There are a lot of unnecessary add-ons people may throw onto a patrol carbine, defeating its purpose entirely. When building a patrol carbine, it’s important to start with a strong base and add only what you need—accessories that will help you get the job done every time. So I looked to two leaders in the industry: Stag Arms and Midwest Industries.
Stag Arms has been making AR components for decades, and when they started building complete guns, I was one of the first writers to review their products. I was impressed then and I remain so now, owning several Stag Arms rifles in both direct gas impingement and piston configurations. The same can be said for Midwest Industries, as their rail system was the first add-on component I placed on a gun. Their accessories have always been robust, precise, superior in fit and finish, and second to none in quality, regardless of manufacture. While I shoot and utilize other companies’ guns and accessories, Stag Arms and Midwest Industries remain my first choice when spending my own money.
When building a patrol carbine, it is critical to start with a quality base. I have spoken with many young officers who try to build “franken-guns.” They find inexpensive components at gun shows and think they can just slap them together. This seldom works. I remember trying to acquire quality gear as a young officer, paying a mortgage, raising kids, making car payments on a shrinking budget, but every time I tried to cut corners to save money, it seldom worked. I found it best to just save my money until I could do it right.
Stag Arms makes top-quality ARs at a reasonable price, and their “Plain Jane” Model 1 is a great base to start with. It could easily hit the street as-is. With its 16-inch, 1-in-9-inch-twist chrome-lined barrel, six-position adjustable stock, forged mil-spec upper, 5.56mm NATO chamber and carry handle/rear sight, the Model 1 is street-ready, accurate and reliable. The carry handle can be removed to reveal a section of Picatinny rail, which is great for mounting a preferred optic, though a solid argument can be made to use iron sights on a cruiser carbine.
A quick trip to the range revealed that my test Model 1 was capable of 1.5- to 2-inch groups using the iron sights at 100 yards. After 400 rounds of various ammo styles went downrange, I knew I had a reliable platform upon which to build my patrol carbine. The next phase was to look through the Midwest Industries catalogue to find only those accessories that would bolster my carbine for street work.