Hopefully, my list of best AR 15 stock kits will rescue some wandering souls, destined to build another freak-of-nature AR rifle, blowing hard earned cash.
U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- Candidly, when the assignment to pick the best AR stocks came across my desk, I was a little overwhelmed at first. Best for what purpose? Best for what environment?
These questions and more flooded my mind immediately.
It’s kind of like asking a kid what the best lego set is.
No really, ARs are kind of like legos; you can combine different components to serve an endless list of specific purposes. That being said, having too many options can seem like a blessing at first glance but actually be a curse in the end.
Observing this phenomenon is easy. All you have to do is look at dudes’ guns at the range and online to realize this is the case. Many, many AR builds end up becoming the proverbial bridge to nowhere.
Getting back to the assignment… When I received the task, I immediately knew that it was an assignment worth taking.
Perhaps we could rescue some wandering souls, previously on the path of destruction, apparently destined to build another freak-of-nature AR rifle and blow all his hard earned cash.
Toward that end, let me be transparent; I’m going to provide some information about a few of my favorite AR stock designs in this article. My hope is that it will help you select the best AR stock for you!
In addition, I hope that your selection will allow you to post your gun in forums, Instagram, and actually, show up at the range in real life without generating chuckles. We’ll break this effort up by category in the rest of this article.
Before we begin, here are my picks for the best AR 15 stock kits by name, regardless of rifle category:
- Mission First Tactical AR-15 Battlelink Minimalist Stock
- Battle Arms Development AR15 Sabertube Fixed Stock
- Battle Arms Development Vert Stock System
- Brownells AR-15 Retro Furniture Sets
- Luth-AR LLC AR-15 Fixed Modular Stock Assembly
- MAGPUL AR-15/308 AR PRS Gen 3 Precision Rifle Stock
- Daniel Defense – AR-15 Stock Collapsible Mil-Spec
- Bravo Company – AR-15 BCM Gunfighter Stock Mil-Spec
- Magpul – AR-15 CTR Stock Collapsible Mil-Spec
- Magpul – AR-15 MOE-SL Stock Collapsible Mil-Spec
- SB Tactical SBM4 AR Pistol Brace
Minimalist AR 15 Stocks Kits
AR15 Minimalist Stocks are most useful on builds that are trying to save weight. This rifle is something the end user may need to ruck for long distances. Its builder recognizes that ounces equal pounds and pounds equal pain.
Typically, this AR rifle build will carry the minimalist parts theme throughout, considering optic, barrel profile, handguard, gas system, etc. However, sometimes due to the application, these options will not be the most lightweight, but the end user will choose to compensate for his or her rifle parts selection by saving weight in the gun stock. The two buttstock options that I’ve chosen for this category are personal favorites.
The Battlelink minimalist stock is incredibly lightweight at just under 6 ounces. Over more than a year of testing, the design has proven robust. It takes a beating and just keeps moving forward — doing its job.
The Battlelink features a simple slide-on installation, quick detach and traditional threaded sling attachment points, and a non-slip butt pad.
The design is constructed out of military grade polyamide, is available for both commercial and mil-spec buffer tubes, and is made in the good-ol’ USA.
The function of the stock is where it truly shines. Shooters know that saving weight is great, but if you have to sacrifice cheek weld or shoulder mount, it isn’t worth it. Neither of these is sacrificed. In fact, the weight savings arguably helps the shooter get into position more readily.
The SaberTube is made from 6061 Aircraft grade aluminum but it’s only 6.8 oz. The design eliminates the need for a castle nut and end plate and their newest SaberTube model fits all “Standard” AR-15 Lower Receivers with no need for captive rear takedown pin detent spring.
I mention this becuase the first model SaberTube stock (that is still available) requires pairing with a lower receiver that features a captive rear takedown pin detent spring. Battle Arms Development offers the matching BAD556-LW Lower Receiver. Seekins Precision offers their SP223 and there are several other quality manufacturers with an offering that will do the trick.
If you’re building a dedicated lightweight gun, it’s likely that you’re already considering components that are slightly outside the norm, designed specifically to shave ounces. The Battle Arms Development SaberTube options are definitely worth a look. They are sturdy, light, and well-designed. Not to mention it looks pretty cool as well!
Compact AR ButtStocks
A similar application is ARs intended to be as compact as possible. In this case, weight is a consideration but not the primary one. The idea is to be able to fit a rifle with as much capability as possible into the most compact storage possible. Some people go the SBR or AR-Pistol route for this purpose, but others prefer one closer to the standard-sized gun. For whatever reason, they want a 14.5” or 16” barrel. In this case, the only side of the rifle that can be compacted more is the stock. Troy popularized this concept with their TROY M7A1 PDW Stock kit. After a few years in production, the word on the street seems to be favorable. However, the common consensus communicates hesitation about the proprietary BCG the PDW stock kit requires. Troy apparently agrees with my assessment of the gun community’s consensus because they recently released the Airborne Stock Assembly. I’ve heard fairly good things about this stock.
