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Friday, January 25, 2013

MFT Battle Stock Attachment Review

The new MFT BSA2 on a standard mil-spec carbine stock

I've got a soft spot for a few gear manufacturers out there.  Magpul is one.  MFT is another.  The AR-15 platform was designed to be a lightweight platform, and the new technology available in polymers allows manufacturers to really reach the apex of that principle with accessories.  Heavy stocks, rails and mounts are now being re-imagined in lightweight polymers that Eugene Stoner would have killed for when he envisioned the rifle.

As we continue to bolt on more stuff to our rifles and add more and more weight, we come to realize that we are hampering the original design of the weapon with our new gear.  Building an AR becomes a juggling act, as we balance our new ergonomic tacticool designs with the reality that we're going to have to handle that thing on the range or in a critical situation.

The more I work with this system, I find myself shedding parts and looking for lighter-weight alternatives while retaining the functions I feel I need for my carbine.

As I dig a lot of the MFT stuff, I picked up their Battle Stock Attachment (E2BSA is the company's designation for it).  I like the feel of a Crane stock, but I didn't feel like shelling out for a SOPMOD stock when I had a few standard carbine stocks laying around, so the BSA seemed like a decent idea. I had liked the old CAA stock saddle when I had tried it years before, and this seemed like a decent upgrade, since it actually used the internal spaces on the CAA version.  If you look into it, you can see the connections between MFT and CAA, especially on their Classic series, but that's not the focus of this article.

After looking around, I picked up the BSA for about $30, which is a savings over even the B5 SOPMOD.  After getting it out of the package, I was interested to see how the whole thing worked.  The BSA slides over the standard carbine stock, and adds nothing to the overall length of the stock, which can be important to those who use them.  Many aftermarket stocks, like the MOE stock I usually mount, add a bit to the length of the stock as they have an overmolded backplate.   The stock adds a better cheekweld, and adds a pair of internal storage compartments, one on each side of the stock.  Each compartment contains a rubber storage core that is set up to hold 3 123A batteries.  As a lot of optics and lights run on these, this is a no brainer.  I left one core alone, and loaded it with 2 123A's and 1 CR2 battery for my Vortex Strikefire optic.  The second core I cut the partition out to accommodate an Oral IV for hydration on the go.

The storage cores have internal buffers to prevent battery rattle and accidental battery discharge. Here I have buffered the smaller battery with some painter's tape to prevent rattle.

The storage cores have small retaining sections that keep their contents in place when the core is withdrawn from the stock.  Each core is secured inside the stock by friction tabs that make it almost impossible for them to wiggle loose, and you really have to pull on the finger tab (pictured above on the left side of the core) to get them out of the stock.  I have used some other stocks and storage devices that fall out if you look at them wrong, and that is not the case with these.  They stay in, even if you have to mortar your rifle (I've done it.  They do NOT move).

The BSA allows you to mount a QD sling socket on either side, and the regular carbine sling mount is still accessible, with a traditional belt sling mount being the other option, also mounted on either side.  You get one of each, so a bit of forethought is needed before you put it together.  You can take it apart at any time, so if you don't like it, you can fix it, but that brings me to another point:  the assembly of this thing is a pain in the ass.

Assembly is pretty straightforward.  You slide the BSA over the stock, add in the spacers, and then place the sling mounts on the proper side and tension them into each other by use of a pair of screws and hex nuts.  It's a simple system, and really intuitive and space-saving.

The problem comes from when you start screwing in the sling mounts.  The hex nuts sit in a hole that is sized for them, and theoretically should stay in place.  What happens is the screw starts to push out the nut if it's not perfectly lined up the first time.  Then it pops out and rattles around the spacer.  This really sucks when you've gotten one side in and locked, and the second sling mount pops its nut out into the spacer.  After about six times putting it back together again from scratch and much cursing, I came up with an easy fix.  I rolled up sections of tape and packed them into the pocket where the nut could pop out, and by that I mean I REALLY packed them in there, as a few loose pieces of tape accomplished nothing.

After that, things went smoothly, and the BSA came together with no additional issues.  It has since become my favorite stock, and has replaced my MOE stock for my go-to gear for any rifle I'm running.  In about 2k rounds of 5.56 and 5k rounds of .22, it has not failed me, wobbled, or loosened.  It gets tossed around on a consistent basis, and still looks and works like new, even when run through various drills and scenarios.  It is low-pro and the edges are smooth enough to not inhibit function, while the storage cores add an extra dimension to its utility.

 In closing, if you want a stock that very closely mimics the form of the Crane SOPMOD without the price, added bulk or length, and have an existing carbine stock, take a good look at the MFT BSA.  It's been a great piece of kit for me so far, and is priced low enough to make it a viable alternative to current storage-type stocks on the market today.

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