12 Best AR-15 Stocks [Hands-On]: Adjustable, Light, Precision

Looking for the best AR-15 stock to upgrade or finish a new build?

It’s an important decision.

One that will impact cheekweld, weight, your wallet, and most importantly…looks (duh).

Best AR-15 Buttstocks
Best AR-15 Buttstocks

I’ve built, bought, and shot a lot of AR-15s…from general builds to lightweight, pistol caliber carbine (PCC), and precision rigs.

If you want to know the best buttstock for your specific purpose…read on!  We also have a separate article for Pistol Braces.

I’ll break everything down with a bazillion pictures.

Table of Contents

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Best Adjustable Stocks

Adjustable AR-15 Buttstocks
Adjustable AR-15 Buttstocks

1. Magpul MOE

This bad boy set a baseline from the mil-spec (military specification) buttstock which did its job.

Mil-Spec and Magpul MOE Buttstocks
Mil-Spec and Magpul MOE Buttstocks

The Magpul MOE (Magpul Original Equipment) was on my first rifle…and as you’ll see coming up…I like to rattle-can my AR furniture.

The cheekweld on the MOE vs the Mil-Spec is roughly the same.

Mil-Spec and MOE Cheekweld
Mil-Spec and MOE Cheekweld

But it just looked so much cooler…plus had a bunch more places to place a sling.

If your first rifle comes with one too…you can’t go wrong.

But if you’re looking for my new favorite “standard”…keep on reading!

  • Weight: 8 oz.

2. Mission First Battlelink Minimalist

Pretty new in the AR-15 buttstock world…but the Battlelink Minimalist is already taking over with lightweight builds.

Battlelink Minimalist Stock
Battlelink Minimalist Stock

It probably gives up a little structural integrity by losing the triangle shape…but you lose a few precious ounces.

And if you find it snagging on equipment…you can bungee or paracord something together.

MFT Battlelink with Paracord
MFT Battlelink with Paracord

Cheekweld is an upgrade from the Magpul MOE but nothing to write home about.

Battlelink vs MOE Cheekweld
Battlelink vs MOE Cheekweld

And how about a back shot?  You get a little more traction on your shoulder and I like that little curve in.

Battlelink vs MOE Back
Battlelink vs MOE Back

If you’re thinking of a lightweight build but don’t want to go ULTRA light weight (and heavy on price)…this is the one to get.

  • Weight: 5.8 oz
49
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

3. B5 Systems Bravo

My go-to for a competitive/speed build where you still want to have a great cheekweld is B5 System’s Bravo.

B5 Systems Bravo Stock
B5 Systems Bravo Stock

It’s lightweight for the extra amount of space to get that perfect and repeatable cheekweld.

Bravo vs MOE Cheekweld
Bravo vs MOE Cheekweld

If you’re used to “regular” buttstocks, then switching over to one with a great surface like the Bravo stock will change your life.

Check out my bottom two rifles rocking the Bravo.  Full review PSA 5.56 AR-15s.

PSA 5.56 & .223 Wylde
PSA 5.56 & .223 Wylde

My first Bravo stock now lives in my accuracy testing lower.

PWS MK116 Mod 2-M Testing
PWS MK116 Mod 2-M Testing

The back is pretty normal and gives a good grip without snagging.

Bravo vs MOE Back
Bravo vs MOE Back

PLUS…it’s not too bad on the wallet at under $60.

My overall favorite for the best adjustable buttstock at a reasonable price.

  • Weight: 9.6 oz
EDITOR'S ADJUSTABLE STOCK PICK
58
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

What’s your take on the B5 Bravo?

Readers' Ratings

5/5 (307)

Your Rating?

4. Magpul MOE-SL

Next up is another Magpul creation…the MOE-SL…or slim line.

Magpul MOE SL Stock
Magpul MOE SL Stock

It’s a definite upgrade from the MOE and close to the Bravo in terms of cheekweld for me.  But still not better.

MOE SL vs MOE Cheekweld
MOE SL vs MOE Cheekweld

It matches up the Bravo in weight and price too.  So if you want a better cheekweld than normal and love the look over the plainer Bravo…get the SL.

  • Weight: 9.6 oz

5. Magpul STR

The Magpul STR has my favorite cheekweld of all the adjustable stocks.

