Bravo Company BCMGunfighter Along with the trigger and pistol grip, the stock on your AR-15 rifle is one of the places where you can really get a lot out of some simple customization. Swapping a stock can take just a few seconds and makes a huge difference to the feel and ergonomics of your rifle.
But which stock to choose?
We’ve tested just about every stock on the market to find the ones that are the best of the best. These are the ones that live on our personal rifles that come with us on the hunt and to the range. Let’s dive right in and talk about the best AR-15 buttstocks.
Table Of Contents
- Our Best Stocks For AR-15s
- What Are Stocks For AR-15s For AR-15s?
- What Are The Different Types Of Stocks For AR-15s?
- How Do Stocks For AR-15s Work?
- What Do You Look For In The Best Stocks For AR-15s?
- Best Stocks Stocks For AR-15s Reviewed
- Final Thoughts On Stocks For AR-15s
Our Best Stocks For AR-15s
- Bravo Company BCMGunfighter (Best Overall)
- Magpul MOE & Magpul MOE SL (Best Budget)
- Luth-AR Modular Buttstock Assembly (Best High-End)
- Mission First Tactical Battlelink Minimalist Stock
- Daniel Defense DDM4
What Are Stocks For AR-15s For AR-15s?
The stock on your AR-15 isn’t the entire lower assembly like on a more traditional rifle. In AR-15 terms “stock” is the butt end of the gun only, which attaches to the buffer tube assembly. Other than that, you bring it to your shoulder like any other gunstock.
What Are The Different Types Of Stocks For AR-15s?
There are many different varieties of stocks available for your AR-15, and some of them defy classification a little bit. In general, you want your stock to complement the overall use you have in mind for your rifle. A lightweight home defense carbine will likely perform better with a different stock than you’d put on a precision build for shooting long distances, for example.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the more common build styles most people go for when assembling an AR-15. Of course, there’s nothing to stop you from putting a lightweight minimalist stock on a precision gun, or running a heavy PRS-style stock on a lightweight SBR, but in general, you’ll want a stock that makes sense for your intended use.
For a general-purpose rifle, whether you’re building a home-defense gun, a range toy, or something to carefully dispatch the occasional coyote with, you can go with a general-purpose stock. This includes things like the old school mil-spec M4 stock, the classic M16 A2 stocks, and more modern carbine stocks like the Magpul MOE options that come in every color of the rainbow.
A general-purpose stock is usually fairly lightweight and simple and is more of a jack-of-all-trades choice for a multi-purpose build. If you have one, or just a few rifles and you want your AR to be able to do it all, this is the type of stock we’d recommend. This is what you’ll find on most of the rifles in my safe, and on most guns, you’ll see at the range.
Many of these options also offer an adjustable length of pull, so you can tweak your rifle on the fly based on your needs. If you’re moving in and out of vehicles, a nice short rifle is a lot more convenient than something super long and unwieldy, but that extra length of pull can help you really settle in behind the gun when it comes time to make that long shot on a small target like a prairie dog.
Finally, a lot of stocks in this category feature extra storage for things like batteries and field-service kits, so you can always have essential equipment like this close at hand when you’re in the field and away from your workbench.
For a competition build for something like 3-Gun, for a “truck gun”, or for a shorty home-defense gun, you may want to look into a more lightweight stock. These minimalist options might not be quite as comfy or adjustable, but they don’t add as much weight to your gun and make it easier to maneuver with your gun.
This is especially important if you’re going to be running and gunning on a 3-Gun stage, or getting in and out of vehicles a lot. This is also a really good option if you’re building a bugout gun that’s going to live in a backpack or something like that as you’ll be able to shave a good bit of weight off what you’re going to be carrying.
Finally, we have precision stocks that are used for marksmanship work, whether you’re plinking at steel at 600 yards or sniping prairie dogs, these stocks are great for getting dialed in and comfortable for precision shooting.
This is especially true if you’re looking at PRS-style long-range shooting competitions where having a good stock and cheek positioning are both essential for success. These stocks also tend to be much more ergonomic for shooting in the prone as well, making them great for many hunters as well.
The downside, of course, is the extra weight. These stocks are bulkier and heavier, which can be a good thing with a heavily-recoiling rifle like an AR-10, but they’re obviously not ideal for maneuvering in tight spaces.
How Do Stocks For AR-15s Work?
All AR-15 stocks attach to the buffer tube assembly or are combined with a buffer tube assembly. This is the part of the rifle that allows the bolt to cycle properly and drives the gun.
Once the rifle fires, the bolt is pushed backward by the force of expanding gasses, and the bolt then pushes a spring-loaded buffer back into the buffer tube until it compresses the buffer spring, which then pushes the buffer (and subsequently the bolt carrier) back forward to pick up another round from the magazine.
The outside of the buffer tube has attachment points for stocks, but you need to be careful because there are two specifications for buffer tubes, and a stock designed to attach to one won’t work with the other (generally speaking). The two specifications are “military” and “commercial” so be sure to check and make sure your stock of choice works with the buffer tube you have or vice versa.
What Do You Look For In The Best Stocks For AR-15s?
Generally, there are a few things you want to keep in mind when choosing an AR-15 stock. While just about any stock will get the job done, some are more suited to certain tasks and types of rifle builds than others.
The first thing we want to look at when it comes to stock is the overall ergonomics and comfort level. If it doesn’t feel good when you’re shouldering it, what’s the point? So with that in mind, I really recommend trying a stock out first if you possibly can.
Every person reading this has different anatomy and set of preferences, so it’s hard to recommend anyone rifle stock as “the most comfortable stock” so try some on for size to find what you like.
