How to Choose the Right AR 15 Stock for Your Unique Build


*Whether this is your first time building an AR 15 or you’ve made some before, choosing the right parts can get a bit complicated.

There are loads of different types and brands of stocks to choose from for your new AR 15. So you want to make sure you buy not only the correct parts but also the one you want for your unique build. 

This article is going to break down the different AR 15 stocks and give you an overview of how to choose the right one for your unique build!

Let’s get started!

Things To Consider

When it comes to building a fully customized AR 15 or if you’re upgrading the one you already have, there are several things you need to consider so you make the right choices in parts. 

There are hundreds of buttstocks to choose from and depending on how you answer the following questions will help you determine what exactly you need!

Intended Purpose

What is the prime purpose of owning your AR 15? Do you plan on using this more for long-range or for close quarters?

If you are going to use a type of sniper setup then you will want to get a stock made for long-range targets. Buttstocks such as the Magpul PRS AR 15 Precision Stock is perfect for this because it’s made for that intended purpose.

On the other hand

If your main reason for building a custom AR 15 is focused around self-defense then you will want to get a buttstock designed for up close and personal such as a CQB or PDW stock. 

Ergonomics and Comfortability

Everyone’s body and form are going to be slightly different, so it’s important to find a stock that is going to be comfortable for you and fit perfectly in your shoulder and check positions. 

You also have to take into consideration whether the stock is adjustable or has an attached sling.

Length and Weight

When considering all the different types of stocks there are to choose from, you need to keep in mind the balance of your weapon. This can greatly affect the performance, has either enhance or hinder you. 

Consider the different materials and designs in each buttstock.

Proper Storage

Not exactly a deciding factor when it comes to finding the right buttstock, but remember to also consider storage. When build or upgrade a custom AR, there can be quite a bit to store somewhere – Lights, optics, batteries, lasers, ammo.

Make sure you have the right amount of storage for everything you need for your custom weapon.

Legal Concerns

State laws vary when it comes to what exactly is legal or not concerning guns. Stocks are all made differently and have different abilities that may be considered not legal in certain states. 

Pay attention to the different laws especially where you live and plan to keep your weapon. 

Types of AR-15 stock

Like we discussed earlier, depending on the purpose of your build will help you determine what type of AR 15 stock to use. When looking at choosing a stock one of the first things to address is the buttstock fitment.

MIL-SPEC and Collapsible Stocks

These are the two basic types of collapsible stocks. You will want to determine the size and shape of the buffer tube. Once you have that you can start looking at stocks!

There are two basic types of stocks when it comes to the AR platform; Fixed and Adjustable – There are many varieties in these two basic types to go over but first you need to figure out which is better suited for your build.

Fixed Stocks

Fixed stocks give the shooter a solid fit and sturdy installation. The biggest advantage that these types of stocks offer is giving the shooter 
Adjustable Stocksthe same feel and lands in the same place every time. 

These buttstocks are solid and show no wiggle and won’t ever make rattle sounds. 

Adjustable Stocks

There is a huge variety in adjustable stocks but most of them have the ability to adjust to 5 or 6 positions. This gives a shooter the ability to adapt to different situations.

They offer basic stocks and enhanced ones so there are options for everyone.

Let’s break down the different adjustable stocks

  • Basic Adjustable

These are the most basic type with a level for adjustments, and usually a club-footed shape. 

They are most commonly used as the standard equipment and tend to get loose and rattle. However, they still offer the intended purpose and at an affordable price. 

  • Enhanced A-Frame

A-Frame stocks have an A-shaped body, hence the name. They come equipped with an adjustable lever, butt pad, and a rounded cheek weld. Although they are more expensive then your basic adjustable stock, they offer much more. 

The Enhanced A-Frame stocks usually have features such as locking levers, better material and are lightweight. 

  • Enhanced L-Frame

The L-Frame stock is built with an L shaped frame and tends to be one of the most popular types on the market. They offer comfortability and because of the shape also have a storage compartment for smaller objects. 

Much like the A-Frame, the enhanced L-Frame stocks are more durable, comfortable, and lighter in weight, then your basic stocks. 


SOPMOD which stands for Special Operations Peculiar Modifications is a standard adjustable stock but still offer some extras. They normally come equipped with an adjustable lever, QD sockets, and a comfortable cheek weld. 

These can have a minimalistic look to them but still have better features than your standard adjustable stocks. 

  • DMR Style

Designated Marksman Rifle ( A soldier’s role that shifts between long and short-range shooting) style gives you the ability to switch between those roles too. The DMR style allows you to adjust the stock and have a monopod attachment. 

These are perfect for anyone that will be using their rifle for different situations on a consistent basis. 

  • Magpul UBR

The Magpul URB (Utility Battle Rifle) stocks tend to be a bit heavier than others, which is perfect for anyone needing to add weight to balance your weapon out. They have an adjustable pull but the cheek stays in place, giving you perfect cheek weld every time.

These stocks offer great stability, weight, while still giving you the ability to adjust.

Adjustable stocks are overall great for both short and long-range rifles because they offer shooters the ability to adjust and overcome. 

CQB and PDW Stocks

These type of buttstocks are compact and give you the shortest option for rifles. They are perfect for up-close action and give a sturdy grip.

The CQB and PDW stocks allow the stock to adjust around the lower receiver for easy storage and then extend when you’re ready for action. 

Pistol Buffer Tubes and Braces

Some people like to use a pistol buffer tube and others will use a brace attachment on a buffer tube. This is a popular alternative because it gives you a short-barreled rifle alternative. 

This makes your rifle very compact!


Other Things to Consider

Here are a couple of other last things to think about when looking to buy parts for your customer AR 15

  • No matter your budget, there are options for you at all price levels.
  • Consider other gear you might be using while shooting your AR 15, this can change the way the stock fits and handles. 
  • If you don’t like the initial stock you end up buying, don’t stress about, they are easily changeable!
  • Don’t just buy a stock based on reviews, what feels good to one person could feel completely wrong to you.
  • See if anyone you know owns an AR 15 and ask to see their stock, or consider going to a gun range that offers multiple rifle choices so you can try them out.

Choosing the Right Stock For Your Custom AR 15

There are quite a few choices when it comes to buying an AR 15 stock. So depending on how you answered all the above questions, it will greatly help you determine the right stock for your build. 

The first question you need to ask yourself is what is the main purpose of this weapon going to be, once you know that, you can really start looking at exact types and models of AR 15 stocks and other accessories.

Remember there isn’t exactly a right or wrong choice when it comes to picking a stock out. It just depends on your needs and wants for your custom build. Figure out what you need and start building that AR!


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