2018 Best-Rated AR-15 Stocks
When you’re building a new AR-15 or replacing parts to upgrade an older one, you want the best parts to meet your needs. While an AR-15 buttstock seems pretty simple, there may be a lot more to consider than you think. The buttstock can impact how you easy it is to carry your AR around or to transition into different firing positions.
The buttstock is an important contact point for both your shoulder and your cheek weld. Indeed, a comfortable feel with your buttstock is vital to good shooting. The right one can help you improve as a firer, and the wrong one can hinder your performance on the range, on the hunt or when you need it most.
Types of AR-15 Stocks
As we mentioned — and as with any other custom part for your AR — your choice will come down to a combination of factors: how you plan to use your AR-15 and how comfortable your AR-15 stock feels when you’re firing.
- Fixed AR-15 stocks: There are no or little adjustments that you can make to a fixed/collapsible stock. The classic M16 stock is a fixed stock. Some have small compartments for carrying items like tools, small containers of lubricant or extra batteries. This is your basic option, but most fixed stocks are durable. And one may be right for you.
- Collapsible AR-15 Stock: These stocks can only be adjusted to add to the length of pull. You can collapse or extend the stock for a more comfortable firing stance whether you do it because of your arm length or because you have additional gear on. In some states, collapsible stocks are illegal, so make sure you do your research before you buy
- Adjustable AR-15 Stock: These stocks adjust in ways other than length of pull. They’re generally fixed stocks that may have a cheek riser or adjustable butt padding. They may also have a small compartment to store small items or tools. They’re a great option to make your AR-15 fit multiple firers perfectly.
- What's the Difference between Adjustable and Collapsible AR-15 Stocks? Just as it stated above, adjustable stocks are meant to be adjusted in several ways including buttpad length, and cheek risers. Were as a collapsible stock can only be adjusted in terms of its length. Nowadays, many people use terms like adjustable, collapsible, and telescoping stock interchangeably, and are often referring to collapsible stocks.
- Minimalist AR-15 Stock: To have an extremely lightweight AR to carry long distances on the hunt or in tactical situations, choose a minimalist stock. It may be either fixed or collapsible, but either way, it has a low profile. Some are little more than a butt pad on the end of the buffer assembly tube.
- PDW (Personal Defense Weapon) Stock: If you need a extremely compact AR for CQB or other tactical situations, you should consider a PDW stock. Usually it comes with its own buffer system to accommodate the shorter buffer tube, but some PDW stock are disigned to mount on a standard Mil-Spec buffer tube. Either way, a PWD stock is usually more compact and durable than standard polymer stocks.
- Folding AR-15 Stock: If you want to make your AR easier to pack or carry, you can opt for a folding stock. However, you have to verify the laws regarding folding stocks in your state. For example, in California, if your rifle folds to under 26 inches, it’s then considered a short barrel rifle (SBR), so you’ll need to take everything into consideration before choosing this option.
Best AR-15 Stocks
Top-Rated AR-15 Buttstocks
|Strike Industries Viper Stock||Collapsible||$45.95|
|LUTH-AR Modular Buttstock Assembly||Adjustable||$131.55|
|Magpul CTR Compact/Type Restricted Stock||Collapsible||$49.95|
|Mission First Tactical BattleLink Minimalist Stock||Minimalist||$49.99|
|FAB Defense Survival Stock||Collapsible||$95.95|
|Armaspec XPDW Stock||PDW||$170.99|
|Phse 5 Tactical Universal Mini Stock (UMS)||Minimalist||$69.99|
|Odin Works Zulu Adjustable AR Stock Kit||Adjustable||$141.55|
|Strike Industries Viper PDW Stock||PDW||$259.95|
|LUTH-AR Adjustable Carbine Stock||Adjustable||$150.35|
2018 Product Review: Best-Rated AR-15 Stocks
Strike Industries Viper Stock
The Strike Industries Viper Stock is a fixed stock that slides right over the buffer tube. It’s lightweight and easy to install as a replacement or in a new build. It features quick detach (QD) sling sockets on both sides in positions for optimum usage, and there’s an enhanced cheek weld for your comfort. It’s compatible with Strike Industries Viper Stock Rubber Buttpad if you want to opt for added security in your shouldering. It’s ideal for military and civilian firers. It comes in black and flat dark earth.
