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Stag Arms Executive Survivor’s Kit Review

by Payton Miller   |  August 15th, 2012 23

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The concept of a bug-out bag (or kit) is nothing new. Whether it came into being in the wake of well-publicized emergencies or the run-up to the millennium, I can’t really remember. It is, essentially, a ready-loaded emergency stash containing a firearm, ammo, food, tools, flashlight and anything else you’d want on hand in the event of a (hopefully) temporary civic meltdown—say a natural disaster, riot or whatever. In theory, it’s something you can grab and go with—leaving wherever you are in order to get somewhere you’d rather be.

Obviously, we’re talking short-term survival here. But with the undeniably upscale Stag Arms’ Executive Survivor’s Kit, we’re moving well beyond the “SKS, 100 rounds, a couple cans of tuna, water bottle and flashlight in a duffel bag” approach.

Inside of a very nice Pelican 1700 Long Case, nestled in compartmentalized foam recesses, I found a Stag Arms M2 AR featuring a Diamondhead Versa-Rail handguard topped with an EOTech Holographic Red Dot optic, a field repair kit, Otis AR-15 cleaning kit, sling, two 30-round magazines, Gerber MP 600 multi-pliers, Gerber Omnivore LED flashlight, spare AA batteries, a first-aid kit, 60 rounds of Federal M193 5.56 ammo and one MRE (in this case, beef enchilada with a full array of extras).

The only thing lacking is $1,000 in gold coins, which would drive up the weight—not to mention the MSRP.

The weight of the entire kit, incidentally, is a shade over 28 pounds, which makes those roller wheels on the Pelican case less of a luxury than a necessity. Permanent vehicle storage would seem to be the order of the day.

After playing around with the assorted items in the kit (and managing to cut myself on the very sharp knife blade of the Gerber multi-pliers), I took the M2 out to the range. Originally, I’d intended to only use the supplied Federal ball ammo, but I chickened out and brought along some Black Hills 55-grain V-Max and Hornady Superformance 53-grain .223 loads as well.

I decided to do my shooting with the EOTech installed, primarily because (1) it’s got a very high cool factor and (2) I’d never had the opportunity to use one before. I’ve used standard red dot sights, and while they can be very effective at the 100-yard distance I’d be shooting at, it’s a bit tough to shoot tiny groups with them. Or at least groups that are really indicative of the rifle’s potential. The EOTech is a lot better in that regard because the 1X unit features a red dot inside of a red circle.

This reticle can be instantly adjusted for intensity. If you dial it down you get an almost ghost-ring effect with the central small dot assuming the dimensions of a bright one-MOA pinprick, which is fairly easy to center on a 5½-inch bullseye target at 100 yards. No, it’s not as well suited to that purpose as a duplex-type crosshair, but it’s very fast and works well in lighting that would render a conventional scope problematic (your field of view at 100 yards, assuming four inches of eye relief, is a very generous 90 feet). Anyway, it can be taken off the 1913 rail very quickly without tools should you want to go with the standard aperture rear/front post setup. But those extra AA batteries mean you’ve got enough run time for anything short of an end-of-the-world situation.

After setting the collapsible stock to its full-length setting, I spent a couple of rounds horsing the sight into zero at 25 yards. Then I fine-tuned things at 50 and moved the target out to 100. Elevation and windage adjustments are easily made via two screws on the right-hand side of the optic. They’re half-minute, so if you’re used to quarter-minute adjustments, try not to go overboard.

The single-stage trigger was nice and crisp, breaking at just barely over six pounds. The A2-type flash suppressor and 16-inch barrel meant that regular earmuffs—rather than plugs—are pretty much mandatory. Functioning was flawless as I pretty much expected; most M16/M4-platform rifles have been tweaked and R&D’d to death in the last couple of decades, and this Stag was no exception.

Groups with the three loads averaged from 11/2 to two inches. I’m almost certain a more “bullseye dedicated” sighting arrangement (not to mention a more bullseye-dedicated operator) would have yielded tighter results, and I think a more varied menu of loads would have helped in that regard as well. Still, this is an accurate, reliable carbine. With all the accessories in the case, you’d be pretty well equipped to deal with a short-term emergency scenario. And that MRE wasn’t half-bad either.

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  • Mack Missiletoe

    The only issue that I have, and I would like your opinion on this, is wouldn't the foam inside the case attract moisture during long-term storage?

    In a car, would the foam attract moisture? I would think so–and quickly.

    In a home, would the case attract moisture? I would think so, but much more slowly.

    If I store a gun in a case for any amount of time I take the foam out. If I leave the foam in, I apply oil on and inside the gun every few months. Sure, Stainless Steel guns can go longer but I would not take any chances. Also, Stainless Steel guns usually have blued sights, triggers, or other parts, for example a Smith & Wesson revolver.

