North Star NS-15 Overview ::



An offshoot of RSW Aviation, North Star Arms is the second and extra business firearms endeavor that has sprouted from the Arizona firm. The elder RSW-related gun firm is the better-known Profense, a maker of improved M134 Mini Weapons in 7.62 and its downsized 5.56 little brother that began when RWS was searching for gun pods for its plane.

North Star’s associated corporations.

North Star has solely gotten into the AR recreation very lately, and from the outset it sought to construct a low value level gun (round $1K) with premium options that may be robust to beat in its class. We got here throughout our take a look at gun in sort of an unorthodox means, however earlier than we get into that, let’s go over these specs for many who are curious.


The Specs


  • Caliber: 5.56 NATO
  • Motion: DGI, mid-length gasoline system
  • General size: 33 inches (buttstock collapsed), 36 inches (prolonged)
  • Barrel size: 16 inches, HBAR contour 4150 CMV
  • Handguard size: 15 inches
  • Set off: ALG Protection Mil-Spec
  • Furnishings: Hogue
  • Weight: 6.5 kilos, unloaded




North Star Arms NS-15 Carbine in 5.56
Taking a better take a look at the NS-15 previous the fundamental specs, the carbine at its coronary heart runs 7075-T6 solid uppers and lowers which are machined in-house in matching pairs at North Star. (All Images: Chris Eger/
North Star Arms NS-15 Carbine in 5.56
The receivers match collectively fantastically and are machined. Not less than within the case of our T&E gun, they’re made out of Cerro Forge forgings. 
North Star Arms NS-15 Carbine in 5.56
With regards to furnishings, the NS-15 comes commonplace with Hogue’s 15-degree vertical polymer grip, which is sort of Hogue’s model of the MOE Ok-grip. It’s gentle and efficient, lined with Hogue’s typical pebbled texture. North Star additionally makes use of Hogue’s contoured polymer set off guard that permits to be used with gloved arms. 
North Star Arms NS-15 Carbine in 5.56
The NS-15 additionally makes use of Hogue’s Overmolded collapsible buttstock on a Mil-Spec buffer tube. It’s anti-rattle and “beard proof” with a rubber/polymer hybrid butt pad and cheek cushions. It’s six-position and contains three dual-sided sling QD cups and two sling slots as properly. Of notice, sister firm Profense makes use of Hogue Overmolded grips on its Mini-Weapons as properly. 
North Star Arms NS-15 Carbine in 5.56
North Star makes use of the ALG Protection High quality Mil-Spec (QMS) single-stage set off pack as its commonplace. It’s really nothing to write down dwelling about however breaks cleanly at about 6.5 kilos in testing, feels higher than an unhoned generic AR set off, and proved dependable in testing. 
North Star Arms NS-15 Carbine in 5.56
The handguard is free-floating, runs true-to-spec M-LOK (not M-LOK-ish) accent slots on the 3, 6, and 9-o’ clock positions, and has a full-length high Pic rail on its roof. 
North Star Arms NS-15 Carbine in 5.56
All advised, the NS-15 reveals up with 24 M-LOK accent slots, 11 QD sling cups, and 21 inches of Picatinny rail. Odds are, if you need this 6.5-pound carbine to weigh twice that quantity, you’ll discover the house to make it occur. 
North Star Arms NS-15 Carbine in 5.56
The bolt service group is full-auto rated, marked HPT/MPI (Excessive-Strain Examined and Magazine Particle Inspected), and has a staked gasoline key. The charging deal with is a normal Mil-Spec selection. The wear and tear you see on each is post-cleaning after at the least 1,000 rounds downrange. 


RELATED: Unboxing the NS-15 From North Star Arms


On the Vary


We first got here throughout the NS-15 whereas at Gunsite in Paulding, Arizona, during a suppressed carbine event last August. Many of the carbines available to be used within the course have been ArmaLite M-15 LTC (Gentle Tactical Carbine) fashions with 16-inch barrels offered by Strategic Arms Corps. Nonetheless, there have been a few North Stars available as properly. As I’ve shot a lot of ArmaLites earlier than however by no means seen one in every of these, my simple alternative was a North Star NS-15. 


