If you’re serious about your firearms then you’ve undoubtedly heard the name Stag Arms. This Connecticut-based company has risen to the top of the heap in terms of manufacturers offering quality AR-15s.
At one point, they were even manufacturing the much in-demand featureless AR-15. But what do we really know about Stag Arms? And why has their name been in the news in the last few years?
I’ll answer both of those questions by breaking down Stag Arms’ reputation as a manufacturer, the value and quality of their product line, and what consumers are saying about this popular purveyor of firearms.
Table of Contents
- 1 The History of Stag Arms
- 2 Stag Arms Model 15 O.R.C. (Formerly the Model 3)
- 3 Stag Arms Model 15 Retro (Formerly the Model 4)
- 4 Stag Arms 15 Varminter (Formerly the Model 6)
- 5 Stag Arms 3TM
- 6 Stag Arms 9 Tactical (Formerly the Model 9T)
- 7 Stag Arms Model 15 M4 (Formerly the Model 1)
- 8 Stag Arms Stag 10
- 9 Stag Arms Barrels
- 10 AR-15 Lower Receivers
- 11 Stag 15 Valkyrie Series
- 12 Parts and Accessories
- 13 Customer Service
- 14 Shipping
- 15 Stag Arms Discounts
- 16 Stag Arms Reputation
- 17 Conclusion
The History of Stag Arms
Founded in 2003, Stag Arms earned an early reputation for innovation after putting out their left-handed AR-15s, rifles that utilize a mirror image upper and a reversed ejection port.
The company first came under fire in December of 2015, when their CEO Mark Malkowski copped to manufacturing hundreds of unserialized firearms, including several dozen machine guns. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives required Malkowski to divest all interest in Stag Arms.
The whole case was baffling to many in the gun community since Malkowski had been a staunch proponent of stricter gun laws and had even been named National Shooting Sports Foundation’s “Business Person of the Year” in 2014.
The charges came after ATF agents inspecting Stag Arms’ facilities discovered approximately 3,000 rifle receivers and more than 20 mag gun receivers without serial numbers. Additionally, they found that Stag Arms had not complied with manufacturing record keeping requirements.
All of this could have been the end for Stag Arms, were it not for White Wolf Capital, a private equity firm, who announced their acquisition of the manufacturer in February of 2016.
“We are very excited to add Stag to our portfolio of outstanding companies in the firearms industry,” said White Wolf Managing Director Elie Azar in a press release at the time. “Stag is an iconic brand with a well-deserved reputation for product excellence and world-class customer service.”
Now that we’ve learned a bit about the history of Stag Arms, let’s explore their varied product line and what makes them a worthy provider of premium firearms.
Stag Arms Update: Since ownership changed over, the company has ramped up the manufacturing of their product lines to include new AR10 rifles and additional calibers …
- Stag Arms’ AR10s include a 6.5 Creedmoor and .308 Winchester
- Additional calibers include .224 Valkyrie and 6.8 SPC II
Stag Arms Model 15 O.R.C. (Formerly the Model 3)
Stag Arms solidified their spot in the modern marketplace by offering some of the best AR-15s at affordable prices. Since then, they have continued to develop some of the most impressive AR offerings, not least of which is the Model 15 O.R.C. (Optics Ready Carbine).
A semi-automatic tactical rifle chambered in 5.56 NATO, the Model 15 O.R.C. is Stag Arms’ least expensive AR-15 model at an average price point of $799 — less than the original Model 3.
Featuring a short sixteen-inch barrel with a chrome lined bore a six-position collapsible stock, it boasts a gas-operated firing system that delays the recoil until your round is spent. Offering a 1/7 Twist, Thermoplastic Handguard, with 30rd PMAG and Magpul Enhanced Trigger Guard, the Model 15 O.R. C. comes in right or left-handed ejection.
It’s got tons of airflow which helps to keep temp down, and the tried and true A2 flash hider. There’s really nothing negative that can be said about this rifle except, perhaps, the lack of front or rear sights. But the Diamondhead Versa Rail System more than makes up for where it’s lacking.
*This series is available in Rifle, Rifle Kit or Upper
Stag Arms Model 15 Retro (Formerly the Model 4)
The Stag15 Retro Rifle (formerly the Model 4) is just what you’ve been looking for … high quality, durable, and military proven. The 15 Retro is made to mil-spec standards with a removable A3 carry handle, A2 buttstock with trap door for storage, and an 11.5” thermoplastic handguard with double heat shields.
The Stag 15 Retro Rifle features a 5.56x45mm NATO chamber 20” 1/8 twist barrel, A2 birdcage flash hider, mil-spec charging handle and a mil-spec manganese phosphate coated M16 BCG.
