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You may be asking yourself why someone would want to fold the stock to the side on an AR-15, which is a reasonable question and one I asked myself. Before SHOT Show this year, I’d never seen a product that could take a standard AR fixed stock (adjustable or not) and allow it to fold to the side.
I had the opportunity to meet up with the guys from Law Tactical at SHOT, where they were able to tell me a little bit about the Law Tactical Folding Stock Adapter. The first thing I thought was that you’re not going to be able to fire the gun with the stock folded, knowing full well the AR’s order of operations.
Removing the buffer, action spring and receiver extension by folding the stock to the side, won’t allow the firearm to cycle properly. While optimistic of the adapter’s role on the AR, I also saw the immediate advantage to facilitate more options for storage and concealment.
Without a Stock
In my experience with the guns I own and have shot, rifles without a stock are worthless in my opinion. Can you shoot them, yes. Are they accurate, no. I bring this up because it’s important to have this discussion and to analyze the nature of a product like the folding stock adapter.
To me, this goes right along with the side-folder stock found on AKs and even underfolders. With AKs, you can shoot multiple rounds with the stock folded, but the AK is a different platform. I’ve had the opportunity to shoot AKs with the stocks folded and I’m even working on building a side-folding Krink in a new build series for ITS. What I’ve personally found is a whole lot of awkwardness when it comes to shooting a rifle with a folded stock.
For me, it’s hard to be consistent and accurate without a stock on a rifle-caliber firearm. Extending your arms to absorb the recoil like on a pistol, is definitely a spot where the awkwardness comes in. It’s much different trying to keep a foot of gun on target while trying to shoot it like a pistol. It’s not so much the recoil management, as it is the weight and length.
Either way, I wanted to provide my opinion on shooting without a stock for a frame of reference. Again, it’s just my opinion. I also side more with the intended purpose of the folding stock being designed for paratroopers, who have a need for a more compact firearm during a jump. I’ve also read that the intended purpose of the AKs folding stocks were for the Russian airborne troops and delivery of fire from a multitude of shelter positions.
Again, going back to Airborne units and firing from concealment being the intended usage. With the Law Tactical Folding Stock Adapter, firing more than one round from concealment with the stock folded is impossible, so other than an emergency shot, you’ll have to fold the stock back out to finish engaging a target.
Law Tactical states that they designed their folding stock adapter for “deployment by vehicle and aircrews and is ideal for low profile transport of AR rifles in non-permissive environments… ideal for any situation that requires a smaller profile weapon.”
I’d first like to note that the Law Tactical Folding Stock Adapter is designed, built and assembled in the USA from CNC machined, hard-anodized aluminum. I was immediately impressed with the quality of the adapter when I first had the chance to get hands-on with it.
The Law Tactical Folding Stock Adapter works with direct impingement or gas piston systems and fits any A2, carbine, mil-spec or commercial buffer tube and stock. It can also be used with standard bolt carrier groups including: full auto, semi auto, 5.56 to .308.
While the bottom of the adapter features a QD sling attachment point, I prefer the functionality of the Magpul ASAP or the SLAP Plate and would like to note that the ASAP didn’t fit with this installation, but the SLAP did.
A simple one-button release is activated with a simple press, yet strong enough to resist accidental depressing while moving in and out of a vehicle, etc. Just unfold and fire, the stock will automatically lock into place.
Let’s get into the installation and I’ll follow that up with the results of my test fire, function check and pros & cons. There’s also a video below walking through the complete installation, test fire and after-action report.
The installation of the Law Tactical Folding Stock Adapter is very easy and like most guys, I honestly didn’t follow the instructions much. I’m not trying to validate that quality, but I do find I learn more about the inner workings of a product if I try to figure things out on my own a bit first.
Either way, installation is simple and all you’ll need is a stock wrench for loosening and backing off your castle nut, two allen wrenches/hex keys, flat head screwdriver and your receiver extension plate or the flip side of your stock wrench. Optionally you also might want to consider a lower receiver vise block to enable you to work with your AR in a vise.
The full install can be seen step-by-step in the video below:
Function Check and Test Fire
Now that the unit is assembled, perform a quick function check to ensure the operation of the AR is intact. All that’s left to do at this point is take it to the range for test firing.
