Prior to my self-imposed exile from airsoft, I started hearing really good things from early adopters about the Mission First Tactical Battlelink Minimalist Stock.
It’s not really that difficult for experienced AR15 watchers to make predictions about what will end up being seen in the wild. But it normally takes a while for bleeding-edge civilian upgrades to end up on blasters at the sharp end. Such modifications have to be proven, first.
Jeff Gurwitch is considered by many in the RS world to be the leading authority on what I’ve previously called the MilCiv look.
Spanning almost four years, Mr. Gurwitch has written a number of first hand accounts, detailing the modification of Block 1, 1.5 and II blasters with civilian aftermarket upgrades.
I consider these articles essential reading and I often refer back to them for inspiration:
“Tactical AR-15/M4/M4A1 Carbine Aftermarket Accessories for Military Combat Applications: The Competition-to-Combat Crossover”
Magpul, it seems, is still king of in the wild MilCiv. Its products are well designed, good looking and tough.
Mr. Gurwitch observes that part of Magpul’s appeal is that it occupies the middle ground price point between premium economy and high end. So, while it probably represents an upgrade over the user’s issued kit, it doesn’t break the bank.
Plus, who wants to experiment in that environment? If it works for your buddies, the chances are it’s going to work for you.
To be honest, I never thought the MFT stock would make it into the wild. Its looks are too challenging for most. Plus, I remember airsofters dismissing it out of hand when it was released onto the market. These were guys who loved the look, but had misgivings about how it would handle. The stock’s non-traditional, hooked shape was implicated as a possible gear hang-up nightmare.
It’s a reasonable assumption to make, but I was still curious. Without trying something out, you can never be sure.
My main concern was the reach adjustment paddle on the underside of the stock. Because it’s exposed, perhaps it could be activated accidentally. This could present an expensive problem, if your sling is attached to the stock and the stock parts company with your blaster.
Some suggested braiding paracord, spanning the gap between the stock’s front aperture and the tip of the butt; basically creating a CTR/MOE triangle.
So, imagine my surprise when:
1. I started picking up vibes from airsoft users which suggested that the MFT doesn’t involuntarily hang up on your gear.
2. Likewise, stock adjustment paddles have not been accidentally activated, dumping PTWs on the floor and smashing them into a million pieces.
3. RS reviews basically said the same thing, aside from any mention of airsoft (airsoft is stupid, after all)
4. There are in the wild pics of the MFT Battlelink Stock in use.
Not many, but these things takes time to filter through. That being said, one pic can start an airsoft stampede.
Prior to the publication of ‘that’ pic, tube rails were frowned upon by some. Now they are common currency on mil builds. In the wild pics do lend a certain credibility to aftermarket parts, it has to be said.
So, if you were strangely drawn to the MFT stock, but didn’t like to say in front of your impressionista mates, it’s OK to like it now!
Here, someone’s newly issued gun gets a new stock (photo credit Jeff Gurwitch for Defense Review)…
The user of this blaster sure knows how to optimise and I would guess has an armourer who is well up for it (photo credit Jeff Gurwitch for Defense Review)…
So, what’s so good about MFT’s stock? Well, it’s really, really light for a start. From MFT’s website:
“This is the lightest stock on the market! With heavy input from operators we utilized the minimal amount of material while maintaining all the necessary functionality.
Battlelink Stocks are the evolution of battlefield technology manufactured using a specially developed Military Grade reinforced, super tough polyamide. Putting the stock to your shoulder is the foundation of any stock. Holding true to the basics while adding functionality with the minimal amount of material possible was our goal. With heavy input from operators from all spectrums we saw the need to make a stock that offers all of the functional requirements while keeping the weight under 6 ounces. This stock adapts and changes to your environment or operational needs by utilizing custom accessory mounts and is able to accept a new optimized sling configuration. This ultimately makes our stock the lightest in today’s AR accessories market.”
It’s a very high speed, low drag looking stock.
On to PTW practicalities, though. If you’re using a silver OEM Systema stock tube/buffer, you may want to go for the commercial spec MFT stock – the ‘BMS’ version. I’ve linked the ‘BMSMIL’ which is the mil one, so be careful when choosing.
Systema’s silver buffer is between mil and com in diameter, unhelpfully. So the BMS/com size MFT should fit. Unfortunately you’ll probably be in ‘cock in a sock’ territory because the fit won’t be too snug. That would annoy the fuck out of me.
As my friend Pier says, “Wobble is ugly.”
So you could go with a mil MFT stock and DIY the insides with round file – I’ve heard of that being done before, with mil spec stocks.
However, if you really want to change to the MFT or other RS stocks, I’d recommend sourcing a Tackleberry modded RS mil spec buffer and using that. The mil MFT should fit nice and solid (but don’t quote me as I haven’t tried it).
What I can say, so far, is that the BMS/com version is a really nice, snug fit on an RS com spec buffer.
The QD sling point isn’t rotation limited, so we’ll see how that goes. I don’t know yet if that makes a difference at the rear.
There’s also a really helpful stock position hole on the top of the stock, so you can mark the buffer with a Posca pen to signify the optimum extension point:
The polymer is good quality, too – up there with Magpul, which was a surprise.
I particulalry like the side profile of the butt. It’s kind of a curved hook. You can roll it nicely, up, into your shoulder. It’s comfortable.
More about this stock, when I’ve had a chance to use it in anger.