Shooting the Sisk Tactical Adaptive Rifle (STAR) with HEPR


By Karen Farthing

This previous Easter Sunday, I had the privilege of traveling to Hawesville, Kentucky to take a private lesson with Charlie Sisk of Sisk Rifles.

Complete disclosure – it was a bit of a fan-girl moment for me. I’ve been applying Sisk’s articles and lessons to teach my personal students each the art and science of precision rifle shooting for the previous many years. Finding to discover from him had me feeling like a padawan in the presence of a Jedi Master. It was THAT amazing.

And then I saw his rifles.

Sisk rifles STAR

Sisk STAR rifle (Nick Leghorn for TTAG)

To say that a Sisk custom rifle is wonderful is an understatement. These rifles are sleek. They are attractive. And they appear fabulous. It was adore at very first sight.

They are also fundamentally distinctive from any other rifle I’d ever had in my hands. Sisk has developed a completely adjustable technique he calls the Sisk Tactical Adaptive Rifle (STAR). When I say “fully adjustable” I imply just that – a complete 360 degrees of rotation on the stock. The length of the stock is adjustable, as effectively.

So, irrespective of whether you are 4 feet tall with a super quick neck, or six feet tall with a extended neck (like me), the stock adjusts to match you. The recoil pad can also be positioned to rest completely upright, completely reversed, or at any setting in among.

This enables for a snug match no matter how you are shaped – and no matter what position you require to be in. The cheek pad has about 4 inches of vertical adjustment and has roughly 40 degrees of tilt each fore and aft, making certain that superior weld is generally in attain.

Sisk didn’t neglect the niceties, either. With index marks for stock rotation, stock length, and cheek pad adjustment, you can “dope” your stock, just like you do with your optic.

Study TTAG’s 2013 Assessment of the Sisk STAR rifle Right here

Sisk didn’t quit there. He developed what he calls a Handguard Extending Picatinny Rail (HEPR) that not only enables the shooter to mount accessories (believe lights, bipods, and foregrips), but enables for 360 degrees of rotation along the horizontal axis of the rifle – correctly eliminating cant due to positioning.

By now some of you are likely pondering, “That’s risky! You are going to kill somebody.” I’m right here to inform you, that is completely untrue. The STAR technique is entirely steady, completely adjustable without having tools, and completely revolutionary.

Case in point – I was in a position to shoulder the rifle on my non-dominant side, sight with my dominant eye, operate the trigger with my dominant hand, though positioned laterally on a roof with a four:1 pitch. All with ZERO cant on the rifle. Rang steel 10 for 10.

We had been only shooting from 100 yards, so it wasn’t a complicated shot from the viewpoint of distance. Even so, without having the potential to adjust the rifle to match my physique and my position, it would’ve been terribly complicated to preserve a strong hold.

(Note – I do not have photographs of myself, due to the fact we didn’t have an added set of hands at the time. Even so, I asked a pal of mine for photographs from his class, and he graciously shared them with me (H/T Eric Dean). The following photographs are some of the shooting positions Sisk worked me by way of.)

Not rather the position I applied, and it is not the very best camera angle. Even so, note the position of the bipod mounted on the HEPR.

A enormous added advantage of the STAR technique and the HEPR is the potential for the shooter to make the very best use of cover and concealment. As effectively as the potential to get into a pretty low prone position.

These subsequent two shots are taken from opposite sides. The maneuverability of the STAR rifle enables for the shooter to make the very best use of concealment, shielding most of his physique from view. It also enables for a pretty low prone position, enabling the shooter to fire from underneath the trailer.

Scoring profitable, repeatable shots from the non-dominant side with the dominant eye (flat and inclined):

From an officer security standpoint, the STAR technique and the HEPR present immeasurable worth. Some added shooting positions applied (but not pictured) had been horizontally from a rooftop, facing up and down stairs, and braced in a doorway.

From the rooftop, Sisk placed a 10-round magazine upright on the peak, and my head was decrease than the height of the magazine. I was also in a position to move the bipod from the front of the rifle and attach it to the butt of the stock, applying it as a kickstand. From the stairs and the doorway, the flexibility of the STAR technique correctly reduce the visible portion of my physique in half.