While the directions that come with the adapter clearly state “DO NOT FIRE” in the folded position, we had to test that one out for ourselves, since the AR is capable of firing a single round while folded. I was certainly worried at what would happen and as you can see in the video above, I made sure to stand to the side in case the bolt carrier group decided to launch out the back.
It didn’t do that though and I was actually able to fire a round, fold the stock back over, cycle the gun and fire another round. I also learned in this why it’s not recommended to fire from the folded position. No damage occurred to my gun within the test firing, but a small part did break on the adapter.
I didn’t ever see this part during my install, nor realize what it was or its purpose, until taking the unit apart. I explain this in detail in the video above, but I’ll attempt to explain this in writing as well. There’s a small housing for a sleeve, spring and detent that’s located in the side of the adapter that moves back and forth as the stock opens and closes. I believe the purpose of this detent is to provide the back pressure needed to properly close the stock.
As the stock is swung around to latch closed, the opposite side of the adaptor (from the latch side) needs to have a counter-pressure to ensure proper alignment. This detent, which had a circular polymer piece, broke in half from the force of the recoil when I fired the gun with the stock folded to the side. Due to the detent breaking, the spring was forced into the channel and when I closed it, the spring was bent.
In the video, you can see that the stock did close properly and the gun fired another round, but after we stopped filming we noticed pieces of the detent on the shooting bench where the fun was resting. You can actually see pieces of the detent fall out during the video when it was shot in the open position.
When we got back to the shop and out of the snap spring cold we had roll through, I took the adapter apart and was able to diagnose what happened. While a part did break on the adapter, it did and still does function correctly. Without that detent to provide that opposing pressure to the assembly, you do have to snap the stock over quickly to increase the force required to close it. To release it now, you also have to use pressure to provide that opposing force needed before you can release the button to fold the stock.
In all though, considering how much force is moving through the bolt carrier group on it’s way to the rear after firing, it speaks well of the construction of the adapter that it was able to handle that and not damage the receiver or internal parts on the AR. While I certainly don’t claim to know the inner workings of the adapter, I question whether a stronger ball on the detent would have saved that part from breaking, or if that’s a necessary requirement.
Pros and Cons
Starting with the pros of the Law Tactical Folding Stock Adapter, I really love the fact that it enables you to fit your AR into tighter spaces. Whether that’s a smaller gun case, backpack, bag or storage in a vehicle. I can’t necessarily comment on the Airborne potential of this product, but I’d suspect it might have an application there as well with certain military units.
While the adapter does add about 1 3/4″ to the overall length of the AR, this is offset by not needing to extend your stock out as far to maintain a good extension and cheek weld.
The downsides of the adapter are that to field strip the AR, you have to have a flat head screwdriver to remove the receiver extension before you can open the upper receiver. I also found that the hinge of the adapter interfered with the operation of the charging handle, as my hand rubbed across the hinge when racking the charging handle. The adapter does have rounded edges, but I still found it to be in the way.
Also, while obvious, you do have to fold the stock closed before you can fire more than a single round. And if you do fire that round from the open position, you could run into the same issue I did with the detent breaking or even a different kind of damage that could only be known if someone had a chance to test a first round fire on multiple firearms and configurations. Meaning that your damage from a first round fire might be different than what I experienced.
I’d like to conclude by saying that I really do like the functionality of the Law Tactical Folding Stock Adapter and would still highly recommend it for its intended use. Just the ability to allow you to fit an otherwise lengthy AR into different locations is a huge plus, it will be up to you to determine if its purpose is right for you.
For more information on the Law Tactical Folding Stock Adapter and to purchase one of your own, visit them online. Also, if you have any further questions, be sure to leave them in the comments here and either I’ll do my best to answer them, or see if the guys from Law Tactical can come on and answer them for you.
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@DePuty With the exception of the B5 Bravo Stock and the DBAL, all the parts can be found here: http://www.itstactical.com/series/diy-ar-15-build/ Hope that helps!
I'm also curious to know if the largest BCM charging handle would overcome the fact that hinge interferes with the charging handle.
I have the Gen 2 folder and it is fantastic on a 7" 9mm AR (pistol)! Now that's a tiny package when folded.
