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There are many different kinds of buttstocks which are compatible with the AR-15 weapon system. Some are obviously designated for precision use and sniping, while others are designed with close quarter battle (CQB) in mind. These two scenarios, for instance, require different features which one single stock may not contain. Doing a little research into M16 history and development will yield information about the various scenarios and purposes for different accessories.
Some stocks are for commercial extensions (buffer tubes), and some are intended only for mil-spec extensions. Determining which of these will be compatible with your weapon is step 1. If you get the wrong kind, you may not be able to use it with your rifle.
There are those who swear by a fixed stock, with its cheaper price and stability. Others will only use collapsible (adjustable) stocks, which offer a wider range of positions for different kinds of shooters.
So many other factors go into choosing the right kind of stock: weight, design, materials, etc. Your AR-15’s buttstock should ideally fit your shoulder perfectly, get just the right amount of cheek, and help you stay on target.
Stocks usually come with at least one sling attachments, and some of them come with several different locations to choose from, for the best possible ergonomic experience.
This may seem trivial, but it is very crucial. I got the chance to experience just how important ergonomics are during my time in the service. When you are wearing your fatigues and gear, you want that stock to be dependable. It must fit your body perfectly. Nothing less will do. You want to be ready to fire in a split-second, and that means getting in position quick. The stocks, especially the adjustable ones, really proved themselves in close quarter combat situations.
These are some of the most popular M16 top stocks and stock accessories on the market.
AR-15 / M16 Stock Saddle, by Command Arms
This is a mil-spec accessory, and it is meant to be attached to an already existing adjustable stock with military style buffer tubes. This saddle can provide you with extra stability and increased accuracy. It even has an ambidextrous cheek rest, and it includes a compartment for batteries/small items.
AR308 A2 Style Fixed Buttstock, by UTG
This high quality polymer stock is meant for 308-type A2 style rifle owners. It includes everything needed to install the stock: A2 extension tube, recoil spring, stock spacer, premium buffer assembly, and screw.
This stock takes recoil like no other. It is meant for heavy duty, and it performs well. It gives you accuracy and precision. Many say it is the go-to stock for short/medium range encounters which are not CQB, and I tend to agree. It is sturdy and reliable, plus you can store items in its storage pocket.
Cheek Rests for AR-15 / M4 Style Collapsible Buttstock, by AR-GEAR
These cheek rests are a 2-set of 0.7 inch and 1.25 inch high risers. If you happen to have an AR-15 or M4 with a scope mounted to it, you will definitely feel the difference. It increases the integrity of your image, and it prevents your having to maneuver yourself in order to find that sweet spot where you are most comfortable.
Whether at the range or in an emergency, this product can shave precious seconds off your time. However, this particular model doesn’t fit all stocks, so make sure you purchase the right kind. If you enjoy shooting at long ranges, you will find that this completely prevents neck strains and pains.
MOE Carbine Stock, by Magpul
Magpul are known for their high-quality gear, and this stock is no exception. This model is only one of several which Magpul offer, and they are definitely a company worth checking out.
This stock is their “classic” model, and it is made in commercial and mil-spec configurations. As with other Magpul products, this one was also well thought-out and wonderfully executed. It is lightweight, made of reinforced polymer, and includes a replaceable rubber butt-pad, along with three separate sling mounts attached to the rear, top, and bottom of the stock.
Enhanced 0.70” Butt-Pad, by Magpul
Another Magpul product, which is fit for different kinds of stocks. It is a thick, recoil-absorbing, shoulder-saving replacement butt pad. It is meant for mils-spec stocks, and it can technically fit some commercial ones. However, when installed on a commercial stock, it may prevent the stock from fully collapsing. It’s a judgement call.
This pad is also comfortable, which should be a given, but nothing is taken for granted these days. Magpul knows its customers, and it knows that they expect Magpul’s products to be up to par. This butt pad does what it is meant to do. It installs in under a minute, and it can last a lifetime. The difference this thing can make in stability and accuracy is huge.
AR-15 TactLite, by ATI
ATI is another great firearms accessories company. They have a very simple philosophy when it comes to firearms – innovation, quality, and simplicity.
This stock is available in mil-spec and commercial versions. It has six positions, which really opens up your options. This stocks adjusts smoothly, locks securely, and has no snag points. It is made in the USA, and has a limited lifetime warranty.
This stock fits most AR-15 variants, but does not fit AR-10 type or .308 type rifles. It has sling attachments, and is made of reinforced polymer. The TactLite comes with everything necessary to make the switch: buffer spring, recoil buffer, locking ring, and castle nut.
With so much variety out there, it is easy to get lost. Remember, this isn’t about which is the best stock or stock accessory. The correct question is, which one will fit me and my needs? This is the question which will help guide you. Depending on the designation of your M16 rifle specs, and your personal philosophy of use, different stocks and stock accessories could be good or bad.
It could very well be that none of the stocks and accessories mentioned here will fit you. It’s possible. This list represents only a mere fraction of what’s out there. Do your research, perhaps even visit your local weapons shop, and find which products help your AR-15 become truly yours.
This is not done simply for the “tacticool” factor. Well, some people may do it for those reasons, but initially it is done because you need to have faith in your rifle. You need to have faith in your rifle’s ability to perform. You and your rifle are one (in a lot of ways), and it is important that you feel as comfortable as you possibly can with it. This is why people accessorize their weapons, or change their stocks.
One final word, regarding legality. Some states allow only certain stocks to be carried by civilians. Make you that any accessory or part you acquire complies with your local laws and regulations. The last thing you want, is to find yourself facing legal issues for purchasing a collapsible stock where prohibited.