In addition, the Stag 15 Retro Rifle comes in right or left-handed ejection and is available in Rifle, Rifle Kit or Upper. MSRP – $899.99.
Stag Arms 15 Varminter (Formerly the Model 6)
The Stag Arms 15 Varminter (Formerly the Model 6) is another 5.56 NATO-chambered piece that’s a bit pricier than its predecessor — at $1,084.99. But, you get what you pay for and this predator delivers on all fronts.
Personally, I prefer the 15 to the 6 because I’ve found that it outperforms when it comes to long range shooting and wide berth of damage. The Stag Arms 15 Varminter features a Magpul Enhanced Trigger Guard and 10rd PMAG and is available in right or left-handed ejection.
All in all, I’d say this one’s an excellent choice for most shooting purposes. It’s definitely a beast when it comes to bagging small to medium game. In addition, it wreaks havoc on targets. As with most rifles, you’ll want to pair this one with a good scope.
The Stag 15 Varminter Series is available in Rifle, Rifle Kit or Upper. This model packs some serious punch and is a solid choice indeed!
Stag Arms 3TM
This baby is designed for the boys in blue and has since been discounted for the Stag 15 Tactical Series. With input from LEOs and an upper with a flat top rail, the 3TM is a sight for sore eyes.
It’s got a sixteen-inch, 4140 steel, chrome-lined, government-profile manganese-phosphate-coated barrel that features a 1/7” twist, Stag 15 M-LOK SL Handguard, MOE Pistol Grip, CTR Stock, 30rd PMAG, and Enhanced Trigger Guard.
The carbine-length gas impingement system and A2-style flash suppressor or just two of the things that make this one badass. The handguard is a dream, especially if your hands cramp up easily as mine do. It’s comfortable and won’t kill after rapid fire or competition shooting.
At $969.99, it’s a steal of a deal. It’s more lightweight than the 6 at 7.5 pounds, and it can also shoot .223 in addition to the standard 5.56 NATO. In addition, the Stag Arms 3TM comes in right or left-handed ejection and the series is available in Rifle, Rifle Kit or Upper.
Stag Arms 9 Tactical (Formerly the Model 9T)
At $1229.99, the Stag Arms 9 Tactical (formerly the Model 9T) is more expensive than any of the other models we’ve tackled thus far. But before you write it off as an overpriced hunk of junk, let’s review the specs.
The Model 9 Tactical has been called a “game changing 9mm carbine,” and that ain’t no joke. It’s the first line of 9mm AR-15s that Stag Arms has put out and it’s rewriting the rules of what an AR can be. The 9 Tactical features a dedicated nine milli lower instead of the modified 5.56 NATO lower that’s become so basic.
It can fire the same ammo as a concealed-carry pistol and has an extended range of 200 yards. The New Upper/Lower receiver design is forged from 7075 T6 aluminum with a type 3 hard coat anodizing material.
Like the 8T, it has front and rear Diamondhead sights. The Model 9 Tactical is available in right or left-handed ejection and the Stag 15 M-LOK SL Handguard is extremely comfortable. In addition, this model features an MOE Pistol Grip, CTR Stock, Enhanced Trigger Guard, and Enhanced Deflector.
The unique 9mm trigger and ejection assembly alone are awe-inspiring. In terms of primo AR-15 furniture, this is the one. That may not be saying much considering that all of Stag Arms’ AR-15s have quality features, but this one qualifies for Gun Porn Gazette if such a thing exists.
Stag Arms Model 15 M4 (Formerly the Model 1)
Speaking of going back to basics, the Model 15 M4 remains an awesome firearm. At $869.99, it’s affordable as well as accurate. With a 1/7” twist and enhanced trigger guard, the durable military-grade design and mil-spec standards make for a formidable firing range experience.
Just because it’s cheap doesn’t mean that it’s trash. The simplicity of it is part of its charm. Another sixteen-incher, the Model 15 M4 is the ideal range gun. I wouldn’t call this one a serious firearm for tactical operations, but it’s a lot of fun nonetheless.
Like most others, it can take .223 despite being chambered for the 5.56 NATO. This series is available in Rifle, Rifle Kit or Upper and is available in right or left-handed ejection.
The Stag 10 is the latest innovation from Stag Arms. A .308 caliber rifle, the “Stag 10” is now available in a left-handed variant as well as a 6.5 Creedmoor. The Stag 10S 22″ 6.5 Creedmoor Rifle was specifically designed for long range accuracy with less recoil to reach your target.
The Stag 6.5 Creedmoor line features a Stag Slant Cut and includes uniquely designed parts for the lower to guarantee the best fit between the upper and lower. The remainder of the rifle utilizes the DPMS platform for parts compatibility.
