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 patrol rifle came in the flattop-equipped configuration with a modular forearm that sported four parallel M1913 rails, suitable for mounting a forward grip, sights and lights. Additionally, the precision-machined forearm protected and freefloated the barrel. Freefloating allows the barrel to flex unencumbered, creating a consistency in bullet impact, adding to the firearm's accuracy potential. Freefloating is only a minor issue with an AR-15, as few barrels actually contact any part of the upper, but the consistent barrel tension from the forearm does. This was evident when testers fired it at longer ranges.

At the heart of the AR-15 system is the extractor. Experience in replacing this part taught DoubleStar to install high-quality extractors with the company logo on them.

There are several conditions which will cause an AR-15 to fail to spit out bullets; most are not related to the design or quality of the rifle itself. They are, instead, ammunition-, magazine- or maintenance-related failures. Few failures cause the user to stop and break out the cleaning rod or partially disassemble the rifle. A failure to extract does. The quality of the extractor indicates the manufacturer's attention to detail. DoubleStar fitted premium parts under the hood. The hardened extractor had an aggressive hook and was powered by stiffer than Mil-Spec springs.

DoubleStar ships a 1/9 match barrel, unless chrome-lined is requested. The chrome-lined barrel is more corrosion resistant; the match barrel more accurate. Unless officers plan to drag their rifles through the jungle, then wait a few weeks before cleaning them, testers recommend the match barrel. The difference in accuracy is subtle but worth it.

The 1/9 twist of the patrol rifle is consistent with the industry standard of light, flat shooting cartridges for law enforcement such as Federal Cartridge's TRU (Tactical Rifle Urban) products and close quarters entry specialty munitions from The Hunting Shack. The rifle was typically loud but delivered very little flash from the muzzle.

Rifle shooting is one of the few businesses where mundane, predictable minute shot groups can make others pay attention. Testers took notice of this rifle. The trigger broke cleanly and had the short travel typical for law enforcement rifles. Reviewers wielding the Patrol Rifle easily achieved rapid fire center mass hits within 50 yards and tight precision groups past 100 yards.

This rifle can be sighted in for close quarters battle and still render combat effective hits at other ranges. This has a lot to do with the approximately 3,200 feet per second (fps) muzzle velocity and 2,750 fps velocity at 100 yards. Most trajectories for bullets weighing less than 60 grains hardly vary 7/10 of an inch within 100 yards. That is the epitome of carbine range flat shooting.

The DoubleStar AR-15 Patrol Rifle is a moderately priced, precision manufactured carbine suitable for the law enforcement market. It easily met accuracy and reliability standards for a law enforcement carbine. Agencies considering a department-wide purchase cannot go wrong.

Lindsey Bertomen is a retired police officer who teaches Administration of Justice at Hartnell College in Salinas, California.

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