but they are more affordable than buying a whole new firearm. If you have these kits in your arsenal, you'll be able to freely plink, hunt, and defend your home with the Ruger SR-556 Takedown without having to invest in additional weaponry.

I appreciate this kind of versatility, although some argue that it's easier - and sometimes cheaper - to just buy a new gun for each caliber. That's up to you and the deals you can find. But as the SR-556 Takedown stands, it offers flexibility that other firearms don't have.

I have this takedown on a suppressed 10.5, and it works great when I want to go on a motorcycle trip and throw it in a regular backpack. The accuracy is plenty good for the intended role.

I own a Ruger AR 556 takedown, and I really love it. I believe the goal of this rifle was not just to shave a few inches but also to offer an optional 300 blk out barrel, allowing gun owners who only want one AR or upper to shoot that caliber as well. However, Ruger overlooked the 300 blackout, as the barrel doesn't have a shorter gas system and requires a H3 buffer weight to run.

What Is the Difference Between Ruger AR-556 and SR-556?

This is a common question that pops up from time to time and understandably so. To the uninitiated, it's easy to confuse the two. Essentially, the AR makes use of what is known as a direct gas impingement system.

With this, gas is tapped off of the bore whenever a bullet passes through the gas port. It then gets directed back through a tube and into the bolt carrier. From there, it gets thrust backward by the force of the gas in order to eject the spent casing.

The SR-556, on the other hand, uses a gas piston system. Not only that, but the AR-556 is technically a pistol, not a rifle like the SR-556.

Does Ruger Still Make the SR-556?

Ruger ended production on the SR-556 in 2016 for a total seven-year run. In fact, Ruger discontinued all SR-556 rifles in favor of the SR-556 Takedown variant you see before you today. Moreover, the SR-556 Takedown's tactical benefits make it significantly better in my opinion.

You'll notice as much the moment that you take it out of its knapsack. There isn't anything you have to do to prepare the rifle for use. It's ready to rock and roll from the word "Go" and performs well from start to finish.

ruger model displayed

The Ruger SR-556 in Action

In the last section of my Ruger SR-556 Takedown review, I want to talk about my time with this weapon on the range. And that includes mention of the two-stage trigger.

The Ruger Elite 452 AR Trigger is the company's proprietary two-stage trigger. You'll need about 4.5 pounds of pressure to actuate it and get going. It's has a crisp, balanced feel that complements the SR-556 Takedown rather well.

Another big plus of the Ruger SR-556 is its trigger, which plays a crucial role in ensuring accuracy and precision on the range. Let me tell you, this gun hits its targets exceptionally well. The upper receiver is equipped with Ruger's proprietary KeyMod handguard, providing a slim and comfortable grip. Folding sights are also mounted on the top portion of the receiver, with adjustable front and rear sights, allowing for better control and precision in your shooting experience.

As for my personal experience with the Ruger SR-556, it was my first AR, and I still love it to this day. It has proven to be super reliable and a breeze to clean. I later acquired the take-down model, which was ideal for caliber changes. Ruger usually sold a set with two barrels, one in 5.56 and the other in .300BLK.

While I appreciate the quick-change barrel feature, I do believe Ruger should consider ditching the quad rail. The SR-556 is already known for being front-heavy, and having an option for a lighter rail would help alleviate this issue. It would likely attract more interest, especially considering the price range of this rifle.

Wrap Up

As you can see from my Ruger SR-556 Takedown review, there's a lot to like about this rifle. The AR-style is a home run, and the versatility of the gun gives it an edge over other similar rifles. While the weapon itself and its conversion kits aren't cheap, you can't beat the convenience and accuracy that Ruger delivers here.

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