San Tan Tactical: A Year in Review
Chris Tran has had a year to take a look at San Tan Tactical’s revolutionary STT-15. Here’s his take on how he built his San Tan and how it performed.
I was introduced to San Tan Tactical just over a year ago while doing photowork for a marketing company. I am a natural Southpaw, so the San Tan ambidextrous lower immediately intrigued me.
For the purposes of this article, I am going to assume that the reader is already familiar with San Tan Tactical, as they were all over social media and the internet in 2014.
If for some reason you DIDN’T know who they were, you can read my original article here.
A little over a year has passed since I built my first San Tan, since then I’ve built an AR pistol using their matched billet set, and I have another build that I’m slowly piecing together as funds allow.
My San Tan Tactical build is a left-handed shooter’s dream. The integral left side mag release is well-situated, and the deep hexagonal patterning provides excellent tactile contact and provides a positive purchase with and without gloves.
- San Tan Tactical Lower & Upper Receiver
- Rainier Arms Select Series 14.5” 5.56 barrel 1:7 twist
- VG6 Precision EPSILON muzzle brake and Concussion Altering Gas Expansion (CAGE) device
- Fortis Manufacturing 556 SWITCH Rail
- Gripstop (now produced by B5 Systems)
- Fathom Arms Enhanced Nitride Bolt Carrier Group
- CMC Triggers 3.5 single stage flat bow trigger pack
- Battle Arms Development ambi safety selectors
- Midwest Industries ERS flip-up rear sight
- Unity Tactical FUSION Hub, front sight, and EXO
- Blitzkrieg Components, LLC chevron front sight post
- Surefire, LLC X300
- Way of the Gun Proctor sling
I have run the San Tan with standard aluminum mags, PMAGS Gen 1, MOE, and Gen 3, Lancer mags, and Elite Tactical Systems mags. I have never had a mag fail to drop free – loaded, partially loaded, or empty.
The location of the right-side bolt release is also well-placed; allowing me to send the bolt home with ease using my right thumb immediately after I seat a fresh mag. Ergonomically, San Tan Tactical is outstanding as I asserted in my original article.
I treat my firearms well, but I do not own any safe queens. The San Tan has run well dirty, dry, underlubed, overlubed, and I have experienced zero malfunctions with approximately 3000-3500 rounds through. I have confidence in this system, and if my budget had allowed, I would have shot a lot more through it. I don’t forsee there being an issue as this year continues on.
Pricepoint, quality, and reliability are on point. I am very pleased with San Tan Tactical, and it remains my first choice go-to long gun in my collection. This past year has only strengthened my position that San Tan Tactical is quality in terms of manufacture and ergonomics.
I have experienced one negative so far, and that was just recently on my pistol build, which sometimes allows Gen 3 PMAGS to drop free on their own. Work constraints being what they are, I haven’t had enough time to troubleshoot through it completely. As soon as I do, I’ll try to add an update.
For right-handed shooters, battery assist device levers are a no-go, the custom bolt catch will not accommodate aftermarket levers.
Photo by David Thorson, Tracerx Photography for Guns & Tactics Magazine
I would recommend San Tan Tactical to anyone. Like any other new company, they went through some growing pains over the past year. But my communication with Dennis has remained consistent, and after having had a chance to meet him at SHOT Show 2015, I am certain that he will continue to innovate. Which leads me to my next, and final critique – not just of San Tan Tactical but for most other manufacturers out there as well.
2014 showed many companies jumping all over the ambidextrous market: as shooting schools advanced new techniques, many shooter have realized the benefits of shooting right handed and "wrong" handed – ambidextrous controls are an obvious outshoot of training schools of thought.
There are, however, not a lot of TRULY ambidextrous lower receivers out there. The vast majority of them, even the ones with integral ambidextrous mag releases, have right side bolt release-only levers on the right face. This means that right-handed shooters (unless they attach a battery assist device) cannot truly lock the bolt back with an out-of-the-box ambi lower receiver. Only a couple of companies come to mind.
I am interested to see what San Tan Tactical does to address that issue. Will there be a 100% ambidextrous solution from San Tan Tactical, or is this as good as it’s going to get for their ambi offering?
I hope to see San Tan Tactical continue its innovations in the AR market. They charged out of the gate with the STT-15 and PILLAR combo sets, I sincerely hope they continue to innovate and remain a strong player in the AR market in the future.
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