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Whether you’re a fast, tactical shooter or a long range specialist, your stock plays a big part in getting a good natural point of aim and comfortable length of pull (the distance between the end of the stock and the face of the trigger).
The right stock can also make your AR-15 easier to handle in your shooting context.
Our Top Choice
VLTOR Systems EMOD Stock
Quick spoiler: If you’re in a hurry and just need a good stock now, get the VLTOR Weapons Systems EMOD Stock. It’s a jack-of-all-trades stock that works well in almost any context.
For those of you who are staying for the reviews, let’s get started.
The Top AR-15 Stocks on the Market
The 7 Best AR-15 Stocks [Updated 2020]
Based on our research, here are the 7 best choices for your rifle that you should look at first:
- VLTOR Weapons Systems EMOD - Best Overall AR-15 Stock
- Mission First Tactical Battlelink Collaspible - Best Minimalist Stock
- Magpul CTR - Budget AR-15 Stock
- Mission First Tactical Battlelink Utility - Best Utility AR-15 Stock
- Double Star ARFX-E Skeleton - Best Fixed Skeleton Stock
- LUTH-AR Modular AR-15 Buttstock Assembly - Best for Precision Shooting
- KAK Shockwave Pistol Brace & Law Tactical - Best Folding Stock
1. VLTOR Weapons Systems EMOD Stock: Best Overall AR-15 Stock
The VLTOR Weapons Systems EMOD Stock is a definite upgrade over the standard, mil-spec AR-15 stock. It addresses all areas of functionality, without specializing in any of them.
First, the EMOD is collapsible. So it offers adjustability, which is nice for customizing the length of pull to your arm length.
Next, this stock offers two battery storage tubes and one general purpose storage compartment. The battery storage tubes serve as a cheek rest that improves your cheek weld for long range shooting. The storage space is decent. But not best-in-class.
The buttplate is rubber and slightly angled for faster presentation from the ready position, without sacrificing too much stability for long range shots.
There are multiple sling attachment points that accommodate both webbing and quick-release sling attachments.
VLTOR drilled holes and skeletonized the EMOD to save as much weight as possible. However, this is not the lightest stock by any means.
The EMOD shines as a do-it-all stock and offers excellent versatility for the price. But shooters who specialize in certain shooting contexts may prefer a stock that’s more purpose built.
2. Mission First Tactical Battlelink: Minimalist AR-15 Buttstock
The Mission First Tactical Battlelink Minimalist Stock provides adjustability and top-notch weight savings, which is excellent for fast, tactical shooters.
The most notable feature is the weight. This stock comes in at 6 ounces. It’s one of the lightest stocks on the market.
To make this stock even better for tactical shooting, the buttplate is angled at the bottom to help you get your gun up and into your line of sight faster.
The stock is shaped to help promote a good cheek weld. But there’s no real cheek rest.
But, the Battlelink Minimalist Stock is adjustable. So you can adjust your length of pull with it.
For sling attachment, there are multiple attachment points for web-style sling mounts.
So you can attach the sling at whichever angle is most comfortable with your kit. However, the options for a quick-release sling attachment are limited to one vertical attachment point fairly far forward on the stock.
Tactical shooters who value a lightweight rifle will enjoy the Battlelink Minimalist Stock. Those who want more utility from their stock may want to look at other options.
3. Magpul CTR AR-15 Buttstock: Budget AR-15 Stock
The Magpul CTR Stock is designed to be a direct upgrade to the mil-spec AR-15 stock. No frills. Just a better stock than the one that came with your rifle.
The CTR comes with a rubber butt pad that’s a definite upgrade over the factory plastic butt pad.
There’s no cheek rest. However, this model is wider than a mil-spec stock to provide a better cheek weld.
The butt plate has a just slight angle to assist with presentation, which offers marginal improvement over the straight mil-spec design.
Where this is a huge upgrade over a mil-spec stock is the sling mounting options. There are four attachment points for webbing sling mounts and one quick-release attachment point at the rear of the stock.
The CTR is adjustable to help you customize your length of pull and offers some weight savings over a plain mil-spec stock.
The CTR is probably the best stock for under $100. It’s best for shooters who need something that’s functionally the same as a mil-spec stock, but performs all of those functions better.
4. Mission First Tactical Battlelink Utility AR-15 Stock
The Mission First Tactical Battlelink Utility Stock is for those who prefer preparedness over minimalism.
This stock is adjustable to accommodate those who have really long and really short arms. Additionally, the wide body offers plenty of surface area for a nice cheek weld.
Behind the buttplate, there’s an ample storage compartment for small items like batteries or a compass. The storage compartment comes with foam fillers to keep things from rattling.
The buttplate itself is angled at the bottom for faster presentation from the ready, and the butt pad is rubberized for better recoil absorption.
