7 Top AR-15 Stocks for Your Build or Upgrade

AR-15 replacement stocks

Not the cheek weld. Image Sgt. Luke Rollins [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons

One of the things that a lot of people look to upgrade on their factory AR is the stock, but which AR-15 stock to get? There are SO many of them out there.

We’ll go over some examples, but it also helps to know what you want in a replacement AR-15 stock.

Do you want a fixed stock or a collapsible stock? A rifle stock or carbine stock? Are you looking for mil-spec or is that unimportant? Are you looking for a basic rubber butt-pad on a buffer tube or do you want all the bells and whistles (and adjustments)?

Let’s also briefly touch on what to look for. We will be focusing on stocks here not AR-15 pistol braces. We’ll cover those later.

Before you start, check to see if your gun has a mil-spec or commercial-spec buffer tube. This will impact your selection, as not all AR-15 stocks are offered for both. If you’re not sure or don’t know the difference, read this.

AR-15 fixed stock FN collector series

Nick Leghorn for TTAG

You’ll want to make sure you get the right length of pull. For those who don’t know, that’s the distance between the butt of the stock to the front face of the trigger. You should be able to shoulder the gun easily, and when the gun is shouldered it should be pointing basically where your dominant eye is looking. That will be more of a consideration with a fixed stock such as the one above.

Here’s a quick way to tell if you have the right length of pull: shoulder the gun and bring it up to aim, with your finger on the trigger. With your eyes on the sights, your shooting hand should be about an inch or two finger-widths away from your nose. Less than an inch is too short, two or more inches is too long.

This is why an adjustable stock is a good thing; you can dial in the LOP you need. With a fixed stock, you can add to it with a rubber buttpad and/or spacers…but you can’t subtract.

Another aspect to consider is the cheek weld. Your cheek should easily finds a natural resting spot against the stock as you shoulder it.

Durability is also important. Unless the stock in question is so cheap that you don’t have to worry about, this one speaks for itself.

Lastly? Comfort! This you’ll know right away. If it feels too hard or uncomfortable to you, it is and frankly there’s no real reason to go with something that isn’t comfortable. There might be some scenario where you need the utmost in collapsibility and therefore have to opt for the most minimal stock possible at the expense of comfort, but in the real world, most people won’t have that requirement.

Now that that’s out of the way, here are 7 top AR-15 stocks to consider if you’re going to upgrade or if you’re building a new AR.

Magpul CTR. Credit: Magpul.com

First, we have a carbine stock that’s kind of the standard, the Magpul CTR. The Compact/Type Restricted stock is a bog-standard polymer collapsible stock that fits any carbine extension tube, mil-spec or commercial-spec. It’s an A-frame stock, with a 0.3-inch rubber butt pad and a friction lock to keep it secured in place. It has 3+ inches of LOP adjustment (3.3 in the mil-spec, 3.8 in the commercial) gives a decent cheek weld and best of all, doesn’t cost too much at only $59.95 MSRP. For another $10, the MOE SL has a beefed-up upper for a better cheek weld and an angled butt pad for better shooting, as well as other features.

Leapers UTG Pro-6. Credit: leapers.com

Another good budget option is the Leapers UTG Pro series, specifically the UTG Pro 6-Position stock. It’s a collapsible stock, and is available for mil-spec and commercial-spec. The stock includes the extension tube, buffer spring, ring and nut for easy installation. The stock has 6 positions to adjust LOP (4.4 inches of adjustment) and a sling loop. The stock housing is durable polymer, and it’s made in the USA. MSRP is $52.97, so priced quite nice.

B5 Systems SOPMOD stock. Credit: b5systems.com

For a bit more in features, there’s the B5 Systems SOPMOD Stock. It’s for mil-spec rifles, as B5 Systems don’t make stocks for commercial rifles. The SOPMOD is collapsible, with adjustability for length of pull. The buttpad is thicker than on other stocks, and the upper assembly is much wider. The stock has storage compartments for AA or CR-123 batteries, but also allows for a better cheek weld than many other stocks. The hard polymer construction is rugged and durable, and it includes a swivel mount for use with a sling. The price goes up to about $100 through most retailers, but it’s a very good mid-shelf AR-15 stock to invest in.