MOE STR Stock
MOE STR Stock

It comes in a little heavier at 12.5 oz but the STR (storage type restricted) also has water resistant battery tubes on the side.

Oh…and did I mention the cheekweld?

MOE STR vs MOE Cheekweld
MOE STR vs MOE Cheekweld

It’s huge…you could land a plane on that thing!  And for your face…it makes it super comfy and repeatable for whatever optic you’ll be using.

It came on my PSA AR-10 .308 (full review) and it was great shooting a larger caliber.

PSA AR-10 .308
PSA AR-10 .308

Back has the same footprint as the regular MOE…but again you can see that nice slope for storing batteries and giving you comfort.

MOE STR vs MOE Back
MOE STR vs MOE Back

My favorite cheekweld buttstock if you don’t mind the larger size, weight, and price.  Also great for precision builds if you want something easily collapsible.

  • Weight: 12.3 oz
Best Cheekweld
75
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

6. VLTOR IMOD

One of the first buttstocks to have an expanded cheekweld was the VLTOR IMOD.

VLTOR IMOD
VLTOR IMOD

I’ve shot this bad boy probably the most…and it shows.  However it’s stood the test of time and thousands of rounds.

Plus it has has probably given me a lot of paint on my face.

VLTOR IMOD vs MOE Cheekweld
VLTOR IMOD vs MOE Cheekweld

It’s very comparable to the Magpul STR in terms of cheekweld (edge still to the STR)…and it has battery compartments as well.

VLTOR IMOD vs MOE Back
VLTOR IMOD vs MOE Back

And for about $20 more…you’ll shave off some ounces.

So if ounces = pounds, and pounds = pain…but you still want an awesome cheekweld…the IMOD is for you.

  • Weight: 9.5 oz

Best Fixed & Lightweight Stocks

Lightweight & Fixed Buttstocks
Lightweight & Fixed Buttstocks

7. Strike Industries Viper Fixed

I really wanted to like this one for my featureless builds (AR-15 Featureless Guide).

Strike has been one of the most innovative and affordable companies out there…and I love their featureless grips.

Strike Industries Viper Fixed Stock
Strike Industries Viper Fixed Stock

But their Viper Fixed Stock is a miss for me.

Price was right but the large screw inside messed up somehow and I couldn’t install it for the life of me.  Many forums and YouTube videos later…I gave up.

AND it’s taking a buffer tube down with it…

  • Weight: 12.8
33
at Opticsplanet

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

8. Magpul MOE Fixed

Magpul’s entry into the fixed stock world is the MOE Fixed Stock.

Not an original name…but very decent for the price.

Magpul MOE Fixed Stock
Magpul MOE Fixed Stock

Installs very easily and has the same cheekweld as a regular MOE.

MOE Fixed vs MOE Cheekweld
MOE Fixed vs MOE Cheekweld

If you want a fixed stock with no trouble such as pinning or buying another gadget…the MOE fixed is the way to go.

  • Weight: 9.5 oz
28
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

9. ELF Ultralight

A very cool entry from ELF, which makes some kickass triggers (Best AR-15 Triggers), is their Ultralight stock.

ELF Ultralight Stock
ELF Ultralight Stock

All for “USA” but would have preferred it smaller or subbed out with an ELF logo on the side.  But overall it looks super cool…even the wife said so!

Its design lets you adjust the length while being ULTRA light.  Just make sure to fully release the knob or else you can scratch your buffer tube (ask me how I know).

ELF vs MOE Cheekweld
ELF vs MOE Cheekweld

You also have to know that the cheekweld is not going to be awesome.  It’s not just on a plain buffer tube…but now you’ll have to contend with those two metal rings.

It’s good for a super fast competition gun where you’re keeping your head high.  Or if you’re aiming mostly with visible or IR lasers.

And don’t forget to factor in temperate climates…I wouldn’t want to use that in sub-zero or 100+ degree heat.

ELF vs MOE Back
ELF vs MOE Back

It’s also held up fine with normal but I haven’t (and wouldn’t) mortar this during malfunctions…just in case.

In the end, if you want to look cool, save a couple ounces, and can spend the extra coin…get the ELF.

  • Weight: 5.2 oz
Best Lightweight Stock
134
at Rainier Arms

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

10. Battle Arms Development LBS

Another entry into the ultralight arena is BAD’s LBS (Lightweight Butt Stock).

