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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!