The AR-15 collapsible stock has caught a lot of legal heat recently, and it is crowned as one of the identifiers of evildoers in America. Nothing could be more untrue. The mere presence of a tactical AR-15 collapsible stock on your weapon has no more meaning than does a pair of tactical boots on your feet. Nonetheless, throughout the body of this text, we are going to explore the infamous AR-15 collapsible stock and its nuances.
What Actually Constitutes a Collapsible Stock
At first blush, you could simply say that a tactical AR-15 collapsible stock is one which is not fixed permanently in regards to its length. However, if you happen to live in one of our United Soviet States of America that identify an assault weapon as one with a collapsible stock that's not entirely true. The requirement for a collapsible stock to be pinned in position lest ye fear the wrath of Pelosi, makes it by definition a fixed stock.
Additionally, one must take into consideration the folding stock design of a weapon such as the SKS. Well, that stock is not permanently fixed as to length, but it cannot actually be called "collapsible". So how would you honestly identify a stock as collapsible? Some individual states, as well as, the BATFE paint the subject with a broad brush. Oftimes, the exact definition is not clearly, logically defined. This is purposeful because very little of it makes any sense, to begin with. However, we will begin with the subject on a simple, basic level that I hope makes sense.
A collapsible stock by definition is one that is not fixed permanently in length, and it does not fold. The collapsing movement is achieved as the stock extends or retracts in a straight line from the weapon. For lack of a better term it "telescopes" from the back of the gun.
Definition of Collapsible Stock
One purpose of an adjustable stock is to enable the shooter to adjust the length of his or her trigger pull. A tactical AR-15 collapsible stock does accomplish this task nicely. However, an SKS style folding stock does not. Once unfolded its length is static. So, it can be truthfully said that all folding stocks are collapsible, but all collapsible stocks do not fold.
Additionally, to be legally considered a buttstock is another thing altogether. Regardless of its appearance, a stock is only a stock if it is designed to allow the weapon to be fired from the shoulder. A recent letter from the Feds put out this idea. There are aftermarket parts that look like a buttstock but are not legally defined as one. These potentially legal threats are classified as a brace, not a stock. Although a pistol brace might look like a stock, but it is intended to allow shooter to have more control of their AR pistol when firing with one hand.
Is there a Difference Between Collapsible and Adjustable?
In a nutshell, a collapsible stock adjusts as in regards to length of trigger pull, but an adjustable stock doesn't necessarily collapse. Think of the match-grade, long-range guns used in Olympic class shooting. Their stocks are fixed as to over-all length. However, the butt plate and cheek piece allow for small adjustments in order to accommodate the individual shooter and enhance accuracy.
Now, somewhere on the market, there is a collapsible stock that features these types of adjustments, but it is still classified as a collapsible stock. So, once again a collapsible stock is adjustable but an adjustable stock is not necessarily collapsible. To take the matter to extremes, most guns like the .50 cal BMG have an adjustable stock for precision, long-range shooting. But, could you imagine that beast wearing something like an aftermarket tactical AR-15 collapsible stock? If you could somehow attach the two, that poor little aftermarket AR-15 collapsible stock would do just that, collapse.
What to Look for When Choosing A Collapsible Stock
Since the first AR-15 Mil-Spec collapsible stock appeared years ago the whole game has changed. There were a few companies dabbling in the AR-15 collapsible carbine stock arena, but when the M4 hit the scene things seem to have to go wild. Which is good for us. Now you can easily find anything from an AR-15 minimalist style stock all the way to a full length slab-side A-2 stock at a reasonable price. But what would set one particular AR-15 carbine collapsible stock apart from the rest?