Battle Arms Development LBS
Battle Arms Development LBS

It’s crazy light at 3 oz.

And gives you a smooth buffer tube as a cheekweld.

LBS vs MOE Cheekweld
LBS vs MOE Cheekweld

Be sure that you’re ok with the short length of pull on a regular buttstock…since now you’re stuck with your buffer tube length.

LBS vs MOE Back
LBS vs MOE Back

Tension has been great and it should be able to handle a mortar since its directly against the buffer tube.  However…I haven’t tried and wouldn’t recommend doing it.

Great for a SBR with a more vertical-angled pistol grip which will help with the short buttstock.

  • Weight: 3.0 oz
69
at Rainier Arms

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Best Precision Stocks

Precision AR-15 Buttstocks
Precision AR-15 Buttstocks

11. Luth AR

If you want something heavier and really adjustable for not just length of pull…but cheek rise too.  Luth’s AR stock does so at a reasonable price.

Luth AR
Luth AR

Both the rear and cheekweld section are able to be minutely adjusted and locked to suite your scoped rifle needs.  Here it is on my Aero M5 .308 (full review).

Aero M5 .308 AR-10
Aero M5 .308 AR-10

Cheekweld is better than the MOE but not approaching the others that have a slanted edge.

Luth AR vs MOE Back
Luth AR vs MOE Back

However the name of the game is adjustability and rear weight.  In that area the Luth AR excels.

Plus…it’s more affordable than the current gold standard that is coming up.

  • Weight: 19 oz for rifle length version
131
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

12. Magpul PRS

The go-to for a precision AR stock…Magpul’s PRS Gen 3.

Magpul PRS
Magpul PRS

It definitely feels more quality than the Luth with its construction and easier adjustment knobs that have a satisfying click.

Cheekweld is also slightly better.

Magpul PRS vs MOE Cheekweld
Magpul PRS vs MOE Cheekweld

Plus it can fit on both rifle and carbine length buffer tubes.

PRS vs MOE Back
PRS vs MOE Back

I also like the flat bottom so you can get a good sandbag base under there.

This is what you get when you’re serious about precision in the AR-10 and AR-15 platforms.

It has the weight and price tag to warrant it.

  • Weight: 31 oz
Best Precision Stock
243
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Conclusion

There you have it…a dozen of the most popular AR-15 buttstocks out there.

Hopefully you’ve figured out which one is right for your purpose and budget.

Cheekwelds of Collapsible Buttstocks
Cheekwelds of Collapsible Buttstocks

To sum it up…

My favorite overall adjustable stock is the B5 Systems Bravo:

EDITOR'S ADJUSTABLE STOCK PICK
58
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

While the one with the best cheekweld is Magpul’s STR.  It can also function as a precision stock if you’re looking for lighter weight and maneuverability at the cost of minute adjustments.

Best Cheekweld
75
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

And the no-frills fixed stock of the day is the Magpul MOE Fixed:

28
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

If you’re going ultralight and want adjustability…go with ELF’s Ultralight:

Best Lightweight Stock
134
at Rainier Arms

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

And for the gold standard in precision stocks…take a look at Magpul’s PRS:

Best Precision Stock
243
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

How did we do?  Any popular stocks that you want to see in a future article update?  Want more AR-15 upgrades?  Check out our AR-15 Ultimate Guide.

16 Leave a Reply

  • Joshua Barker

    On your PWS MK116 Mod 2-M accuracy testing lower with the B5. Are you running high ring height (like 1.9") for the large scope and still able to get a good cheek weld with the B5? I've got an athlon ares btr 4.5-27x50 coming and will probably have to run it high to clear the rails and am thinking I'll have to switch to the PRS stock for a raised cheek weld.

    4 months ago
  • Joshua Gonzalez

    How can you leave out the bcm gunfighter stock . Easily the strongest adjustable stock out there. The lock up is so tight and with the metal hardware to protect the stock from collapsing when mortared .

    8 months ago
  • Reid Joy

    Cheekweld, cheekweld, cheekweld. Exactly why I went with a Magpul ACS-L. Better shooting position support without the added weight of the more precision or storage-oriented stocks. Not really 'lightweight' compared to a lot of minimalist choices on the market today, but at 12.5oz it certainly isn't the heaviest. A middle-ground compromise to improve shooting comfort.

    10 months ago
    • Eric Hung

      Yup...it's all about that cheekweld!