A similar but (in my view) more robust option is the one I’ll be recommending to you today shown on my personal setup.
The 4.75” collapsed stock length is to my knowledge the most compact option available. When selecting the PDW style stock, the shooter is making some inherent compromises when it comes to shouldering and cheek rest. However, the well thought out design of this system mitigates those compromises quite well. The cheek rest has a seamless design, allowing for consistent cheek weld. The stock is CNC machined from Aircraft Aluminum, but the entire system weighs in at 19.5 ounces. This is a respectable weight considering the stock’s 4 position function, and that includes stock, buffer, and springs. The stock has two built-in QD attachment points, doesn’t require a proprietary BCG, and allows you to open the upper receiver in the traditional manner: pushing out the rear lower receiver pin only. It’s a great looking stock with a boatload of function, and I think it’s the perfect option for the shooter looking for compact build and why it makes my list of best AR 15 stock kits.
A2 Style Fixed Stocks
If you haven’t noticed, retro AR rifles are in vogue. It’s more than simple fashion, though. The A2 Style Rifle is a great design. For years, one of my favorite ARs has been a 20” Rock River with removable handle. It’s just a really handy rifle. The A2 stock type has some real benefits when it comes to shooting. It’s a natural length of pull for many body types and has nice real estate for the shooter to select best cheek placement.
I recommend you check out the version from High Standard available from Brownells, an option like mine from Rock River, or even better the new retro kit from Brownells. The Brownells AR-15 Retro Furniture Sets are beautiful and functional. If I was picking a fixed AR15 rifle stock today, I’d look long and hard at that option.
Adjustable Precision Fixed Stocks
The AR rifle platform has become common among long-range precision shooters. Though normally chambered in a caliber other than 5.56, the rifle type is the same. In this case, weight is far from the primary concern. In fact, some shooters are looking for added weight. Comb and precise length of pull adjustment is crucial for these riflemen. If you find yourself among these shooters, you should consider the options from Luth buttstocks and Magpul stocks.
There are more expensive options out there, but for the average user (like me) I think these gun stocks will do the trick and that is why they make my list of best AR 15 stock kits:
Both of these stocks offer significant manual adjustment without tools and are from quality manufactures with good reputations for standing behind their products. I’m not much of a long-range shooter, but both these stocks make my best ar 15 stocks list due to good reviews from friends I trust.
Standard 6-Position Folding AR 15 Stocks
The truth is that the standard six position AR rifle stock that comes on most budget ARs will serve you nicely, but let’s be honest: that’s boring. I don’t know very many guys that still rock their factory standard stock. The exception are the guys who bought from a rifle builder that puts their upgraded six position stock on their rifles standard. Shooters with rifles from other manufacturers will often select these stocks too. My favorites are from BCM and Daniel Defense. I also really like two options from Magpul.
These are my personal favorites in 6-position folding best AR 15 stock kits:
- Daniel Defense – AR-15 Stock Collapsible Mil-Spec ( more product info )
- Bravo Company – AR-15 BCM Gunfighter Stock Mil-Spec ( more product info )
- Magpul – AR-15 CTR Stock Collapsible Mil-Spec ( more product info )
- Magpul – AR-15 MOE-SL Stock Collapsible Mil-Spec ( more product info )
All four of these AR rifle stocks are great. I’ve used and continue to use them. You really can’t go wrong with any of these four if you’re looking for a rock solide, reliable six position stock.
AR15 Pistol Braces in best AR 15 stock kits…YES
With recent ATF fickleness finally returning to the shooter’s favor, many have been and will be looking at the best AR pistol brace. There are other viable options like the Shockwave and Thordsen Customs offerings, but I think the clear winner is from SB Tactical.
The SB Tactical SBM4 AR Pistol Brace seems to be setting the standard. Because of their quality with the SBM4, I’m looking forward to checking out the SBPDW soon.
If you determine the purpose of your rifle and then select a rifle stock option from the corresponding category, you will not only be pleased with the end result, but you will keep from contributing to the hoard of mutant-like, freak-of-nature AR rifle builds out there. Even if you don’t know what you’re doing, your AR-15 rifle will be set up for success, and hopefully you will have discovered the BEST AR 15 stock kits for you!
Like with every Best of Best review I bet you disagree. If you have a better ar-15 rifle stocks that needs to be on our list. Let us know in the comments below, we really do read them. ~ AmmoLand News
About Brian (Rev) Norris:
Brian (Rev) Norris, in addition to writing and talking guns and gear via video, is a pastor (hence the “Rev”) who specializes in mentoring young men in the urban context. If he catches a moment of free time, you'll likely find him enjoying his family or heading to the range on his motorcycle. Brian has enjoyed the shooting sports since his father introduced them to him as a child. He's an outdoorsman who enjoys life to the full.
AmmoLand Editor Comments: This article was updated to reflect changes in product improvements / availability on 10/30/2017.