I still remember, arriving at Ft. Lewis, WA in the Fall of 1969 and being issued the M-16 for my Infantry School training. It was a real joy to carry that rifle, especially after having carried the M-14, which weighed at 10 ½-lbs, in my Basic Training. The M-16 was only about 5½ lbs, so it was about half the weight of the M-14.
There were some flaws in the early M-16, one of which was that the first ones to go to Viet Nam didn’t have chromed barrels, and the barrels themselves were considered “pencil” barrels, because they were so thin. Once the barrels heated-up under continuous fire, accuracy dropped off dramatically. Then there was the problem with the ammunition; the propellant itself caused problems and the guns ran dirty and malfunctioned a lot. Of course, there was also the misleading information that the M-16 didn’t need cleaning, that it was actually “self-cleaning”. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Design flaws were corrected, and over the years the M-16 evolved into one of the finest combat rifles on this planet. I’m not about to get into a discussion as to which military or military-style rifle is the “best” for combat. We all have our favorites. We’ve seen the original M-16 go from being a strictly military select-fire weapon to a civilian version that was semi-auto only. Also, the gun shrank down in size over the years to many different versions, manufactured by many different makers, using different model numbers for the gun’s designation. The most popular version is the M-4 (generic), and it is called different models by different makers, too.
The M-4 is a “carbine” (sorta) version of the full-sized M-16 in use by the U.S. military. The civilian version(s) are similar, in that they usually run with a 16” Bbl and have a telescoping stock of some sort. I’ve seen the venerable AR-15/M-16 go from being a full-sized combat rifle that was light-weight to those having heavier barrels. I’ve also seen the M-4, civilian and military versions, turned from neat, very cool, light-weight and compact carbines into guns that now weigh as much, if not more, than that M-14 I carried in Basic Training, because so many things have been added to the guns. In my humble opinion, some folks just don’t “get it”, that the purpose of the M-4 is as a compact, fast-handling, and easy to carry and shoot weapon.
There are civilian versions of the M-4 with fixed stocks, as well as various types of telescoping style stocks from various makers. While I really like the telescoping stocks since they are great for adjusting the fit of the gun based on the clothing and gear you are wearing, I don’t much care for fixed stocks on these guns.
Over the years, many people have desired, and maybe even demanded, a folding stock on the M-4; however, because of the buffer tube that rides inside of the stock tube, it hasn’t been possible to do this, until now!
The good folks at US Tactical Supply in Albany, OR carry a wide range of tactical products for military and law enforcement applications as well as civilian use, and they are proud as can be that a majority of their products are “made in the USA”. Not all their products are, but this simply can’t be avoided in this day and age. However, whenever possible, they carry USA-made products. They provided me with a sample of the Law Tactical Folding Stock Adapter, Gen 3 Model for this article. Quite honestly, I was a little concerned about whether the Law Tactical Folding Stock Adapter was going to be up to my standards and was the thing going to work as advertised, too.
First of all, this product is manufactured in the USA and is patented, too, so no one can copy it, not even over in Asia or China, where they are known to clone products. Of course, it won’t stop these pirates from trying to copy it, so buy from a reputable dealer, like US Tactical Supply.
I won’t go into all the specs on this folding stock adapter, because you can read them for yourself in the above link. However, I did want to cover some of the outstanding specs, like the fact that this can be used with gas piston or direct impingement M-4s. Be advised that it won’t work with early models of telescoping stock M-4s. It is designed to work with A2 models, including full-auto/select fire as well as 5.56mm and .308 chambered weapons.
Now, at my age, I don’t see myself driving around in a Hummer and jumping out and engaging in serious combat. However, it can be very close quarters inside any vehicle, where you are carrying your M4, and as small as the M-4 it still is a bit “bulky” in any vehicle. This is where the Law Tactical AR Folding Stock Adapter really comes into play. By installing this very clever adapter on your folding stock M-4, it allows you to fold the stock to the (left) side of your weapon, greatly decreasing the overall length of the gun, as in a vehicle, where space is at a premium.
BTW, you can also have the stock folded to the side, when you are out on a patrol and you have your single point or two point sling attached to the M-4. While I don’t personally see myself doing this, the option is there if you want it.
Now, there is nothing complicated about folding and unfolding the stock on your M-4, once you have this adapter installed. No fine motor skills are needed. It only takes a split second to fold and unfold the stock, period! Over the years, telescoping stocks have really come a long way. The very first ones were on Colt rifles; they were rather cheap and didn’t really lock-up solid. There was a lot of “play” in the stock that rode on the buffer tube, which was not very conducive to a stable shooting platform, in my humble opinion. However, these days, quality-made telescoping stocks lock-up solid for a much better shooting platform.
The Law’s adapter is made on CNC machines out of 4140 steel, which is tough stuff. My one fear was that, once the Law was installed, was that there was going to be some wobble or place between the product and the buffer tube/upper receiver. I couldn’t have been more wrong! Once installed on your rifle and the stock is locked open, there is no play between the buffer tube and the upper receiver, absolutely none!
This adapter does add some weight to your M-4, about half a pound, and that is because it is high-quality steel rather than cheap plastic or aluminum. It also adds a little over an inch to the overall length of the stock pull. That’s nothing that I’m concerned about in the least. Remember that it is an adjustable, telescoping stock you are adding this to, so adjust the stock length down one position if needed.
I love working on firearms. I have been doing it all my life. I was certified as a military Armorer many years ago, as one of my secondary MOS (Military Occupational Specialties) as well as being trained as a gunsmith. Even though I enjoy (still) working on firearms, I don’t take much pleasure in anything that is overly complicated. The Law Tactical Folding Stock Adapter was very easy to install on a S&W M&P telescoping stock “M-4” with the supplied tool. However, I recommend that you have an AR stock wrench. This is something that you will use over and over again over the years to make this job a lot easier to do. You don’t have to be a gunsmith, or take your gun to one, to install this adapter. Full and concise instructions come with the packaging. Inside of 15-20 minutes, even an unskilled gun tinkerer can install this product. It doesn’t take a genius to install, because it’s nothing complicated. If you can field strip your M-4, you can install this adapter.
If you want to be able to fold your telescoping M-4 stock to the left side of your rifle, this adapter is the part you’ll want. The design is superb. It’s one of those “why didn’t I think of this” designs. It is very well constructed for a lifetime of service, too. I’m sure we’ll see some imitations on the market, and they will be just that– imitations. I can assure you that those imitations won’t be as well made as the original.
As SurvivalBlog.com readers know, I don’t like “junk”, and when you buy junk you have to buy it over and over again. It’s as simple as that. The Law Tactical AR Folding Stock Adapter doesn’t come cheap. It retails for $259.99. However, US Tactical Supply has them on sale for $235 for a limited time. Yes, I know, it’s a lot of money, but if you want the best-of-the-best this is the adapter you want; it is top-notch in every respect.
If you’re in and out of a Hummer or a patrol car all of the time and you are carrying an M-4 of some type, this is the way to go. The stock folds to the side, giving you a bit more room in an already cramped vehicle. Yet, the stock can be opened, locked solid in a split second, and ready for firing. What’s not to like here?
– Senior Product Review Editor, Pat Cascio