One (IMHO) significant correction. If you need to field strip an AR with the LAW Tactical folding stock adapter, you don't need tools. Just push out both front and rear receiver pins and you can separate the upper and lower with the LAW bolt carrier extension still installed -- just tilt the muzzle up and pull forward (helps if the hammer is cocked). You then can remove the BCG as usual. Reinstallation is just reversed, start with the muzzle up and insert the extension into the receiver extension, then lower the muzzle and push the upper back.
The tool requirement for field maintenance was my only reservation. Now that's solved!
I have the Gen 2 folder and it is fantastic on a 7" 9mm AR (pistol)! Now that's a tiny package when folded. One (IMHO) significant correction. If you need to field strip an AR with the LAW Tactical folding stock adapter, you don't need tools. Just push out both front and rear receiver pins and you can separate the upper and lower with the LAW bolt carrier extension still installed -- just tilt the muzzle up and pull forward (helps if the hammer is cocked). You then can remove the BCG as usual. Reinstallation is just reversed, start with the muzzle up and insert the extension into the receiver extension, then lower the muzzle and push the upper back. The tool requirement for field maintenance was my only reservation. Now that's solved!
Great info, and it answered many of the questions I had on the LAW system. I'm disappointed that it adds to the length and complicates the disassembly, but can see how it will be of interest to quite a few users. Keep up the great work!
Great review. I took note of the Pros and Cons section, but was wondering if this is something you plan to keep on your AR. I have found a variety of products that are mechanically and logically sound, however, they do not fit in my set up. Do you think this will remain on your AR ?
I was just looking at this on their website, it sucks that the ASAP plate doesn't work on there i love that sling plate, have you tried or considered the new MS4 version of magpuls sling that uses QDs instead of the clips like the MS3? i have never used QD attachment slings but if they rotate they might accomplish the same thing as the ASAP plate.
A great storage option... My only concern is having buffer pop out all over the place. Yeah the odds of hitting the release are slim to none, but look at it. Its right there just waiting to fly out... Just my thoughts.
I think this is an excellent piece of gear and I have one installed on one of my AR's.
Like any piece of gear, you have to know its limitations. This works for its intended purpose 100%.
Two thumbs up from me.
I think this is an excellent piece of gear and I have one installed on one of my AR's. Like any piece of gear, you have to know its limitations. This works for its intended purpose 100%. Two thumbs up from me.
Took a while to get it due to back order but once it got here it is a pretty good set up and runs without a hick up.
I am a retired federal weapons inspector/repairer but don't see any one with a basic skill set would have an issue installing this on their own.
Took a while to get it due to back order but once it got here it is a pretty good set up and runs without a hick up. I am a retired federal weapons inspector/repairer but don't see any one with a basic skill set would have an issue installing this on their own.
Do you think using the largest of the charging handles from Bravo Company would help with avoiding the hinge or is it just that big? Saw hies at SHOT and thin it is the answer to me traveling with an AR in a backpack .
Bryan, Do you think using the largest of the charging handles from Bravo Company would help with avoiding the hinge or is it just that big? Saw hies at SHOT and thin it is the answer to me traveling with an AR in a backpack .
Nice article, Bryan. I bought one of these this year, I'm hoping it is sitting at the house. I've been pondering installing this on one of my ARs for the Survival Trial competition this fall. I think it would be convenient to be able to put my rifle in my pack when not in use. I've been concerned with overall functionality of the rifle and how complicated it would be to fix a malfunction with it if one was to occur.
@DePuty With the exception of the B5 Bravo Stock and the DBAL, all the parts can be found here: http://www.itstactical.com/series/diy-ar-15-build/ Hope that helps!
Thanks Carl, I could definitely see the benefit to adding one of these for the Survival Trial to facilitate putting it into a pack for transport. As far as the malfunction goes, as long as you're not shooting it with the stock folded, against the manufacturer's recommended advice, you'd be good to go. You'd just need to remember that to field strip the AR, you'll need to have a flat head screwdriver to remove the bolt carrier extension. That and like I mentioned in the article, I did have the issue with my charging handle hand running into the adapter protrusion on the port side.