Innovation is cool, but when it caters to my particular wants or needs, it rocks. AR enthusiasts have long lamented side-folding stocks do not get along with the traditional direct-gas-impingement (DGI) operating system due to the need for bolt carriers and buffers to operate behind their receivers. Over the years, a small number of specialty manufacturers have developed work-arounds to the problem, but they have fallen short of offering a drop-in aftermarket option to convert existing DGI ARs to side-folders—until now.
Simple tools and good instructions are all you need to add the folding stock adapter to your direct-gas AR.
The Law Tactical Folding Stock Adapter is a 90-percent solution to the problem. The only thing stopping it from being a full-on conversion unit is the fact that it is not designed to allow firing with the stock folded. I carried folding-stock carbines and submachine guns during my Army days, and the circumstances where I needed to be able to fire them without first deploying the stock were limited to a handful of times involving extreme environments or circumstances. Even on my wildest day my civilian life is a bit tamer, so I can handle this limitation to the stock's utility.
All that is needed to convert your existing AR to the Law Tactical system is the ability and tooling to remove the buttstock and buffer assemblies. Tutorials abound with step-by-step instructions for this procedure, so I won't go into it here. The process will be smooth if you apply proper tools and attention to detail. Once the stock and recoil assemblies are removed, the included instructions clearly explain the process of installing Law Tactical's hardware. The removal and installation procedures only used up 20 minutes of my day.
After installation of the Law Tactical kit, the stock retains its original fixed or collapsible nature, but also folds to the left side with the press of a conveniently-located and protected spring-loaded button. The stock does not lock in the folded position, but hinge tension is easily adjusted with a hex key to keep it folded. It is easily deployed/extended by simply unfolding until it locks open. The latch is stout, and there is no doubt when it locks to full extension. Time to deploy the stock is faster than to extend a stock that has been collapsed to its shortest length for storage. A collapsible stock's original endplate and castle nut are retained for use with the Law Tactical system, so any sling attachment points located either on the endplate or the stock remain usable. The kit will work on mil-spec and commercial receiver extensions, A1 or A2 fixed stocks and on both 5.56 NATO- and .308 Win.-sized AR platforms.
With the adapter installed to permit folding, the author’s AR had its storage length reduced by 6.5 inches, making stowing his emergency carbine easier than ever. Stock deployment can be accomplished in the blink of an eye.
If there is a glitch in this system, it is in the way the designers have tackled the problem of filling in the inch-plus space between the rear of the bolt carrier and the front of the recoil buffer once the folding system is installed. The adapter creates a gap between the rear of bolt carrier and the buffer's front. An included bolt-carrier extension must be attached to the rear of the carrier to fill this space and maintain contact with the buffer. This is easily accomplished with a flathead screwdriver and wrench, effectively making the bolt carrier longer to fill the gap. Without the extension in place, the bolt carrier would damage the gun and cause it to malfunction while reciprocating.
As it currently exists, however, the carrier extension must be removed in order to separate the upper and lower receivers for maintenance or repair. While I never plan to remove my bolt carrier in the heat of a gunfight, there are some serious malfunctions that do require opening the rear takedown pin—with the Law Tactical setup in place, tools are required to make that happen. If I were to change one thing on this kit it would be to make the bolt-carrier extension removable without use of tools.
The included manual clearly states this system should neverbe fired with the stock folded. The intent of this kit is to provide a more compact means of storing your AR, not firing it from the hip. A spring-loaded finger locks into the bolt-carrier extension when the stock is folded, preventing it from moving rearward should the gun be fired in this configuration. Law Tactical has tested both 5.56 NATO and .308 Win. ARs with this system to verify they could withstand being fired with the stock folded, and in both cases the bolt carriers were effectively retained, but the Law Tactical hardware was damaged and unsuitable for further use.
I added the Gen 2 AR Folding Stick Adapter to my 5.5-pound Hoplite, bringing weight up to 6.25 pounds and stretching overall length by 1.25 inches. The biggest change can be seen in terms of storage space needed for the little gun. My carbine measured 32.5 inches long with the stock collapsed in the original configuration. After installation, overall length with the stock folded was shortened to just 26 inches.
I fired 150 rounds of 55-grain FMJ and surplus 62-grain M855 "green tip" through my gun with the Law Tactical adapter installed. Function was flawless, and though my length of pull was longer, the collapsible stock allowed me to easily remedy that problem out for a normal eye-to-sight distance. I checked the screw affixing the bolt carrier extension after every 10 rounds for the first 60 shots to see if it would loosen, then I fired the rest of the ammunition and checked again to ensure it stayed tight. The carrier extension was properly aligned and the screw was as tight as when first installed each time I inspected it.
We live in an age of utility through modularity. Selling for $199 (web) to $219 (MSRP), the Law Tactical Gen 2 AR Folding Stock Adapter adds yet another page to the practicality chapter in the book of America's favorite rifle.