The Model 5 is shown with 600 rounds of factory ammunition from Hornady and Silver State Armory. Another 200 rounds of the author's hand-loads were also used during the practical testing.
Static accuracy and reliability tests serve their purpose, but the M4-style Stag carbine is designed for light weight and maneuverability in practical applications like defense and sport. To get a feeling for how the Stag carbine performs in its natural setting, three other competitive shooters and I shot the Stag carbine side by side with other rifles in a practical shooting course requiring speed, accuracy, and movement. The comparison rifles were: a 20-inch AR-15A2 in .223 set up with iron sights and a JP Enterprises BC muzzle compensator; a 16-inch AK-47 in 7.62x39mm; a 16-inch Barrett M468 in 6.8 SPC; and a 18-inch MSTN in 6.8 SPC with a MSTN QC muzzle compensator.
The Model 5's hand-guards are easy to grasp, and their metal heat-shields are welcome during rapid-fire drills. The carbine proved reliable even when its barrel was too hot to touch.
After shooting the first drill, we decided to use another test to focus more on the specific handling characteristics of the rifles. Starting with the muzzle touching the barricade, the shooter was to double-tap each steel target once, for a total of 8 shots on the four targets. This drill exposed the recoil characteristics of the different rifles, how much the sight picture was disturbed, and target transition handling. Here, the Stag carbine's light weight and A2 flash hider worked against it, bouncing us around noticeably more than the other rifles. We had to deliberately slow down and man-handle the gun to stay on target for the second shots, compared to the other rifles which generally stayed on target and didn't push the shooter around in recoil.