Stag Arms AR-15

Stag AR-15

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  • Design Features
  • Build Quality
  • Recoil
  • Fun Factor
4.3/5Overall Score
Specs
  • Caliber: 5.56
  • Barrel Length: 10.5"
  • Handguard Material: 6061 T6 Aluminum
  • Upper/Lower Material: 7075 T6 Aluminum
Pros
  • Fantastic Fit & Finish
  • Extremely Balanced
  • Quality Cerakote
Cons
  • Availability of some models

The Stag AR-15, made by Stag Arms, has been a well-known AR-15 brand since the early 2000s. They have had their ups and downs, and with a recent rebrand and company move, it’s an exciting time for Stag.

That’s why I’m so excited to get my hands on a Stag AR-15 to review.

Stag AR-15

Stag AR-15 Pistol

Barrel: Government
Caliber: 5.56
Upper/Lower: 7075 T6 Aluminum

History of Stag Arms

Stag Arms was started in May of 2003 in New Britain, Connecticut.

Stag originally had their claim to fame with their left-handed AR-15 rifles. They used a mirror-image upper receiver with an ejection port that rose to the top versus that opened to the bottom on standard right-handed guns.

In 2016, they were purchased by White Wolf Capital, a private equity firm snd it is also a proud investor in Aero Precision.

In 2017, at SHOT Show, Stag announced that they would make their first AR-10, in .308 and 6.5 Creedmoor.

Stag Arms just recently announced the Covenant, which is their 6mm ARC rifle.

In 2019, Stag moved their headquarters from Connecticut, which is an obvious anti-gun state, to Cheyenne, Wyoming and they completed that move in December of 2019.

Stag has had an up and down reputation of quality control. But I think it’s fair that since they have been acquired and rebranded it’s now time to give Stag their fair shake as the new and improved Stag Arms.

With their new and improved guns, they also brought in a new logo. I personally think the logo is a massive improvement and to me looks great stamped onto the receiver.

Let’s jump into the gun.

Stag Arms 15 Features

First, the gun I’m reviewing today is their 10.5-inch AR pistol.

It packs an SB Tactical Brace and has a 10.5-inch barrel and it’s cerakoted in flat dark earth, aka FDE. This cerakote job is fantastic, and if you are on the fence about a cerakoted AR-15, take a look at the difference in anodized vs cerakote.

That’s the quick and dirty details on this model. Now, let’s jump into the upper receiver.

Stag AR-15

Stag AR-15 Pistol

Barrel: Government
Caliber: 5.56
Upper/Lower: 7075 T6 Aluminum

Upper Receiver

The Stag AR-15 upper receiver is pretty much what you would expect on an AR-15; it is the standard mil-spec forged upper.

It features a forward assist and has a stand dust cover and ejection port. This particular Stag AR-15 is right-handed. Thank goodness, because I’m right-handed.

Stag Arms AR-15 Rifle

But if you get a left-handed model of this gun, the ejection port will be on the left side of the rifle.

The left-handed model is a mirror image of the right-handed model. So when you mirror it, the ejection port actually flips upside down.

Is that required? I don’t know, but I do know that if the dust cover flipped down, it would hit the bolt release and possibly interfere with your finger as it rode down the side of the gun.

So I think that is mostly done this way so the dust cover clears the bolt release because the bolt release on a left-handed Stag is not reversed.

So in reality, a left-handed Stag is simply a left-handed upper. All of the lower controls are still going to be “right-handed”.

The only difference is that Stag Arms turns the safety around, but safeties can be made ambidextrous easily anyway, so that’s not a big deal.

All in all, the upper part of the Stag AR-15 seems very high quality. It is a tight, nice fit and finished to the lower, which takes us to the lower receiver.

Lower Receiver

The lower receiver on the Stag AR-15 is a standard mil-spec forged lower.

On the left side of the gun, we have your standard safety. You have your trigger, pistol grip, standard mil-spec bolt carrier release, and engravings.

The model for this gun is the Stag-15. The caliber is listed as multi on the receiver.

stag ar15 lower

Then there is, of course, the new engraved Stag logo, which is much cleaner, more modern, and a much better fit for the brand.

This gun is stamped Cheyenne, Wyoming, and has a decently high serial number. So they obviously have already produced quite a few of these.

Now, let’s flip it over and look at the right side. On the right side, this is a little different than most. You actually have the Stag Arms logo engraved on the lower of the magazine well.

Once again, it’s just the Stag; to me, this logo looks much better than the previous one. I actually don’t mind having this logo on the gun versus the other one I did not care for even in the slightest.

