Magpul MOE and CTR Carbine Stocks: Excellence of Form and Function

M4A1 (AR-15) tactical carbine on the bulletproof vest

Whether you are building your first AR or updating an older carbine, Magpul Industries has a pair of collapsible stock options that deserve strong consideration. Magpul MOE (Magpul Original Equipment) and CTR (Compact/Type Restricted) carbine stocks are designed with somewhat different uses in mind. However, they have quite a few features in common. Overall, they are feature-rich while maintaining a simplicity that shows the design excellence for which Magpul has become known.

Both the MOE and the CTR are available for either mil-spec or commercial-sized receiver extensions (buffer tubes). Each variant will include a rubber butt pad. The mil-spec versions come with a 0.3 inch thick pad. The commercial-spec version comes with a 0.55 inch thick pad. The thicker pad has a hollow area at the top that accommodates the longer angled end of some commercial receiver extension tubes. Any of the pads can be swapped for other thicknesses (0.3, 0.55, or 0.7 inch) or left off completely. The pads provide a comfortable feel to the shoulder and are textured enough to give the stock a good grip. The bare butt plate when no pad is installed is aggressively stippled to provide grip as well. Without the pads installed, the MOE and CTR are among the shortest stocks available. Each of the stock configurations is available in black, flat dark earth, OD green, and foliage green.

The most distinctive feature of the two stocks is their open A-frame design. This gives them two unique qualities. It makes the overall shape snag-free so that the rifle is less likely to get hung on slings or other gear that could otherwise keep your rifle from being where it needs to be. This design also protects the release latch from being depressed by gear so your stock stays exactly where you like it. Both stocks have two slots that act as sling loops molded into the A-frame, one at the rear and one on the bottom.

The installation and adjustment of the Magpul stocks is straightforward and simple. Once you’ve got your carbine’s stock assembly down to a bare receiver extension tube, slide the CTR or MOE onto the tube until it stops against the stock’s lock mechanism. Pull down on the peg on each side of the lock mechanism until it clears the end of the receiver extension tube; then continue sliding the stock down into place. Once you release the pegs, stock installation is complete. Pressing the release lever now allows you to adjust the stock forward or back. When the lock mechanism reaches one of the tube’s stock locations the lock will snap into place.

The Magpul MOE carbine stock is designed to be a low-cost replacement for a standard M4-style carbine stock. The Moe retains all of the original’s features while shedding excess weight. In fact, the MOE weighs a mere 6.4 ounces. Without the pad installed, it is just about the lightest stock available for the AR platform. The pad will add just another 1.6 ounces. If you want your carbine to be as light as possible or if you’re trying to trim a few ounces to make up for heavier parts elsewhere then consider the MOE.

The Magpul CTR stock has the same basic design as the MOE, but with a few nice upgrades. It is nearly as light, weighing in at less than half a pound, and is the same size and has the same feel. The big difference is the addition of Magpul’s friction lock system. When you activate the friction lock, it practically eliminates wobble between the stock and receiver extension tube. This has the benefit of minimizing the minute differences in stock position from shot-to-shot that can adversely affect accuracy. It’s telling that some high-end rifle manufacturers include a CTR as the default stock for their precision rifles. The friction lock automatically disengages when you adjust the CTR. Once you select the desired position, merely press the friction lock lever back up to fit flush with the A-frame and you’re done.

The CTR also includes an ambidextrous QD sling swivel cup that allows you to mount your sling near the top rear of the stock. This position is desirable when using a two-point sling as it improves how the weapon hangs from the shoulder. It also gives adequate adjustment room in the sling for those who prefer their forward-mounting point to be at the rear end of the handguard.

The small and snag-free profile of the MOE and CTR make them excellent choices for carbines used in tight quarters. For use around vehicles such as an LE patrol rifle capacity or in structures as with civilian home defense, these stocks are ideal. I especially like the compact size for its ease of handling when the user is someone with a smaller build. For friends and customers who ask for my advice I often start by recommending the MOE stock. It’s just a fantastic option for such a low price. For a lightweight bare-bones rifle, my choice is the CTR. I really like the options that QD sling swivel cups provide. No matter what your intended use is for a carbine, Magpul has a stock designed to work for you.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (2)

  1. Thanks for a full and complete treatment of the subject matter. Incredibly rare these days for anyone to completely cover anything! You did.
    For what it’s worth, Magpul states their mil-spec MOE at 8 ounces and the mil-spec CTR at 8.8 ounces, so by the author’s numbers for the MOE without buttpad (6.4 ounces), the CTR without buttpad would weigh in at 7.2 ounces, reflecting the .8 ounce difference.
    Again, thank you. GREAT article!

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