AR-15 Perfection | Rifle Optics & Accessories

Worthwhile weapons accessories and optics make a good AR-15 rifle even better!


One of the more interesting by-products of my writing for the last 20 years is that I have found that I am not a gear guy. While this may sound like a paradox since the job of a gun writer is to test guns and related equipment, I have found that it has made me wary of all the kit that is available to allegedly help win a fight. Over the last two decades, my articles have focused on law enforcement and personal defense, as it is what I know and what I have experienced. When I test a product, I can’t help but apply this personal experience to the test. I was a cop for 30 years and now work in private security.

I bring this to the reader’s attention only because what I feel is worthwhile on an AR-15 is quite different than what someone feels who’s looking for the Taliban on the Afghanistan border or conducting direct action missions in Iraq. The Webster’s Dictionary defines the word worthwhile as; “worth the time or effort spent, of true value”. In the case of accessories for the AR-15, “of true value” would depend on one’s operational parameters and would fill a real need—not just stuff that looks cool. Gadgets will never replace solid training and commitment to prevail in a fight, but equipment that meets a real need will certainly make the task easier. With this in mind, I searched the aisles of the 2007 SHOT Show for AR-15 accessories that I truly felt were worthwhile to the law enforcement or security professional.

stag.gifStag Arms
Accessories are a waste of time if they are not attached to a totally reliable gun, or at least one that is as reliable as humanly possible. I found this level of reliability at Stag Arms. This company had been making components for the AR-15 for many years before they decided to make their own version. I selected the Model 3, as I like the idea of being able to fold both the front and rear sight out of the sight plane of my optical sight. I have been told that you can train yourself to ignore the front sight tower and I am sure that this is true. It’s just that I prefer having a simple, uncluttered field of view. The Model 3 comes with a screw-on gas block that will accept a fold-down front sight. Some in the know have stated that this is a bad idea, as the screws can loosen with use, creating a gas leak. I’m not concerned with this, as I lock down these screws with red LocTite and then peen them in place. These screws are not going anywhere and neither is the gas block.

I have been using my Model 3 for over a year now and have a documented eight thousand rounds through the gun. I clean it after every trip to the range and I can honestly say that I have never had a malfunction with it; the Stag Arms is a real pleasure.

Load Comments
  • Purchased my New Stag M3 last week. I wanted an “optic ready” rifle. I put Magpul front/rears. And a Vortex red/green dot sight. Put about 200 rnds threw this beast in less than a week. Mostly just sighting in sights. No wonder LE are starting to carry the M3 flattop. It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for. Muzzle brake, fix stock and flawless performance. If u like AR’S GET ONE. This one here is “surgically accurate.”

  • Swamper

    Picked up my SA Model 3 in July. Haven’t shot an M16 since my USAF days in the early 80’s. Installed Magpul MBUS flip up sights and a single point sling attachment on the tube base. If only I had full auto and an m209 grenade launcher too!!! Oh well, I just enjoy punching paper and metal objects.

  • Fred Mooers

    Picked up my model 3 today, order 4 different ammos to take to the range and explore, 3 differt 55 gr 1 62 gr. Ammo from Bulk ammo.
    will report back on results

  • Kirk Friel

    Purchased the model 3 about 4 months ago. Army trained on M16 73-78. Installed Magpul front and rear flip up sights out of the box with 2 times at the range. Worked great, comfortable for close in at 100 yards. Moved to a Redfield (Leupold) scope for distance work. 200 yards, 60 rounds, ALL inside the 9 ring. Need spotting scope for 300 yard work, coming soon. Love this weapon. Get good close in, upgrade bit by bit to increase range. Scope, sling, maybe forward grip. Better than expected, go to sleep at night dreaming of the next shoot. Everything I wanted.

  • Peter Echols

    I own a Stag model 3. I would like to replace the hand guard with Quad rail system. Can anyone make a recomendation?

  • I’ve got a new ( 1 yr old, LN SCAR S 16, which was supposedly the weapon of choice among the Special Ops and SoCom in some competition. It’s got the standard NATO .556 / 30 shot clip, 4 rails, and is very trick. I’ve fired exactly 100 rounds through it, and it’s awesome, stock extends
    6 positions, chin rest up 4-5, and it folds back into gun. It’s got a lever at end of stock that when flipped the opposite direction, will divert more chamber pressure to an optional ( military only ) grenade launcher. After someone recommending this weapon to me, this sounds more like what I need, quite a bit less money, good, reliable weapon, etc. so now I’ve got to find a buyer for my SCAR.