Stag AR-15

Stag AR-15 Pistol

Barrel: Government
Caliber: 5.56
Upper/Lower: 7075 T6 Aluminum

Safety

The safety that comes with the gun is a standard mil-spec safety. This is probably one of the few things I’d change on this gun, and I will get to upgrades in a little bit.

stag ar15 safety

I want to focus on the base rifle for now. But the safety is very much a mil-spec safety.

It is very smooth. There’s no drag. There’s no catch. There’s no Barb. It’s very clean. It works great.

The only reason I plan to upgrade it is that I’m just a little bit funny about having all my safeties be mostly the same gun-to-gun, at least on my AR platforms.

Pistol Grip

The pistol grip is a Magpul MOE SL.

Since this is an FDE-colored rifle, Stag included the matching FDE grip.

I really like this grip. It’s thin it’s not bulky. There’s not a lot of weight to it. It’s got an open base.

So, while it definitely works, it doesn’t have a compartment for batteries or anything that some of the other Magpul grips have.

This grip is something I wouldn’t change. I would not upgrade this in the slightest. I think it works and feels great in your hand.

Trigger

One thing to add about the lower receiver, since it’s a forged lower it doesn’t have a trigger guard built in.

stag ar15 trigger

Stag Arms uses the Magpul FDE trigger guard with a slight bump.

That is a nice touch and it looks good. It gives you plenty of room to get to the trigger, especially if you wear gloves.

Barrel & Chamber

So, the barrel on this gun is most likely a Ballistic Advantage barrel.

Aero Precision and Stag Arms and/or their parent equity firm partly own Ballistic Advantage.

Stag Arms Chamber

However, the barrel is marked Stag Arms 5.56 NATO with the twist rate and 4151 MPI.

So that tells me that these barrels are specifically made for Stag. But I’m sure they are something from the Ballistic Advantage lineup.

Maybe the Hanson, maybe the pencil barrels. I don’t know exactly, but it is a thin barrel from the chamber to the gas block.

From the gas block to the muzzle, it’s much thicker. So I’d almost say it’s like a pencil barrel to cut down on the weight and then from the gas block to the muzzle, it’s thicker for durability reasons, I assume.

But overall, this is a very balanced gun. So maybe that weight was saved in the barrel region for balance.

This was a complete gun from Stag, so I didn’t build this. I didn’t piece it together, but you can do that. The chamber looks very clean. The head spacing is good, and it has good feed ramps.

Stag AR-15

Stag AR-15 Pistol

Barrel: Government
Caliber: 5.56
Upper/Lower: 7075 T6 Aluminum

Magazine Release

The mag release on this gun is your standard magazine release. Can’t say a whole lot about it.

Probably won’t change it. Magazine releases don’t really tickle my fancy in terms of aftermarket parts.

But if you’re looking for an aftermarket one, this will accept pretty much anyone on the market.

You can change the mag release if you want, but it is a mil-spec mag release.

Magazine / Mag Well

The magazine it comes with is the Magpul Gen M2, which is pretty standard these days, and it is a solid polymer magazine for the gun.

It comes in black, so you’re not getting anything FDE and fancy, but the black accents on this go well with the magazine.

The magazine well has a slight flare, nothing like you would get from a Billet style lower. There are no issues with the flare or magazine well.

If you have ever used an AR-15, this Stag AR-15 mag well will feel right at home.

Bolt Release / Hold-Open

All right, that is obviously situated on the right-hand side.

The bolt release vault opens and works well. The bolt is very easy and fluid and releases quickly and well. It shocked me how fast that bolt went forward and how easy it was to press that.

So all in all, mil-spec, but solid.

Charging Handle

The charging handle is probably the second thing I would change on this gun.

This is a mil-spec charging handle. There are no issues with the charging handle at all, it comes appropriately oiled and slides great.

Stag AR-15 Charging Handle

The biggest reason I would change the changing handle is that I like to keep all my charging handles relatively the same.

I like the big fat Geissele badass charging handles because they are big and wide and easy to grab and rack, but honestly, I may not change this one. I don’t know. It’s mil-spec. It works.

Rail System / Handguard

Now, let’s talk about the rail system and handguard. That’s kind of what makes an AR. So, let’s discuss this because I was really trying to figure out who made this handgun. It didn’t take me very long to figure it out.

Stag AR-15 Handguard

Obviously, it’s an Aero Atlas-looking handguard, obviously changed to Stag’s specifications. It’s cut slightly differently but looks much better than the atlas with these cuts.

It features four M-LOK rails on the three, six, and nine o’clock positions.

The only grievance I have with the rail is where the rail meets the upper. There’s a decent little lip and it’s almost like it doesn’t match, but it does when you look at it. So there’s really no issue. It’s very flush. It’s very clean and very well put together. I like the Atlas rails, so I obviously like this.

