Best M16A1 Stocks of 2022 – [For The Money & Various Brands]

| Last Updated:
September 28, 2023

Finding the best M16A1 stock might be a challenge, especially if you have never bought a suitable replacement for the current stock attached to your rifle. Yes, not every stock that comes standard with your M16A1 will be a good one.

So it’s always a great idea to find a suitable upgrade so you can have better control and support over your rifle. If you’re building an M16A1 from scratch, this might also be a good opportunity to find a stock you can add on to make it more of a reliable rifle to use right out of the vise.

To serve as your starting point in this search, we’ve taken the liberty of reviewing five of the top M16A1 stocks currently on the market as of today. Before we unveil our list, we’ll determine whether or not these are all the same and also include a brief list of what you’ll need to look for in a great M16A1 stock.

Comparison Chart of the Best M16A1 Stocks

  • Made from high-quality polymer.
  • Will fit with AR-15 and M16a1 rifles.
  • Replicated from old school military buttstocks.
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  • Best M16a1 stock for the money.
  • Slim profile to make the rifle less bulky.
  • Extends the length of pull by three extra inches.
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  • Rubber butt pad to keep recoil reduced.
  • Has length of pull adjustments for all kinds of shooters.
  • Made from a combination of aluminum and steel for superior durability.
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  • Low-profile cheek weld for a boost in accuracy.
  • Made from high-quality polymer for superior durability.
  • Friction lock to prevent any friction between the stock and the buffer tube.
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  • Includes a small compartment for storage.
  • Fits most aftermarket and mil-spec buffer tubes.
  • QD attachments for easy sling attachment and detachment.
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Are All M16A1 Stocks The Same? 

The short answer: no. To give you an extended answer, they're not all the same. Some may be fixed stocks while others will be adjustable. The latter types are designed so they can adjust to the exact size of a shooter.

More specifically, if you’re a taller or shorter shooter, your length of pull will vary. Fixed stocks may not fit any shooter, due to having little to no adjustments to accommodate most sizes.

How to Choose a Quality Stock

Finding a quality stock will take some time and detective work. In other words, you’ll need to find out which stock is better in comparison to the low-quality and ineffective offerings that have littered the market over the course of a few years.

But knowing how to distinguish a great stock from a bad one is what makes the difference. Here’s a brief list of what to be on the lookout for in a quality stock:


If you’re looking for something that will be excellent in quality, you’ll need to pay close attention to what kind of material is being used for these stocks. A great stock is made from high-quality synthetic materials like polymer.

These are proven to be impervious to all kinds of damage from weather, cleaning oils, and solvents, to name a few. A good number of these synthetic stocks are also crush-proof, making them pretty much indestructible.

Fixed or Adjustable?

This is a question that can be only answered based on your personal needs and preferences. If you’re looking for something that will give you a little more flexibility and makes your rifle more useful for any shooter, you may want to purchase an adjustable stock.

This way, you’ll have the ability to adjust it to a shooter’s exact comfort and reach of pull. A fixed stock may fit you if you have just enough of a reach. Yet, some of them will have additional adjustments like the cheek well to ensure maximum comfort.


If you’re not an expert gunsmith, you’ll be quite elated to know these stocks won’t be a challenge to install. Most are drop-ins and are easy to install. However, you need to pay close attention to the kind of buffer tubes it can accept.

Some can fit perfectly on six-position buffer tubes while others may not. If you see a stock that interests you, find out what kind of buffer tubes it can work with so it will save you time that might be wasted on attempting to install a stock that is not fit for certain buffer tubes.

Review of the Best M16A1 Stocks

The following is a list of the five best M16A1 stocks currently on the market. As you look through each one, it’s important to take note of the features and functions. This way, you can decide whether or not it’s an item that might be worth a closer look. You never know which one will stick out to you, but rest assured that one of them could be something you can depend on for a long time. Now, let’s begin by unveiling our “best overall” choice:

Best Overall:
Brownells - Retro Buttstock


  • Easy to Install
  • Gives Your Rifle a Classic Look
  • Solid and Doesn’t Rattle After Installation


  • Some Have Found the Installation Process to Be a Little Challenging

Kicking things off, we’ll be taking a look at the AR-15 Retro Buttstock. This is a replica of a military buttstock that was attached on many rifles issued to the U.S. military. If you’re looking for something that has the look and feel of a military-style weapon, this might be right up your alley.

This will not only work with a whole lot of AR-15s, but it will be compatible with most M16A1 rifles. This is made from high-quality polymer and is a tough-looking unit that will give you the best support for your rifle as you’re using it in whatever application you desire. If you want your shots to be more precise and accurate, all you need to do is take control of your rifle and resist the kind of recoil that goes along with it.

