By Scott Mayerz
Stag Arms had two new products at SHOT that are going to take a lot of the guesswork out of self-defense and 3-Gun competition for shooters who want “turn-key” solutions. The 2012 Executive Survivor’s Kit (ESK) is a special project done in partnership with Stag distributor LAN World and specifically marketed toward affluent people who have themselves, their family, and assets to protect during a “survival” situation. The kit is not set up for surviving a zombie apocalypse or an end of the world scenario, but instead for the more plausible scenario of being displaced for a few days by some disaster. I’ll be the first to admit that the whole “Katrina” thing has been done to death, but there never fails to be some new natural or domestic threat to make you realize that you need a gun. With social movements such as “occupiers” who think they’re somehow entitled to “their fair share” of what YOU own, I don’t blame people for being concerned about their safety.
Unfortunately, there are people who don’t give much thought to their responsibility when it comes to personal safety. And when they do have that epiphany, they may not know enough about guns, optics, ammunition or maintaining a gun to take good choices. For them, a “kit” such as the ESK that’s pre-loaded with essential or basic items makes sense.
So what’s in the ESK? To begin with, all of the stuff lives inside a military grade Pelican 1700 Long Case. I’ve used Pelican cases on several trips and have yet to find a baggage handler who has been able to mess one up. The foam inside is cut to keep things from sliding around and getting damaged and the case has more locking points than a Victorian-era chastity belt.
Inside is Stag’s Model 2 rifle, which is about as general purpose a rifle as you can get from Stag and that’s why it’s the right choice for this kit. It’s not the absolute perfect Stag for close quarters combat or medium range sniping, or anything in between, but it can do any–and more importantly, all–of those tasks in a pinch. Stag topped the gun with EOTech’s 517 red dot sight because the guys at Stag use EOTech sights themselves. Why? Because they’re quality sights and American made. What that sight gives you is a durable holographic unit that’s simple to use and easy to aim. It also uses AA batteries which should be easier to find in a survival situation than something more exotic. In the unlikely event the sight breaks, or the more likely event your battery dies, there are back up iron sights so be sure and sight in both the red dot and the iron sights.
Also included are two 30-round magazines (10-round where restricted) and 60 rounds of what Stag calls “quality” ammunition. At SHOT Show the ammunition was PMC Bronze, and I personally consider it quality ammunition.
The Pelican case will probably seal out any possibility of dust getting inside, but if it was me, I’d go ahead and load up both mags, top them with magazine covers, and keep them in their respective cut-out in the case. Properly tempered magazine springs will not take on a “set” when left compressed, so load them up and don’t worry about them; they will be good to go when you need them. That said, with the various magazines I personally keep loaded for my guns at home, I make it a practice to use them each time I go to the range. For me, it’s a matter of keeping ammunition fresh. Left boxed, ammunition will last forever, but in a magazine could be contaminated by any oil.
There is also a Gerber multi-tool, Stag spare AR-15 parts kit, a basic first aid kit, one MRE, a flashlight, spare batteries, Otis cleaning kit and sling inside the ESK. I priced what it would cost if you bought all of these items separately and put together your own ESK and found that there was some savings by buying the pre-assembled kitl
Arguing what should or should not be in a “survival” kit is good sport and will vary with your environment and circumstances. Keep in mind that if you ask a dozen experts what should be in such a kit, you’re going to get a dozen answers. There may be something in the ESK you personally don’t think is essential, and it may be missing something think you need. Bottom line is that it provides some basic needs in a one-stop-shop situation for those who want an immediate option in a survival situation.
Just as the ESK is a “turn-key” solution for personal defense, Stag’s 3G rifle takes all of the guesswork out of getting an AR set up for 3-Gun competition. Initially, the folks at Stag assembled a gun with the features they thought were the best for 3-Gun competition, and then sent that gun out to 3-Gun competitors for comment. Those 3-Gun shooters liked it, and since then Stag has two shooters participating in 3-Gun competition who constantly keep up on equipment and provide feedback.
Stag’s 3G rifle is the result of that experience and feedback. It has an 18-inch barrel because Stag wanted to have the shortest barrel possible and still have a rifle-length gas system. Something about ARs is that the shorter you make that gas system, the more you seem to give up reliability. With an 18-inch, fluted, stainless steel barrel, 3-Gun shooters enjoy the best of Stag’s reliability along with a nimble gun for moving from target to target. There is no chrome lining, as it can cause a gun to be less accurate than without.
Also helping to make the 3 G more maneuverable is a 15-inch fore end. Many 3-Gun shooters believe they can control the gun better and move it faster by holding as far out on the fore end as they can. This gun allows for even long-armed shooters to hold out far, and gives anyone plenty of holding position options. The length also provides lots of surface area if you want to steady your fore end against a barricade when taking a shot.
As one would expect, the 3G has an adjustable stock so you can extend or collapse it to fit any shooter or clothing requirement. This is not a basic M4-type stock; this one has a longer cheek piece for a better cheek weld.
Tactical Optics Division is the most popular in 3-Gun, so to keep it in that division, Stag equipped the 3G with iron sights offset to 45 degrees. When targets are out at the 200 to 300 yard range, 3G shooters can use an optic. On close targets where optical magnification hurts your shooting ability, simply cant the 3G to use the iron sights.