Review: RIGHT Armalite Folding Stock
By: popnfresh wLcH
Published: June 2005
RIGHT Folding Stock for M4/M16
Introduction to the Concept
The idea known as “the folder” in airsoft comes with many benefits and obscure delights. All sorts of different items commonly used on airsoft guns also come with a few variations. Stocks are a prime example, containing the fixed, extendable, “sniper”, and folding principles. Fixed stocks are most commonly seen on longer rifles like the M16 and the G3 type weapons and give a greater stability for accurate, well-placed shots. Extendable stocks are more commonly seen on shorter carbine rifles and submachine guns, like the M4 and the MP5 type weapons, offering a small amount of options to fit the environment in which the weapons are being used. Sniper stocks are distinguished by their combination of a butt stock and a pistol grip, or as the entire main body of a weapon giving the entire body a rock hard stability for extreme range shots. The M40, M24, and L96 are all examples, but guns like the P90 make this stock harder to name. The folding stock is most prominently seen in the G36C and the SIG 552 by Tokyo Marui, and gives a greater versatility to create an SMG/rifle hybrid by giving an option for greater maneuverability and an option for greater stability.
Choosing which is the best style stock is difficult, since they all have their benefits and obstacles, but the debate usually pushes towards looks. If I may say so, I think folding stocks look awesome in the right places. And I thought, what might my M933 look like with one? And the journey began…
Options, Decisions, and Impressions
After deciding that I wanted to ditch the normal M4 style retractable stock, I set about on a search for a simple, effective, and different stock that would get people’s eyes looking. I had a couple options: a fixed M16 style stock, the PRIME LR-300 folding and extendable stock, the RIGHT folding stock, or the devastatingly expensive Magpul modular stock system. I decided against the fixed stock in the sake of saving myself from rewiring my gun, and the Magpul stock was about 260 dollars above my intended budget.
So I had narrowed down to the two folding stocks: the PRIME and the RIGHT. The price difference between the two was a staggering 50 dollars, and I was looking for simplicity, not a bulky looking “super stock”. Although that probably would have been awesome, I decided on my wallet’s behalf to go with the RIGHT choice. I invested 70 dollars in the RIGHT folding stock at UNCompany and let EMS do their job.
After waiting only two days for a man with a clipboard to show up at my door, I looked at the cardboard box that held my stock. The box clearly says “XM177”, which scared me a little bit, since body designs could have been drastically different.
Luckily, it was not, but I did learn very quickly that modification would be needed to install the stock, and not just any small filing job. This meant cutting the stock pipe to about 2.5mm in length. It also meant filing a small hole in the stock spacer for a small securing pin in the stock. There were no words for how supremely ticked I was, but after some reluctant pondering, I set off to work with a good ol’ hacksaw and file, and in about 15 minutes I was ready for installation.
Before taking the small 3mm hex screw and finally installing the stock, I took a look at it for the sake of this review. The butt pad a resin like plastic with small diamond texturing for grip. However, due to the composition of the pad, there is just about as much grip on your shoulder as there is a man hanging onto a greased pole. This did not make me happy, for I like my guns to have an easy to use interface, and having to reposition the stock when it loses hold is not my idea of easy, but the problem can be fixed with a rubber pad that has adhesive, found at your friendly neighborhood hardware store.
The pipes of the stock are made out of metal, though what metal it is I am not sure. My guess is some sort of aluminum alloy because when scratched, it reveals a very distinct shiny silver color. The pipes are about 1.5 cm in diameter and are hollow, which contributes to the stock being extremely lightweight; less than a pound. However, the pipes are very rigid, don’t bend, are rather smooth, and make a “thwack” sound when you tap it with your nail.
The base of the stock is also not hollow, but isn’t made of the same material as the pipes. The metal used in the base of the stock has a much more matte finish, reveals a duller, silver color when scratched, and is of heavier material than that used in the pipes. There is a sling mount on the right side of the base, which partially blocks the forward assist knob, but better there than on the other side. If the stock folded right instead of left, the magazine release button would be completely blocked, thereby not making it the RIGHT choice anymore now would it? There are also two screws on the underside of the base which hold the locking mechanism in place. These need to tightened every once in a while to maintain optimum performance, which is very reminiscent of the loosening screws on the AK47’s fixed stock.