And if you want a stock that’s most likely to feel comfortable, go with one that has a high degree of our next factor:
If you’re looking for comfort and ergonomics, particularly for a precision rifle, you’re going to be resting your head on for a while, look for something that has many different types of adjustment.
Most stocks are adjustable for length of pull, but you can also get ones that allow you to adjust cheek riser height to get the perfect cheek weld, and even the angle of the butt pad so you can really dial in your settings to find something that’s comfortable enough to take a nap on, which is great for precision shooting.
You’d be amazed how distracting the smallest little discomfort can be when you’re waiting five minutes for that coyote that’s trotting along half a kilometer away to turn broadside.
You may be able to save a few bucks by going with a fixed stock instead of an adjustable one, but adjustable stocks are generally worth the investment.
On the other end of the spectrum, if you’re going for more of a fighting or competition rifle, we have to look at the weight. In general, a well-balanced rifle is more important than a strictly lightweight rifle, so you want to go with a stock that balances well with the rest of your rifle.
A barrel-heavy gun is going to be hard to hold up and maneuver with after a while, so it’s generally better to err on the side of a stock-heavy gun as that’s easier to support, but if we can get something that’s nicely balanced we’ll be much happier.
This means if you have a 9” barrel on an SBR, then you’re going to want a light stock for optimal performance, but a longer barrel will do better with a heavier stock. This is convenient because most of the time when we’re running a greater than 16” barrel, it’s because we have more of a long-range shooting focus.
Next up we have additional features that, while not vital, are nice to have and might be worth spending a little extra money on to improve the functionality and versatility of the stock. This includes things like internal storage compartments, sling mounts, and Picatinny rails for mounting things like monopods.
There’s a whole world of stocks out there with a vast array of special features and cool tricks up their various sleeves, so shop around a little to see if there’s anything that appeals to you.
Finally, we have to talk about price. The sad truth of the gun world is that some things are just needlessly expensive, and the same is true of some stocks. We’ve weeded out all the overpriced options from our list, so while some of these are expensive, you can rest assured you’re getting your money’s worth.
Best Stocks Stocks For AR-15s Reviewed
1. Bravo Company BCM Gunfighter MOD 0 (Best Overall)
The BCM Gunfighter line of AR parts and furniture from Bravo Company are some of the most well-loved accessories in the industry, and it’s easy to see why. The folks at BCM are all extremely experienced in the world of fighting rifles, and that experience shows in everything they make and the Gunfighter MOD 0 is no exception.
This stock is made of polymer to balance durability and weight. It also features two sling attachment options, including QD sling swivel sockets.
- Incredibly tight lockup, with no rattles or loose fitment
- Quick to install and remove
- Very comfortable buttpad
- No cheek riser
- More expensive than similar stocks
2. Magpul MOE and Magpul MOE SL Stock (Best Budget)
Magpul’s MOE stock is more or less the industry standard these days when it comes to aftermarket AR-15 stock upgrades. These stocks are 6-position adjustable, giving you a variety of options to find the ideal length of pull. It also has a removable, anti-slip rubber buttpad that’s very comfortable, or you can use it with just the buttplate.
It’s compatible with a mil-spec receiver extension tube.
For an upgrade, you can also get the SL version which offers an upgraded latch and a few other additional features. With both versions, the latch is neatly tucked into the stock, so you shouldn’t have issues with snagging.
- Very affordable
- Available in a variety of colors
- Options available for both commercial and mil-spec buffer tubes
- Not as adjustable as some other options
- Slim Line (SL) option is more expensive
3. Luth-AR MBA 1 Modular Buttstock (Best High-End)
If you’re looking for the king of AR-15 stocks, look no further than the Luth-AR modular buttstock assembly (MBA 1). As the name suggests, it’s a modular stock that allows you a great deal of customization and adjustment.
So much so, in fact, that it’s also one of the most popular options for long-range shooters using chassis-style guns that accept AR-15 stocks. If you’re looking for the most adjustable, most comfortable, most ergonomic stock in this category (and don’t mind paying a little extra for it) then accept no substitutes.
- Most adjustable AR-15 stock in its class
- Useable on a huge variety of builds
- Lightest stock of its type
- Expensive. That’s basically it.
On the opposite end, we have the no-frills MFT BAttlelink Minimalist Stock. This is basically just a lightened version of some of the other stocks we’ve listed, but for a lightweight build, there is no better option.
It weighs basically nothing, and while it has been stripped down as much as possible, it’s still quite comfortable. If you’re going for a lightweight gun, this is the best stock for you.
- Extremely lightweight
- Adjustable for length of pull
- Minimalist hooked recoil pad can snag on things if you don’t put some paracord on it.
5. Daniel Defense DDM4 Buttstock
Finally, we have another premium option in the form of the DDM4 Buttstock. This is one of the more popular stocks around, and with good reason.
It’s extremely robust, with some of the tightest lock up of any of the stocks we tested. It’s also very durable and comes with some nice features like a rubber cheek rest, and a sloped buttpad that make for a very comfortable user experience.
- Rubber cheek rest is very comfortable and makes for easy indexing of your head position
- Non-slip buttpads work well with body armor or thick clothing like hunting jackets and winter coats
- Quick and easy to adjust, with a solid lockup.
- A little on the expensive side.
- Daniel Defense’s Flat Dark Earth doesn’t really match other Flat Dark earth colors so it can be difficult to mix in other FDE parts and get a cohesive look.
Final Thoughts On Stocks For AR-15s
AR-15 stocks are a very subjective topic, and personal preference is going to account for a lot. That said, we’ve included something on this list for just about everyone, so you should be able to find at least one option that will do the job for your next build.
Whether you’re starting from scratch or updating an existing rifle, these are the best AR-15 stocks around, and the ones we trust on our own personal rifles.