Stag Arms Stag-15 Model 2T 5.56mm Carbine


by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn

January 3rd, 2007




Shooters these days are blessed with a good selection of AR-15 rifles from which to choose. There are many makers of such rifles, some better than others. One of the most unique in the field of AR-15 rifles is Stag Arms of New Britain, Connecticut. Stag has been in the AR rifle business since 2003, and have been supplying forged receivers and other parts to the industry for about thirty years. They machine their own receivers in house, and do not merely assemble parts to make a complete rifle. Manufacturing their own receivers allows Stag to hold very close tolerances, and their rifles are fitted very well, with no discernable play between the upper and lower halves. The fit and finish are very good, and they look as good on the inside as they do on the outside. One thing that makes Stag stand out from the crowd is that they produce a truly left-handed AR-15. It is particularly interesting to me, as I shoot left-handed. While I have become accustomed to using right-handed rifles, it is comforting to know that there is someone who is covering the needs of left-handed shooters in the AR market.

I recently received a right-handed rifle from Stag, as they make those as well, serving all AR-shooters equally. The one reviewed here is their newest carbine that features integral Picatinny compatible accessory rails on the forward handguard and atop the receiver of the weapon, allowing for the easy mounting of accessories that have become so popular with AR shooters. Stag calls this the Model 2T, and its left-handed counterpart the Model 2TL. The handguard is made by Samson, and has reference numbers on all sides. The barrel is of M-4 style, has a one-in-nine inch twist, is fully chrome lined, and wears a closed-bottom flash suppressor at the end of its sixteen inch length, having a total barrel/suppressor length of about seventeen and one-quarter inches.

The compact Stag-15 carbine has a six-position telescoping buttstock and a standard pistol grip. The buttstock has a sling attachment loop at the bottom, and a sling attachment slot designed into the rear portion of the buttstock. There are two sling loops at the gas block, just in front of the handguard; one on the bottom, and another on the left side, which is reversible if one so desires. The carbine is equipped with a standard A-2 style protected front post sight, and a bayonet lug.  The rear sight is a fold-down A.R.M.S. unit, has two apertures for both close and long range engagement, and is a high quality unit.

The four accessory rails run the full length of the handguard, and come with protective covers that can be easily cut to fit whatever potion that the shooter likes, to protect the shooter’s hand from abrasion and the Picatinny slots from damage. There is a total of thirty two inches of rail for mounting optics and accessories on the Stag 2T.

I like the flattop configuration on an AR, as I need a good platform to mount an optical sight much more than I need a carry handle. However, for shooters who want a carry handle, Stag sells those also that attach directly to the top of the 2T receiver. The Picatinny rail integral with the Stag-15 upper receiver makes for easy mounting of a good combat scope like the Trijicon ACOG, which I used for general shooting with the weapon, or in mounting a good target scope like the Leupold 6.5 to 20 power that I used for target work. I also mounted a Crimson Trace Lasergrip on the bottom handguard rail, and it proved to be very effective for low-light and night shooting. The CT unit is totally self-contained, and feels just like the grip on the Beretta 9mm service pistol. An activation switch is located on either side of the grip, making it truly ambidextrous in use. Also for use in low light, I mounted a Streamlight M3X flashlight on the right side of the handguard. The M3X has three positions; OFF, ON, and MOMENTARY (MOM). In the MOM position, it is activated by a touch pad which attaches by Velcro to somewhere on the handguard to be pressed on when needed. It is a very bright unit, and I have one like it on my Alexander Arms .50 Beowulf AR-15 carbine.

The railed handguard is free-floating, so that adding things such as a bipod or monopod will not affect the point of impact.

The little Stag-15 feels just right for a carbine. Many on the market are just too heavy, but the Stag weighed in at only six pounds, eleven ounces without scope attached.

Shooting the Stag-15 proved to be a pleasure, and the rifle functioned reliably throughout the testing with all ammunition tried. The trigger pull measured five and three-quarter pounds, released cleanly, and is better than on most ARs that I have tried. There were no failures to feed, fire, or eject any cartridge. I used the Stag with both new and old twenty and thirty round magazines. Reliability was one hundred percent.