One of the things that surprised us is this kind of stock is hard to find, especially this replica of an original military rifle buttstock. However, we were sure to unearth one so you can own it for yourself. If you’re looking for a product that might be a head turner at the range, the Retro Buttstock by Brownells could be the product you'll want to settle on.

Bottom Line

The Brownells Retro Buttstock is deserving of the best overall title for a few good reasons. They did a good job capturing a classic rifle stock and replicating it for a timeless look for any AR-15 or M16A1 rifle.

It might look like a classic wood stock you’ll find on most rifles, but the polymer material does a good job of keeping it looking as close to a wood as possible. Plus, it’s tough as nails, something all kinds of military members past and present would appreciate.

Best For The Money: 
Strike Industries Carbine Mil Spec Stock


  • Fit is Perfectly With No Wobble at All
  • Easy to Adjust for Some Shooters
  • Recoil Reduction Was Noticeable With the Addition of a Rubber Recoil Pad


  • May Be a Little Loose for Some Rifles
  • Some Complained That the Stock Was Cheap and Flimsy in Quality
  • Does Not Come With a Rubber Recoil Pad and Will Need to Be Purchased Separately

If you’re looking for an M16A1 stock, but on a budget, you might want to consider taking a closer look at the Strike Industries Carbine Mil-Spec Stock. If you’re looking for something that will be a suitable replacement for your current stock, this is a product we think you might enjoy. It’s easy to install and is lightweight.

It won’t add on any extra unnecessary weight once you’ve added it on. It’s a slim profile build that won’t make the rifle look bulky either. If you’re looking for a stock that will allow you to adjust your length of pull, this might be something worth considering.

This will give you the ability to extend your length of pull by three extra inches. So to an extent, it’s adjustable to fit almost any shooter who wants to enjoy the firing power of an M16A1 rifle.

This is a mil-spec-style buttstock, so it will only fit on mil-spec buffer tubes. If you fancy yourself to be the kind of shooter who loves mil-spec, get the Strike Industries Buttstock and give your rifle the upgrade it deserves.

Bottom Line

Strike Industries does pretty good for something that’s considered affordable for most budgets. But it’s only fitting for mil-spec buffer tubes. If you’re looking for a buttstock that is affordable but can accept other buffer tubes, stay tuned because we’ve got more.

But if you’re looking for something you know will fit your rifle and buffer tube, your search ends here.

3. Magpul Industries PRS Gen3 Precision-Adjustable Stock


  • Super Tough Buttstock
  • Recoil Reduction is Noticeable After Installation
  • Easy to Adjust. You Won’t Find a Length of Pull That Won’t Fit Any Shooter


  • Might Be a Little Heavy in Weight
  • A Little Pricey for Most Budget Shoppers
  • May Interfere With Your Rifle’s Charging Handle

Next, we’ll be taking a look at the Magpul Industries PRS Gen 3 Precision Adjustable Stock. If you’re looking for a stock that will adjust to accommodate your preferred length of pull, you’ll probably want this for your rifle. This is excellent for those who want to use their M16A1 rifle for varmint and small game hunting.

However, this is also a great adjustable stock for those who want to make the most out of their long-range rifles. No matter the application, you will have the adjustments to provide you with the perfect fit so you can enjoy firing off your rifle for as long as you like. This stock comes with a rubber butt pad to ensure that your recoil is kept to a minimum and any shock associated with it is quickly absorbed.

This is constructed from a mix of steel and aluminum elements that make it tough all over. So it’s the kind of stock that can take on the abuse, bumps, and bangs. If you’re looking to make your M16A1 rifle more intimidating than ever, it might just start with finding a buttstock that is built like a tank and impervious to all kinds of damage.

This product also has sling mounts available to use if you’re planning on carrying your rifle out in the field, but need to use your hands for other uses.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for something considered one of the best adjustable buttstocks for an M16A1 rifle, you might be able to find it in the Magpul Precision Adjustable Stock. One of the things that impressed us most is that for a metal stock, it’s tough all over and still gives you a great deal of support.

Magpul also included the recoil pad knowing it was designed for the shooter who desires a stock that can handle the heavy-duty firepower of an M16A1. This will best fit shooters of any size and will make your rifle a lot more useful. If that’s something you want to get out of your rifle, get the Magpul Gen 3 Buttstock.

4. Magpul Industries CTR Rifle Stock


  • Very Comfortable to Shoot With
  • Works Great With Quick-Detach Sling Swivels
  • Stays Locked and Secure in Place With No Rattling Noise at All


  • Might Be a Little Pricey for Some Budget Shoppers

The next product we’ll be looking at will also be from the Magpul brand. The CTR Rifle Stock is made from high-quality polymer and comes with a friction lock that will prevent any friction from occurring between the stock and the buffer tube connected to it. At the same time, you’ll put an end to any rattling or looseness you might find with other buttstocks and ill-fitted buffer tubes.

