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If you own an AR-15 rifle, you are probably aware of the fact that these rifles can be a perpetual "work in progress". After market parts manufacturers continue to bring products to market in hopes that you can't live without something or the other. I've been working on my Smith & Wesson M&P15 rifle this year. I've got a practical rifle course at Front Sight coming up later this year and so I've been prepping it for the four day course.
I had been contemplating a replacement stock for my M&P15 during the past 4 or 5 months. I came close to commandeering the A2 stock from my EA-15 but decided not to since that really wouldn't resolve the issue but rather just leave me with a stock issue on the EA-15. I kept looking.
So there I was surfing around on the net when I came across the VLTOR EMOD replacement stock for the AR-15. I spent some more time doing some research before I pulled the trigger on the purchase. A quick online transaction with Trading Post Supply had my EMOD stock in just a couple of days. This was my first purchase from TPS and I'll not hesitate to buy from them again.
Not much to the EMOD stock....no parts assembly required.
It arrived ready to be installed on my M&P15. A quick review of the
enclosed documentation indicated I needed to have a qualified gunsmith install
the stock. Given that it requires no tools and is easier than attaching a
GripPod, I tossed caution to the wind and performed the install myself.
Thanks VLTOR for the warning, but in this case, I believe the lawyer brigade may
have overdone it, just a bit.
After ensuring the M&P15 was unloaded, I separated the upper and lower receivers from each other (this is not necessary but I opted to do so since my bench space is somewhat limited). As can be seen in the above photo, the EMOD stock is longer than the typical M4 type stock.
Before I forget, be sure to verify which type of receiver extension your AR-15 has (mil-spec or commercial) as the EMOD is available in both sizes and you wouldn't want to accidentally obtain the wrong one. If you do not know which receiver extension you have, a dial caliper can quickly verify the diameter of the tube. A mil-spec tube will measure right at 1.150" OD. A commercial tube is right at 1.170". You may find that these numbers vary a few thousands of an inch, but will still get you on the right order page, so to speak.
Also note that the EMOD stock is available as a simple
replacement stock (what I purchased) or as a complete kit which also includes a
new receiver extension tube, buffer, spring, lock plate, and nut. As with
most new AR-15 components, a variety of colors are also available.
As can be seen here, the EMOD stock is longer than the typical M4 stock. A quick check with a steel rule shows the OEM stock with collapsed and extended measurements of approximately 10 1/2" and 13 3/4". In contrast, the EMOD measurements came in at 11 1/2" and 14 3/4". It weighs 14 ounces. From my research, the M4 OEM stock commonly found on many rifles weighs in at 18 ounces but I haven't weighed it so can't vouch for that being valid. Why the longer length? One school of thought is that a longer stock works better with a scoped rifle since it increases the available comb of the stock. As for me, I found this to be true and it was one of the reasons I went with this stock. The cheek weld on my existing stock was right where the tube and stock met....and I wasn't overly fond of that.
Installation of the EMOD is as simple as it gets. Remove
your existing stock by fully extracting the locking pin while sliding the stock
off the end of the receiver extension tube. Slide the EMOD stock onto the
tube and lock the length at the position you prefer.
Another reason I opted for the EMOD stock was because of the quick disconnect
sling swivel sockets that are mounted on both sides of the stock. The QD
adapter that I was considering for my old stock cost too much....so putting that
money towards a new stock made the decision all that much easier.
For those folks that love to pack along everything except the kitchen sink,
the EMOD provides some auxiliary storage space. Two water tight storage
compartments are located one on either side of the stock. Each "tube" will
hold up to four CR123 batteries or a pair of "AA" batteries. The tubes are
detachable so you leave them in the parts drawer if so desired. If
batteries aren't your thing, I'm thinking a cigar of the correct proportions
could be neatly tucked into the tube too.
There is also a lower storage compartment available for easier access for what ever it is you think you might need (perhaps matches for the cigar?). Oops, better not....I just noticed that the EMOD documentation states that this compartment is weatherproof but not necessarily waterproof (unlike the battery tubes). I tried folding up a .22 cal Bore Snake to see if I could cram it into the compartment....close but no cigar. <grin>
Last but not least, the EMOD comes with a rubber butt pad (as seen in the above photo). It really isn't for recoil....come on, a .223 doesn't kick that hard (and yes, I realize that there are other AR-15 uppers that thump a little harder). The first think I noticed was that it helps keep the stock in place once you shoulder it. The rubber doesn't slip and slide like a piece of bare polymer. The butt pad can be removed should you decide it is not needed.
Overall, the fit and finish are what I would expect given the price range of the stock. After a few more range sessions, I'll know for sure if I made the right decision....but so far, it looks like I did.