New Rifles: Stag Arms

We're at the PASA Park shooting facility all week for an exclusive

look at new rifles that are being introduced in the shooting industry. Every day we'll try to bring you the latest and greatest, and today's highlight includes some great new rifles and upgrades from Stag Arms.

I'd seen the press release a few weeks ago on the new Stag Arms 3-Gun Competition rifle; seeing it in person — and shooting it — was quite an experience. As the name suggests, it's a competition gun, but when you consider all the features it would make an excellent general-purpose AR.

The rifle features an 18-inch fluted E.R. Shaw barrel with 1:8 twist and a 5.56 spec chamber. It has a rifle-length gas system and a new compensator developed specifically for 3-Gun: the Super 3Gun Comp. More on that in a second. Rounding out the features are a Magpul ACS stock, MOE pistol grip and Geissele Super 3 Gun trigger.

Visually, what stands out is the long, 15-inch Samson Evolution free-float handguard. It looks ungainly, but it's super light and gives you a lot of options for your support hand. It's affixed to the gun via a steel bushing that fits over the barrel nut and acts as a sort of heat sink to keep fore-end overheating to a minimum — and a good thing too as a group of us shot the rifle until it was smokin' hot.

The 3-Gun Competition comes with optional rapid-transition iron sights set on a cant. Need to leave the scope for close targets? Just rotate the rifle and bring the irons under your eye. The gun sells for $1,400 w/o the sights, $1,600 with.

It's a great-shooting rifle. The trigger is described as a hybrid between single-stage and double-stage. The Stag Arms rep described the break as a "carrot snap"; it bends and then breaks. That's pretty accurate. I found it worked great for

rapid-fire work and even smacking steel at 200, especially from sitting.

The compensator worked as advertised, maybe even a little too well. The downward push definitely took some getting used to, but there certainly was no muzzle climb. In my short time with the rifle I definitely couldn't get used to the down/right motion when I used the rapid-transition irons, but then I get very few chances to shoot that way.

I liked the cheekpiece on the Magpul stock; kept my eye aligned with the scope and was very comfortable. All in all, a great rifle.

Stag had a couple of other things to show. One was the new Diamondhead modular drop-in handguard that's now offered on

the Model 3. Very nice to handle, very comfortable to shoot. But the item that caught my attention was the new Diamondhead aperture sight setup on the Model 8. As the name implies, the rear sight aperture is a diamond shape, with a roughly diamond-shape front sight guard — as opposed to the traditional AR "wings." Just put the front diamond in the rear diamond and get the post in the center and squeeze. I'd like to spend more time with it, but it seems an excellent sight, even for an old set of eyes like mine.

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