There are roughly 20 million rifles in circulation in the United States. Of these, the AR-15 is one of the most popular types of rifle on the market.

Firearm enthusiasts love the AR-15 because of how much you can customize them. A crucial element of this customization is choosing the stock for AR-15 rifles.

Whether you already own one of these rifles or you’re in the market for one, you’ll need to find the best AR-15 stock for your build. What is an AR stock that fits all your needs?

Getting your build just right can be a complicated process, so we’ve covered all the stock options available. Read on to learn everything you need to know about how to choose an AR-15 stock!

About the AR-15

Up in Arms: The Real Story Behind the Armalite AR-15

Many people believe the myth that AR-15 rifles are “assault rifles” or “automatic rifles.” However, both of these incorrect initialisms are a myth commonly used by gun control advocates.

The “AR” in AR-15 stands for “ArmaLite rifle,” named after the company that developed the rifle in the 1950s. True assault rifles, which are automatic machine guns, have been severely regulated in the United States for nearly a century.

The AR-15 has become one of the most popular choices with firearm owners because of its modular design. The rifle can be customized in countless ways, including barrels, scopes, and bolts.

The market also has tons of add-ons that make the gun as much of a hobby toy as a muscle car or a model train set.

Because AR-15 owners can tailor the firearm to their exact needs, it’s suitable for all kinds of purposes. People use AR-15 rifles for:

Depending on your specific purposes, you’ll need to decide which stock to use to make the perfect build.

Types of AR-15 Stocks

There are hundreds of specific types of stocks available for the AR-15, but they all fit into broad categories. Some are better for certain firing positions, ranges, and functions.

Knowing which types there are to choose from is a good first step in determining which stock is right for you. Once you know how you want to use your rifle, you can narrow down the type of stock that’s best, then choose a specific model.

If you want a one-size-fits-all build, you can choose an adjustable stock to make an all-purpose rifle. For something more specific, you might want a more customized stock.

Fixed

The M16, the ancestor of the AR-15, typically used a simple fixed stock for military applications. A fixed stock can’t be moved or altered once attached, so they’re very sturdy and don’t wiggle or rattle.

Fixed stocks are good for firearm owners looking for consistency in the feel of their AR-15. With a fixed stock, you’ll never have to worry about your cheek landing in a different spot.

Although some might consider fixed stocks “basic,” they’re also a solid durable choice. There are also some ways to customize them.

Fixed stocks can be outfitted with a compartment for storing supplies like batteries and oil. Some even come with a monopod stabilizer, similar in function to a bipod on the front of a rifle.

Adjustable

This is likely the broadest category of AR-15 stocks since most are adjustable in some way.

Adjustable stocks, as the name suggests, give you the option of adjusting the overall length, as well as butt-pad length and cheek height. Because they can be made shorter or longer, adjustable stocks are good for a variety of purposes.

You can also customize an adjustable stock in a few different ways like compartments and monopods.

Adjustable stocks come in a variety of shapes, each of which has different benefits. The more common adjustable stocks are A-frames and L-frames such as Magpul stocks.

Collapsible

In many cases, the terms “adjustable,” “collapsible,” and “telescoping” get used interchangeably to refer to stocks. They don’t necessarily have the same meaning.

While an adjustable stock can be adjusted in several ways, a collapsible or telescoping stock can only be adjusted in length. While some like the solid weight of a fixed stock, a collapsible stock will rest comfortably against the shoulder in any stance.

Check your local gun laws carefully, however, as collapsible stocks are more heavily restricted than other kinds.

Minimalist

Sometimes, you just want to keep things simple. That said, minimalist stocks can still be outfitted with plenty of unique customizations.

A minimalist stock isn’t necessarily “bare bones.” The term refers more to stocks that are lightweight or low profile. Minimalist stocks can be adjustable, or as simple as a butt pad and a buffer tube.

AR 15 Stock

For hunting or tactical situations where you’ll be carrying an AR-15 over long distances, the light weight of a minimalist stock makes it a good choice.

Personal Defense Weapon

The signature look of a personal defense weapon (PDW) stock comes from its short length. PDW builds are often fixed, but a collapsible stock can be made short enough to qualify as a PDW stock.

PDW stocks are compact to make them maneuverable in close quarters. Because they have a shorter buffer tube, a PDW stock usually has its own buffer system.

Folding

Not every firearm enthusiast has storage space to spare. Maybe you want to make your rifle more compact to transport it.

A folding stock folds to the side either on the right or left, allowing for quick and easy deployment.

Like collapsible stocks, regulations vary on folding stocks, so do your homework before you buy AR-15 stock parts of any kind. In some states, a rifle that folds short enough is considered a short barrel rifle.

Choosing the Best AR-15 Stock

Now that you know the options available to you, there are several things to keep in mind when shopping for a stock. All of these factors will vary for different firearm owners, so think about your particular needs.

Use

Ask yourself how you plan to use your AR-15. Whether you want it for hunting, target shooting, or just to tinker with will impact the kind of stock you should go for.

A hunter should plan to get something lightweight that will be easy to transport. However, you also want to be quiet, so consider a fixed stock to avoid the noise of unfolding or adjusting.

A PDW build needs to be easy to move around within tight spaces. You also want the stock to be ready to deploy at a moment’s notice.

For PDW use, something short and modular should be the first choice.

Size and Weight

The length of your rifle will impact how it sits against your shoulder as well as how easy it is to aim. If you plan to use the AR-15 for several different purposes, go with an adjustable stock that you can make shorter or longer.

Similarly, some stocks are much heavier than others, so consider how far you’ll be carrying the rifle. This is particularly important for hunting, where you don’t want to be weighed down too much.

Weight also affects how it feels to hold your rifle. A stock that is too heavy or too light won’t balance well and can throw you off.

Comfort

This depends on a few different factors. The position you’ll be shooting in will affect what kind of stock will rest comfortably against your shoulder.

Additionally, consider the length of your arms to help decide what will be comfortable. You can make an adjustable stock longer, but you can’t make a fixed stock shorter.

About the AR-15

It’s important that your stock sits comfortably since your shot will be less accurate and smooth if you aren’t comfortable.

Regulations

Some types of stocks, like collapsible and folding stocks, are more heavily restricted than others in some states. Be sure to thoroughly check your local gun laws before purchasing a stock.

Additionally, if you plan to take your rifle out of state, make sure the stock you’re using is legal where you’re traveling.

The Stock Makes the Rifle

We hope this guide is helpful when you start shopping for a stock for your rifle.

It’s critical to get the best AR-15 stock for your needs. With so many options available, you have to choose carefully to get the most out of your weapon.

Factors to take into account include your intended use, size, weight, comfort, and local gun laws. Consider all the situations where you’ll use the AR-15, like hunting, target shooting, or home defense.

Be sure to check out our blog page to learn about other fascinating topics!

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