Stag Arms has been building AR-style rifles since 2003. It offers a full line of AR-15 rifles for sport shooting, competition and even law enforcement use. As hard as it may seem to believe, many police officers still do not have a patrol rifle in their police car. But modern LEOs are starting to see that patrol rifles make sense, and Stag Arms is prepared to help.
When I became a police officer in 1992, my department did not issue patrol rifles. We had two in the armory: a Winchester Model 94 .30-30 and a select-fire Colt M16. Eventually the Colt ended up in my cruiser, but the department never equipped my fellow officers similarly. When I went to work for the Railroad Police six years later, they didn’t issue patrol rifles, either. However, at about the time I left the department, they’d come around to the idea and were shopping for patrol rifles accordingly. This is pretty much consistent with law enforcement in the U.S. In most cases, agencies seem to be more reactive than proactive because of budgetary concerns.
Now, after several incidents throughout the country have clearly shown that an officer with a proper rifle could have sorted things out, police departments, particularly more-rural ones, are starting to become a bit more proactive with regard to the patrol rifle, either acquiring them or allowing individual officers to purchase them. But regardless of your current patrol-rifle status, the new Model 8T from Stag Arms deserves a serious look. It has several advantages, including affordability, that make it a strong candidate as a first-time or replacement patrol rifle.
The Model 8T is built on mil-spec 7075 T6 aluminum upper and lower receivers, which are machined by Stag Arms in New Britain, Connecticut. Stag Arms also makes all the small parts that attach to both receivers. This means the company controls its destiny. If you order a rifle or must send one back for repair, you’re not subject to a delay due to Stag Arms’ waiting on parts from another manufacturer.
The Stag Arms Model 8T is not a gas-impingement-driven rifle like most AR-15s. Rather, it uses a gas piston. What’s the difference? With the gas impingement system, gases that travel down the barrel behind the bullet are forced through a hole in the top of the barrel and into a gas block. This block then redirects the gases through a tube, back toward the upper receiver. When the gases enter the upper receiver, they push against the gas key on top of the bolt carrier and cycle the rifle. The downside of this system is that these gases are dirty and hot, so you end up with a tremendous amount of carbon fouling inside the upper receiver. And, since these gases are really, really hot, the carbon fouling actually bakes to the inside of the receiver.
With the gas piston system, you still have a gas block on the barrel and gases are still directed from the bore into this gas block. However, once in the gas block, the pressure from the gas pushes a rod or piston back toward the upper receiver. This piston impacts the piston block, which is located on the bolt carrier at the same location as the gas key. The impact from this piston drives the bolt carrier to the rear, and the rifle action cycles. Excess gas is then vented through a port in the gas block. The upside to the piston system is that it is much cleaner because no gas (carbon fouling) is pushed back into the action. This system also runs cooler because the hot gas is not funneled back into the action.