Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Mako Defense Recoil Reduction Stock for AR15/AR10/M4/M16 Rifles & Carbines - Testing & Review

Mako Defense Recoil Reduction Stock for AR15/AR10/M4/M16 Rifles & Carbines Testing
Mako Recoil Reduction Stock Review 

Many would ask the question whether Mako developed a solution looking for a problem... a mean after all the 5.56 caliber isn't exactly a high recoil cartridge.  I think you need to look past the beef eating chest thumpers  and the classic M4/AR15 in 5.56/.223 to understand why this is a great concept.  

For some shooters who are sensitive to recoil or simply don't enjoy it, anything that takes the edge off shooting makes it that much more fun and enjoyable. If you have done any day long shooting training, believe me a little recoil relief is appreciated starting on the second day. For me, I have bad shoulders which like to slip out on occasion and if I don't shoulder up my big calibers or shotguns perfectly it feels like someone is trying to rip off my arm when I touch off the round.  Many people with torn rotators have similar issues. This is the reason historically I have favored handguns and typically have Limbsaver recoil pads on all my shotguns and larger calibers, but the Mako recoils stock offers value far beyond shooter comfort.

Mako recognizes that even a little less experienced recoil on an AR format rifle regardless of caliber allows the shooter to have faster followup shots, reduced muzzle rise, a higher rate of fire and even potentially better accuracy.  The idea of the stock is elegantly simple; the stock operates like any other 6-position stock, but the stock position locking pin has been spring loaded horizontally so that upon recoil the tube slips backward in the stock, the spring is compressed and the shooter can realize up to about 3/4" of total recoil reduction all while using you stock Mil-Spec or Commercial tube.

I was anxious to see how much recoil the stock was actually taking. From my tests using some masking tape over the stock locking pin as an indicator, the stock movement on a standard M4/AR15 ripped the tape 1/8"-1/4" inch, however in my 308/7.62x51 ARs the spring absorbs a little over 1/2" which made my DPMS AP4 7.62x51 feel like I was shooting a 5.56.  Whether 1/4" or 3/4" less initial recoil transmitter to the shooter, it makes for much more comfortable shooting all while providing a sturdy shooting plateform.  There is no boingy boingy spring effect.  In fact the spring is fairly difficult to compress by hand unless you throw a little body weight into in. After many months of testing this of my DPMS AP4 7.63x51 I will tell you I am in love with this stock.  The 7.63/.308 caliber's recoil can be uncomfortable for some, if you shoulder problems, it can be very un-comfortable.  The Mako Recoil Reduction Stock dramatically changes the way the gun shoots and allows me to shoot for long periods of time without developing a flinch.

From a shooting comfort perspective the Mako Recoil reduction stock will be a permanent addition to my 7.62x39 AP4 and on my M4/AR15 the features along make it a great add on upgrade stock.

I used my SureFire Iphone Shot-Timer apps to gather shot time data to compare fire rates before and after the stock swap. Comparing my stock recoil padded 6 position stock to the Mako Recoil reduction stock, there was a definitive increase in follow up shot rate with the 7.62x51 and as expected the stock had measurable but less effect on the 5.56 caliber.  Clearly apparent during testing was a reduction in muzzle rise regardless of the weapon or caliber.  Although I did not do groups shooting while testing, I was able to hold tighter groups during faster firring rates. 

Today's AR stocks offer the shooter a lot more than 6-position length adjustment and Mako's Recoil Reduction Stock is definitely  a pack leader.

Mako's close work with all areas of Israeli Defense has allowed them to develop, integrate, and test practical features that work without adding bulk and the well designed Recoil Reduction Stock is not exception.

Features include:
  • Patented Recoil reduction anti-muzzle rise system
  • Adjustable check riser for optimal comfort with optics 
  • 3 standard sling attachment points
  • 2 QD sling attachment points
  • Waterproof storage compartment (for AA, CR123A, and/or tools)
  • MIL-SPEC reinforced polymer composite
  • Steel hardware
  • Chevron pattern rubber buttpad that grips body armor
  • Streamlined no-snag shape
  • Available in Black, Dark Earth, Green
Because I had ordered both Black and Green stocks, after the initial review was complete I swapped out  the butt pad and cheek riser for a mixed color stock which I have to say is freaking sharp looking. Maybe Mako should be offering the Mako Recoil Reduction stock in this option as well.

