There was a long period during the noughties where Magpul were absolute kings of the AR-15 plastic accessory word (yes folks, ‘polymer’ is still just plastic), but they went in to something of a hiatus for a little while after the notorious and sudden departures of the Costa/Haley partnership. The MOE line up, the MIAD grips and CTR stocks etc remained very good options, but once the likes of the B5 SOPMOD Bravo, the Mission First Tactical Minimalist stocks and the Umbrella/BCM decreased-rake pistol grips started gaining traction, it seemed like Magpul were starting to lose relevance somewhat. Especially with the rather unoriginal ACS-L and STR releases, the STR inparticular being a rather poor stock to my mind given how incredibly bulky and heavy it is.
Fast forward a little however and we see the emergence of the M-LOK system, a raft of great new slings, many products born from Magpul CORE and the MOE Slim Line options.
I have to say, when I first saw the SL stock, grip and handguard online they did not float my boat in the slightest. Nothing about them looked at all innovative or interesting, they seemed entirely bland and my enthusiasm for the company fell even further. However, my mission to continue to try out and test as many releases and different options to be found on the tactical gear and equipment market continues as always, and since I was starting to have a few too many B5 and MFT stocks on my AR-type airsoft guns, I decided that some variety wouldn’t hurt.
I have to say that once I actually took a closer look at this stock upon receiving it, my expectations were greatly exceeded. What you don’t see from side-on pictures of this product is the slightly enlarged profile, this isn’t the same thickness as the old MOE or standard Colt ‘LE’ AR stocks, it’s very much reminiscent of the B5 SOPMOD Bravo which strikes a balance between a the aforementioned older designs and the popular Crane/SOPMOD stocks that feature battery storage tubes on either side. This middle ground has been quite popular recently and for good reason, the cheek weld is improved over the older minimal designs without being excessively wide.
The old MOE stock did not feature a QD sling point, whereas the more expensive CTR did. Now, not only do you get a QD point on your MOE-SL, but a rotation-limited one at that. The buttpad isn’t exactly a pad, it’s near enough completely solid, however it’s presented at a good angle for interface with your body or armour carrier with a reasonable texture for grip. I don’t think it’ll as have as good traction as a soft, more rubbery end plate, but it’ll certainly be durable. The adjustment lever does what it’s supposed to do, it’s not quite as quick to move as the old design since it’s split in half by the body of the stock and you’re left with 2 quite small levers instead of a single large one, but how often do you need to adjust your length of pull anyway?
The feature that impressed me the most on this stock however comes in the form of the method used to take out wobble and play around the buffer tube. The previous MOE was simply a close fit to the mil spec receiver extension, however in the SL they’ve incorporated a couple of clever little leaf springs internally that exert positive pressure against the rifle, keeping it pretty firm on just about any brand of buffer tube (and the tolerances in the inside of the stock are quite good to begin with).
The tried and true Magpul plastic is always a solid, dependable option and given the price I think this buttstock is an excellent option for pretty much any rifle that can mount it.