LUTH-AR Modular Buttstock Assembly
The LUTH-AR Modular Buttstock Assembly is lightweight and has great recoil absorption. It’s fully ambidextrous with an adjustable cheek riser and buttpad for your unique shape. This could be a great option for a competition rifle. It features a cheek piece that can be installed on either side for right or left-hand firers — preinstalled on the right, and it fits on most AR-15 and .308 style rifles with A2 buffer tubes.
Magpul CTR Compact/Type Restricted
The Magpul CTR Compact/Type Restricted Stock has a streamlined profile to prevent snagging as you maneuver, and it’s angled at the top for an ideal cheek weld. It fits easily on any mil-spec buffer tube for easy installation. It features a supplemental friction lock to minimize excessive movement and a premium chrome-silicon lock spring to provide positive locking and long service life. The rubber buttpad is removable.
Mission First Tactical BattleLink Minimalist
The Mission First Tactical BattleLink Minimalist Stock is an incredibly lightweight mil-spec option that has a ridged and angled buttpad for quick shouldering, and it has just enough material to ensure a good cheek weld. It also comes in a commercial buffer tube size. It features a non-slip rubberized buttpad, and it’s fully adjustable for your ideal pull length.
FAB Defense Survival Stock
The FAB Defense Survival Stock fits on both mil-spec and commercial buffer tubes, and it’s collapsible to make it fit your ideal pull or make it usable by multiple firers. It features a sleek design to prevent snags, and it incorporates a magazine carrier that’s positioned close by to facilitate a quick change. The addition of the magazine carrier won’t impact how you shoulder your rifle or get in the way of your firing stance.
Armaspec XPDW Stock for AR Rifles
The Armaspec XPDW Stock fits securely over a mil-spec buffer tube, preventing any play, so you can have a secure cheek weld every time. It’ has 5 ambidextrous adjustment position. Simply activate the integrated button from either side for your ideal pull length. Unlike a standard polymer stock, the Armaspex XPDW is made from aluminum with two hardened steel rods. This stock will survive the harshest environment. The Armaspec XPDW Stock is one of the best PDW stock for the price!
Phase 5 Tactical Universal Mini Stock (UMS)
The Phase 5 Tactical Universal Mini Stock is one of the lightest stocks you can find. Best thing about this UMS is it can install on different type of buffer tubes: Mil-Spec carbine buffer tubes, cylindrical buffer tubes, rifle length buffer tubes, and many more. Its minimalist design is ideal for those long carries, and its small profile makes it perfect for close quarters maneuvering, in combat or in home defense. Its lightweight, compact design, and it’s comfortable and compatible with any firing stance.
Odin Works Zulu Adjustable AR Stock Kit
The Odin Works Zulu Adjustable AR Stock Kit may be the most minimal of the adjustable buttstocks available. It’s extremely lightweight, and it’s little more than a buttpad on the end of a buffer tube. It’s made of aircraft aluminum. The Zulu Stock Kit features a secondary buffer system to reduces felt recoil. A ambidextrous QD sling swivel socket at the rear of the stock for various need.. It is available in black, flat dark earth, and red to match your build.
Strike Industries Viper PDW Stock
The Strike Industries Viper PDW Stock features a push button system for a deployment. It comes with its own buffer tube and buffer system to allow a standard bolt carrier group runs reliably even with its compact design. The extended cheek wield ensure user to have a comfortable cheek rest even when the stock is fully extended. It’s available in black and flat dark earth.
LUTH-AR Adjustable Carbine Stock
The LUTH-AR Adjustable Carbine Stock will fit both commercial and mil-spec buffer tubes, and it’s designed to fit any .223 and most .308 AR rifles. It has a Picatinny rail on the bottom, and it’s adjustable to firers of any size. It features a cheek riser that adds up to one inch of height, and the butt plate can be extended for pull in addition to the extension along the buffer tube. It includes a set screw to prevent rattling, and the butt plate is height adjustable.
