Stag Model 9T–Game Changing 9mm Carbine

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Stag 9T: https://www.stagarms.com/model-9t/

Buy One: /Stag 9mm

Pistol caliber carbines (PCC) have been around since… well, since pistol calibers have existed. Some of history’s most famous long guns were chambered for pistol cartridges. Like the Winchester lever action in .44-40 or the many Marlins chambered for .38 Special and .357 magnum. And of course, there are the submachine guns, which by definition are short rifles chambered in common pistol cartridges, like the H&K MP5 or my favorite icon the Thompson in .45 ACP. There has always been a place in our utility and indeed in our hearts for the PCC. It is only natural for the most popular light rifle style of our times, the AR-15 to be offered in the most common and popular pistol caliber – 9mm. And finally, in 2015 this fantastic rifle platform and common pistol round come together as a Stag Arms product. No longer is quality and reliability a question to ask when considering this type of gun.

The Stag Arms Model 9T - everything you need; nothing you don't.

The Stag Arms Model 9T – everything you need: nothing you don’t.


When you open the padded plastic carrying case in which the 9T is provided, you are staring down at a fully conventional Mil-spec AR-15. Stag has chosen to dress this rifle out with a minimalist approach, but that by no means indicates they skimped on anything. The accessories chosen for the 9T were clearly done thoughtfully. It has everything you need, and nothing you don’t. And the components are among the best choices available. Diamondhead is featured prominently with the floating handguard and flip-up sights. Both are anodized aluminum and blend perfectly to the receivers. The handguard is one of my favorites, offering a comfortable and uniform grip at any point along its 13 ½” length.

Slide 1 stag 9t specs

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If you really feel you have to hang that espresso machine off of it, additional rail can be added in sections. I would find it useful for instance, to add a small piece to the bottom front for a bipod. The Diamondhead sights use a proprietary “diamond in a diamond” pattern to get your fast sight picture, and then inside that is the traditional front post and rear peeps (large and small as needed). You can also pivot the rear peep sight flat so that you have only the large diamond into which you fit the front sight diamond – for fast acquisition and close ranges. The gun was printing low at close distances inside 25 yards, as expected – but I found it easy to make rough adjustments to my hold and do it with consistency.

The Diamondhead flip-up rear sight has two peep-hole sizes and clear windage adjustment markings.

The Diamondhead flip-up rear sight has two peep-hole sizes and clear windage adjustment markings.

Shooting with the open sights is easy on the eyes, intuitive and quite accurate. They also co-witness perfectly with the Aimpoint optic I mounted on the rifle. The entire top is picatinny rail with plenty of mounting space.

What you have to do to prepare the 9T for a day at the range is – lift if out of the box. That’s it. The 9T comes ready to run. Flip up the sights, adjust the six-position buttstock, and you’re set. Loading the magazine is the hardest part. Notice I used the singular – ‘magazine’. Stag provides you with one 32-round steel magazine with a plastic follower.

Stag Arms supplies a single 32-round magazine that is good quality.

Stag Arms supplies a single 32-round magazine that is good quality.

Stag Arms supplies a single 32-round magazine that is good quality.
It’s a good quality magazine, and should be interchangeable with either the Colt 9mm or Uzi 9mm mag. But the spring gets mighty tough around 25 rounds, and I usually stopped there, lest I damage my delicate typing fingers. I’d get a tool to assist with that, and a couple more magazines for starters. I’d like to see Stag include at least two mags – especially for the 9mm, since the local store is guaranteed not to have any. The good news is that Stag sells them for $20 ea., which is not bad.

The other furniture on the 9T consists of a 6-position buttstock (mil spec) that is adequate. There are no storage compartments, and no butt pad (though certainly none is needed), but the adjustments are quick and easy for length and it does include a fixed sling ring. The pistol grip is standard A2 design. I sighed when I first saw it, because I often find them uncomfortable. My hand never seems to be the one the “finger space protrusion” was designed for and so they are uncomfortable to use. But surprisingly this one was okay, and I found that I wasn’t even thinking about it. Still, if I were going to change something – that would be first on the list. Stag Arms also provides a dual attachment point just between the lower receiver and the castle nut. I used it to attach my single-point sling.