Unfortunately there are a couple "buts" in the glowing review.  The first is the statement that the stock is a universal stock for MIL-SPEC or COMMERCIAL sized tubes with an auto-tensioner... in my experience it can be if you plan on doing a little fitting.

As you may know COMMERCIAL tubes have a slightly larger overall diameter than MIL-SPEC tubes and typically required differently sized rifle stock casting specific to those tube sizes.  If you have a AR or shotgun with an MIL-SPEC sized tube which is "in-spec", you can slip on the Mako recoil reduction stock with no problems what-so-ever and will provide a rock solid rattle free fit, but a COMMERCIAL sized tube is a different matter. 

If you have COMMERCIAL sized tubes that same auto-tensioner which provides the rattle free fit on the thinner MIL-SPEC tube clamps down so hard that that the stock went on my COMMERCIAL tube spec'ed AR with a some effort but could not be moved at all without significant force. As it turns out a 1/32" and a few casting marks brings a party to an end pretty quick.  It is common knowledge that Mako had a first run that was was out of spec even for MIL-SPEC tube, however I was assured that all those units were recalled and destroyed.  This newer batch is obviously better, however if you plan on installing this stock on a COMMERCIAL tube, you can still expect to rap a 1" dowel with sandpaper and give the inside of the stock a  little sanding. About two minutes of back and forth sanding and fitting and the stock fit perfectly on my COMMERCIAL tube.  In reality the Universal fit is a good idea, however it seems a better idea for a stock which is not expected to slide every time the trigger is pulled.  This was an easy DIY fitting which should not hinder or persuade anyone from considering the Mako stock.

The other non-issue for 5.56 users is a charging handle clearance issue at the cheek riser for longer charging handled 7.62xx51/308 formats. Obviously the Mako Recoil Reduction Stock that does not have the cheek riser accessory does not have the issue, however the version that does shared a common issue with any stock that has a cheek riser on the stock.  As shown the riser can interfere with the charging handle and you either need to get lucky with a longer stock position, leave the riser up enough allow for clearance, or chop about 1/2" off the front of the riser.  Post review I opted for the chop modification and have had no issued since. This is a common issue on any stock and did no appear to be an an issue on standard M4/AR15 with shorter charging handles unless the stock was completely collapsed.  As a point of reference I am not sure many really need the cheek riser unless you have a higher mounted optic above the iron sight co-witness plane or have optics mounted on top of the carry handle. The cheek riser is a nice option for long term shooting comfort and can be easily removed and adds flexibility and comfort if needed. 

The unique benefits of this stock and competitive price greatly outweigh the easy DIY initial sandpaper fitting issue on COMMERCIAL TUBES to the point that I recommend the stock to anyone and strongly to anyone shooting the larger calibers or for a AR stock converted shotgun.  Looking at frontline features like integrated QD swivel studs, storage compartment and of course the recoil reduction system make this is a very high value stock which provides a ton of competitive features at the $120 price point.  Even after hundreds of rounds the stock has remained tight and still seems to provide the same level of recoil reduction as it did when new.  My only recommendation is that Mako offer this in tube specific versions and perhaps some Dark Earth and Green mixed color matched options.

As noted after the review I chopped a little of cheek riser off for more charging handle clearance on my AP4 7.62x39 and color swapped a few parts between the two Mako Recoil Reduction Stocks.

On other modification was due to Mrs. Pandemic starting to shoot AR15's and still getting used to the recoil during drills.  Since the stock only provides a light recoil reduction, I surmised that a lighter spring would offer more recoil reduction.  I disassembled the stock and swapped the recoil spring for a similar sized, but lighter spring I found at a hardware store.  Take the spring into your hardware shop and see if you can find one with thinner wire.  Now with heavier loads the stock moves just over 1/2" and makes you feel like you are shooting a 22LR.  My wife loves it now and I have to say that this is a mod I will also do on the next Mako stock I add to my personal AR15's.


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