Battlelink Minimalist Stock. Credit: missionfirsttactical.com

The Battlelink Minimalist Stock by Mission First Tactical, available for both mil-spec and commercial rifles, is a good alternative for those who prefer a minimalist aesthetic. It’s adjustable/collapsible, and not too expensive ($60) but does everything a Magpul or other stock does with less weight and taking up less space. It has multiple sling mounting points, allowing the user to attach is where they wish, and a contoured upper to give you a better cheek weld than you’d expect.

Luth-AR MBA 3. Credit: luth-ar.com

If nothing but the best will do, look at the Luth AR MBA system. There are several models, but all models are made of durable polymer. There are both fixed stock and adjustable stock models, but the mack daddy of them is the MBA-3. It fits both AR-15 and AR-10 rifles. The stock does not include sling swivels, the buffer tube, the buffer body, spring or stock rail. The stock itself starts at $135, but you still need all the other kit (extension tube, etc) to attach it.

However, the expense gets you a truckload of features. The cheek piece adjusts up or down, and can be put on the left or right side of the stock. This gives you the best possible cheek weld. Length of pull is adjustable by moving the stock itself (the classic six-position adjustments) and also by adjusting the buttplate. It also features a set screw to fully lock the stock and eliminate rattle.

The durable glass-filled nylon polymer (that’s what they make Glocks out of) can take a beating but also reduces weight, as it weighs in at only 18.5 ounces. Expensive, sure, but if you demand the best…this is it.

Magpul MOE Fixed stock. Credit: magpul.com

If you prefer to make things as simple as possible, the MOE Fixed Stock by Magpul – for under $30 – makes things simple. There’s no adjustment. You get the stock and the butt pad. Length of pull – 12.2 inches – had better be right for you.

Battle Arms Development Sabertube lightweight stock. Credit: battlearmsdevelopment.com

Some people want the utmost in durability and simplicity. For that, look into the Battle Arms Development Sabertube stock. They’re simple – it’s a buffer tube with a buttplate on it. But they’re made tough, machined from billet aircraft-grade aluminum. It’s iron-tough, and it’ll affix to your shoulder…but it is feature-poor. There are none. However, if lightweight (3 ounces TOTAL) and durable is the name of your game…you won’t find anything better. The price will make you wince at $200 for the carbine length (8-¼” LOP) or rifle length for $15 more.

These, of course, are just some of the many, many AR-15 stocks that are available. However, these makes and models are well-worth the look. Think of any we missed? Sound off in the comments!

comments

  1. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

    Now a days I would only build from stripped lowers and Pistol would be the default build for all,my choice for a brace would be the SB A3,at 6.75 oz. it doesn’t add a lot of weight to any build.

    1. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

      Guys, really. Buy a real rifle to begin with. Yeah, I know they’re more expensive. I know it’s harder to hang bullshit on them you really don’t need anyway, but by the time you buy all that shit on an AR you could have a FAL, HK91, etc. Maybe even a BM-59 if you shop. Don’t forget the Galil. I’m thinking of having myself buried with mine.

      1. avatar Kroglikepie says:

        Yeah, no. I find that I can build a better AR for cheaper than I can buy a lesser one for. Besides, nothing quite familiarizes you with your weapon like building it.

  2. avatar Lance says:

    Hm. Always been a fixed stock kind of guy regardless of the LOP. I may start taking a looking at adjustable stocks after reading this…

    1. avatar Ruthless Objectivity says:

      With respect to fixed stocks, I am very fond of my Hera stock for my SBRs.

    2. avatar Rincoln says:

      They completely skipped over the best adjustable stock on the market: Magpul UBR. Yes, it’s heavier than most. But, it has the stability of a fixed stock in an adjustable one.

      1. avatar Forward Assist says:

        I wasn’t a fan of my UBR so I sold it. I wanted the cheek weld to move with the stock. By remaining stationary, the weld was too far forward on the rifle. Plus it weighed a ton, and caught beard hair better than most.

