Stock or Stock kit?
What to Look for When Purchasing the best AR-15 Stock
Of course, the critical component to consider here is the AR-15 stock itself and what that stock will be used for. This consideration is essential and can take multiple paths.
For example, the stock that you select for a rifle you might use for home defense might utilize a completely different type of stock from a long-range AR-15 rifle. The stocks, the buffers, buffer tubes, and buffer springs will all be different depending upon the intended use and the features you want/need.
Fixed or Adjustable? – What is the best AR-15 stock?
AR-15 Fixed Stocks
The two basic types of AR-15 stocks available on the market are fixed stocks and adjustable stocks. Fixed stocks are a solid, no-frills option that has the advantage of creating a tight fit with no rattling. They tend to be sturdier than adjustable stocks and are sometimes cheaper.
When you shoulder your rifle with a fixed stock, your cheek will always land in the same place, and never on the buffer tube. Some of the more expensive fixed stocks may offer an adjustable length of pull and an adjustable cheek weld for scope or red dot mounts.
When most think about a classic AR-15 fixed stock, this is what comes to mind. Since this is such a popular look, we carry a variety of them. The UTG Model4/AR-15 A2 Fixed Stock Assembly is stock molded from impact-resistant advanced polymer and comes complete with an A2 extension tube, recoils spring, buffer assembly, stock spacer and screw, and a storage pocket for a cleaning kit.
This is an excellent option for that clone rifle like an Mk12, keeping that classic AR-15A2 look, as is the Aero Precision A2 Fixed Stock or the KAK AR-15 A2 Buttstock Kit. Any of these traditional looking A2-style AR-15 stocks will serve your needs well. Finally, if you’re looking to achieve the same classic look on a budget, then don’t overlook the Presma AR-15 A2 Style Fixed Stock or the NBS A2 Stock Kit.
The Strike Industries Modular Fixed Stock combines the versatility and adjustability of a collapsible stock with the strength, ergonomics, and stable fit of a fixed stock. The SI MFS is an AR-15 stock that uses a standard carbine length receiver extension and is adjusted using the included shim set to change the length of pull.
The Hogue Overmold Fixed Stock is another exciting option from a company known for both quality and comfort. These stocks fit standard A2 non-collapsible buffer tubes and feature light-weight skeletonized reinforced polymer construction. They are compatible with and match Hogue AR grips and forends and have multiple swivel sleeve & sling mounting positions.
The MOE Rifle Stock (Magpul Original Equipment) is a drop-in fixed stock replacement for AR15/M16 A1 and A2 rifle stocks utilizing the standard rifle-length receiver extension (buffer tube). There is also this version, the Magpul MOE Rifle Stock & Buffer Kit, that comes with both the stock and the buffer kit.
Magpul also offers another robust, affordable fixed stock for the AR-15 in the form of their MOE Fixed Carbine Stock. – This provides an inexpensive, fixed, non-collapsing stock option for mil-spec size carbine-length buffer tubes. The MOE Fixed Carbine Stock has a slim profile, improved cheek weld, and multiple sling attachment options, and is compatible with ASAP® Plates and PRS® Extended Rubber Butt-Pad. Installation is non-armorer and does not require the castle nut or lock plate to be removed.
Looking for a replacement for your old and worn out A1/A2 rifle stock but don’t want something heavy and overcomplicated? The Luth-AR Skullaton buttstock assembly is the right choice for you. It has a skeletonized structure made from glass-filled reinforced nylon to reduce weight while still being extremely strong and attaches to the same A2 standard buffer tube. Another improvement that the MBA-2 has over the Mil-Spec fixed stock is the adjustable cheek riser, QD sling attachment points, and integrated castle nut with lock ring to ensure a rock-solid setup with no rattle.
AR-15 Adjustable Stocks – What is the best AR-15 stock?
Adjustable stocks for an AR-15 come in an incredible number of variations, including basic adjustable stocks, enhanced A-frame, enhanced L-frame, DMR style, and more.
