At the center of the law enforcement mission is controlling violent suspects. At times, with all our other duties, we forget that mission. Sadly, events have a way of reminding us of the dangers of law enforcement. The recent loss of officers is a tragic reminder that extremely violent criminal suspects are in our midst, and that we must equip, train and prepare to win against them.
Recent national headlines talk about an “uptick” in the use of assault weapons against law enforcement, with 40% of departments surveyed reporting an increase in the use of “assault” weapons. Although we should not engage in an “arms race” with the criminal elements in our society, we should seek out equipment and training that properly prepare our officers to win against the most violent offenders in society. Carbine Advantages
What the 5.56mm carbine offers law enforcement is the ability to put more accurate fire on target, out to greater distances and with more ballistic impact, than a sidearm. With a longer sight radius using irons sights, accuracy at a distance is improved. Equipped with a modern red-dot sight, the time on target is further reduced. With four points of contact (both hands, pectoral area and cheek weld), the shoulder-fired carbine is more stable and thus more accurate than the duty pistol.
With 28 rounds loaded in a 30 round magazine, the increased number of rounds instantly available and the reduced number of times needed to reload the weapon in a firefight are important factors. The overall militaristic appearance of the 5.56 M16/AR-15 platform can make a serious impression on suspects contemplating violent resistance and may possibly reduce violence.
When you take these features and add a sound, three-day minimum, basic carbine operator course to truly wring out the best from the rifle and the officer, it can really improve officer safety. Of course, the carbine you use has to be of such quality that it is capable of aiding in the fight.
Competition can be good for the consumer, at least if quality is present. As a carbine instructor, I’ve seen both the best and the worst while running a large variety of shooters through instructor and operator courses during the last few years. First and foremost, a carbine must work consistently and reliably.
In the training environment, learning is seriously affected when an officer must clear malfunction after malfunction or has to step off the firing line because his weapon system is repeatedly down. Some brands of carbine have more Mil-Spec parts and run more consistently than others do. I’ve run the Star-15 carbine from DoubleStar for a while now, and I haven’t had one hiccup—not one—during the time I’ve had it.
Although it’s a new carbine company, DoubleStar’s sister company, J & T Distributing, has been supplying parts for AR-15 platform rifles for 25 years. Many “brand name” carbines incorporate parts from other vendors in their rifles. Two things to look at are whether the parts are Mil-Spec and whether they are properly installed.
The DoubleStar Star-15 used for this test and evaluation came from the factory with a 16-inch, chrome-moly, lightweight barrel with a 1 in 9-inch twist; a YHM quad-rail forearm; a five-slot A-2 phantom flash hider; a GG&G flip-up back-up rear iron sight and a six-position DSC M-4 style adjustable butt-stock. The Star-15 provided was a flattop, which is certainly more flexible in terms of after-market sighting options as opposed to a fixed carry handle.
The factory direct quad rail handguard and the rear flip-up back-up iron sight were a welcome setup. I like to run both a red-dot collimator sight and a white light. With these options factory installed, all you have to do is mount your sight and light of choice. Although DoubleStar does not provide a sling with the carbine, I mounted a single point BlackHawk Storm™ sling on their Universal Single Point Sling Adapter.
The DoubleStar Star-15 trigger broke smoothly with no creep at just over 7 pounds according to my Lyman trigger gauge. This is a good trigger weight for a patrol carbine because that trigger weight will reduce the likelihood of unintentional discharges compared to a lighter trigger weight.
I installed several different sights on the Star-15 during the testing process, including: TruGlo®’s lower cost Traditional Red-Dot; Safariland®’s excellent SOPS-33mm red-dot, and the new awesome micro red-dot Ruggedized Miniature Reflex model RM03 from Trijicon®. Accuracy with the Star-15 was exceptional. Overall fit, finish, functioning and impressions of the Star-15 from DoubleStar were excellent!
I put thousands of rounds through the Star-15 during a longer than average test period with no recorded stoppages. Although I lubed the bolt carrier group of the carbine a couple of times with good quality lubricant, I did not clean it during the entire test period. The Star-15 functioned with a large variety of ammunition, including 55 grain FMJ from several different manufacturers, Hornady 75 grain TAP, and Extreme Shock Match Grade AntiTerrorist Munition.
In addition, I qualified on my agency’s carbine qualification course with the Star-15. This is now my personally owned, department-approved carbine for the street.
Although the year-end “officer killed” summaries from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund report a decrease in overall deaths (124, the lowest total deaths since 1959), there was a 23% surge in officers who were shot and killed compared to 2008 numbers.
Violent criminal suspects with weapons equal to or exceeding what officers carry killed multiple officers during several incidents in 2009. We do want the tools and training that are up to the task of stopping the most violent in society. With that mission in mind, the DoubleStar Star-15 carbine is up to the task.
Kevin R. Davis is a full-time police officer with 27 years experience and is assigned to his agency’s training bureau. He is a former team leader and lead instructor for his agency’s SWAT team. Kevin welcomes your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his Web site at www.advancedtacticalconcepts.com.