Lastly, the most uncomfortable job of the day: scoring profitable, repeatable shots though wearing a gas mask. It was a complicated position to get into, but I was in a position to get a powerful weld and wonderful sight image. In my case, it was chin weld – not best, but weld is weld, I guess.

The factor that I like very best about this technique is not necessarily any of the added benefits discussed above. For an instructor, getting in a position to use this technique to take a mediocre or troubled shooter from a position of struggle to a position of results is the most significant advantage.

Bear with me right here – I’m about to make a couple of blasphemous statements. When advances in weaponry have brought us superior rifle accuracy with enhanced barrels, triggers, and optics, practically nothing has brought us superior accuracy for the shooter. Lengthy guns, by and huge, nevertheless match the similar fundamental pattern they did 200 years ago – encompassing a rigid, fixed stock, with pretty tiny variation in size.

Component of the explanation it requires so a lot practice to master the rifle is that the shooter ought to train the physique to adapt to the tool. When we zero an optic, we act like we’re zeroing it to the firearm. What we’re really performing is zeroing it to the shooter. (Go ahead, I can hear your outrage, but it is accurate.)

My husband has to re-zero all of my rifles prior to he shoots them. I’m a lefty, he’s a righty, and we are pretty distinctive sizes. My hold is distinctive from his. Anything is distinctive. So even when he has a superior sight image, superior point of reference and point of aim, his point of effect is under no circumstances exactly where it ought to be. If the optic had been Definitely zeroed to the rifle, he could just choose up and shoot effectively.

With the STAR technique, you can get a Accurate optic-to-rifle zero. Any shooter can score profitable, repeatable hits without having producing optic adjustments – due to the fact you adjust the rifle to the shooter.

Likewise, your instruction time with a new, mediocre, or troubled shooter becomes pretty much exponentially shorter due to the fact the necessity of instruction the physique to match the tool is diminished. The rifle is customizable to the shooter, and a lot of the time spent “getting comfortable” is no longer vital.

You nevertheless require a superior foundation – steady position, breathing, trigger manage, sight image – but the thousands of repetitions required to develop reflexive memory are not as vital.

The purists amongst us are going to be aghast, and I can hear the chorus of complaints now. “That’s cheating!” or “There’s no substitute for superior instruction!” or even “We’ve educated the similar way for hundreds of years. If it ain’t broke, do not repair it!”

My response is this: there’s no such factor as a fair fight, there’s just a fight. I’m going to cheat my ass off, due to the fact I’m going to do every little thing I can to win.

There IS no substitute for superior instruction, I agree. But we do not require to train the way we generally have. Not when technologies advances to the point exactly where new, superior instruction is doable. And even if it ain’t broke, we can nevertheless do it superior.

From a LE and military standpoint, the STAR modifications the two inquiries asked from, “Can we get our man in spot? And can he make the shot?” to one particular single query – “Can we get our man in spot?”

From a civilian or sport shooter’s standpoint, there are wonderful added benefits as effectively. I know lots of people today who can not hunt any longer due to the fact of back, neck, and shoulder injuries. Fused vertebrae, locked shoulders, disc discomfort. They just can not shoulder a rifle any longer.

With the STAR technique, they can. For the youth shooter, this rifle will develop with them. Any person with youngsters knows that they develop at distinctive prices – arms and legs develop quicker than every little thing else. They achieve weight, they drop weight. With a STAR rifle, it is adjustable and will match no matter what stage of development they’re in.

Now, for the down side. A Sisk custom rifle is going to run you about $5600. For a lot of of us, this is out of attain. It is out of attain for me, that is for positive.

There’s light at the finish of the tunnel, even though. If you personal a Remington or Savage rifle, you can get the stock and HEPR and develop your personal. Plans are underway for AR and shotgun stocks, as effectively. Sisk even has plans for a crossbow stock.

The stock will run you about $1300, and the HEPR runs about $125. That is doable. And I occur to have an old Savage 10 FP in .308.

Oh, and a shameless plug for Charlie Sisk – he’s at the moment hunting for the proper investor. If this is some thing you may be interested in, verify out his perform at . You can speak to him straight through the site.


Karen Farthing is an Army and Marine veteran, a former military firearms instructor/coach and an NRA Certified Rifle Instructor and an NRA Certified Variety Security Officer. 


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