On Target Product Review–Magpul CTR Buttstock

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The friction lock on the Magpul CTR ensured a wobble free experience. This baby is a rock. (photo by Rob Kay)

by Rob Kay

For those of you old enough to remember, one of the most famous maxims of the pre-Internet computer era was that nobody ever got fired for buying IBM equipment.


IBM was always a safe, politically correct bet.

Nowadays that statement could well be applied to Magpul. Magpul has become cliché as everybody’s favorite for furniture and just about everything else. You could very well say they are the Daimler Benz of the accessories world. Not that there isn’t other good technology out there, but people feel they gotta have the name brand.

So back to Magpul. Just because everybody has to own Magpul, I decided to be the iconoclast and look at other manufacturers when building my AR. At least that’s the way I had planned until a local dealer talked me into checking out the Magpul CTR.

I decided to give my bias a rest.

The stock buttpad helps anchor the stock. The pad is on the thin side but no worries about recoil with the 5.56. A meatier one is available if you plan on shooting that .458 SOCOM upper. (photo by Rob Kay)

The Magpul CTR aka Compact/Type Restricted is the next step up from the standard MOE buttstock– Magpul’s entry level model.

More discriminating shooters ditch the MOE because it has a tendency to wobble. What’s more, status conscious individuals know that their buddies know that it’s on the low end of the buttstock spectrum.

My dealer friend told me that the CTR had eliminated the wobble issue and I decided to find out for myself.

The verdict is in.

This buttstock is as solid as the Rock of Gibraltar. No, it’s not the fanciest, nor the most indestructable. There are no places to store batteries or ear plugs but for the guys who punch paper at the range, who cares?

If the goal is find a reasonably priced, comfortable, well engineered buttstock, then it’s hard to argue against considering a CTR.

The A-frame design will help you avoiding snags and the release latch, which is shielded within the A-frame, is a great feature. I had no accidental release latch encounters and the friction lock ensured a wobble free experience.

They use high quality materials and the cheek weld, which is one of the main things I’m looking for, was pretty darn good. I don’t think it’s as good as their higher end ACR or other models, but you gets what you pay for.

How really tough is it? Glad you asked.

The cheek weld ergonomics complemented the Troy sights set up on the Sig upper.  (Note that the shooter’s eyes are not closed and his finger is outside the trigger guard).

The Military Times, an excellent trade publication, did a drop test (they termed it a “bashfest”) on a number of popular buttstocks. When they dropped the CTR, “the adjustment pin wrenched out of place after the first drop, giving the stock free reign to slide along the extension. But, the friction lock held up making the stock usable for a few more drops. Subsequent abuse saw it shed the adjustment lever and finally tear the body apart at the pin socket after the fourth drop.”

If you read the Military Times article, you’ll see the CTR didn’t fare that badly compared to most of the others. Still it’s not the kind of gear you’re going to take out to the battlefield.  The range, of course, is a different matter.

Our “test” lower I built was mated to a very nice Sig piston job with some HK-style Troy sights. The cheek weld ergonomics were perfect for target acquisition, which is exactly what I was hoping for.

The CTR mil-spec model I looked at, comes with a removable 0.30” rubber butt-pad. They have a larger butt-pad available, if that’s what you need, but the 5.56 round isn’t exactly a recoil devil. A longer armed friend of mine (co-writer RN Price) bought a couple of the fatter butt pads for his Magpul stocks and put them on because he wanted to shove the receiver out a bit further.

Cost-wise, I think it’s a tad overpriced. MSRP is around $80 and you can get it on Amazon for $72.67. Magpul can get away with it given their position in the marketplace. Prices are driven by demand so more power to them I suppose.

On the other hand, you can do a lot worse. You’re not getting junk and, it’s going to last. (Unless of course you drop it in an improper manner!) Of course, the same can be said for quite a few of the more expensive buttstocks.

Questions?  Comments?  Contact us directly at ontargethawaii@gmail.com

Rob Kay writes about firearms for Hawaii Reporter and is the author of How to Buy an AK-47.
Read more of Rob’s articles on OnTargetHawaii.com





  1. I firmly believe that certain people should be allowed to carry firearms, but they should be thoroughly questioned and tested beforehand. You don't want to give a gun to someone who tends to be unstable. Anyway, are these products meant for hunters, or just people who have a gun because they need to feel safer?

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