The modularity of the AR-15 allows for some deep customization of its parts, but some of the changes are so fine that you may be hesitant to drop money on pieces about which you’re unsure. Types of stocks for the AR-15 come in a range of specifications and designs that fit different shooting styles; understanding how much stability and what size buttstock you prefer goes a long way toward fine-tuning your shooting experience.
Your type of AR-15 stock has to match your buffer tube, so you’ll need a mil-spec stock to support a mil-spec buffer tube. Mil-spec tubes measure about 1.146” and have a flat back.
Actually, commercial stocks will also fit over a mil-spec tube, but will be loose, which is unfavorable for accurate shooting. The mil-spec stock is more robust in design and tends to cost more in return for its stability and reliability, making it the best stock choice for the AR-15.
Commercial-spec stocks support the 1.17” commercial buffer tubes, which sometimes have slanted backs. Unlike the mil-spec tube, commercial tubes can only receive a commercial stock. It is unadvisable to force a mil-spec stock onto a commercial tube.
This type of AR-15 stock exists as a money-saver for consumer-level weapons enthusiasts. The slightly larger diameter allows manufacturers to cut in, rather than roll in, the threads, which translates to lower-cost production and, ultimately, a lower-cost product.
Stocks of a fixed variety don’t shift while you are mobile. It’s a tradeoff of efficiency; The stable AR-15 stock is best for ensuring your can fire reliably when in the field since it won’t change positions or fold for easy carrying, but it lengthens the weapon and makes it more difficult to carry with modern combat gear.
Types of AR-15 stocks that are collapsible can fold in for easy storage and mobility. However, when faced with combat, the stock must be snapped back into place before firing. It also has the potential to shift or fold if not handled properly in a firefight.
Opting for a collapsible stock almost certainly entails extra training to understand the advantages and shortcomings of a moveable stock. However, the increase in mobility may be more advantageous than the stock is cumbersome, especially for highly trained and experienced operators.
How Do I Choose the Best AR-15 Stock?
While commercial-spec stocks tend to be more affordable, it’s very telling that the U.S. Army still uses mil-spec equipment. For the best stopping power, accuracy, and efficiency in an AR-15 stock, you can’t go wrong emulating U.S. armed forces.
However, while commercial AR-15 stocks use different types of manufacturing methods developed to lower cost, they do still perform admirably for such weapon-centric activities as hunting and home defense. Consider your application before choosing an AR-15 stock and base your decision on how much accuracy and stability you need.