In addition, the Stag 10S 22″ features a 6.5 Creedmoor chambered 22″ 1/8 barrel, Lantac 762 Dragon Compensator, 16.5″ Stag M-LOK Handguard and a QPQ Nitride BCG.
The variety with this one would be hard for any competitor to beat as the company offers the following: AR10 in LH 24” (Creedmoor), 10S LH 22” (Creedmoor), Standard 10 24” (Creedmoor), 10S 22” (Creedmoor), Keymod (.308), M-LOK (.308), 10S LH (.308), 10 LH (.308), 10S LH KEYMOD (.308), 10S LH M-LOK (.308), 10S (.308), Standard 10 (.308), 10S KEYMOD (.308), 10S M-LOK (.308), 10 LH 24” BONES (Creedmoor), 10 LH 22” BONES (Creedmoor), 10 24” BONES (Creedmoor) and 10 22” BONES (Creedmoor).
And, as always, every complete rifle from Stag Arms comes with a Transferable Lifetime Warranty, an Infinite Shot Barrel Guarantee, a magazine and a rifle case.
This manufacturer also offers a wide range of barrels from the 16” 5.56 M4 Nitride Barrel with a 1.9 twist to the 24” 5.56 SS Bull Barrel Assembly. Here’s a quick look at how they vary in terms of price and features.
The 24” 5.56 Bull Barrel sells for $199.99 and has a 1/8 twist. It’s made from 410 stainless steel. The diameter at the gas port is .936”. The best thing in their online store are their barrel assemblies. Granted, the prices may seem pretty high compared to the barrels themselves, but you’re getting everything you’ll need.
The Crowned 16” 5.56 M4 Barrel Assembly sells for $269.99 — you get to choose between an A2 F-marked front sight, an F-marked front sight without the bayonet lug, a railed gas block or a low profile gas block.
The 24” 5.56 SS Bull Barrel Assembly sells for $329.99 and again, is a bit expensive, but you’re getting your money’s worth. Additionally, it includes all the necessary parts to attach the barrel to your upper receiver.
Many avid shooters like to upgrade an AR-15. This may include AR furniture upgrades, high-tech optics or upper receivers.
But if you’re in the market for a top shelf lower, Stag Arms has a stripped lower receiver for just $49.95 that features a mil-spec .250” small pin and type 3 anodized hard coat. Depending on where you purchase one, you can usually add additional options such as a 6-position stock hardware kit or an adaptive tactical stock.
The Stag 15 Valkyrie Series is chambered in the all new .224 Valkyrie cartridge, created by Federal Premium® Ammunition. Built around an 18” 416R Stainless Steel Fluted Heavy Barrel, the 224 Valkyrie cartridge provides less wind drift and drop than all other loads in its class and stays brisk past 1,300 yards.
The Valkyrie features Two-Stage Match Trigger, coated in Nickel-Boron, designed specifically for precision shooting. Each pull is smooth and consistent to ensure that this trigger will enhance the shooters ability to create tighter groups at the furthest distances.
The rifle is finished with a Magpul PRS Stock, Aluminum Enhanced Trigger Guard, Hogue Pistol Grip, and Manganese Phosphate coated, chrome lined .224 Valkyrie/6.8 SPC II bolt carrier group. The 224 Valkyrie cartridge is the new choice for both long-range target shooters and hunters!
Parts and Accessories
One area that Stag absolutely excels in is AR-15 parts. Their builders sets are some of the best around and you’ll get everything you need from them. The Stag 10 Upper/Lower Combo is really something else and I dare you to find a cooler design.
The upper uses a DPMS High Profile with a tang height of .210 and the assembly features a picatinny rail and installed forward assist.
The prices aren’t so great, but if you’re going with Stag Arms for your AR needs, you might as well trick it out with the proper parts. Their site has a range of handy accessories, many of them listed on their Quick Ship page.
The prices on these items are extremely low and seem to me to be an excellent value. For example, the field repair kit only costs thirty-two bucks and includes all of the parts that are usually lost or broken during the course of owning a rifle.
If you want to get super serious about gun maintenance, there’s the Breakthrough Cleaning Kit & Stag Arms Parts Kit Bundle for $122.95. This one’s got everything you could possibly need to properly clean and maintain a .223, 7.62 and 9mm.
It comes with 3 nylon bore brushes, 2 brass patch holders for .22 cal and .30 cal, a lightweight Velcro front soft case, 1 two ounce bottle of Breakthrough Military Grade Solvent, 1 two ounce bottle of Battle Born High-Punty Oil, 1 packet of Battle Born Grease, 2 buffer retainer springs, 2 buffer retainers, 2 extractor spring inserts, 4 pivot/takedown detent pins, 4 pivot/takedown detent springs, 2 safety detent pins and 2 safety detent springs.
