by Rob Kay
What do you get when you cross an M1 Abrams tank with a Ferrari?
The offspring may resemble something like a Magpul UBR—an aesthetically pleasing, very, very strong (and heavy) Utility/Battle Rifle stock. The UBR is not exactly new. It was introduced in 2007 at the Shot Show and since then has become a ubiquitous sight at ranges around the country.
It was new to me and when a friend from the Shot Show gifted me one, I was more than happy to give it a spin.
Whereas most stock manufacturers make a point of keeping their products as trim and light as possible, Magpul makes no such pretensions with this particular model. From what I can discern, it’s primary reason for existence is to survive the most dire circumstances. That said, it’s comfortable to shoot and has several innovations that are appealing.
It’s more expensive than your average stock but there’s a reason for it. (It’s not just Magpul’s markup). As a journalist friend pointed out most stocks are simply plastic injection molded. No human hand need touch them during production. The UBR is more robust and complex. The upshot is that it needs a human being involved in its assembly. Hence, it’s a lot more expensive.
So what do you get?
Quite a bit actually.
Perhaps the most interesting feature is that the cheekweld, the top portion of the stock, remains fixed while the bottom “buttstock” part adjusts to different lengths. Ergo, you have the strength of a fixed stock, with the adjustability of a collapsible stock. Pretty cool innovation indeed. It has seven positions, including fully closed and fully extended. When closed, it’s more or less that same length as any other collapsible stock. When fully extended, it’s about a half inch longer than an A2 stock.
Another feature gives you the impression that this model is built for pros. You can “preset” the UBR for the length you use most often. That way you can keep it fully closed when storing the rifle and promptly get your desired length when you need it.
What’s the point?
If you’re an LE officer and your primary setup is for armor, you’ll rely on the preset. However, if you occasionally use the rifle when not wearing protective gear and need a longer length of pull, you can instantly bypass the short setting with the push of a button.
If you’re an average dude who hits the range every now and then, it’s not going to matter that much.
Installation was a little different than the usual process. First off, the buffer tube is proprietary. You can’t use your standard milspec or commercial tube. Magpul includes their UBR version in the kit. The On Target editorial staff was able to put the stock on our Franklin Armory billet lower with no problem. The video below does an excellent job of explaining the installation process. The good news is that you don’t need any special tools for this job, a large flat head screwdriver and a stock wrench will be fine.
Conclusion: The UBR has got to be one of the coolest looking stocks out there. It’s comfortable too. The cheekweld is ergonomically correct which makes your rifle a pleasure to shoot.
It’s also solid at the Rock of Gibraltar. In a Military Times article called the Buttstock Bashfest”, thirteen products from companies such as Magpul, Troy, Vltor, etc, were dropped three feet with an eight pounds weight affixed to them. Whether this was a fair assessment of endurance or not can be argued, but it did provide a benchmark of sorts. Most of the models tested did not exhibit a lot of endurance.
Of all the buttstocks dropped in the “bashfest”, the UBR was the clear survivor.
This, despite the fact that it weighs roughly an extra pound more than the average buttstock. Some people may find the weight a liability. (If you want to rid yourself of a few ounces, the storage compartment is easily removed with a few turns of an Allen wrench). Others may not mind or even see it as an asset. One colleague commented that it shifts a rifles center of gravity towards the rear. If you want or need to be able to shoot one handed, the extra weight will actually be helpful.
If you want something lightweight and nimble, pick up a Roger’s Super Stoc or one of the other models. If your main destination is the range and your okole is going to remain on the bench for a round of precision shooting, the UBR will be just fine. If you’re going to hunt or compete, it may not be the best choice.
If you’re in LE or want something tacti-cool, ergonomically satisfying and solid enough to survive a run in with a Mannheim Steamroller, get a UBR.
All photos by On Target Hawaii Staff.
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