This model offers five total sling attachment points: three for webbing sling mounts and two for quick release sling mounts.
Since this stock is focused on utility, it’s a fairly heavy stock. Depending on what you carry in your kit, though, this could still be a good stock for tactical shooters.
But, this is a better option for those who hunt with an AR-15 or shooters who have items that they need to access quickly even when they don’t have their entire kit on.
5. Double Star ARFX-E Skeleton Stock: Fixed Skeleton Stock
The Double Star ARFX-E Skeleton Stock trades adjustability for lower weight and stability in your shoulder pocket.
The ARFX-E caps a standard A2 buffer tube with a rubber butt pad that provides good recoil absorption and fits neatly into your shoulder pocket for more consistent shot strings.
The butt pad isn’t angled. However, the butt pad is shortened for faster presentation from the ready.
Since it’s just an aluminum support bar and butt pad, this unit is impressively light.
It also offers three attachment points for a quick release sling swivel. However, there are no attachment options for a web-style sling mount.
Overall this is an excellent option for anyone building an ultra-light 3 gun competition rifle and shooters who want the stability of a fixed stock without the weight of a mil-spec A2 stock.
6. Luth AR Modular Stock Assembly: For Precision Shooting
Luth built the Luth AR Modular Stock Assembly to be the best AR-15 stock for accuracy. Very few stocks have more adjustability than the AR.
The AR is adjustable for height and length. The length of pull can be adjusted with the sliding buttplate. Then the cheek riser can be adjusted to give you the perfect cheek weld for the height of your optic.
To mitigate recoil, the buttpad is extra thick and provides comfortable shooting for .308 rounds as well.
The entire stock is skeletonized to keep the weight down, even with all the adjustability. However, this is still a pretty heavy stock.
There are two mounting points for quick release sling swivels. Unfortunately there are no options for webbing style sling mounts.
To use the AR stock, you’ll need a standard length A1 or A2 buffer tube. This model will not fit on carbine length buffer tubes.
Given the weight and adjustability, this stock is definitely best for precision shooters who need precise length of pull and cheek weld adjustments.
7. KAK Shockwave Pistol Brace & Law Tactical: Folding Stock
Folding stocks make your rifle easier to transport and store. However, they do present some issues in terms of assembly. To use a folding stock on an AR-15, you need an upper receiver and bolt carrier group that has no buffer tube or an adaptor that enables your buffer tube to fold.
The KAK Pistol Brace & Law Folding Stock Adaptor takes care of the logistical aspects of a folding stock with the added benefit of being compatible with AR-15 pistols.
The Shockwave Pistol Brace isn’t a fully functional stock. However, it offers decent surface area for a cheek weld and a butt pad that imitates the function of a stock.
The pistol brace isn’t adjustable. So you can’t adjust the length of pull.
But the minimal design keeps the weight down, while still presenting three attachment points for web-style sling mounts. Unfortunately, there are no quick-release attachment points.
Although the brace isn’t quite as functional as a true stock, it makes your rifle a pistol. This means that you have more options for barrel length in many states.
This unit is best suited for shooters who prioritize space and weight savings and primarily use their rifle for short range tactical shooting.
A good stock goes a long way toward making your rifle comfortable, and can help you get the most out of your optics.
However, it’s important to get a stock that’s well suited for your context, otherwise your rifle might be difficult to handle or not adjustable enough for your shooting context.
If you want a stock that does well in all shooting contexts, and won’t fail hardcore at anything, get the VLTOR Weapons Systems EMOD Stock. It’s the best jack-of-all trades stock and comes at a decent price point.
Now that you know what your best options are, it’s time to upgrade your stock and start getting the most from your AR-15.
What Kind of Stocks are There?
Stocks come in three broad categories:
There are subcategories. But as a general rule, each type has a specific purpose.
Fixed stocks are best for long range precision.
Collapsible stocks enable you to adjust the length of pull.
Foldable stocks make your rifle easier to transport and store.
Some stocks have features that make them good for more than one purpose. But these loose guidelines will help you filter the options based on your primary shooting context.
Something to check before you pick out a stock is the buffer tube on your rifle.
Buffer tubes come in two different sizes: commercial and mil-spec. You need to make sure that a stock for the right type of buffer tube, otherwise the stock won’t fit.
The easiest way to find out which type of buffer tube you have is to look at the back end of your buffer tube from the side. The end of a mil-spec buffer tube is straight up and down. A commercial buffer tube has a slight slant to the back end.
Here’s how it looks:
The type of buffer tube you have isn’t so important. But getting a stock that fits properly is important. So check to make sure you know which type of buffer tube you have.
Almost all manufacturers make commercial and mil-spec models of their stocks. So your buffer tube doesn’t limit your options.
Now, we’ve compiled our reviews of the best AR-15 stocks to help you narrow the field even more, once you’ve filtered out all the non-starters.