The stock is designed with enough bracing everywhere to withstand major impacts form various mishaps like falling, being hit with an object, and being shot. The base of the stock is held to the gun with one 3mm hex screw that is completely covered when the stock is unfolded, and also has a small pin that goes into the stock spacer keep it from wobbling. The pipes are attached to the base of the stock through a thick piece of metal that holds the pipes with a small array of pins and sheer tight fit of the pipes into the bracer. The pipes are then held together with a small plastic piece that is wedged into the pipes, and then finally the pad holds the pipes together at the end with another small array of pins. I was delighted with all the bracing methods used in this stock; they let me know that nothing bad will happen to it anytime soon.
Impressions After Installation
After realizing that I would never be able to install another stock on my current metal body, I had a sincere hope that everything would work out the way I wanted it to, since 90% of the stock pipe was completely gone. My hope was answered, and with so much more than I had expected. After tightening the screw one last time, I shouldered the unfolded stock and took the gun outside for a few shots. I can honestly say that when the stock holds your shoulder, it feels exactly like the retractable M4 stock that used to be on this gun.
The length of the unfolded stock is exactly the same as a completely extended retractable stock, as well as an M16 style fixed stock, which is about 10 ½ inches. When the stock is folded over, the butt pad reaches the fixing ring, doesn’t get in the way of the knobs on a removable carry handle, and leaves enough space to use the selector switch. The top of the base of the stock allows you to pull the charging handle unhindered, but forward assist knob enthusiasts will find a harder time pushing it, due to the small sling mount positioned in front of it.
It is also quite easy to fold and unfold the stock. The design of the base and the bracer attaching it to the pipes gives the stock a locking mechanism driven by some springs and gravity. To unlock it, one simply needs to push up on the stock, and then rotate it to the new position, and let it fall back into place to be re-locked. Once the stock is locked in a position, it will not move from the position unless it is pushed up near the base of the stock. Pushing up from the butt pad will not cause it to unlock, so resting the corner of the butt pad in the pocket of your shoulder will not reposition the stock.
Once I brought my newly compacted gun outside to conduct some range tests, I immediately considered the benefits of having a folding stock in different environments. I decided to test the comfort of the unfolded stock in the normal standing, crouching, and prone positions, and not surprisingly, it did its job as a stock. However, it’s not the most comfortable stock to use in the prone position, since the un-rubberized nature of the butt pad isn’t the best feeling when pitted against your collarbone.
When moving around, the not-so-grippy butt pad continues to be a nuisance, slipping around everywhere through the constant shaking of a body in motion. But, if anyone has actually done the standard video game “sidestep and shoot” method in an effective nature, they will want something more grippy than plastic. As for myself, I prefer the well-aimed precise shot, but I will still invest in a rubber pad to eliminate the discomfort of my poor, poor collarbone.
With the stock folded, a number of new advantages present themselves. Now instead of putting your entire body around a corner to sight an enemy and shoot, you need only to put your head around the corner leaving your torso behind cover. Much smaller target equals fewer hits from enemy, which is a big advantage in CQB and outdoor battles. The smaller nature of the folded gun also allows you bring the weapon up much faster and get shots off before an enemy who has a stock in the way. When you need to bring the gun around to defend against a surprise attacker, the rotation rate you can now turn at is multiplied by such a degree that I found myself spinning 180 degrees in about half the time it took me to turn 180 degrees with an unfolded stock. Needless to say, all these tests made me rather dizzy, so on we go.
Besides all the somewhat unhealthy looks of confusion, my newly C-ified M933 got some compliments from so many of the other people toting M4’s around. Other than that, it didn’t get much attention, so I decided, "to hell with other people’s opinions, I’m here to get my opinion, let’s kick some ass."
And kick I did. The first board we played is a combination long engagement, and small compound of walls and windows. We were going to play two games on it, so I decided to go compound first and then try out the long engagement. After making a 100m run to my first firefight, I unfolded the stock and stayed back, taking longer shots at advancing enemies. I stayed relatively unharmed for a long time, until my position was discovered, and I was engaged by two enemies. Just then, a long and loud firefight ensued, and I used the confusion to maneuver myself through the left side of the compound. After realizing I was within 20 feet of the enemies, I folded my stock and went in for a run. The first clearing was an absolute joy, popping around the corner and taking down two enemies as I ran by to the next wall, which was vacant for the time being. I popped around a few more corners, and met four more enemies, which I took down, and then got shot myself through a small window. Besides for that last bit of window choking, I had a blast running round with that gun. It was eerily reminiscent to my CQB fun with my P90, but with a much stranger concept to gain that compactness.