      10 months ago
  • Wzrd

    Magpul SL-S, SL-K, CTR, UBR, ACS, (basically any Magpul); Vltor Emod; BCM; B5

    11 months ago
  • Name Name Name

    ACE ARFX and ARFX-E for a really solid option, love that thing, really comfortable too. I'm also really happy my LWRC Compact, it's like the B5 but less common, a little smaller. It rattled on my Aero extension, but electrical tape fixed that.

    11 months ago
  • J_cobbers

    Not a bad write up or comparison, but there are some other LW adjustable stocks out there, I really like my Roger's/Colt Super Stock, it's like the Magpul MOE but with a locking cam for a tight fit up once you set your length of pull built in swivel points and it works on either commercial or mil spec receiver extensions. For really lightweight fixed stocks, several companies make carbon fiber and aluminum hybrids namely: smoke composites, axelson tactical, and now incognito arms. Brigand arms reportedly has some in the works too. Yes they are not common (or inexpensive) like your other examples but they may warrant a future article.

    11 months ago
    • doesky2

      I've been getting Rogers on Ebay for something like $30. That's pretty much a steal for a lightweight no-wobble stock.

      4 months ago
    • Eric Hung

      Thanks J! I haven't tried the Roger's but great point on the super light carbon fiber ones coming out. I'll have to check those out soon and add them to this article!

      11 months ago
  • Michael

    Another great article thank you! I am new to at-15 rifles... so my question is this - isn’t accuracy number 1? Can you get precision with a minimalist buttstock? And if not, why shouldn’t everyone (or why isn’t everyone) buying only “precision” buttstocks. What’s the big difference and pros and cons between the different types? Thank you!!

    11 months ago
    • David

      Accuracy and precision are relative. If you're shooting at 50 yards, even a 10 MOA rifle (no rifle is that ridiculously inaccurate, btw) you'll still have a 5-inch group, five inches is good enough for almost all applications. However, if you're shooting at 1,000 yards - then 10 MOA would mean a 100-inch group...and that would be very bad for almost all applications. Depending on what you're doing with your AR-15 will determine how accurate you really need it to be. If you're going for max range shots, then half a MOA here and there will matter a LOT - but if you're doing a plinking rifle, HD rifle, or even an SHTF rifle then having a 2-3 MOA AR-15 is more than accurate enough. All of that said - yes, minimalist buttstocks are *normally* a little less conducive for accuracy. So are any kind of folding or collapsible stock. However, the loss in accuracy is normally very minor and won't really impact the rifle unless it is a very high precision build kind of gun.

      11 months ago
      • Eric Hung

        Thanks David, couldn't have said it better myself! I'd also throw in that "precision" stocks are much heavier which is great for bench/prone shooting and also focus on getting your cheekweld just right for your magnified optic. Regular stocks focus on weight and a decent cheekweld for regular use.

        11 months ago
  • Notalima

    I like the ACS-L. Good lock up like the CTR, with better cheek-weld real estate. And a place to hold skittles. I am mixed about the Minimalist. I had two. Both on SBRs. Sold one as I really don't like how it adjusts. Kept the other on a LW SBR build with Faxon pencil 10.5" bbl. I like the stock well enough, just don't like how it adjusts. I have few B5s. I like them well enough, just like the ACS-L better.

    11 months ago
    • Eric Hung

      Thanks! I really like the look of the ACS-L too but liked the cheekweld of the STR better for the same weight.

      11 months ago
  • Bruce Koerner

    Well, That's Your opinion! I imagine You sell all of these stocks LOL Editors Picks! Just My opinion! . Ya see, Here in Calif, We have to comply with unconstitutional laws , so , We try to find things to comply . To prevent Us from becoming criminals, We seek the most basic items to comply with . Not trying to beat Then , just comply . Best way to do that? least You can have on Your rifle , best off You are ! 10 rnd , fixed mag . fixed stock , then You can add anything You want . (except illegal things) . Calif ,look at the guns in Turners Sporting Goods and You can make Your rifle perfectly legal ! Non Assualt Rife .Don't try to beat them, just comply!

    11 months ago
    • Eric Hung

      Thanks Bruce! We don't sell anything on our site but simply link out...therefore we don't have allegiance to a brand...just what we think is best in a category. Check out our Featureless AR article that's aimed at CA folks!

      11 months ago
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