North Star Arms NS-15 Carbine in 5.56
That is how I initially fell into the take a look at NS-15 at Gunsite, fitted with an EOTech XPS and Troy Battlesight folding backups, and carrying a SilencerCo Omega on an ASR QD mount. It already had a good bit of use on it as you may inform from the wear and tear on the grip. 
North Star Arms NS-15 Carbine in 5.56
It stood out (heart) when stacked subsequent to the opposite rifles available. 
I used the identical Omega 36M can all through the course, mounted with an ASR mount rather than the usual flash hider on the NS-15. A modular suppressor that lets you shoot nearly every part on the shelf, you may take away the entrance part, which offers the person a shorter and lighter suppressor that also gives spectacular sound efficiency, or preserve it lengthy for a greater tone. With upward of 500 rounds by way of the can and carbine underneath dusty circumstances, the Omega held up and wasn’t unmounted for a second of it. Within the quick configuration, it covers about 90 % of the stuff you want, and when utilizing a flash hider entrance cap – the one with “lips” – is nice when utilizing evening imaginative and prescient. 
Over three soiled days at Gunsite throughout monsoon season, I put about 500 rounds of Federal’s bulk-packed American Eagle 55-grain XM198 5.56 by way of the NS-15 briefly order, having to cease about midway by way of to scrub the gun because it was extraordinarily caked with fouling as a result of a mix of its uninterrupted use with a can and the moon mud high quality of Arizona. Of notice, a lot of the different ARs within the course suffered a better charge of points.
North Star Arms NS-15 Carbine in 5.56
After the course, I requested Mike and the gang at North Star if they may ship the take a look at gun to me in Mississippi to maintain kicking it round within the brackish marsh that I hang-out down there. A few weeks later it confirmed up in additional “naked” situation however nonetheless with the ASR mount, which is nice as a result of I mounted my very own Omega on it every time I needed quiet time and stored trucking. 
North Star Arms NS-15 Carbine in 5.56
As an alternative of the Eotech, I went with Magpul’s new MBUS3 flip-up sights. They sit decrease than the earlier MBUS household however nonetheless co-witness by way of the Eotech and nonetheless embrace toolless elevation and windage changes – about 0.7 MOA and 0.4 MOA per click on respectively with the 20-inch sight radius we have been in a position to attain – whereas having the improved entrance submit from the MBUS Professional. Plus, they weigh nearly nothing (25g with {hardware}). 
North Star Arms NS-15 Carbine in 5.56
Loaded with one in every of North Star’s commonplace D&H Tactical metallic mags carrying 30 rounds of Greentip, the MBUS3s, and a Blue Pressure Gear sling connected, weight got here in at a useful 7.7 kilos. 


In the middle of sighting within the MBUS3s and switching again into subject testing, we chewed by way of half a can of German navy surplus MEN-marked M193, a number of containers of Tula 62 grain .223 – keep in mind, you may run .223 in a 5.56 however ought to steer clear of 5.56 in a .223 – and a few South Korean PMC X-TAC. I added one other 700 rounds to my depend on the NS-15, pushing properly previous the 1,200 mark, with at the least half of that suppressed. Be mindful the carbine had been well-used earlier than its run-in with, having been on the vary at a number of prior occasions. 

When it got here to reliability, the carbine was a champ, logging three cleanings (one in Arizona and two in Mississippi) when it obtained particularly sluggish, and two quickly-cleared stoppages (a failure to totally eject Tula on a PMAG and a double feed with German ammo in an previous metal Colt-marked 20 rounder magazine.) 


North Star Arms NS-15 Carbine in 5.56
I ran a mix of polymer mags, together with 30-round PMAGs and Lancers in addition to metal/aluminum mags from Colt, DuraMag, and D&H. A D60 that was available clicked as properly. 


When it got here to accuracy, the NS-15 excelled for a 16-inch barreled carbine with a refined Mil-Spec set off and no magnification. At Gunsite, I simply managed the sensible targets each on the flat vary and within the Scrambler and Shoot Home. Again in Mississippi, working off the bench and on sandbags, I used to be in a position to get some very good teams with match-grade ammo. 


North Star Arms NS-15 Carbine in 5.56 target
The very best group I logged was this three-round 0.74 MOA with Winchester black field 77-grain BTHP match at 100 yards. In fact, it was from a bench with a dying grip retaining it within the luggage and a slow-moving set off finger, nevertheless it holds as much as North Star’s sub-MOA assure on their rifles. 


Execs & Cons



  • Top quality, correct barrel.
  • A number of M-LOK slots, QD cups, and Pic rail size.
  • First rate set off.
  • Good match and end.
  • Dependable, even underneath tough circumstances and with a suppressor.


  • May have a greater set off.
  • Grip/inventory might not be for everybody.




North Star has an MSRP on the NS-15 sequence of $1,099, however we have now been carrying them for a superb bit lower than that in latest months. With regards to ARs at about the identical value (or cheaper), there’s a *lot* of competitors on the market, such because the Diamondback DB-15, DoubleStar Solid Star, the IWI Zion-15, S&W M&P Sport, and Springfield Armory Saint Victor. I’ve shot most of these, some extensively, and the NS-15 can undoubtedly dangle with its rivals and even outshines many, particularly when it comes to accuracy. 

Competitors is an effective factor, and the NS-15 has taken the sector able to play.


North Star Arms NS-15 Carbine in 5.56
The North Star Arms NS-15 has an MSRP of $1,099. 


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