  3. avatar Cruzo1981 says:

    For any PDW I like the Strike Industries PDW stock. I seem to be assembling PDWs these days. It’s pricey though…

    1. avatar MEDIC says:

      The Strike Modular Fixed Stock is also bueno. It’s cheap, and isn’t finished super great (flashing) but it shoulders well and I’m eager to get ahold of the monopod eventually.

  4. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

    I’ve got the Magpul MOE and I like it. Doesn’t wiggle like the stock Batman stock did. And the OD green really dresses a black rifle up.

    1. avatar SoCalJack says:

      I have the exact same on an AR with an ODG pistol grip, quad rail guards, pmags, hexmags, and 2 other long guns in ODG. I’ve been an ODG guy since my Dad was a SeaBee in the 70s and 80’s. ODG for life!

      1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        I’ve got the matching MOE forend, grip and trigger guard bottom. I don’t mind the tan but prefer the OD. Either looks much better than black, IMHO. Same with bolt guns and probably pistols as well. Just not a fan of black plastic on black metal. Black on stainless looks OK though.

        Finnished it off with a Timney 2 stage and a Redfield 2-7x on a Weaver AR mount. Nice package overall now.

  5. avatar Biff says:

    The B5 SOPMOD Bravo is probably a better stock than the SOPMOD. It doesn’t have the storage tubes, but is a little less bulky and it cost about half (around $50) what the SOPMOD cost.

    1. avatar James Isaac says:

      I don’t know if I have one but my LWRC came with a stock that looks like a sopmod without the storage. I have never tried a regular sopmod, but I prefer not to store anything on my gun that I don’t need right now.

      My favorite stock though is the XLR.

      Edit: Not a sopmod, it is a LWRC compact.

  6. avatar jenny says:

    there’s different stock sfor different uses, you don’t want a collapsible one witha long range rifle, and you don’t want a long solid one with a compact carbine.

  7. avatar WI Patriot says:

    I’m good with the FAB Defense stock(s) I have…have served me very well over the yrs, no reason to give them up…

    1. avatar Squiggy81 says:

      Nice stocks especially for the price. I used one on my 224 Valkyrie build. I wanted something with an adjustable cheek weld and also didn’t want to spend a fortune. I also like how tight it fits on the buffer tube. Way too much play in most stocks for any precision rifle.

  8. avatar CA ST says:

    Lets not forget about the Lancer Carbon Fiber Stock as a viable option to the Magpul MOE Fixed Stock.

  9. avatar Shire-man says:

    I was advised by more than one instructor to avoid that MFT minimalist stock as it was considered flimsy and a “snag hazard.” A few years, several thousand rounds and at least two dozen carbine courses later I’ve had no problems with its durability or it snagging on carriers, packs, vests, slings my beard or anything else. I’ve even mortared with a few times.

    I run one on two ARs and an AK and I love it.

    1. avatar Widdler says:

      Shire-man, I heard the same things. Been running my MFT for a couple years now and haven’t had any problems with it, no wobble dosen’t break the bank and feels good. Not to sure what they were talking about but I got no complaints.

  10. avatar TexasJack says:

    I’d take the Rogers Super-Stoc over the Magpul

    1. avatar doesky2 says:

      And they have a 2nd locking mechanism so they are wobble free.
      You can find them new on Ebay for as low as $30 shipped.
      That’s a steal.

  11. avatar Xanderbach says:

    For my competition gun, I went for the Brownell’s “retro” line A1 stock. It has a perfect length of pull (for me), is consistent for competition shooting, is lightweight and inexpensive ($39.99).

    Also, it allows a rifle buffer, which softens the recoil to minuscule levels. Since it isn’t a fragile original A1, I can beat the hell out of it and not worry.

  12. avatar Gunner says:

    VLTOR E-Mod for me.

    I do like the ACS and have it on a long-range build (bad, I know). It’s always worked well for me.

    I also like the Magpul MOE SL on one of my carbines.

    Building a long-range AR now and will be going with the Luth-AR.

  13. avatar Mort says:

    Um… Slightly amazed that the stout BCM Gunfighter wasn’t on here. Maybe it is too obvious, or “trendy” or who knows why… but presumably this article is written for relative newcomers to AR customizing (i.e., folks that are figuring out what it is they like and need in the platform, and what’s out there). Perhaps its omission was to keep the Gunfighter a secret for all us long-time platform users… ?

