The AR-15 style of rifle is possibly the most popular in the world and definitely the most popular in America. We owe ArmaLite for the original design of this rifle. The rifle stock is one of its most essential parts as it dictates comfort and precision. Here’s what to look for in the best AR-15 stock. I’ve also outlined five of my personal favorites.
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Knowing What You’re Looking for
When researching any product, it’s essential that you learn what you’re looking for. This is especially true for rifle accessories, not to mention an accessory as important as the stock. Let’s be honest, your factory stock isn’t going to do the trick regardless of which AR-15 you’re getting. You want something better. Well, you’re in luck, because I’m going to show you what to look for in an AR-15 stock.
Ah, yes, purpose. Why did you get an AR-15? Was it for protection? Maybe you go hunting with it? Or perhaps you are a collector who wants to customize his or her weapon? Honestly, this is the biggest determinant that will help you choose the right stock.
If you are tired of that old stock, you’ll want something ergonomic and lightweight. If you’re a police officer, you’re likely looking for something compact that won’t take too much room in the squad car. As a private citizen, well, it’s up to your needs.
A rifle stock should fit you comfortably when you’re aiming. It should conform to the body and cheek position when looking down the scope or sight. Some stocks you’ll have to try out before buying. Other stocks are adjustable. For instance, a manually-adjustable cheek rest is a cool feature on some AR-15 stocks.
Collapsible vs. Fixed
Speaking of adjustability, some rifles work better with collapsible stocks while others with the fixed ones. AR-15s work great with both, although collapsible stocks are definitely the most popular. Collapsible stocks have the huge advantage of adjustability – meaning that they can be set to conform to your build. Typically, they’ll have four to eight positions to choose from, which is a great perk.
On the other hand, people who are looking for sturdiness in a stock (which is definitely not a downside, but a matter of preference) will flock to the fixed stock. Plus, fixed stocks tend to be cheaper and more durable.
I won’t even get into the aspect of compactness here, as collapsible stocks are definitely more convenient.
The weight is definitely one of the most important aspects to keep in mind when choosing your best AR-15 stock. Some people don’t mind a heavy weapon. With more weight, you get less recoil, not to mention how crucial the recoil is when shooting.
Then, there’s the aspect of balancing the weapon – longer handguards (attachments to the barrel of a rifle for grip) will work well with heavier stocks. But then there’s the aspect of the rifle’s weight. When you’re weighed down by a lot of equipment, you don’t want the stock adding to your problems.
Yep, some stocks actually come with storage options on them. Nothing fancy, mind you, but it feels nice to be able to store the batteries for your optics inside your stock. Some stock storage will allow you to store a couple of ammo rounds in them. You never know when you may need an extra round or two. You can also store firing pins, other repair parts, etc.
Again, it all depends on what you need. As someone who’s using the AR-15 for personal protection, you may not need the stock storage.
I’ve had my stock break down on me before. This can happen at the worst moment, as you may know. In this regard, the material is what dictates its durability. Oh, and material greatly influences the weight of the stock.
My advice is to go with polymer. It’s lightweight, durable, and it feels nice to the touch. Take this with a grain of salt, though, as my stock needs may not be the same as yours.
The Legality of Things
Finally, there’s the question of legality here. As we all know, firearm laws vary from state to state, so you should be aware of what your state law dictates. Some stocks, particularly the collapsible ones, are illegal in a number of states and localities.
There’s nothing you can do about it, though. You know, apart from preventing yourself from wasting money or getting fined down the line. Look into the rules and regulations about rifle stocks in your state first, just to be safe.
Best AR-15 Stocks
I’ve compiled a list of five of my favorite AR-15 stocks that are currently available on the market. I’ve tried to be as objective as possible. So, here we go.
The Magpul MOE is one of the most vanilla stocks that I’ve ever tried. This is definitely not a bad thing necessarily, but it depends on what you’re looking for. First of all, the MOE is 8oz and its light. It’s made of polymer too.
This A-frame-shaped stock is strong and ergonomic (which you’d expect from an A-frame stock). It’s an adjustable stock, meaning that it will most likely fit your build. It features a rubber buttpad (the back part of the stock that meets your shoulder) for comfort.
Unfortunately, the model doesn’t have too many sling mounting locations, although the present ones are serviceable. So, if you’re looking for a vastly tweakable stock that will give you various mounting options, this one’s definitely not for you. With that said, if you prefer the typical sling mounting locations, you won’t be disappointed.
Overall, the Magpul MOE is a great stock. In fact, many AR-15 rifle types have discontinued their stocks and are shipping their models with the MOE nowadays. This means that, although it may not be the best AR-15 stock on the market, the MOE is more than decent for light use. Plus, it’s fairly cheap as a basic stock.
If you’re new to the world of AR-15 rifles and don’t need it for extensive combat capabilities, I urge you to try this one.
- Not too many sling mounting options
- No storage options
You might be deterred from looking into this stock when you see its 6-7 Ib weight, but don’t be. Many stocks of this caliber go above and beyond 10 Ibs. So, how is this possible? MFT decided to experiment a bit by removing the diagonal support for the Battlelink Minimalist. Yep, removed it altogether. Now, you get an L-shaped stock – you know, the one that many frown upon.
