Carbine captures attention

The police carbine is a tool which overlaps the capabilities of the handgun and long-range rifle. Most multifunction tools do a variety of jobs but do not necessarily excel in any of them. The police carbine is the exception to this rule.


The police carbine is a tool which overlaps the capabilities of the handgun and long-range rifle. Most multifunction tools do a variety of jobs but do not necessarily excel in any of them. The police carbine is the exception to this rule. The AR-15 carbine is an effective close quarter instrument. It also can be summoned from the patrol car to provide deliberate precision fire. One such carbine is the DoubleStar AR-15 Patrol Rifle, which "Law Enforcement Technology" recently tested. This rifle proved itself both a reliable and accurate multifunction tool for the patrol officer.

DoubleStar has been in the AR-15 manufacturing business for eight years. J+T Distributing, its sister company, co-located in Winchester, Kentucky, has been in the rifle parts business for more than 25 years. Under the DoubleStar logo, the family-owned business ventured into manufacturing complete units.

DoubleStar begins with forged receivers, adding premium parts such as a DoubleStar six-position M-4 style stock, GG&G MAD (Multi-Aperture Device) rear sight, Yankee Hill Machine four-rail handguards and Hogue rubber pistol grips. Several options, including trigger and bipod upgrades, are available.

Why an AR-15?

The most convincing argument in favor of using an AR-15 for patrol is the tremendous amount of data users have accumulated about them. Generally, an AR-15 will work in almost any condition unless it is treated very, very poorly. An AR-15 can get a dunking and come up shooting. It can be dropped, dragged, cooked or frozen, and still perform reliably.

The AR-15 is an engineering marvel. Although it is a gas-powered rifle, meaning the pressurized gases escaping from the chamber are used to work the action, it uses this gas in a unique way.

Most gas-powered rifles use pressure to work a piston, which in turn works the bolt, which locks the cartridge in the chamber. Hot gases are bled through a hole in the rifle barrel. These gases move a piston connected to the bolt. The piston unlocks the bolt, which extracts this and brass, feeding and chambering another cartridge.

An AR-15 does not have a piston. Gases bled from the barrel unlock the bolt directly. The bolt is a multi-lug piece that precisely mates with the lugs in the chamber, rotating to lock the bullet until ignition. This bolt fits into a carrier, which aids in an efficient seal of the gases.

The AR-15 rifle is lightweight, handles high chamber pressures, and fires a lighter, lower recoil bullet. The rifle's geometry places all recoil absorption mechanics directly in line with a shooter's shoulder, making it the lightest recoil battle rifle in service.

The pistonless AR-15 also has a distinct disadvantage. Because superheated gases travel directly into the bolt and chamber area, the steel must be especially hard and durable. Instead of a simple accumulation of dirt, everything is baked on. Because lockup tolerances between the bolt and chamber run in the thousandths of an inch, scrubbing the bolt and its components is the key to keeping it running.

The rising AR-15 star

Testers found the DoubleStar AR-15 Patrol Rifle was obviously in the upper echelon of law enforcement AR-15s. The bolt assembly glided smoothly through its full cycle while brass ejected into neat piles. The upper and lower sections mated without any play in the major parts, including tight front and rear pins. Anyone who has carried an issued M-16 knows poorly mated uppers and lowers rattle near the pins, which is annoying but inconsequential. The patrol rifle accepted magazines with a positive click and fed bullets without incident. Throughout the tests, there were no failures of any kind.

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