    Anyway, a list of AR stocks without it is simply incomplete (be it 7, or 5, or 3…). The Gunfighter is outstanding– slim, light, quality materials and fit-n-finish, featuring QD, a pad, and a sling tie-up for vehicle ingress/egress. But the real story is that this is not your usual “one circular pin on a spring in the tube detents” thing for adjustment. It’s got an “pressure clamp” system (for lack of a better quick description) … which gives it a nice clean big button for adjustment, but also means that it sits tight. No rattle, no loosey goosey– still easy to adjust, but so much better locked in. If that AR stocking wiggle or rattle bugs you… the Gunfighter stock is a good cure. If you need that SOPMOD type wide cheek-wells, there is a version with that, too.

    It’s a brilliant piece of kit… at least as good as anything on this list, and better than most. Simplicity, function, and quality. I got one sort of by accident… I wasn’t even going to shoot with it before swapping it to my usual SOPMOD type. But, I gave it a chance, and it’s probably never coming off now. Heck, ask around… but I think it’s great.

    Be safe. MortAZ

  14. avatar Tex Patriot says:

    For my next build, I am looking to go STUPID with something like a .450 Bushmaster rifle for blasting shit with big bullets for fun.

    I was thinking of going with a fixed stock but my LOP is about the midpoint of my Magpul MOE stock. Is there a decent “shortish” fixed stockthat would allow me to add spacers should I need them?

    1. avatar No one of consequence says:

      A Doublestar skeleton stock might be worth a look.

      Or an M4 SOCOM, also from Doublestar. Two different base lengths available, plus some LOP adjustment on both versions. On the heavy side but they’re also very solid.

  15. avatar EWTHeckman says:

    I’m a big fan of the Daniel Defense stock. It’s very well shaped, stable, and among the lightest stocks available.

  16. avatar Pilot says:

    You forgot to add the Magpul UBR. I’ve got a GEN 1 and GEN 2. Both are awesome as hell. I prefer the GEN 1 since I was able to add an aluminum strike plate and it seems a bit more beefier, although it is heavier. Gen 2 is lighter and cleaner looking. I don’t regret buying either.

    1. avatar JR Pollock says:

      Same here with a Gen 1 UBR. I was looking around for a while, and found one NIB for less than $200. They’re the most substantial collapsible stock on the market. It has a proprietary buffer tube, so if you’re doing a build, you can subtract the price of a buffer tube from the price of the stock.

      1. avatar That Jason says:

        The buffer tube is included.
        https://www.magpul.com/products/ubr-2-0-collapsible-stock

        It works with carbine buffer and spring, or you can go A5.

  17. avatar possum says:

    I had a bumpstock,
    . Now it’s just an adjustable stock with the stock stopper broke

  18. Magpul UBR The Best Stock On The Market.

    1. avatar JR Pollock says:

      Yes it is.

  19. avatar Glock Glutton says:

    Doublestar Ace A105 fixed stocks are solid. No plastic rattling. If you live in Jersey it has to fixed anyways. I also take a piece of pipe insulation and add it to the stock for a cheek weld.

    1. avatar Widdler says:

      +1
      I put an ace on my AK about 5 years ago and love it, wasn’t cheap but turned my Npap into a completely different rifle.

  20. avatar Nick says:

    Please, stop overlooking the magpul moe SL. It’s around $43 and it has leaf springs to tension the buffer tube. This is the best stock value period, always overlooked and ignored… superior quality.

  21. avatar Wiregrass says:

    I went with a Hogue Overmolded Fixed Rifle Stock for my latest lower build. I plan to use this rifle for hunting and I didn’t want the rattle that accompanies carbine stocks. Maybe some don”t rattle but it was my experience. I like the looks and light weight of this stock. It doesn’t have an adjustable cheek weld like the more expensive Precision stocks but it’s not bad, Comes with a variety of colors and matching grip colors are available also. My only problem was I bought it through Optics Planet and their shipping time is atrocious.

  22. avatar Anymouse says:

    They left off the Slide Fire Solutions stock. One of the most comfortable I’ve shot.

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