    I heard a horror story from a supposed Gun Smith who said he often received a measurable amount of work for hunting rifles being turned in to him when hunting season started. He said that the rifles had rust on them after being stored in the foam cases for a year without care. He said he even saw foam stuck to a rusty gun before!

    • fred64

      the trick is to examine your shooter every month. doesnt take long and while your at it, run an olied patch thru the bore. if time is a constraint, purchess and climate free container. most accessory catalogs carry them.

    • Steve

      Use the yellow outgassing bags so the foam doesn't affect them.

    • Alan_T

      Great call Mack , storing in any case , foam or otherwise , is asking for a rusted gun ( except where Steve notes ) . . I keep mine in my safe with it's de – humidifier on .

    • Eric

      Because of my job, I'm moved around alot and some of those moves are outside the US. When I'm moved OCONUS, i have to put all my guns in storage which means a bunch of hard cases. What I do is put each rifle, shotgun and handgun in a silicone sock. I haven't had any problems yet with each of my trips being longer than a year. I take that back. I did have a spot of surface rust on the hammer of my 686. A little oil and a toothbrush took care of that. I made sure to pay extra attention to that when I stored them for this trip. But the point of this is: clean, lightly lube and place in silicone sock prior to longterm storage and you should be good to go.

    • http://www.facebook.com/nicholas.reid.58 Nicholas Reid

      Pelican Cases are water-tight and dust-tight. My 1170 and 1700 cases have held up to being dropped in a lake (the 1170; it actually floats), and the flooding due to Hurricane Irene, where they were both completely submerged for almost a week. I oil and look over my firearms (which see use almost every day..not long term storage) which are still stored in those same boxes, but I've never had a problem with moisture, let alone rust.

  • Cory

    $1,000 in gold coins would increase the weight of the package by less than an ounce.

    • Alan_T

      Hmmmm you're right Cory . I guess some of us like Mr . Miller and myself are showing our ages !

      By the way Payton , I used to listen to your wife on the radio . I especially liked her version of " Down Town " ! HAHAHAHAHA

  • Flivvert

    Maybe my 68 year-old eyes are failing me, but was the price of all this fun stuff mentioned anywhere? Or, if you have to ask, you can't afford it?

    • http://www.facebook.com/nicholas.reid.58 Nicholas Reid

      I read in the actual magazine article the price of the kit is $2,012 (funny) and the rifle alone is $950.

  • Rick

    to bad in CA we can't have this bag Not with the 30 round mags any way. and what would be the fun in that!!

  • Don

    From their website:

    The 2012 Executive Survivor’s Kit includes the following and is competitively priced at $2,012 (over $2500 value!):

    •Stag Arms Model 2 AR-15 rifle
    •Diamondhead Versa-Rail handguard
    •EoTech 517 Holographic Red Dot Optic
    •Stag Arms Field Repair Kit, OTIS AR-15 Cleaning Kit, & Silent Sling
    •Two 30 Round Magazines (10 rounds for restricted states)
    •Gerber MP 600 Multi-Pliers
    •Gerber Omnivore LED Flashlight
    •Dual Purpose Human/Pet First Aid Kit
    •MRE Field Ration Meal
    •Pelican 1700 Long Case
    •60 Rounds of Quality Ammunition

    • Mack Missiletoe

      Gee, thanks a lot Don!

    • John

      Wow, 60 rounds, one MRE a $20 at best flashligh, thats no value at all its a rip off.

  • Anishinabi

    For my Get out of town kit, I would rather have a short barrel 870 and lots of rounds for it and my SIG. A better protection with a sidearm. Most threats likely to be close in, and the shotgun unlikely to cause as much collateral damage. To each his own.

  • Mike

    thats why we need to keep fighting for our Gun Rights here in Loony land Rick,

  • luke

    Ain't no way in hell i'm paying $2,012 for that kit. And there's no way that's a $950 gun.

    I could put something together that performs twice as well for half the money!

    • Wambli Ska

      $950 for a Stag Arms AR with a colapsible stock, BUIS and a Versa-Rail is not out of line. The Eotech alone is about $500 and the case retails for about $200 by itself. The cleaning kit is about another $40 and the multi tool about $60 or so. Why is this totral price so unreasonable?

    • Wambli Ska

      I'd LOVE to hear about the setup that you can put together for "half the price" that will perform "twice as well".

  • THEMOCKMAN

    Bug-out kit? I am not going anywhere.

  • creed spain

    just get a sig,hk,colt,barret rec7,lwrc they are all better.

  • kcoruol

    Bug out rifle? Henry Arms AR-7 – Can be had for about $200 – Everything fits into a water-proof stock that floats including the barrel.

  • Call me, Carlos

    so where can I get one?

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