After waiting a few minutes for the next game to begin, I made the dash to the large, hilly clearing on the other side of the board, where it was a 10 vs. 10 melee of covering fire and freak advancements. I immediately became a man in the middle of my small team, and was doing well with the stock folded out. Since the whole game was basically this kind of firefight, there’s not much to say here, since I probably would’ve gotten the same results with a different stock anyways. I can say I really liked using my 2x42mm red dot though.
In-Depth Comparison and Hidden Benefits
Sure, folding stocks are nice, right? But why would you need one? What makes it so gosh darned better than your current stock? Well folks, I will try to tell you, but it isn’t an easy debate.
To start off, from a resourceful airsofter’s point of view, there aren’t many benefits from a folding stock to a fixed stock. Fixed stocks have spaces for a supremely larger battery, and certain types of retractable stocks also have spaces like these. Some are more complicated than others, for example, the crane stock, but compared to this folding stock, the only real space for a battery is a battery bag made to fit in between the pipes of the stock. Plus, to reroute the wires to the hand guards is a pain in itself, since the battery can be no longer placed in the stock, and must be put in a PEQ or in the hand guards.
From an airsoft sniper’s point of view, the stock comes with one major advantage towards its fixed stock brother; its ability to fold in a snap. When surprised at close range by an enemy, the sniper can fold the stock and begin covering his own butt, until he finds better cover. While doing so, he can start laying down some heavy fire because of the supreme maneuverability of the folded stock. However, a sniper rifle should be in the hands of an airsoft sniper, which has the coveted sniper type stock. So a folding stock isn’t even possible for an airsofter with a bolt-action rifle, which is in the hands of most airsoft snipers.
From a CQB enthusiast’s point of view, the folding stock holds all the cards. By becoming a much smaller submachine gun, it is much easier to clear rooms, address surprises, and put more fire into an enemy’s hiding place. While defending a building from room-clearing operations, the stock unfolded provides a stable platform to engage targets from a concealed position, allowing the shooter to fend off attackers more easily. To show the advantage of compactness, I’d like to point out that this picture was taken from just over my shoulder, showing just how much easier it is to bend around a corner and take a peek.
And finally, from an all-around airsofter’s point of view, there’s nothing much better than a gun with a folding stock. Take the G36C for example; its folding stock gives it the ability to fire aimed shots at potential threats, and folds easily to become an SMG. M16/M4 users can’t get that SMG feeling that is all so common in surprise engagements and CQB environments. And of course, once you get back out in the open, unfold, get down, and start picking off targets with aimed fire.
Of course, if it really mattered to you, you could tack on a good looking C on the end of your gun’s name. Can’t you imagine it now? An M16A2C. How many people can say they have one of those? For all you CA fans, an M15A4C. Doesn’t that strike some warmth in your unique little heart? I know it did for me. It made my gun sound like some sort of fighter jet and I couldn’t be happier with it.
This stock is clearly for the one who likes versatility under fire. Although it can’t hold a battery like a fixed stock, it can take all the other qualities that each a retractable and a fixed stock can’t do for each other, and mash them into one big piece of awesome. It will put a small hole in your wallet, but what you get is a unique looking, simple, effective, and fun to use stock that won’t break on you in a crucial moment. It retains the ability to pull the charging handle, and it allows for a rifle and an SMG all in the same package. And although it retains a sense of irony folding left instead of RIGHT, I would definitely recommend this to any M4/M16 user who wants to break the monotony, but not to one who wants to retain the ability to keep a battery in the fixed stock. But seriously, monotony sucks, RIGHT?
* It folds!
* You get a C on the end of your gun’s name (hoorah!)
* Strong material, bracing
* Provides much more options
* Gives more versatility
* Doesn’t hinder any other functions (charging handle, carry handle, etc…)
* Unique and good-looking
* Compared to other folding stocks, inexpensive
* Ingenious locking, swivel mechanism
* Butt pad doesn’t have enough grip
* Moderate modification required for installation
* Battery cannot be stored in stock
* Sling mount partially blocks forward assist knob
* Locking mechanism must be tightened every once in a while