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Shooting the 9T is a lot of fun. If you have an AR-15 that you enjoy shooting, imagine that same rifle with even less recoil, much less noise, and cheaper ammo. Suddenly the concept doesn’t sound so odd, eh? Bet I got you with that ‘cheaper ammo’ part. Cheaper to train. Cheaper to take the family out for a day of plinking. Less noise (even with good hearing protection, you notice) and less recoil means less sensory assault for those folks your trying to introduce to shooting. My dog lay near me while I did my bechrest shooting with the 9T. Had that been a .223 he would have been hiding behind the truck, or possibly taking refuge inside it.

The trigger is a mil-spec single stage and I measured it at just about 5.5 lbs. on average. It is a decent one. The stroke is not excessive and the break is crisp. Reset is short and loud, just the way I like ‘em.

Consistency was excellent at 25 yards, with the best group yielded by Herter's, at about 3/4".

Consistency was excellent at 25 yards, with the best group yielded by Herter’s, at about 3/4″.

At 100 yards, the same Herter's ammo opened up to almost 4", but bear in mind that is with an unmagnified red dot.

At 100 yards, the same Herter’s ammo opened up to almost 4″, but bear in mind that is with an unmagnified red dot.

I put half-dozen different types of ammo through the 9T over the course of multiple range trips, and shot off-hand and various distances and rested the carbine for some accuracy tests. I shot a combination of PMC Bronze, Blazer Brass, Freedom Munitions, Herter’s Select, and steel cased Tul Ammo for most of the testing. I found the results to be very similar for all but the Tul Ammo, which functioned perfectly but printed groups twice the size of the others.

Once I got the optic zeroed well enough to keep me reliably on paper, I found the results impressive with most every brand of ammo I shot. Most printed sub-one-inch groups at 25 yards and out to 100 was still inside 4”. A better rifleman with a better scope could probably achieve half that group size. But more importantly than that, after over 500 rounds there was not one single malfunction of any kind. Nada. I fed it steel cased ammo, hollow-points, handloads with minimum power, you name it. It ate it all up and spit it all out without seeing so much as a bore snake. I ran it dirty and with just the lube it had in it the whole time. This is a reliable gun – I couldn’t make it fail.

The Diamondhead handguard and flip-up sights are standard equipment. Also shown is the A2 flash hider.

The Diamondhead handguard and flip-up sights are standard equipment. Also shown is the A2 flash hider.

  The buttstock is simple and utilitarian, but good quality and offers six positions.


The buttstock is simple and utilitarian, but good quality and offers six positions.

I was curious about the increase in velocity (and therefore energy) from the 16” carbine versus a handgun, so I did some chrono tests and found about an 8 percent gain at 12 feet from the muzzle. A group average from a Glock 34 was 1208 fps, and that jumped to 1302 fps from the 9T. Not surprising of course, but if you’re wondering about the use of this rifle in defense of hearth and home, I’d say that loaded with good defense ammo it would a formidable beast.

Taking the 9T down for cleaning is even easier than for an AR-15 chambered in .223. Because the 9T action operates on blowback, there is no gas tube. This also helps keep the gun clean. I was surprised just how clean it still was after putting half a case of ammo through it. My handguns don’t stay this clean. Field strip entails popping out the two pins that marry the upper and lower receivers, just as with any AR, and then removing the bolt and charging handle. The bolt is quite plain Jane if you’re used to a traditional AR-15. No rotating bolt here. The feed ramp and ejector are incorporated in the lower receiver. It’s a masterpiece of understatement.

I think Stag Arms has done a good job of building a 9mm AR-15 that has what you need and not what you don’t. There is no way to suit everyone’s needs out of the box, but rather than pay for bells I don’t need to ring or whistles I don’t want to blow – I’d rather start with a package like the 9T and change what I need to change – if anything. Whether you think a 9mm carbine could make the ultimate home defense gun, or if you just think knocking cans off a post with it would be great fun, I don’t think you’ll do much better than the Stag Arms 9T for quality, ease of use, and long-term value.

The author wasn't sure he'd like the Mil-spec A2 pistol grip, but turns out he has no complaints.

The author wasn’t sure he’d like the Mil-spec A2 pistol grip, but turns out he has no complaints.

Right and left attachment points are located just at the front of the buffer tube. Great place to clip on a single-point sling.

Right and left attachment points are located just at the front of the buffer tube. Great place to clip on a single-point sling.

Modifications to accommodate 9mm include an enlarged ejection shield and a trimmed dust cover.

Modifications to accommodate 9mm include an enlarged ejection shield and a trimmed dust cover.

