Patrol Rifle Review - Tactics and Weapons -

Patrol Rifle Review

A look at long guns worthy of street duty



Nick Jacobellis | From the September 2008 Issue Sunday, August 31, 2008

Never before in our nation's history have our neighborhood patrol officers been more heavily armed. Whether it was due to the famous bank robbery that pitted two machine-gun toting robbers against the LAPD or the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, street cops in the United States are now carrying weapons that were once only issued to SWAT personnel and military troops.

Below, I'll discuss some of the latest and greatest patrol-capable rifles I've had an opportunity to shoot. I'll also discuss two rifles I haven't had a chance to personally test: the Auto Ordnance M1 Carbine and the original Israeli Galil. I have field tested several U.S.-made WWII and refurbished Vietnam-vintage .30 caliber M1 carbines and the Israeli Micro Galil. I've also tested the Golani, a semiautomatic copy of the original full-size Israel Galil.

Stag Arms 2T Quad Rail
One of the best M16/M4 values on the market is the Stag Arms 2T carbine with a Samson Star C Quad Rail and an A.R.M.S. Back Up Iron Sight. This particular Stag Arms carbine comes with a flip-up/fold down A.R.M.S Back Up Iron Sight with two apertures, a fixed front-post sight, a full-length quad rail system and a six position collapsible stock. A detachable handle is not provided with this rifle.

The Stag Arms 2T is quite a value for the money because it cost roughly $200 dollars less than similarly equipped M4 carbines made by other manufacturers.

I currently use my Stag Arms 2T with a Trijicon ACOG 032-TA01NSN Optic and a SureFire Scout Light. I also own a Stag Arms Model 1 (an M4-style carbine) with a detachable handle that has been flawlessly reliable and accurate. I use my Model 1 with the detachable handle attached (for use with iron sights) or with the handle removed and an Aimpoint Comp M3 optic attached. For illumination I use a SureFire M900 vertical forward grip with an integral light attached.

M6 Land Warfare Research Corporation International, LLC
The Land Warfare Research Corporation's (LWRC) short-stroke gas piston rifle is an M16/M4-style rifle that uses a different gas system than the direct impingement system found on standard Tier 1 and Tier 2 M16s and M4s. The Land Warfare gas piston rifle runs cleaner and cooler than any of the direct impingement M16s or M4s. I tested a Class III select-fire carbine with a 10.5" barrel and an Aimpoint Comp M2 and an Aimpoint Micro T1 optic. This particular M4 is comfortable and accurate to shoot in semiauto and select-fire modes, and is ideal for SWAT personnel who can use a short-barreled select-fire carbine for close-quarter battle.

The new SIG Sauer SIG 556 is another assault rifle that you can certainly use as a patrol rifle, but it's not another M4 copy. The primary difference between the SIG 556 and the average M16/M4 can be found in the super-rugged and reliable AK-47 style gas-firing mechanism the SIG uses as opposed to the direct-impingement gas system used on the standard M16/M4. Even the overall design is different enough to make the SIG 556 look considerably more modern than the rather dated-looking M16/M4.

Because the new SIG rifle doesn't use a direct impingement system that deposits burned gasses and gun powder directly onto the bolt and firing mechanism, the SIG 556 will run cleaner than the M16/M4. This means you should be able to run more rounds through a SIG 556 before you must clean it.

I have two complaints with the SIG 556. First, the front portion of the 556 is so heavy I had to stop using my SureFire M900 forward grip with the integral light on this rifle. Second, I don't like the standard iron sights that come on the SIG 556. These sights look like they were made by a group of resistance fighters in a bicycle shop in Holland during World War II. The rear flip-up sight looks like a flat zipper with a hole in it, and the front sight is basically a small piece of slightly curved flat metal that resembles a shark fin. The front sight can be rotated up when it needs to be used and down when the rifle is stored.

Mini 14 Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc.
The Ruger Mini 14 was one of the first modern assault rifles used by patrol officers, correction officers and even federal law enforcement officers in the United States. The Mini 14 is a carbine-size rifle commonly used for personal protection and home defense. It's available in 5.56mm/.223 caliber, 7.62x39mm and more recently 6.8mm.

The Mini 14 features a 16" barrel and is available in blue steel or corrosive-resistant stainless steel. A select-fire model known as the AC556 and a dedicated law enforcement model known as the GB Model were also manufactured. A variety of 20- and 30-round magazines are available for the Mini 14. Ruger proprietary magazines are known to be the most reliable.

A stainless-steel Mini 14 with a black plastic stock is a very rugged firearm to use in harsh weather conditions and when you operate on or near salt water. You can also get a well-made and useful aftermarket metal folding stock for the Mini 14 from companies like TAPCO (, CDNNz Sports ( and Cheaper than Dirt (

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