Adjustable stocks are, by far, the most popular type of stock, and are also referred to as “collapsible stocks” since they allow you to adjust the length of the stock according to your shooting preferences. The most basic adjustable stock will have an adjustment lever, a thin/rounded cheek weld, and a club-foot shape.
The Trinity Force Alpha Stock is a great, budget-friendly example of an adjustable stock. It features a low profile adjustment latch, double injected rubber check rest, and a slick sided profile. Also take a look at the Trinity Force Omega mil-spec stock kit, which is an affordable upgrade over a standard USGI kit. It has a more aggressive design and includes a Quick Disconnect mount for accessories. For something slightly more traditional from Trinity Force, do take a look at the Trinity Force Mil-Spec LE Stock – 6 Position USGI / M4 Style.
Stepping up a bit in price will get you the highly regarded Magpul MOE Mil-Spec Stock & Buffer Kit. For many shooters, this is their go-to, and for a good reason. It’s a high-quality item that can take a lot of abuse and keep on going. Just as classic is the Magpul CTR Carbine Stock.
The same applies to the classic Magpul MOE SL Carbine Stock. The MOE SL Stock – Mil-Spec Model (MOE Slim Line) is a drop-in replacement buttstock for AR15/M4 carbines using mil-spec sized receiver extension tubes. Designed for the modern battlefield, the sleek profile, dual-side release latches, rolled toe, and angled rubber butt-pad are optimized for use with body armor or modular gear and provides for efficient shoulder transitions.
One popular collapsible stock that has been a rock-solid performer and we’d recommend with no hesitation is the BCMGUNFIGHTER SOPMOD Stock – MOD 0. The Bravo Company Manufacturing BCM Gunfighter SOPMOD Stock Assembly is a robust and lightweight polymer stock for MIL-SPEC receiver extensions. Features a wider body than the standard Mod 0 Gunfighter stock, which provides a more pronounced cheek weld. With its snag-free design, there are no sharp edges to tangle the rifle in the sling, MOLLE gear, or other kit. Includes the modular Vehicle Borne Operations Sling Tab. This tab interfaces with a ranger band to secure the sling against the stock when the carbine is not in use.
If you’re looking for a more unique look for your AR, but still want a quality collapsible stock, the ODIN Works Zulu Adjustable Stock w/ Padded Pistol Buffer Tube and Back Plate might be just what you’re looking for. The ODIN Works padded buffer tube works together with the ZULU 2.0 Stock to provide the end-user with an AR15 stock that reduces felt recoil with a secondary buffer system and Limbsaver recoil pad, the buffer tube is also padded for comfort, and it increases the weight of your firearm by just under 1 and 1/4 pounds. That’s not much considering it’s capable of ambidextrous use, machined from 6061 Aluminum, and includes everything you need for the ZULU 2.0 Stock system.
There are a wide variety of enhanced adjustable stocks available, although prices can climb higher when more features are added. Take a look at the Strike Industries PDW Stock, and you’ll quickly understand why it’s one of the most popular stocks among shooters. Like many other adjustable stocks, it allows for maneuverability…particularly in close quarters and vehicular operations.
Also from Strike Industries is the radical new Strike Industries Pit Stock. It is designed to work in concert with the Strike Industries Advanced Receiver extension. By interfacing with the keyed receiver extension, the additional points of contact results in a fitted feel and rattle-free, rock-solid lock up. Despite the extra strength, the minimalist design weighs only 4 oz.
In this case, minimalist does not mean feature free. The stock can be adjusted out to three positions to create a more custom fit for the shooter. Ambidextrous QD swivels are built-in for a strong, integrated solution. The orbital stock shape, introduced with the Strike PDW, creates an ergonomic, secure shoulder weld, even in the different shooting positions characteristic of vehicle-borne, or extreme close quarters conditions the form factor is designed to dominate.