If you’re looking for a more comfortable aim, you might like the angled cheek weld to ensure that not only will you be more comfortable in the firing position, but your shots will be slightly better in terms of accuracy. So if you’re looking for a stock that will aid in boosting your accuracy quite a bit, you may want to consider the Magpul Industries CTR Rifle Stock as a finalist on your shortlist of choices.

Bottom Line

Magpul has proven time and time again that it’s one of the most reliable brands if you’re looking for a stock. They never fail to disappoint us each time we review something they’ve manufactured. So if you’re looking for a possible go-to brand that sticks with you for a long period of time, then Magpul might be the one you can trust.

As for the stock, it’s functional, stays in place, and provides you with all kinds of support while you’re out in the field or at the range. The friction lock is something that solves a long-standing problem that most M16A1 shooters have dealt with for a long period of time. If you ever want to put an end to that annoying rattling noise you hear every time you fire your rifle, this might be something you’ll want to upgrade to.

5. Fab Defense Stock


  • Super Sturdy Construction
  • Easy to Install and Will Work With a Lot of Buffer Tubes
  • Cheek Rest is Easy to Adjust. Will Fit Most Shooters


  • Storage Compartment May Be a Little Hard to Open
  • Cheek Riser May Interfere With the Charging Handle

For our final M16A1 stock for this review, we’ll be taking a look at the Fab Defense AR-15/M4 Stock. One of the things you’ll notice right away is that it has an adjustable cheek riser. If you’re looking for a cheek riser that is not only comfortable but will fit you perfectly with the right adjustments, you’ll definitely want to look at this a little further.

This is a versatile product that will fit on many aftermarket and mil-spec buffer tubes. And it comes in a variety of colors that will make your rifle look aesthetically sharper than ever. Of course, the color you choose will be based on your personal needs and preferences.

If you’re looking for a stock that will be compatible with most slings, you might like the QD attachments added onto this stock. Add on your sling of choice and you’ll be able to tote your rifle around while using your binoculars to search for a place to set up for the day’s hunt.

At the end of the buttstock is a rubber recoil pad that will reduce a whole lot of recoil and, therefore, give you more control over your rifle. Plus, the pad will make it more comfortable against your shoulder so you won’t feel as much impact as you would without the rubber pad. And with less recoil, that means more accurate shots, every time.

If you hold accuracy to a high standard, you may want a stock that can make it happen. Also included in this buttstock is a small compartment you can use to store any small accessories like batteries or additional ammo. If that isn’t considered a convenience, then we’re not sure what might impress you.

Bottom Line

The FAB Defense Stock is not only excellent for any kind of application, but it does provide you with an added convenience that can come quite in handy. If you have some small accessories that you know you’ll need, you can use the compartment so you know you’ll have them on hand.

Other than that, the adjustable cheek riser is comfortable and fits with all kinds of shooters. You will almost guarantee your shots will be a lot more accurate once you upgrade to this stock.

Benefits of Upgrading Your Stock

Upgrading your stock has its perks and advantages. Your new stock will stand a head and shoulders over factory models in so many ways. Here’s what advantages you might enjoy if you choose to upgrade your M16A1 with a new stock:

Less Recoil

One of the things that you’ll see less of with a new stock is recoil. That’s because most stocks have rubber recoil pads that are designed to give you more grip and control over your rifle. In turn, it will allow you to resist more shock and recoil that may otherwise throw off your shot.

Easier Length of Pull

This will be more relevant if you’re looking to upgrade to an adjustable stock. An easier length of pull will definitely benefit shooters of various sizes. If you’re a big and tall shooter or a short-statured shooter, your length of pull may vary. So you’ll need a buttstock that is adjustable so it fits you perfectly rather than having to struggle with a fixed stock that claims to be a “one size fits all” solution.

Better Storage Space

Some want to upgrade to a newer stock in order to reduce clutter. A factory stock might be a little bulky and therefore, could take up a little extra space. With synthetic stocks (especially adjustable stocks), they’ll have the ability to slightly reduce the overall length of the rifle. Plus, it will also make portability a lot easier and less of an obstruction if it’s stored in a vehicle.


If you’re looking for the best M16A1 stock, the search might be a bit difficult. But as long as you know what you’re looking for, the search will be easier. Whether you’re looking for an adjustable  or a fixed buttstock, one of these five will be a much better upgrade compared to your current stock. Find one that fits and be sure to give it a test drive at the range once you’ve successfully installed it. 

Michael Lutes

Michael Lutes is the managing editor and owner at Gun Mann. He is a veteran, gun enthusiast, 3 gun competitor, and 2a advocate. Mike has a passion for innovation and education across the industry to create great content, training, and insights from the best and brightest.

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