The annual guns-a-palooza of SHOT show 2019 is right around the corner and today I’m thinking back to last years iteration of the famed trade show. I had just finished up range day when a fellow writer asked what the most impressive product I saw throughout the day was. After brief thought, I answered “CMMG’s Ripstock“, though I could hardly believe I’d said it. After a day of blasting new guns, checking out new scopes and new rifle chassis’, a simple buttstock was what I’d walked away thinking about most.
Once you’ve checked out the CMMG Ripstock, it’s not hard to see why. I’m a big fan of finding the most refined and effective version of a product. It usually ends up being among the simplest to use, lightweight and durable enough to take most abuses. The Ripstock checks off all those boxes. Closed, it is nearly as short as any PDW stock on the market. When opened, it provides a much better cheek weld than those aforementioned stumps. With CMMG’s “Fastback technology”, deploying the stock is as easy as grabbing it and ripping it back. The P3 (Personal Position Preset) feature is a set screw that lets you pick a shorter-than-maximum stock position for the Ripstock to extend out to, a nice gesture for shorter shooters or those used to shooting with a plate carrier on.
The Ripstock series comes in four flavors: two buttstocks (regular 6-position and micro/cqb 5-position) and two pistol braces (Ripbrace: also regular 6- and micro 5-positions). The package includes the buffer tube, castle nut, ambidextrous sling plate, buffer and buffer spring as well as the stock or brace and the P3 adjusting screw. The Ripbraces also have QD sling sockets. My T&E sample was the Micro/CQB Ripstock.
From the back of the receiver, the Micro Ripstock measures in at 5.9″ when collapsed. Fully extended, it measures 9.25″. Finding I preferred one slot shy of fully extended, I popped off the stock and wound in the P3 screw on the underside of the brace, in between the stock position slots. This could also be used to prevent the stock from going shorter than wanted. The stock itself is made from 6062-T6 aluminum, and the combined tube and stock weigh in at 9.9 oz. Having weighed many stocks and tubes, that’s not that heavy of a combo. While a polymer version could be even lighter, the choice to use aluminum leaves the Ripstock with the toughness to spare. The spring is of the standard carbine variety, and the buffer itself comes in at 3.2 oz, which is slightly heavier than a standard carbine buffer, but lighter than an H buffer.
For most shooters, the two questions that matter are “How well does it work” and “How much does it cost?”. Functionally speaking, the Ripstock is a dream. Ripping it open is done with the most base, gross motor skill possible. No buttons or levers needed. Closing it is easy enough, the release being located in a convenient spot for your hand to hit as you grab the rearmost buttpad. Cheek welds are just fine with this stock, providing a major upgrade over the PDW stock kits out there.
Any major flaws? None. Any minor issues? One. It’s not profound, but in 2018 (and now 2019) we’re used to having stocks that don’t rattle or wobble anymore. This stock does, and while it’s not excessive, it’s just a little surprising considering the tight tolerances I’ve seen on every other CMMG product. Also, while not a product complaint but rather an aftermarket shortcoming, I’d also like to see a rubber buttpad made available for those who’d like to use this stock on a beefier caliber than .223 and .300 blackout (which the Ripstock equipped Banshee’s come in). The metal buttpad already has a couple of holes drilled in it, seems like it’ll be coming soon if it’s not already in the pipeline.
Regarding the other important question, shooter ask (price?), the Ripstock micro/CQB kit comes in at $199.95. Checking out Brownells, they have a mil-spec tube/spring/buffer/endplate/castle nut combo for $50, with many Magpul stocks coming in at an additional $50-$85, that puts the Ripstock a bit above the average. I, however, think it’s a more comparable product to the aftermarket PDW stocks, most of which run around $300.
Reviews always come down to this: How much I like a product based on its merits, then how much does my opinion change when its merits are weighed against the price? I like the Ripstock. I mean, I really like the Ripstock. It is easy to use, very compact and leaves nothing to be wanted in the cheek weld region. It’s also fairly lightweight and very durable. When contrasted against the $199.95 price tag, the Ripstock enters into the premium upgrade zone, rather than the mass-market carpet bomb range you might find if the price were closer to $125. In the end, I think the Ripstock is one of the best stocks available, whether we’re comparing to other rifle stocks or to the more niche PDW stocks. I like mine, it’s staying on my primary SBR. Now if we could just do something about that rattle..