No, it's not 300 AAC Blackout... it's 9mm!

No, it’s not 300 AAC Blackout… it’s 9mm!

The magwell is specifically made for the 9mm magazines - not filled or adapted from a standard lower.

The magwell is specifically made for the 9mm magazines – not filled or adapted from a standard lower.

The gun stays remarkably clean. Maybe because it puts all the filth on the brass! Reloaders will have to set the tumbler for "all day".

The gun stays remarkably clean. Maybe because it puts all the filth on the brass! Reloaders will have to set the tumbler for “all day”.

Field strip is even simpler than traditional AR's, but just as familiar.

Field strip is even simpler than traditional AR’s, but just as familiar.

The magwell as seen from above. The lower includes the ejector and feed ramp.

The magwell as seen from above. The lower includes the ejector and feed ramp.

Condition after shooting over 500 rounds. Another 500 without cleaning would be no problem!

Condition after shooting over 500 rounds. Another 500 without cleaning would be no problem!

The simplicity of the 9mm bolt - also looking pretty good after 500+ rounds.

The simplicity of the 9mm bolt – also looking pretty good after 500+ rounds.

Fire in the hole.

Fire in the hole.

{ 25 comments… add one }
  • Ben January 24, 2017, 11:05 am

    It’s a great shooter and the only 9mm lefty on the market (was….). It’s too bad that Stag discontinued the model 9 about 10 minutes after launching it, then promptly abandoned all support for it. I’ll definitely be waiting to see what happens with the 308 before I buy one.

  • Jaems Thomsen June 12, 2015, 8:56 pm

    The Stag Arms model 9 is a great urban defense weapon. You will only have to carry one type of defense ammo.
    There are four different models two for right hand two for left hand. The one illustrated is the most expensive of the two models. The cheaper one has a shorter front grip and no iron sights. I only paid $800 for mine. I had a Kal Tech sub 2000 and sold it after I picked this one up.

    With the Aim Point Pro red dot sights it is as accurate as you would want up to 100 meters. Wherever that dot touches is where the round will go. The weapon is so much fun. I went through 500 rounds the first time I took it out to sight it in. I would of fired more if I had them with me. It ate any type of round I used from FMJ to HP 115gr to 124gr, even some hands loads from the 70\’s. I now limit myself to 8 loaded mags when I take it to the range. This Stag Arms Model model 9 is great companion to my Sig M11-A1 or my CZ 75 D compact PCR. Well worth the priced that I paid.

  • Rob Martinez June 12, 2015, 1:38 pm

    The problem I see aesthetically and functionally with the 9-T and other AR type carbines is the huge magwell that doesn’t seem to fit the rest of the firearm, it looks more like a Frankengun than anything original. All they really did was take a .556 AR lower and cut out less material to accommodate the magazine. There are plenty of carbine AR conversion kits out there and that’s exactly what this is. If they’re going to design an AR Carbine that the public wants then they should start by first designing one that fits around the caliber and not fitting the caliber to an already existing gun.

  • Larry Koehn June 11, 2015, 4:23 pm

    Appearance will not enhance the performance of 9×19 bullet so no matter what you do you still end up with a different looking pistol. The only pistol ammo that might make a good carbine is the 10mm and I have not seen one available yet.

    • Mark N. June 13, 2015, 2:33 am

      A lot can be said for .357 or .44 mag out of a carbine.

    • Chris July 21, 2016, 3:38 pm

      D3 makes a nice rifle in 9mm ,40s&w and 10mm.

  • Magic Rooster June 8, 2015, 6:19 pm

    I had my Palmetto State Armory PS-9 at the range this past weekend. It is a reliable, fun gun that I ordered as a kit and built myself. The cost: $700 plus a quality red dot. It shoots great at 25,50 and 100 yards. It does prefer +P ammo at distances over 50 yards.
    I’m sure the Stag is a great gun, but $525 more than the PS-9 ? Nope.
    I also have two Big Boy Henry lever actions, one in 44 mag and one in 357 mag.
    One ammo for both your pistol and your rifle; priceless……

  • Matt June 8, 2015, 5:56 pm

    Loving the giant StagArms sticker on the buttstock. Real classy Stag…

    • C. Ray Sellers June 8, 2015, 9:35 pm

      I sold some stocks on Gunbroker. One had that ugly decal, but I left it on. All the rest went for about $25. The one with the decal went for $80 after a bidding frenzy. Go figure.

