There’s little doubt that Magpul’s innovative designs have done more to promote the idea of “tactical chic” in the last couple decades than any other company. They were one of the first to actually put some effort into designing visually appealing firearms accessories instead of simply sticking to the pre-existing military designs that seemed stuck in the 1980s. While they may have initially made a name for themselves for their visual style (and helpful mag pulling accessories), what has kept them in the spotlight is their ability to innovate and produce useful designs that solve problems. One of their latest: the ACS-L carbine stock . . .
One of the biggest complaints I read about the standard carbine style stock is how it feels. With a fixed rifle length stock, the gun feels solid and well built. The stock doesn’t shimmy or move, and it makes for a more stable shooting platform. With the carbine stock, however, the thing… well, I was going to make a Michael J. Fox joke but I thought better of myself.
The usual solution to a shaky stock is to replace it with a fixed length stock. Magpul offers the best fixed length stock in the business with their PRS offering, but it’s heavy and bulky and doesn’t work in every build. The other option is the UBR that provides the stability of a fixed stock with the adjustability of an adjustable one, but that stock is as heavy as a World of Warcraft player after a pizza and video game binge weekend. And it requires a proprietary buffer tube — the stock, not the WoW player.. If you’re looking for a drop in replacement that solves the problem with the wobble, there wasn’t much choice.
That’s where the ACS comes into the picture.
The original ACS design included two compartments along the cheek piece that increased the surface area and allowed for some battery storage, but some people (myself included) found it to be too bulky to be useful. The improved ACS-L design removes those compartments and provides a cheek piece that is closer to the other Magpul stock designs, which I like.
There are two big improvements that the ACS-L has over the standard Magpul MOE stock design: the storage compartment and the locking system.
A storage compartment is something that most people will never really need, but I find it extremely convenient. It’s not big enough to store anything substantial like a Twinkie or another magazine, but it is just big enough for some paperwork. For those using a suppressed SBR, for example, the compartment can easily fit a spare copy of your NFA paperwork. Personally, I use it mostly as a place to keep my hunting license so I don’t forget it when I head out to murder delicious animals. It can also be used for front sight adjustment tools, dummy rounds for malfunction training, or a little lube — anything you can’t afford to forget when you head out into the field. One caveat though: In the Magpul UBR the compartment can be removed, but in the ACS the compartment is permanent.
In addition to that storage compartment, the stock offers a couple sling mounting solutions. There’s a generously sized loop for a two point sling system to be anchored on the inside curve of the stock, and in addition there are multiple holes pre-drilled and tapped to accept Magpul’s QD cups for single point or two point sling systems. If you have a sling and can’t find a way to attach it to the ACS-L, then you’re just not trying.
While the sling related features are nice, the best part of this stock is that they have eliminated the wobble. In addition to the usual “push here to move the stock around” button, the stock has a second button in front of that. When you have everything set up properly, push that button into the stock and it locks up as solid as any fixed stock could. It works great, and releasing the stock to adjust it doesn’t require any special attention — just push the same button you normally do and everything works fine.
The reason I was interested in the stock was to see if it improved the already whisper quiet properties of my 300 BLK SBR. I’ve already replaced the spring in the stock with a JP Enterprises captured buffer spring and it reduced a bunch of noise, but there was still a bunch of rattling going on just because the stock and the buffer tube aren’t perfectly mated. Once I swapped out the stock, the wobble was completely gone and the rifle was just a hair quieter. In short, it worked.
The ACS-L isn’t perfect. There’s still no adjustable cheek piece, so using it on a precision rifle might not be ideal. But for those who want the stability of a fixed stock without swapping their existing carbine buffer tube, this would be my #1 choice.
Magpul ACS-L Stock
MSRP : $79.95
Ratings (out of five stars):
Design: * * * * *
I think it looks great. Functional and good looking.
Functionality: * * * * *
It works. It makes an adjustable stock feel like a fixed stock at a fraction of the price of their other offerings.
Overall Rating: * * * * *
I like it. A lot.