Using the Mission First Tactical Battlelink Minimalist Stock Milspec (BMSMIL) on and off since 2016, it occurred to me that I’d never actually reviewed it.
Some consider it only slightly less unappealing than a Strike Industries product, but I’ve grown to like it because it is truly ergonomic yet minimalist.
Moreover, some builds it suits and some it doesn’t; but its image has been enhanced remarkably by its accession to military clone credibility.
It was ahead of its time when it was first released and IMO still looks (and feels) modern.
2. Feature Set
2.1 Angled no-slip butt pad with rolled toe
One of the biggest benefits of the BMSMIL for me is its butt pad. Yes, it’s rubberized and yes it’s aggressively textured for a no slip grip. However, what sets it apart from other stocks (especially those of previous generations like the LMT Crane stock and Magpul CTR) is its particular angle and rolled toe.
The angle is more ergonomic in general and the rolled toe allows for faster presentation of the rifle from low ready. Granted, it’s not the only modern stock which exhibits an angle/toe design (e.g. Magpul MOE SL; and SL-K – as reviewed here), but the BMSMIL does it better in my opinion.
2.2 Innovative sling swivel socket placement
The BMSMIL’s sling swivel socket is a non-rotation limited design, which means it is perfect for ambidextrous handling. It occupies the midway point between receiver end plate and butt, for sling placement; providing an additional opportunity for optimised ergonomics. I’ve yet to see a stock other than one made by Mission First Tactical which includes this feature.
2.3 Footman’s loops
In lieu of a butt end sling swivel socket, the BMSMIL excels in providing sling mounting options via two footman’s loops. These are sized to accept slings up to 1.25″ wide.
2.4 Minimised adjustment paddle
The BMSMIL’s length adjustment paddle is relatively small but easy to use. Adjacent is a horizontal steel pin which must be pulled down to ease the stock onto the buffer tube. No two ways about it – this is a ballache. Like the paddle the pin is minimalist and in this case it doesn’t lend much leverage.
The paddle’s small size means that it does not require protection from accidental activation, in my experience. However, the BMSMIL can accept a paracord bulwark using tie-down features at its leading and trailing edges. In fact, MFT sells a stock with woven paracord ready to go. Interestingly, because the paracord flexes, it does not affect ambidextrous operation of the BMSMIL’s sling swivel socket.
2.5 Enhanced cheek weld
The BMSMIL really does feel minimalist, as its name suggests. Paradoxically, it gives excellent cheek weld. I’m not keen on a big ‘ol shelf like the the LMT Crane stock, but I prefer the BMSMIL’s contact points to those of the Magpul CTR. As it transpires it’s all down to the BMSMIL’s angular shape, rather than additional bulk – it does more with less.
2.6 No wobble fit
There’s no length adjustment lock with the BMSMIL. It manages to avoid ugly wobble just by fitting snuggly. It’s a precise fit, but still not a horror to adjust (I’m looking at you Magpul MOE SL). I’m guessing it’s down to the surface area inside the stock, which comes in contact with the buffer tube, being minimal.
2.7 Leading edge chamfer
Now this is an interesting one for bearded chaps like me. I’ll often snag a few hairs at the top leading edge of any adjustable AR stock. In comparison I don’t often snag in that way when using the BMSMIL. I think that’s because of the stock’s chamfer. It’s deeper and longer than comparable stocks, so gently sloping.
2.8 Stock extension window
With that said, I do lose beard to the window on the top of the BMSMIL. Ostensibly this is for marking stock position with a Posca pen or similar.
3. Benchmarking with Magpul CTR
Hopefully readers will be familiar with the iconic CTR, because it’s a useful comparison to make.
BMSMIL and Magpul CTR Comparison Table
The first thing you notice when handling the two stocks is that even the CTR feels relatively bulky in comparison to the BMSMIL. Part of that is down to the palpable difference in weight, but the form factor plays a role too. The BMSMIL is spindly – the CTR chunkier.
For me the BMSMIL gives better and slightly longer cheek weld, but I was surprised that its height (butt pad length) is only slightly less than the CTR’s. The BMSMIL’s shoulder contact is superior to pretty much everything, CTR included. It doesn’t make the CTR any less dependable, battle-proven or iconic, but it does underline that stock design has moved on a little.
If you don’t like the look of the BMSMIL, you’ll probably never buy one – unless it happens to be clone correct that is. That’s a shame because this stock, in use, is stellar.
It’s just so nice to shoulder and the cheek weld is perfect for me. It doesn’t feel like a sloping cheek weld stock, yet it also doesn’t feel bereft of any support at all. The cheek weld is even dependably repeatable when using taller, 2.26″ mounts like the Unity Tactical FAST (REVIEW) and FAST FTC Magnifier Mount (REVIEW).
I’ve heard from some who do like the look of the stock, but are put off from purchase because they think the BMSMIL is going to hang up when presenting at high or low ready – being L-shaped and with an angular butt. I thought so too, before I bought my very first one and in five years it’s yet to happen – even when wearing more bulky, load bearing PCs.
I can’t imagine high speed, low drag users like CAG, DEVGRU, UKSF et al using this stock if it had such a low speed, high drag flaw – so while it’s a legitimate concern I think most users can buy with confidence.
Maybe it’s time for another look at a stock that was ahead of its time when first released, yet still feels modern?