Also worth considering is the Armaspec XPDW ™ Gen2 stock, which is an aluminum five-position AR-15 stock with hardened steel rods. It incorporates a low profile lightweight aluminum latch carrier with a steel lock engagement point. The stock can be rapidly deployed using the ratcheting system or gravity by pointing the rifle up while disengaging the lock. The XPDW™ is designed to mount directly on your standard mil-spec buffer tube with no other modifications. It also features a QD butt attachment point for your sling, is made in the USA, and has a lifetime warranty.
Ergonomics – What is the best AR-15 stock?
The more comfortable fit you achieve when shouldering your AR-15, the easier it will be for you to hit your target. The best AR-15 stock should conform to your cheek and body position. Keep this in mind when choosing from the many styles of stocks available.
For some stocks that go above and beyond with adjustability, take a look at the Magpul PRS GEN3 Precision-Adjustable Stock. With solid adjustments for length of pull and cheekpiece height via aluminum detent knobs, the PRS GEN3 (Precision Rifle/Sniper) stock provides a stable interface and is intended for semi-automatic sniper or varmint type rifles. Offering a nearly universal fit, it is optimized for rifle-length receiver extensions but will also mount to many mil-spec carbine and A5-length tubes. Includes a cant/height-adjustable rubber butt-pad and rotation-limiting QD sling swivel cups as well as M-LOK slots on the bottom for rear monopod mounting.
The Luth-AR MBA-3 Stock. It is just the upgrade you need as it offers near-unlimited adjustability. The cheek rest has one inch of height adjustments, and the length of pull can add an additional 1-1/16 inch to be custom fit to your arm length. The rubber but pad can also be raised or lowered depending on your preference and shooting position. It is compatible with Mil-Spec or commercial 6-position carbine buffer tunes and is made from glass-filled nylon that retains strength while reducing weight. The MBA-3 carbine stock is also compatible with .223 or .308 caliber rifles if you get the correct buffer and recoil spring.
Sling Attachments and Other Features – What it the best AR-15 stock?
Having a sling can be very important for you depending on what you are building your rifle for. It’s been said over and over again by experts, and it’s worth at least considering as you decide what stock is best for you. At AR15Discounts, we think that if you are going to use this rifle for home defense, you would be very wise to look into a stock that allows for easy attachment of a sling. Some of the best AR-15 stocks have built-in attachment points for slings, such as the Trinity Force Cobra Mil-Spec Stock & Buffer Kit, the Magpul CTR Carbine Stock, that features ambidextrous QD sling mount, or the Strike Industries MOD-1 Stock.
It’s also quite common for the best AR-15 stocks to include some storage space for some ammo, small parts for repairs, and even the batteries for your optics, lasers, and lights. If you have a need for this kind of storage, take a closer look at the Magpul MOE SL-S Carbine Stock. Two water-resistant battery storage tubes located on the left and right sides of the stock. Each tube will store up to two (2) CR123A lithium or AA batteries. Tubes are accessible from the rear in any stock position via hand-removable, o-ringed rubber plugs that are waterproof to 10 meters.
A Legal Note on AR-15 Stocks – Is a Featureless AR Stock Needed?
Check the laws of the state you live in to see whether certain stocks are prohibited. Some specific types of collapsible AR-15 stocks are illegal in some places. But don’t worry—even if you can’t get the exact stock you want, there are still some good options available for you.
The Option Zero Featureless Stock by Survivor Systems, Inc. is perhaps the most advanced featureless AR-15 stock on the market. Its unique design offers on-board extra magazine storage. This feature is useful for any situation but especially helpful when located in a state like California that restricts magazine capacity to 10 rounds. This allows you to legally double your onboard ammunition capacity. No other featureless stock offers this functionality. Designed to be used with an AR-15 rifle that is equipped with a Mil-Spec Carbine Buffer Tube, this unit is a breeze to install. Simply attach the grip, slide the stock on the buffer tube and then attach the stock to the grip.