I like how thin it is. I like I can get my hand all the way around it.

I like the mounting options and the Picatinny on the top of the rail is hollowed out in the middle.

That’s a nice little touch. It’s very aesthetically pleasing and it adds something just a little bit different to the gun.

Stag AR-15

Stag AR-15 Pistol

Barrel: Government
Caliber: 5.56
Upper/Lower: 7075 T6 Aluminum

Optics for the Stag 15 Tactical

The Stag AR-15 has a picatinny rail that runs the full length of the gun so nearly any optic will work great on the Stag.

I wanted to match this well because the cerakote FDE finish has a clean and polished look.

I decided on the Sig Romeo MSR and Juilet 3x magnifier both of which come in FDE to match this FDE cerakoted rifle.

Shooting the Stag 15

Obviously, if the gun doesn’t function then it’s just a pretty photo shoot item. But I’m sure Stag Arms has some level of QC, so let’s get this gun on the range and shoot it.

This thing was great on steel targets right out of the box!

Out of the Box

This gun has a very balanced feel right out of the box. I really like the slim Magpul grip and how everything feels solid in your hand.

Shooting the gun stock with just the Sig MSR and Juilet magnifier, it had a very light recoil profile and a great ejection pattern.

This gun appears to be nearly perfectly gassed. It’s a bit loud since it’s 10.5″ and close to the ear, but it’s not bad overall. The good thing is, I plan to suppress it, so I’ll update this Stag AR-15 review with my findings.

Shooting Suppressed

I have several different 10.5″ AR-15 rifles that I shoot suppressed, so I have a pretty good idea of what to expect.

I bought a dedicated can for this gun because I really wanted to go all out, so I got one of the DeadAir Sandman S silencers in FDE to match the gun.

Suppressed Stag Arms AR-15

The suppressed recoil impulse on this gun is fantastic, and I was pleasantly suppressed by the lack of gas back with this combination.

On many of my 10.5″ pistol configurations, I get a lot of gas back in my face when shooting several consecutive courses of fire.

Based on the ejection pattern, this gun, even suppressed, is decently gassed, maybe slightly over-gassed while suppressed, but it is not bad considering it’s a stock gun with a non-adjustable gas block.

If you want a silencer to pair with your Stag this is a good one. While I will say it’s a bit heavy since it’s steel, you can get great function and performance out of the Sandman-S.

Uses for the Stag 15 Tactical

Obviously, any rifle really has the potential to fall into 3 main categories: range toy, hunting rifle, or tactical.

It’s extremely likely for an AR-15 to fall into multiple categories, so let’s look at how the Stag AR-15 stacks up in these three categories.

Range Toy

Is this a good-range gun? Absolutely. This gun is fun to take to the range and shoot all day.

The only downside is how expensive 5.56 ammo has gotten lately. But as far as performance and overall enjoyment from this gun, it’s perfect for the family range trip.

Hunting

Hunting with 5.56 can be hit or miss, depending on what time of hunting you plan to do. Small game hunting is a bit overkill in the velocity department.

If you want to hunt with an AR platform from Stag, check out their AR-10 line and their most recent 6mm ARC.

Tactical

This is rather a no-brainer. “Tactical” is often used as a marketing term, and I think even Stag is guilty of using it, but they make a configuration called the Stag 15 Tactical, which is the version I have for this review.

I think it’s the perfect gun for nearly any tactical application. You may want the 10.5″ pistol configuration like mine or the full-size 16″ rifle.

Either way, it’s the perfect setup for tactical applications.

Stag 15 Ammo

The Stag 15 is chambered in 5.56 NATO and will take almost anything you throw its way.

If you are looking for ammo, range, or defense, look at some of the best ammo options available.

Stag 15 Price & Conclusion

The Stag AR-15 has a fantastic fit and finish and has really come a long way since 2013. I think their new logo and rebrand have breathed some life back into the brand that will take it places.

stag ar15 final

I’m excited to see what Stag will be doing going forward and I think their product line will likely only grow.

The price of the Stag is around $1,100 to $1,500, which is a fair price for a complete AR-15 rifle.

The quality of the rifle definitely justifies a $1,100 price tag. If you want a quality AR-15 that doesn’t need any upgrades out of the box pick up the Stag 15 Tactical.

Stag AR-15

Stag AR-15 Pistol

Barrel: Government
Caliber: 5.56
Upper/Lower: 7075 T6 Aluminum
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Michael Savage
Michael Savage

Michael is the President of Lynx Defense and an avid gun owner and outdoors man. He's passionate about helping find the best bang for your buck and helping others learn about firearms and the industry as a whole.

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