Let’s not kid ourselves, as the BMS (Battlelink Minimalist) model is definitely structurally weaker than it could’ve been if the diagonal support was there. But the MFT BMS was never designed to be a structurally sound stock – it’s an AR-15 stock for those who want functionality, accuracy, and reliability, and without all the weight. MFT has definitely achieved this with the BMS.
Another problem with the L shape is the good old snagging. Having your stock stuck in an unseemly situation doesn’t feel good. However, a simple solution here would be to tie a thicker cord that will go from the stock’s front to the bottom side of the buttplate (the backside of the stock).
Other than that, the MFT BMS is an accurate and sturdy stock, while being more than light for the class it’s in. It also has a storage option for your batteries, and it has adjustability and is very convenient and comfortable.
- Lightweight for the category
- Storage option
- Potential snagging (although solvable with a thicker cord)
B5 Systems has released its SOPMOD stock that boasts a familiar SOPMOD look. Although the battery storage option of the SOPMOD was more than comfortable, the company realized that some people simply wouldn’t need this option. And thus, the Bravo was born. It manages to retain all the qualities of the SOPMOD, without the battery storage option. If you don’t care about battery storage, this is a significant plus.
First of all, the storage removal has made this stock lighter and significantly cheaper. The Bravo features a comfortable cheek weld (the area where your cheek rests when aiming down the sights). What makes it so comfortable is its broadness.
At the buttpad, you can call the Bravo so rounded that it’s almost aggressive. This extremely rounded design makes it easy to roll the rifle from a low ready position. Very, very comfortable.
There’s a reason why I haven’t mentioned this stock’s weight up until now. You’d expect a stock of this meticulous quality to weigh at least a pound, maybe more. Nope, Bravo B5 weighs 8.25 oz. If you’re looking for a heavier stock to counteract a heavy handguard, the Bravo is definitely not for you. However, if you’re like me and prefer the stock to be lighter, you may want to consider this one.
- Very light
- Not expensive
- Cheek weld extremely comfortable
- Aggressively rounded buttpad
- No battery storage (not necessarily bad)
This collapsible stock is praised and respected by law enforcement, the military, and sports shooting experts across the world. It isn’t the most expensive, the most advanced, or the best AR-15 stock in the world but it proves that a simple, feature-rich rifle stock can go a long way.
First of all, it’s collapsible, meaning that it can save you a lot of trouble and grief in the field, regardless of what you’ll use it for. Even at its longest, the VLTOR IMOD is convenient. It has an angled buttpad that boasts a wide traction area. This allows for easy stance switching, while staying fixed when running the stock high on the shoulder. When you’re wearing body armor or web-gear (a gear storage option worn by law enforcement and military personnel placed on your torso), this can mean a lot.
Many AR-15 stocks have sharp edges that are notorious snagging points. In this sense, the VLTOR IMOD is very practical. The manufacturer has removed all unnecessary snag points.
Although it isn’t the strongest stock on the planet, it can sure take a beating.
- Angled buttpad
- No sharp edges that snag
- Fairly strong
- Although strong, it lacks in the durability department
If you summarize the main aspects of a top-of-the-line stock, it should be lightweight, durable, good with recoil, and adjustable. And the LUTH-AR MBA (Modular Buttstock Assembly) has it all.
Let’s start off with the price. Go ahead, Google it. You won’t like it. Now that we’ve ripped off that Band-Aid as quickly as we could, let’s see if the MBA is worth the money. Spoiler alert: It is.
First of all, this AR-15 stock is lightweight. In fact, at 1.26 Ibs. it is amazingly light, considering its size and application. That’s because it’s made of glass-filled nylon. As you might know, nylon is a polymer and this is the material responsible for the MBA’s durability and, I have to say, it’s pretty much out there when it comes to durability.
Ambidextrous? Sure. The MBA is fully ambidextrous, suitable for both shooter types and every corner covered. You’ll also love its recoil absorbency. Oh yeah, and the stock is fully adjustable, so it will suit you regardless of your size and build.
Although definitely not the cheapest stock on the market, the LUTH-AR MBA is worth the money. It might just be the best AR-15 stock available out there.
- Great recoil absorption
Each stock on the list will find its ideal owner. However, the LUTH-AR Modular Buttstock Assembly definitely takes the cake. At 8.25 oz., Bravo B5 is somewhat lighter than the MBA, but this one is sturdier and a completely different category. It’s significantly lighter than the MFT Battlelink Minimalist and stronger than the VLTOR IMOD. If you want something simple, go with Magpul MOE. If you’re looking for a more professional, long-lasting stock, the LUTH-AR MBA is the best choice.
It’s very lightweight for its caliber and it won’t be too heavy for the amateur. On the other hand, the pros love its durability, recoil absorption, and adjustability. It is somewhat pricey, but you’re probably able to afford it. It’s adjustable, comfortable, and sturdy. I’d say that the LUTH-AR MBA is a contender for the best AR-15 stock on the current market.