There are over 600 options for AR stocks ranging from $29.99 to over $400. The standard M4 stock works but has limitations. One of the most significant issues I've had with the M4 stock is that it wobbles on the tube, affecting accuracy. While this is the standard in the military world, civilians have the joy of being able to upgrade. These standard M4 stocks run around $30, but for as little as $20 you can upgrade to a more stable platform.
While it is hard to cut the 600 or more stocks available down to just 5, I'm going to do my best here in this article. Keep in mind, this is based on what I've used and experienced, and more importantly, my own opinions and desires. If nothing more, use this information to help organize your research and see what best fits your needs. Here we are going to look at three stocks by Magpul, a new one by Mission First, and a precision stock by LUTH AR.
Magpul is, without a doubt, a big name in the firearms world, and for a good reason. They are my go-to for AR stocks. To say that I love and trust their products would be pretty accurate. Magpul makes solid polymer-based products that are rugged, reliable, and reasonably priced. The CTR is my first choice for outstanding everyday replacement stock. With a size and weight similar to the standard M4 stock it features a better fit, for less wobble; a rubber recoil pad, for comfort; and a friction lock, to keep the stock from inadvertently collapsing during use. You get the feel and look of your standard M4 stock and some upgrades for better use. At an MSRP of $59.99 and regularly priced at $48.99 from Optics Planet, it is an affordable option for sure.
The next Magpul offering is the ACS or ACS-L. I've listed these two stocks together since there is only one minor difference between the 2 (an option you can choose for yourself). The ACS has the same friction lock feature and fit of the CTR with some extras. Its main features are a sloped cheek weld at the top of the stock that contains waterproof storage compartments for either 3 CR123 or 2 AA batteries (a benefit to those running red dots). It also includes a small storage compartment near the rear to hold small parts or tools.
Along with these features, multiple options for sling attachments make this a very versatile stock. The ACS-L is a lighter weight version of this stock with the same sloped cheek weld, but without the compartment for battery storage (if you don't run red dot optics then remove the weight and save the money). The MSRP of the ACS is $89.95, and ACS-L is $79.95. Excellent value for a very solid and versatile upgrade.
I debated putting the UBR stock on this list since I already listed two other Magpul's. However, I can't deny my infatuation with this stock. This is the stock I run on my 3 gun/varmint AR. To me, it is the best of both worlds. First, I will tell you; this stock is pricey and heavy. If those two things are significant turn-offs, then this is not the stock for you. The stock's main selling point to me is how it adjusts. Instead of a plastic stock sliding along an aluminum tube, it is a fixed cheek piece, that is slightly sloped, with a dual track system for the stock's adjustability. This gives you the quick adjustability that you love in your M4 style stock and the rock-solid stability of a precision fixed stock. It has eight total positions and is a push button adjustable with a pre-set position feature. It's quick, durable, and remarkably steady. Allowing you to transition from close quarter shooting to long distance precision shooting with a system Magpul states "requires only gross motor movement," makes this my absolute favorite. The MSRP on this stock is $199.99, but to me is worth every penny. If you want the solid shoulder of a fixed stock but the adjustability of a collapsible stock, there is no better option.
Mission First is relatively new to the AR world, and they've come out swinging. Their BATTLELINK Minimalist Stock is a growing favorite. The desire to build a lightweight solid shooting AR has been growing, and the stock is a big part of those builds. This stock's most prominent feature is its weight, 5.8 oz. (almost 2 oz lighter than the standard M4). It's angled rear design with rubber recoil pad means you can shoulder the rifle quickly without snagging your clothes or plate carrier. A must-have for those who use their AR for run and gun situations. It also comes with multiple sling attachment points, giving you the ability to set it up to meet your needs. Another awesome feature is the enhanced cheek weld. All the material they've taken away, for the sake of weight, and they leave one of the most sought-after features to ensure a solid shoulder for controlled shooting. A smart move on their part. An MSRP of $59.99 makes this a stock you have to consider.
Precision stocks are not uncommon in the AR world, and I would be remised if I didn't list at least one in this article. These stocks are traditionally fixed, heavy, and highly adjustable. Meant to be used in a supported position to give a solid anchor from which you can take your time and fire long range, precision shots. They are just as varied in options and prices as adjustable stocks. The LUTH AR MBA-3 stood out to me. Everywhere I looked, this stock had excellent reviews and was listed as a favorite. Designed to fit on a standard carbine buffer tube and to be lightweight, fully adjustable, and strong, it is an excellent option for those looking to turn their carbine into a DMR style rifle. It has adjustability in about every place you'd want it, multiple sling attachments, and even a rail at the bottom of the stock for a monopod attachment. The joys of a precision rifle stock at a weight of 19.2 oz and an MSRP of $159.95.
I will admit, this was a tough article to write. There are so many good options that I had a hard time narrowing it down to just 5. However, I can say with confidence these are the 5 I'm looking at for my next build. I tried to give you some options to look at for several end-use desires and hope it helps. Like with any firearm, the key is to decide, "what the gun will be used for." Do some research for yourself and see what works. While you may want to add to this list (I do too) I don't think anyone will argue that these are great. No matter what you choose, get out, and have some fun at the range testing your choice.
Prices accurate at time of writing