Accuracy proved to be very good. Firing at 100 yards, the Stag carbine was capable of grouping into one and one-half inch clusters reliably, as is shown in the six-shot picture. The picture shown is of six shots grouping into one and five-sixteenths inches, fired with no cooling between shots, which the test carbine could perform repeatedly. Of course, fewer shots produced smaller clusters., with three most always going under one inch, but groups opening up a bit as the barrel heated.  This little carbine is accurate enough to serve for both social encounters and as a varmint hunting rifle. I used no special target grade ammo in the carbine, but used standard 62 grain mil-spec ammo, and some Black Hills varmint loads loaded with the Hornady V-Max bullet. Accuracy wise, the carbine shot as well with one as it did with the other.

Being of M-4 style, the Stag-15 has a forward assist and brass deflector, and a contoured barrel. It is an excellent platform onto which a shooter can add sights and accessories to make the carbine ideal for his needs.  It is great as is for social work and close range predator control. Adding a good optical sight allows the user to take full advantage of the Stag’s accuracy potential for use at longer range for hunting turkey and whitetail deer, where legal to do so, and for long range predator and varmint work. Before the emails start rolling in stating that a hunter needs at least a new Superdooper Ultrasonic Short Magnum to kill a deer, there are several bullets available in .223 caliber that do fine work on whitetail deer, particularly the Barnes 53 grain Triple Shock.  While I do not recommend the .223 as the best deer cartridge ever invented, it does work quite well when the hunter does his part.  While on the subject, there are those who disdain the 5.56mm cartridge for use as an anti-personnel weapon. It does quite well in our current battles worldwide in the hands of soldiers and Marines who know how to use it.  I get reports directly from 101st Airborne Rangers and 5th SFG soldiers who are friends of mine. Contrary to what the national news media would like you to believe, our soldiers are doing a splendid job of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, and their M-4 carbines are getting the job done.

I believe that most buyers of this style of an AR-15 purchase it as a defensive carbine for social work, or Homeland Security Rifle, as I like to call it, keeping the dregs of society at bay.  Avoiding trouble is the best route through this life, but sometimes trouble finds you, and when it does, a good carbine is a much better choice than any handgun in just about every circumstance. A good fighting pistol is also good to have, to fight your way to your rifle. A light, short, handy carbine capable of sustained rapid fire, such as this Stag 2T, is an excellent choice. The adjustable length of pull of the telescoping buttstock makes this type of weapon particularly adaptable for use by people of a wide range of body types and sizes.  It is a very user-friendly firearm, and exceptionally easy to learn to shoot, and to shoot well.

The Stag Arms rifles come with a good hard case, owner’s manual, one magazine (thirty round capacity where legal), bumper sticker, and a Stag Arms T-shirt.

You can have your dealer order a Stag Arms rifle direct from Stag. For a look at the extensive line of Stag Arms rifles, parts, and accessories, go to:

To look at the line of excellent ACOG scopes, go to:

For a detailed look at the extensive line of quality Leupold optics, go to:

To order a Crimson Trace Lasergrip or a Streamlight M3X go to: or

Jeff Quinn

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Click pictures for a larger version.


Stag Arms Stag-15 Model 2T 5.56mm Carbine.



Stag Arms supplies the gun with hard case, manual, one magazine, catalog, bumper sticker, and T-shirt.



Rear sight is the A.R.M.S. fold-down unit.







The "flattop" receiver easily accommodates a variety of optical sights, from the excellent Trijicon ACOG (as used by our troops worldwide)...



...or, for target shooting, the equally-excellent Leupold 6.5-20x scope.



Regardless of optics chosen, the Stag-15 is plenty accurate for any situation.





Crimson Trace Lasergrip mounts to the handguard rail.



The Stag-15's rail system allows ample mounting space for accessories such as the Streamlight M3X flashlight.



Handguard covers are included, which allows the handguard's rails to be custom-tailored, comfortable and protected.