- Quality - Except on rare occasion, in life, you generally get what you pay for. Granted, sometimes if you're not careful you will pay too much and sometimes you happen upon a deal. But, as a rule of thumb, you're not going to get a high-quality item for pennies on the dollar. That being said, with the advent of new polymers and manufacturing techniques, the prices have been steadily coming down. Some manufacturers outshine others when it comes to this area. It's very hard to look pictures at a web page and tell just how good something is. This is where you do your homework. You can read the reviews from our customers on how the stock fit or what is the quality. Trips to the shooting range with a buddy that has the stock you want to buy can provide you the opportunity to find out. Then, hop back on-line, click on Wing Tactical's website and order the one that you like. Also, know whether you need either an AR-15 Mil-Spec collapsible stock or a Commercial sized one. The highest quality Commercial stock will rattle around on a Mil-Spec buffer tube, and that's going to drive you crazy.
- Features - Originally an aftermarket AR-15 collapsible stock was just that, a simple plastic stock designed to hold the gun against your shoulder. In today's world, your choices have grown. Of course, the more bells and whistles you add, the more the price goes up. Consider just what you are going to be using the gun for, combine what you need with what you want. If you're building a 3-gun competition model, then an AR-15 minimalist stock is all you need. Something small, light and quick so you can move from target to target and get on point. Whereas, if you spend a lot of time in the woods and are going to hunt, then that AR-15 minimalist style stock wouldn't be at the top of the list. For something along those lines, you would look more for an AR-15 collapsible carbine stock with enough height on the side to allow for a solid contact point for your cheek. If you run optics that use batteries, you might consider an AR-15 carbine collapsible stock with storage for such small items. Every aftermarket tactical AR-15 collapsible stock does not adjust the same way. Are you going to telescope that stock every time you turn around or just once in a while? Some are much easier to move than others and have a means by which to lock it in place. Do you use a sling? If so the AR-15 collapsible carbine stock you should be looking at needs to include at least a point of attachment and hopefully quick detach spot for your QD swivel. What type of material is the AR-15 collapsible stock you're considering made from? Do you have a preference of one specific polymer over another? How about something as basic as color. You may find the perfect AR-15 minimalist stock to fit your needs, but it's only available in pink, now what do you do?
- Weight - The factor of weight almost goes without saying. It's pretty obvious that an AR-15 minimalist style stock is going to weigh much less than an AR-15 collapsible stock loaded with features. This question goes right back to what do you plan to do with the gun, and how much weight can you comfortably manage. Is it an ultra-light competition race-gun or something to lay over sandbags. The difference between the lightest to the heaviest AR-15 collapsible stock isn't much more than a pound. You have to think about what that pound is going to mean in your world.
Benefits of Upgrading Your Stock
- First and foremost on my list is the way the gun fits me. Fixed stocks have their place, however, everyone is not built the same. A good aftermarket AR-15 collapsible stock gives you the opportunity to ergonomically make the gun fit you and work better.
- Any AR-15 carbine collapsible stock is going to be lighter than a rifle-length model. Therefore, it's a quick way to shave weight.
- If you shoot with friends and swap guns around, then each shooter can take advantage of moving the stock for the perfect length of trigger pull.
- It's nice to be able to make the gun shorter quickly for storage or transport.
- You can color-match the new free-floating rail system you want to install.
Why Upgrade to a Collapsible Stock
Have you ever noticed how most of the cars and trucks on the road today look nearly the same? I know, efficiency, aerodynamics, yadda yadda yadda. I may be a curmudgeon, but I miss the days when you could drive down the road, and cars had their own characteristic look. I could see mine in the parking lot at a glance, and I didn't have to have a GPS location to tell my F-150 from your Silverado. Well, a lot of people feel the same way about their guns. When you add the aftermarket tactical AR-15 collapsible stock that you want, instead of what came on it, you take a step toward making that AR yours. Along with the muzzle device and rail system, when you upgrade to a special collapsible stock you lend your gun your own character. A full-length gun bag laying in the back of your car really kind of stands out.
I am fortunate enough to live in a state with open-carry laws, however, I don't. I want to reduce the footprint of my gun, and while I'm not hiding anything, I don't care to advertise it's presence. With an AR-15 minimalist stock in place, you can tuck that weapon into a get-home bag and nobody need be the wiser. Hey, if you have more than one AR-15 you can switch one tactical AR-15 collapsible stock out quickly between them, as long as the buffer tubes all match. That's another thing, could be you started out with a Commercial buffer tube set-up and now an AR-15 Mil-Spec collapsible stock seems to be the way to go. Well, that's a quick fix, and a great reason to upgrade. And honestly, like some people change their living room around for no apparent reason, you can change over to a different aftermarket AR-15 collapsible stock just because you want to.