That’s to say nothing of everything you get in the bolt rebuild kit that’s included (camp pin, disconnector, extractor pin, firing pin, hammer spring, mag catch spring, trigger spring, etc.). Seriously, they’ve really thought of everything with this one.
That’s the thing about Stag, they have a reputation that’s founded, first and foremost, on being a reliable parts dealer which is why many people don’t immediately think of them when it comes to AR-15s, but as we’ve seen here, their firearms are almost always as admirable as their parts and accessories.
Stag Arms are known for their customer relations and return/exchange policies. Unused products can be returned within fifteen days of their arrival. In addition, their customer service department is on standby to respond to return requests.
As one user on Reddit was quick to point out, “Stag’s firearms are a little higher [in price] than core15 but they provide truly first class customer service and warranty. They even warrant the barrel with an ‘infinite’ shot guarantee which we know is impossible so they are pretty much saying if you shoot out the rifling we will give you a new barrel.
“While stag arms hasn’t been producing complete firearms for as long as other major companies they have been supplying factory parts to many major companies rumored to include Colt, FN, and S&W as well as tons more!”
Of course, not everyone has the same experience with a manufacturer and Stag Arms is no exception. Elsewhere on Reddit, a user had this to say about their experience ordering from Stag: “I placed an order with Stag Arms over two months ago, the order is still listed (on stag’s website) as, ‘awaiting fulfillment.’
“I know Stag has had some internal issues and I’m beginning to wonder if this company is going to shut down and keep my money…I used their, ‘contact us’ portal on the website and got zero response, called customer service and was told they were working on completing my order (two weeks ago).”
A user responding to this post echoed the sentiment, saying, “I became a Model 2 owner a month ago…I contacted customer support because I think my front sight is a little bent and see if they can replace it but they haven’t emailed me back.”
However, it is worth noting that these user experiences were posted to Reddit 11 months ago when the company was in a state of transition. And as usual, responses were divided with one user replying, “I ordered a barrel…3 weeks ago and I got it within a week even though the website said it was going to take a month.”
As far as refunds are concerned, Stag asks customers to expect a 2-3 week processing period before refunds are issued.
Update From Stag Arms Customer Service:
- The company has recently hired additional internal support to help in assisting customers
- Refunds: Processed in 1-2 business days. When the refund hits, it will depend on the credit card company
- Lifetime Transferable Warranty and Infinite Shot Barrel Guarantee
Perhaps in response to some of the consumer complaints about the lengthy lag time on orders, Stag is currently advertising their Quick Ship Page in a slideshow on their homepage.
Bear in mind, however, that not all of their products can be found on the Quick Ship page. But those that are ship within two business days. Users are advised to punch in the coupon code FAST AND FREE to automatically receive free shipping at checkout.
Quick Ship items include their builders sets and the Stag 10 Upper/Lower Combo.
Update From Stag Arms Shipping:
- The company has recently hired additional internal support to help in shipping products as quickly and efficiently as possible
Stag Arms Discounts
Stag Arms occasionally offers their customers discounts. Since August is National Shooting Sports Month, they are currently giving customers a 20% off discount on all non-sale products. They also do American Summer Giveaways that are worth as much as $2,200.
Stag Arms coupon codes are also available through multiple sites. Hotdeals.com offers a 60% off Stag Arms promo code for August 2017. Naturally, the more typical range is 10% or 20% as in the case of Offers.com’s 20% off code for AR-15 upper halves.
Stag Arms Reputation
Stag Arms have garnered a strong street rep with most consumers giving them a four-star rating and multiple forum posts raving about their great products and superior customer service.
One forum member posted a thread asking other members for good reasons not to buy an AR-15 from Stag Arms and the responses were virtually unanimous in favor of the manufacturer.
- One responder wrote, “Stag is a reputable brand name. Honestly, there are few and far companies that churn out truly bad Ars and even then its bits and pieces. Now nearly all will ‘work.’ “The fit and finish may differ…Go for it brother!”
While some suggested that there were “better” options available, nearly every poster was a proponent of Stag with one member writing, “Very happy with my stag arms rifle. I got it used and already registered it for the lifetime warranty which is now transferable to second owners also.”
After skirting notoriety, Stag Arms has cemented their reputation as one of the greatest and most innovative AR-15 manufacturers in the United States. Now that the controversy has passed and the smoke has cleared, Stag Arms’ line of top notch firearms are on fire. Are there cheaper options out there? Sure.
But with Stag, you’re dealing with a company that’s committed to Research and Development. Just look at those nine millis. And when you’re done looking at them, be sure to give them a test run.
* Important Message from Stag Arms:
- The Stag Arms 8T has been discontinued
- Complete Gun Kits have been discontinued
- Our Rifle Kits come with everything you need to build your rifle, minus a stripped lower receiver!