Cadex Defence may not be a household name in the precision rifle community yet, but the company, headquartered in Canada with offices in Vermont and Arizona, is breaking into the civilian and law enforcement shooting realms in a big way.

Traditionally a worldwide provider of military-grade bolt action precision rifle systems, machine gun mounts, and helmet testing systems for nearly every discipline, Cadex Defence has brought their soup-to-nuts manufacturing processes to precision rifles for hunting and for target shooting.

Cadex Defence Guardian Lite rifle and a hunter
The Cadex Defence Guardian Lite rifle measures 34.19 inches with stock folded. (bottom) John “Tig” Tiegen demonstrates carry of the folded Guardian lite. Eve Flanigan

The company offers house-built chassis in both composite and aluminum for bolt-action tactical and modern hunting rifles. Built with extreme attention to detail, these rifles are masterpieces. With an entry point price of about $6,000 for a complete rifle, anyone seeking 1/2 MOA precision or better (with quality match ammo) will be easily satisfied with the company’s finished products.

Testing the Cadex Defence Guardian Lite

Recently, I had the chance to spend time with Cadex Defence Guardian Lite precision bolt action rifle chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor and built on the company’s 6061 aluminum billet CDX Lite chassis. Unlike most brands, there is very little on a Cadex Defence rifle that’s outsourced.

The company creates the chassis with an M-LOK handguard via CNC machining as well as the action, which is stainless steel. Bartlein barrel blanks, each 30 inches, enter the Cadex shop and are tooled in-house.

Cadex Guardian Light rifle
The Cadex Guardian Light is a standout in the chassis-platform rifle market. Eve Flanigan


A rise of 20 MOA or more is built into the top rail, making scope-mounting and those long shots attainable in short order. The company’s own muzzle brake, with a flattened profile and swept-back gas channels, delivers what they claim is up to 60 percent recoil reduction and no-dust kick-up.

The Cadex Defense Evo 2 trigger is outstanding and its function entirely customizable. A rubber grip is supplied by Ergo (any A2-style pistol grip will fit), but the lightweight and incredibly adjustable Falcon bipod shown here is also a Cadex design.

Attention to detail in manufacturing, as well as user-friendly modularity, are bound to be the hallmark of these rifles.

The CDX chassis is built so you can break it down for cleaning and trigger adjustment without losing your zero.

At the rear, the Guardian Lite features a fully tool-free adjustable folding stock that can be customized for comb height, shoulder height, and length of pull.

The rifle comes equipped with a low-profile Picatinny hand stop ($74.95 as a stand-alone accessory) attached beneath the handguard, making its near-20 pound weight easier to haul when the stock is folded.

man aiming a cadence guardian lite rifle
The Cadex Guardian Lite gets a smile out of Tig. Eve Flanigan

The Guardian sniper rifle series comes Cerakoted; the test model is bronze, but several colors are available.

At The Range

At every location where I brought this rifle out of the bag, it instantly drew a crowd. With a matching Vortex Razor scope and sunshade, this rifle is a showstopper that’s built to handle more recoil than it has to. It’s little wonder the company is endorsed by legendary Canadian sniper, Rob Furlong.

But looks don’t win battles. No worries, this rifle’s refinement quickly became obvious when a bevy of gun writers descended upon the steel-target range during a conference at NRA Whittington Center in Raton, NM. Each one who proned out behind the Guardian Lite—including the 13-year old son of a writer—was pleased to easily ring the plate on the venerable “white buffalo” at 1,124 yards.

details of the cadex defense guardian lite rifle
Every component of these rifles is top grade. Eve Flanigan

The test rifle was chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor, already a soft-recoiling round, but even so, the remarks on the effectiveness of the Cadex muzzle brake were frequent. All afternoon, the rifle fed and fired with fantastic consistency, the feeding process flawless no matter if the bolt was run hard or slow.

As Cadex Defence expands into the hunting and competitive shooting markets, it’s easy to predict their rifles and components will be the new brand to have in pursuit of trophies.

Guardian Lite by Cadex Defense
Another shot of the Guardian Lite by Cadex Defense, chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor. Eve Flanigan

Test Rifle Specs: Guardian Lite in 6.5 Creedmoor

  • Muzzle Device: Cadex Defence MX1 muzzle brake included
  • Chambering: 6mm Creedmoor, .260 Remington, 6.5mm Creedmoor, 6.5×47 Lapua, and .308 Winchester
  • Action: High Quality 416 stainless steel
  • Bolt: One-piece stainless steel, spiral fluted, 3-lug bolt with robust M16 style extractor and 60° throw
  • Trigger: Cadex DX2 Evo convertible two-stage trigger (able to be rapidly converted to single stage). Adjustable between 1.5 and 2.5 lbs.
  • Stock: Cadex Lite Strike chassis with patented right-folding stock made from aircraft grade 6061-T6 aluminum billet, anodized and painted with a military grade non-reflective finish
  • Handguard: Forend tube incorporates mirage mitigation technology to direct barrel mirage away from the riflescope
  • Optics: Full-length Picatinny top rail has built-in recoil lugs to help mute recoil forces on the riflescope. Available in 20, 30, or 45 MOA.
  • Barrel: Bartlein 1.300″ straight taper 5R single point cut, match grade fluted stainless steel barrel
  • Barrel length: 24″ or 26″ (twist rate is caliber-specific)
  • Thread Pitch: 5/8-24
  • Dimensions (unfolded): Length: 45″ Width: 3.7″ Height: 7.7″
  • Weight: 14.4 lbs. with muzzle brake
  • Base MSRP: $5,999.95