Keep It Close to Home
Granted, a collapsible stock isn't going to be as rugged as it's fixed-length counterpart, it still is a viable option for many. I know, we live in a global economy and market, but there are some things that don't fit that model. I believe that an aftermarket tactical AR-15 collapsible stock is one of them.
I guarantee you that there are collapsible stocks to fit an AR-15 being made with cheap materials in foreign countries as we speak. I don't think you want something like that on your rifle. Scroll back up the page, the very first thing to consider when getting an AR-15 collapsible carbine stock is quality. You're not going to get a quality part from a company half-way around the world that cranks out thousands of these things. If you're going to part with your hard earned cash you want an AR-15 collapsible stock that will deliver for years to come. That's why you only need to deal with a reputable company that is known for their quantity.
I don't want to sound like a snob, but every part you find on this website is a quality component from a company that will stand behind their products. At Wing Tactical, we will not sell you any part that they wouldn't run on their own gun. With the world the way it is today, you have to save money any way you can. However, sometimes what seems like savings can really be a costly mistake.
I have learned over the years that it's only wise to cut corners when the outcome doesn't make all that much difference. If you really want to throw away twenty bucks on that magic beam flashlight you saw on television that's fine. At least they will double your order if you call before midnight. That way a month from now you can throw two away for the price of one. Think for a moment about what could happen if that cheap, plastic stock breaks when somebody kicks in your back door. I guess the real cost just went way up.
There are still a number of companies that actually care about the quality of their work. It's impossible to place a value point on quality. You're looking at something that is going to give you service for years to come.
Customer service after the sale is huge as well. The manufacturers we allow to be featured on our website produce quality craftsmanship. Our job here at Wing Tactical is to provide you with quality customer service, trust me, you want both. Just scroll back up and check out our selection. You combine quality products with a 30-day no hassle return policy and great customer service, you just can't lose.
Full Disclosure - Common Laws Involving Collapsible Stocks and Ownership
The purpose of the previous article was to give you an overview of the world of the AR-15 collapsible stock. Bear in mind that it is for information purposes only. Nothing contained herein is legal advice, and it should not be taken as such. Every time your state legislature convenes, the rules and regulations are subject to change. A tactical AR-15 collapsible stock which is perfectly legal to mount and shoot in one state can easily become a felony simply to have in another. When it comes to a particular item you wish to mount on your AR-15, please don't take our word for it or the advice of your buddy. When you find yourself in court the statement that you read it in a blog is not going to work. Your best source of advice is the BATFE in your state, and even then I would get it in writing. Be sure to know what are "telescoping", "collapsible", "adjustable", "folding" mean in your state law. Even they are different in writing, they might be referring to the same "evil" feature in the eye of your state law.
The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) set forth the National Firearms Act (NFA) designating what constitutes an assault weapon. The following is a list of states that call a gun an assault weapon when it has a collapsible stock.
- California- A semi-auto, centerfire rifle with the ability to accept a detachable magazine and a folding, telescoping stock.
- Connecticut-Semi-auto, centerfire with a detachable magazine and a folding stock,
- Illinois- No ban on assault weapons as a whole state providing you have you Firearms Owners Identification Card (FOID). However, certain cities ban any one component that would identify a gun as an assault weapon.
- Maryland- All assault weapons are banned, assault weapon means detachable magazine plus a folding stock.
- New Jersey- Here the collapsible stock is legal as long as the gun has no other assault characteristic they deem as evil.
- New York City- None are allowed
- Puerto Rico- None allowed
- Washington DC- No assault weapons, AW means detachable magazine with a folding stock.
Some states place the caveat of assault weapon not simply on the presence of a collapsible stock, but that in a combination of other elements present on your gun. So, read, ask questions, contact the BATFE, but most of all have fun, life is too short not to.