Have you ever needed to stuff your AR15 in the smallest case possible? Were you concerned about the terminal energy loss of going to a super short barrel? Does you agency require that you use a “direct impingement” AR platform? Wish you could just break your AR15 in half? Well now you can!
I always wanted to write infomercials. I think I missed my calling. All joking aside, the ability to fold the stock on a tactical rifle adds a great option.
Folding rifle stocks are not new. Bolt guns, AKs, Galils, etc. have had folding stocks for decades. Why is it then that America’s premier military rifle is as inflexible as the old Garand?
The M16 family of rifles pose a significant problem to folding stock designers. The M16/AR15 design relies on an operating spring and buffer that ride in a tube housed in the stock. When the bolt carrier moves to it’s rearward most position, it compresses the buffer and spring, and protrudes half of its length into the buffer tube.
Previously if you wanted to convert an AR15 into a folding stock rifle, you needed to dispose of the original “direct impingement” design for an alternate operating system. This could be an acceptable solution for some. However if you are a professional gunslinger, you don’t get to make the rules. Most LE and Military personnel are restricted on the type of weapons they can use.
The guys at LAW Tactical have come up with a novel solution to this. They created a simple adapter that allows you to equip a standard AR15 (rifle or carbine) into a side folding stock in a matter of minutes. The modification will work with a large percentage of stocks on the market and caused very few changes in the manipulation of the firearm.
The LAW Tactical AR Folding Stock Adapter (Gen 2) is actually two separate parts. The first is a spacer/hinge assembly that attaches to your receiver in place of your current stock. The installation of the hinge is fairly straight forward, but RTFM. There are a couple little tricks in the directions.
After you have the hinge installed you will notice that you have added length to the path the operating assembly has to move through. This is where the bolt carrier extension comes in. This little metal “spud” installs into the tail of the bolt carrier group. It takes up the space that was created by installing the hinge assembly. To install the carrier extension you simply align the extension in the carrier and hold it in place with an armorer’s wrench or adjustable wrench. Then tighten the flat blade screw inside the extension. This opens up a collet inside the carrier and holds the extension in place. The process is easier if the complete upper receiver and bolt carrier group is installed on the lower. You can then access the rear of the bolt carrier by folding the stock to the side.
This leads us to one of the few drawbacks of the system. In some rifles the carrier extension will need to be removed before field stripping the rifle. However on our Stag lower receiver we can push both takedown pins and lift the upper off by sliding it forward. In my opinion this is a small trade off for the utility the adapter provides.
Operation of the rifle is relatively unchanged when the stock is in its deployed position. All controls operate as before and malfunction drills are the same. The hinge assembly does protrude from the left side of the rifle. Run and gun shooters may find that they need to install an extended charging handle. We installed a Rainier Arms Raptor charging handle on our test gun to allow for right handed charging while in a supported shooting position.
Law Tactical is very careful to stress that rifles equipped with the AR Folding Stock Adapter should not be fired from the folded position. “Do Not Fire” is printed on the back of the adapter and clearly visible when the stock is folded. Law Tactical assured us that the bolt carrier group would be retained in the rifle, however they also stressed the even one shot from a .223 AR would damage the adapter. This is actually a design feature. In the event that someone disregards the warning and fires the rifle while folded, the force is resisted by the steel latch. Instead of allowing the latch to transfer that force to the serialized part (your receiver), it is absorbed by the adapter. We were intrigued enough to test the statement.
We took our .223 AR15 equipped with the Law Tactical AR Folding Stock Adapter to the range. With the exception of the added length of pull, the rifle functioned exactly the way it did prior to the adapter. The added advantage is that now I can attach a suppressor, fold the stock and fit the 20″ AR15 back in the same bag. Definitely a plus for an LE Sniper/DM role.
I do not recommend storing the rifle with a cartridge chambered and stock folded. When readying the rifle for action, it is a simple matter to flip the stock open, rip the charging handle and go to work. The rifle cannot be charged without unfolding the stock. Therefore this process reduces the chance of firing the rifle folded. However should you see a need to do so, the stock can be folded after a cartridge is chambered.
When we review products if the manufacturer makes a claim to durability or reliability an we have the logistics to safely test that claim, we do. In this case that is fairly simple. Once we determined that the adapter functioned as advertised and did not impact the reliability or accuracy or the rifle, we did what YOU are not supposed to do.
While wearing eye and ear pro, and standing clear of the back of the rifle I yelled “back blast area all clear” and let a round go down range.
The trumpets didn’t sound. The heavens did not fall. It was pretty anticlimactic. The bolt carrier was held securely in the upper receiver. In order to clear the fired case the stock has to be unfolded. This was rather difficult because the adapter had deformed. It would not allow the stock to lock in the extended position. I was able to hold the stock extended and work the bolt to eject the case. The adapter did not appear to be damaged, but it would not lock with a gentle nudge like it did when new.
I worked with it for a few more minutes to see if I could coax it back into a serviceable condition. Finally, I decided that it was already damaged and not functioning. There wasn’t a whole lot more damage I could do to it. With one mighty swing I slammed it into the extended position…….and it locked. Apparently snapping the stock closed in progressively harder attempts hammered the aluminum back into shape.
I dropped a fresh magazine into the rifle and was happy to see that it functioned perfectly. After clearing the rifle for a final time I tried to fold the stock again. Prior to the abuse the unlocking button functioned smoothly and easily. After my little test, it required some pressure holding the stock closed before the button could be pushed, releasing the stock.
It is comforting that if the operator was forced into a situation where he/she had to fire the weapon in the folded condition, once some corrective brute force was applied it would be usable. It’s important to know your weapon system will function well enough to get you home and back to an armorer.
The Law Tactical AR Folding Stock Adapter will work on small (.223/5.56) and large (.308) AR systems as long as they accept the standard AR buttstock design. At the time of this writing we have not tested the adapter on a .308 system. I am confident that the standard function will remain the same, but I would not rely on the system still being able to lock closed if it was fired in the open position with the heavier recoiling .308 Winchester cartridge.
Whenever we discuss folding stocks the question of “lockup” always comes up. I have shot cheap folding systems before that were just nasty. This is not the case with the Law Tactical AR Folding Stock Adapter. You can feel an almost imperceptible amount of movement if you hold the rifle against a bench, perfectly stationary and wiggle the stock. While shooting the rifle with the Magpul MOE Rifle Stock, I could not feel any movement at all. There is far more movement in most carbine stocks than in the actual adapter itself.
Overall, I can give the Law Tactical Generation 2 Folding Stock Adapter two thumbs up. It functions exactly as designed and offers a needed option to the direct impingement AR.
One final note. While at the 2013 SHOT Show, I got a chance to hang out at the Black Rifle Company booth and see the reaction to the AR Folding Stock Adapter. It seems that some folks just didn’t understand the application. This is not an accessory that will help you FIGHT. It’s an accessory that will help you bring the right tool to the FIGHT. If you think you have a tactical need for a weapon you can fight with while its stock is folded, you need to look elsewhere. If you need to store a standard AR15 in the smallest package possible and bring it to bear in a second, then this adapter is for you. Motorcycle Units, Undercover Officers and even LE Sniper Teams can benefit from the advantages of the Law Tactical AR Folding Stock Adapter. It offers options you normally would not have with a direct impingement AR.
The AR Folding Stock Adapter (Gen 2) is available direct from Law Tactical’s website for $199