We’ve been working with the folks at Blackhawk! to completely bling-up a DPMS A3 Lite AR-15 rifle. So far, we’ve added a tactical light, quad forend, thumb shelf and extended safety lever. Some handy upgrades for sure. Not it’s time to work on the back end a little. The standard DPMS buttstock is perfectly serviceable, but we’re going to be trying a couple of different sling options on this rifle, so we’re looking for maximum attachment point flexibility. This rifle could also benefit from a comb design that’s a bit wider and more comfortable.
Aftermarket buttstocks for the AR-15 offer a wide variety of features, so you can pick what’s important to you. This one, from Blackhawk!, has a forward-angled buttplate, ambidextrous sling attachment points and a wider comb.
There are all sorts of replacement buttstocks on the market. Some offer a wider comb. Others offer integrated storage compartments for things like spare batteries. Or you may want a different angle buttplate design – the Blackhawk! stock we’re installing here has a design that slopes downward and towards the muzzle. Most any replacement stock will give you more flexible options for attaching a sling. This one has multiple sling attachment points that offer ambidextrous attachment options.
The comb is the top of a rifle stock. It’s the part where you stick your cheek when you’re taking aim for a really important shot. Different comb shapes and heights not only help with comfort and fit, but can help you properly line up your line of sight with a scope or optic on your rifle.
The first thing to figure out when you decide to upgrade the buttstock on your AR-15 is the size of your tube. Stop that! I can hear some of you snickering from here. Really, it’s childish!
The Buffer Tube, or as more important people refer to it, Receiver Extension Assembly, is that round thing sticking out the back of your rifle where the buttstock attaches. They tend to come in two diameters: Commercial and Military. To find out which one your rifle has, just measure the diameter. Commercial tubes are about 1.170 inches in diameter and the military spec tube is somewhere near 1.146 inches in diameter. Or, you could just look in your owners manual – it will probably specify your tube size. The DPMS rifle we’re using here has a commercial tube, so we ordered the appropriately sized buttstock from Blackhawk! To ensure a proper fit.
When doing any work on an AR-15 rifle, I like to separate the upper and lower receivers. I do this for two reasons. First, dealer with smaller sections make the process a little more manageable. Second, it’s safer as the rifle is not capable of firing when it’s broken in half. Just push the two takedown pins as far as they will go and rotate the upper receiver out of the lower half.
Replacing a sliding buttstock is just about the easiest AR upgrade there is. Just pull down on the entire stock adjustment / release lever to make sure the adjustment pin clears the channel in the buffer tube. If you pull the whole release lever assembly downwards, the stock will simply slide off the back of the buffer tube. Piece of cake right? Hey, here’s a great opportunity to get a rag and clean off any gunk that might have accumulated in there.
Assuming you bought the correct size stock (commercial or military spec) you can just slide the new one on. Just repeat the process by pulling down the release lever and sliding the stock into place.
Finally, check the operation of your replacement buttstock to make sure it moves freely and does not wobble. If it does, you might have bought the wrong size! When you’re satisfied with the fit, reassemble the upper and lower receivers and you’re good to go!
Notice the multiple quick detach sling points. They’re on both sides of the stock. There’s also a metal sling stud centered on the bottom. Or, feel free to loop a sling through one of the cut slots. You have a lot of choices!
The angle of the buttplate (downward and towards the muzzle) allows the rifle to easily settle into your shoulder and the back has an aggressive grip texture. All in all, it makes for a great fit.
Next time, we’ll add a universal sling point adapter – that involves a little more construction!