Other Buttstock Improvements
While you’re making your new AR or customizing one you’ve purchased, consider upgrading the buttpad when you’re choosing your AR-15 stock — that may even be the upgrade you’re looking for. A good buttpad can ensure there’s no slipping when you’re shouldering your rifle, and that could be the difference in your shot.
Another option may be purchasing a complete AR-15 furniture kit. We carry an AB Arms AR Furniture Kit in multi-cam. It includes a pistol grip that has a watertight compartment for storage, handgrips and a collapsible stock. If you want to enhance your camouflage — or even if you just like the look — this may be a product you want to consider.
We also carry some complete AR-15 stock kits. These include the buffer and spring assembly, the buffer tube and the butt stock. One of these could meet your needs.
What Stock Is Right for You?
The most important factor in your choice of a custom buttstock for your AR-15 build or upgrade is comfort. The buttstock should feel right in your shoulder as you’re firing, and you want your cheek weld to feel consistent. If you’re carrying your AR-15 long distances, you want it to be as light as possible. You may want to adjust to the right pull length.
All those factors play a role in how comfortable your AR feels as you’re firing, and comfort plays an important part in how well you fire. You may want to consider whether or not other people will be using it. Will you be using it for home defense? Are there legal parameters for a buttstock in your state that you must adhere to? These play a part, as well.
If making any adjustments isn’t going to be a factor, consider a fixed AR-15 buttstock. If you’re just going to be using it for plinking targets and maybe home defense, use a fixed buttstock for your AR-15 build. You’ll still have to think about the contour and surface of the buttpad. These details will play a factor in how smoothly you shoulder your AR and how well it stays in place.
If you’re using your AR-15 for hunting, consider using a fixed stock. Making an adjustment or collapsing the stock before you fire may scare your prey away. If nothing else, make sure your rifle is ready to fire before you engage your target, or it may hear the clicking of your adjustments and run.
Then again, a minimalist AR-15 buttstock may be a better option for hunting. You only want to carry what you need, and if you don’t need a compartment to store any tools or accessories in the buttstock, then you probably want to give serious consideration to the minimalist choice.
If this is going to be a home-defense rifle, think about a collapsible or adjustable AR-15 buttstock, in case there may be more than one user. A cheek riser or longer pull may be necessary, depending on who is dealing with that intruder, and you want whoever it is to feel as comfortable as possible when the stakes are high.
If you’re building your AR to use in competitions, think about an adjustable stock for your AR-15. A cheek riser and any other adjustments may be ideal if you’re firing from different positions. You can get the most customized fit to your firing stance with an adjustable stock.
You will also need to consider whether you have a mil-spec or commercial buffer tube. There’s a slight difference in width, and the parts are not always interchangeable. Some buttstocks may only fit one type of buffer tube, but some may fit both. Be sure to check this before you make your purchase.
The choice in stocks for your AR-15 centers around your comfort as you’re firing. Take all the factors into consideration so you can be the most comfortable and the most accurate firer possible.
The Choice Is Yours
You’ve decided to upgrade your buttstock or you’re building a new AR-15. You know how vital the feel of the buttstock is to the feel of the rifle as you’re firing. Your comfort can make the difference in a hit or miss, and that miss could lose a competition for you or put your life in danger.
Weigh all the options as you’re making your decision. They all matter. Do you want a minimalist buttstock to lighten your load, or do you want an adjustable buttstock to get the exact fit for your firing stance or perhaps another shooter’s stance? Do you want a collapsible stock to give you the exact length of pull for multiple positions? Will a simple fixed stock meet your needs?
Ask yourself these questions, and review the details to make the right choice for your custom buttstock. Give yourself an edge with Wing Tactical. We carry buttstocks from the best manufacturers in the country, and we wouldn’t sell any parts that we wouldn’t use on our own guns. If you’re not satisfied with your purchase, we have a hassle-free 30-day return policy. Don’t forget our same-day shipping on orders received before 1 PM Eastern Time.