The Thordsen Customs FRS-15 Gen III Stock Kit was specifically designed to help law-abiding citizens keep their firearms in compliance with stock laws. It replaces the pistol grip and adjustable stock with the FRS-15 rifle stock. The FRS-15 Gen III, is compatible with the AR-15 and AR-10 platforms, with Carbine or A2 length recoil systems.
Also be sure to take a look at the previous generation, the Thordsen Customs FRS-15 Stock Kit. This kit fits any standard carbine length recoil system. It is NOT COMPATIBLE WITH A RIFLE LENGTH (A2) RECOIL SYSTEM. It is worth noting that there is both a Standard and Enhanced version of these stocks. The Standard FRS-15 kits are tailored more for those who primarily shoot from a bench or prefer a two-point sling. The Enhanced FRS-15 kits include two additional quick detach sling hard points. The advantage is that if a user prefers a single point sling, the center of gravity is in line with the barrel which keeps the muzzle pointed straight down.
The Trinity Force Bravo Stock & Featureless Kit is also a good affordable choice for a featureless AR-15 stock. It has multiple sling attachment points including QD swing swivel, and for compliance, it has a polymer fin.
The Rise of Stabilizing Braces for the AR Platform
In case you have not noticed, AR pistols have become tremendously popular over the last few years. If you are considering doing this, then your first step is researching the legality of it. Once you’ve done so, you’ll want to find a stabilizing brace for your new pistol build. At AR15Discounts, we have a wide variety to choose from.
Our most popular and affordable option continues to be the AR-15 Shockwave Blade w/ Tiger Rock Pistol Buffer Tube. The Shockwave Pistol Tube Kit has everything you need to turn your stripped AR-15 or AR-9 Lower Receiver into an AR Pistol Receiver with a stabilizer. ATF has clarified that installing this product does NOT turn your pistol into an SBR regardless of barrel length. The kit includes a Tiger Rock Pistol Receiver Extension with dimples for adjusting and locking down Shockwave stabilizer Commonly referred to as “buffer tube” or “stock tube.” You also get a 3 oz. carbine buffer, end plate, castle net, and the pistol buffer spring you’ll need.
Another similar product is the KAK Shockwave Blade Pistol Stabilizer. ATF Approved and built to last, the KAK Shockwave Blade Pistol Stabilizer is a high-strength polymer brace that mounts on any AR-15 Pistol equipped with a pistol buffer tube (up to 1.25″ in diameter). Once installed, this unit locks down securely for a great fit. Another very affordable option, should this be a budget build is the simple and rugged Trinity Force Breach Blade Pistol Stabilizer.
As far as companies who started the entire pistol trend, look no further than SB Tactical. AR15Discounts is proud to carry a wide line of SB Tactical stabilizer braces, including the legendary SBA3 pistol brace. We also offer the SB Tactical SBA4 Pistol Stabilizing Brace. The SBA4 is the next evolution in adjustable stabilizing braces designed by SB Tactical. Based on the original design of the SBM4, the SBA4 provides a more comfortable cheek weld and more rugged and reinforced design. Designed for all platforms capable of accepting a mil-spec carbine receiver extension, the SBA4™ is 5-position adjustable, dramatically enhances versatility, and features an integral, ambidextrous QD sling socket.
Finally, If you’re looking for a bit of color and flair, or perhaps something extremely lightweight, another product worth considering is the Presma Skeletonized AR Pistol Brace.
What’s the Best AR-15 Stock? It Depends.
In the end, which stock you decide to run your AR-15 with is going to come down to what you need, what you want, and what you can afford. Just keep in mind the lengths available, styles available, and what is legal to install in your state.
If you still can’t decide, take a trip to the range, shoot one of your other AR-15s or other rifles, and take note of what features the rifle you were shooting did not have. Make a list, and then use that information in your stock purchase. At AR15Discounts, we’re also more than happy to help. Simply use the chat function here on the website or give a call. We’ll walk you through all of the options available to you and make sure that you have the best AR-15 stock for your specific situation and needs.