Stag Arms will be adding two new slick-looking piston-driven AR rifles to their catalog, the abruptly-named Model 8T and 8TL. Both rifles are variants of their Model 8, Stag Arms’ first entry into the world of pistons. The T is for tactical for these carbines, and the L is a left-handed version of the new 8T.
What makes these carbines so Tactical? Why, swanky new handguards, that’s what. Actually, they are very nice handguards by Diamondhead Advanced Combat Solutions. The new Model 8Ts come with VRS-T triangular free-floating handguards. The VRS-T has a full-length flattop rail and is relieved for ventilation, less mass, and finger grooves from fore to aft. The triangular shape makes it comfortably in the hand and stable on the bench. Like all good tactical forearms, it is designed to accept optional rail sections for mounting accessories at the 3-, 6- and 9-o’clock positions.
To go along with the slick handguard, the Model 8Ts come with a set of flip-up Diamondhead sights, which stand out from the crowd. Diamondhead’s sights are indeed diamond-shaped, and take advantage of some of the basic principles of hand-eye coordination. Basically your brain really likes diamonds to fit in diamonds, and these sights tap your primal urge to match patterns, making them fast and natural to use.
The short-stroke piston system is low profile and barely peeks out in front of the handguard, like they were made for each other. The VRS-T has an angled front that just barely clears the piston’s self-regulating gas system. The low-profile design of the piston block ensures that it doesn’t come into contact with the handguard, promoting accuracy. Like all good piston systems, the 8Ts will run cooler and cleaner than direct impingement setups.
These features are quite a step up from most of Stag’s rifles but don’t add too much to the sticker. The sights and handguard alone would cost you about $400, yet the 8T’s MSRP is just $1,275 ($1,295 for the left-handed version), just $130 more than the standard, non-tactical Stag Model 8.
The remaining features are in line with other Stag carbines. It uses forged 7075 T6 aluminum receivers with a mil-spec hard anodized finish. They use government-profile M4 barrels with M4 feedramps that measure in at 16 inches long. The barrels have a 1-in-9 rate of twist, making them fairly flexible when it comes to ammunition selection. The rest of the furniture is also M4-style.
Stag Arms’ rifles come with a lifetime warranty and the 8Ts are no exception. If you were looking for a well-featured piston-driven AR, you’d be hard-pressed to find a production rifle priced as competitively as these Stags. It doesn’t hurt that they look good, too.
Photo credit Tactical Life.