  • M1 Hound

    by the way i would like to comment on the following post “I_hate_libs Says:
    November 17th, 2011 at 1:21 pm
    Too bad I live in California, the land of liberals and gays. I would really like an AR-15.” I live in the Peoples Republic of Kalifornia and not no trouble getting my AR. They have developed what they refer to as the “Bullet Button” mag release that makes this California legal and this mag release is no big deal,if you need a tactical advantage there are……nevermind

  • M1 Hound

    Have had my Stag 3L for just over 2 years now, got in November 2009. Fantastic weapon. Carried M16 back in the day (1967-1971), after they took my M14 away. Anyway, this Stag 3L is awesome. I got as close to M4 (m16) as I could, no frills, no extras, standard carry handle, collapsable stock, stock front and rear sights. I love it. Cant tell how many rounds I have pumped through this rifle but more than a few 840 round boxes. I made a HUGE mistake and puchacsed “factory” reloads which will not extract about 1 in 20 rounds. I have learned to carry a .30 cleaning rod with all the time. since I got rid of the crappy reloads, not more failures, none, zero,zip. Paid $1295 as I ordered it. The left hand upper was a little difficult to get then but they seem plentiful now. Go STAG ARMS!

  • Aaron

    I bought a Stag Model 3 this summer. I outfitted it with Troy sights. It’s a great gun.

  • I_hate_libs

    Too bad I live in California, the land of liberals and gays. I would really like an AR-15.

  • ustintman

    Love my AR-15 model 3 Stag..

  • robert

    Oh yeah! Use the best mags you can afford!
    I use only MagPul P-Mags 30rnd(w/windows)

  • robert

    I’ve had Roxie(Stag Mdl-1 with a few additions) for about three years now. Great rifle! Let’s see…. the nicest things are;
    1.CAA Pistol grip unbelievable control
    2.EOTech 517&5x magnifier in a LaRue flip
    3.McFarland One Piece Gas Ring
    4.Endine Hydraulic buffer
    I found Slip2K’s EWL & 725 cleaner do wonders. All these thing are inexpensive, and yeild great returns!
    She still gets attention at the range

  • Adam

    Mags? This guy doesn’t need no stink’n magazines he has three arms and a back-up online.

  • harold

    I found a new Smith and Wesson M&P15 for a very good price in a pawn shop so I bought it.
    Yep it is a Stag Model 3
    Got a couple deer with it. great addition to my AR stables.

  • Duncan

    I didn’t know jack-squat about those little black plastic popguns, when I saw an ad for a gun whose manufacturer I’d never heard of, and bought it because the price was right. You guessed right; it was a Stag Model 3, which just goes to show that even a blind squirrel finds a nut now and then.

    Four thousand rounds and a few add-ons later (okay, a lot of add-ons) and I consider it a fantastic rifle. If you don’t have one, get one!

  • asr

    @john : maybe he has a stealth mag =))

  • john

    looking at the first picture, the guy with m4 has some additional gear but no magazine… “dude… where is may mags???”

  • Dave

    Red Loctite does well with heat, to a certain limit.
    On hand held fire arms, there won’t be a roblem.

    One book that I read, “The Competitive AR15, the moust that roared” By Glen D. Zediker is one of the best books you can get about the AR15s, even if you don’t shoot in competition.
    At least you’ll learn EVERYTHING about them, and possibly some things that are new to you.

    Zediker says he puts Locktite on the barrel threads to eliminate torque on the barrel when installing a flash hider or brake.

    Gary Conway has a super AR15 web site also.

    I hope this helps.

  • Chuck

    I have this weapon myself and have a question about your statement..
    ” I lock down these screws with red LocTite and then peen them in place. ”

    Can you give details on the peening process please? Also any concerns at all with the heat loosening the loctite?


  • Dave

    I have (mostly) a Stag AR-15.
    A great shooter.
    No problems.
    Highly reliable.
    Just keep it clean and lubed with CLP.
    That stuff works!

  • I just got my Model 3L. Now What do i need to make this a really GREAT weapon?

  • Rifle Rick

    Best of the best… Great article… Sweet ad-ons make a great weapon even better. I am impressed.

  • (Rhino)Mike

    I got my Stag on!!! Model 3 hoooorah!!!

  • Justin

    Bought it. Love it. Enough said

  • Chris

    Reading this artical has convinced me, I will get a Stagarms Model 3 for my next rifle!