  • Mikial June 8, 2015, 5:45 pm

    I want one! Gotta see where i can find it on-line before the libs stop on-line sales.

  • Pro2Aguy June 8, 2015, 1:40 pm

    I have always had a profound affinity for pistol-carbines–I think it started when as a kid my Dad and I would watch a lot of the WWII movies/documentaries.

    But the price here is the absolute negating factor for me so I will stick with my Kel-Tec Sub200 with Glock 33 round mgas or even my Hi Point Carbines.

  • C. Ray Sellers June 8, 2015, 12:21 pm

    I agree with Marc. Looks like a great gun for about twice what I’d pay to own one. And I’d like to own one.

  • Joe June 8, 2015, 11:41 am

    Or you could order two upper assemblies for your AR platform carbine, one in 9mm and another in .450 bushmaster, or 6.5 or 6.8 or 7.62 / 39 or 300 blackout, even .45 ACP for the same money and really have something to play with.

  • Mark June 8, 2015, 8:29 am

    I built a 9mm franken-rifle using a lone-wolf G9 lower & a JSE upper last year which shoots awesome, but what I *really* want is a lefty-glock-mag AR & no one makes one or even sells the parts to build your own.

    Does anyone know what “system” Stag is using? Is it proprietary, like Olympic? Would a Stag / Lefty upper fit on a Lone Wolf lower & give me some left-handed, Glock-magged goodness?

  • Alex June 8, 2015, 8:08 am

    I agree with marc. They won’t sell many of these at $1000. If you want a 9m plinker that works well you can just get a used high-point 9m carbine for $150. The 1k price range for the base model rifle had better impress me and this one does not. Almost any rifle caliber AR can beat that 100 yard grouping and those are just $600.

    • warren June 8, 2015, 11:54 am

      Agreed.
      Way too expensive.
      They can keep it.

      Foolish to spend that kind of money on a rifle.

    • Dale June 8, 2015, 10:16 pm

      Alex – you are spot on. At $1200.00 it is way to expensive, and I’d rather have a carbine that can use my Glock magazines. I’ve got plenty of 17,19 and the 32 rnd Glock mags, I don’t want to have to buy a different brand/make of mags that WON’T fit my Glock pistols. While this is an interesting carbine, I think that Stag arms missed the mark on this one!

  • AR-PRO June 8, 2015, 8:07 am

    Looks like a real fun gun. It has a lot of the features you want in an AR already included. I own a select fire 9mm SBR AR and love it mainly because I can stay on target during sustained fire due to the very low recoil. The price of the stag is a little on the high side but if you want an out of the box 9mm shooter with all the goodies, here’s your gun!

  • Craig June 8, 2015, 7:53 am

    I’ve got a Tresna 9mm carbine, beautifully made, nice elegant design…so I’m wondering what game changing is going on. Oh, the Tresna uses Glock mags from Glock 26 shorties to the 33 round models. I like my Stag, also my H&K etc. etc. etc….but game changing? No. Good rifle? Yes.

  • El Mac June 8, 2015, 7:14 am

    Now if they would only make one in 10mm instead of that pi_ss weak sister.

    • Gary June 8, 2015, 1:32 pm

      If you own a glock or 1911, check mechtech systems for aconversion in 9,10,40,45 or 460. They work great, most bang for the buck, and highly customizable.

  • Marc June 8, 2015, 6:59 am

    It looks like a fabulous rifle. But an increase of 100fps out of a 16″ barrel is underwhelming (not Stag’s fault of course), and the cost high. It’s obviously a quality carbine, but I don’t see the logic in spending that much money on a 9mm AR. Maybe it’s just the caliber choice that bugs me. I’d be more open to .40, .357 or .45apc.

    • Daron June 8, 2015, 8:36 am

      I was exited to read about the stag rifle until I noticed the price. I agree with a previous comment that the pice is way to high for a PCC. I love my hi point 995 and it does all you described the stag does except for mag capacity and I only paid $322 with tax.

    • Gary June 8, 2015, 1:29 pm

      I have a rock river model, also 16 inch, and when reloaded with blue dot and 125 gr jhp, i chrono at 1400fps. That is close to 357 mag or sig balistics.The slower burn rate suits the longer barrel, and i still get 1050-1100fps in my pistol.

  • Garrett June 8, 2015, 4:35 am

    Fun Shooter,i have the lefty version!

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