Ya’ just gotta’ give it up to someone that can invent a better mousetrap. Rich Fitzpatrick of Magpul Industries Corp. appears to have done just that. Fitzpatrick is an ex-Marine who’s never much liked the M4′ carbine’s collapsible buttstock. He’s always felt it’s a bit too flimsy, doesn’t offer quite enough adjustment, and generally sucks ergonomically, thus providing a less-than-ideal cheek-weld. However, instead of just sitting around bitching and griping about it, like countless others have done for years on end, Fitzpatrick decided to actually do something about it.
Enter the "Modular Stock System", which was designed specifically to correct every single one of the standard collapsible stock’s deficiencies, save for the fact that it’s not side folding. Wanna’ buttstroke a subject without your stock turning into an erector set? Or, perhaps your current collapsible stock just ain’t cuttin’ it for fast-shooting runs in competition, or worse–on tactical ops. Well, if any of this sounds like you, it just might be MSS time.
The prototype that I got to handle at Magpul’s booth seemed extremely robust, and it didn’t even utilize the slated materials that Fitzpatrick wants for actual production units, which will apparently be even more durable. Cheek weld was perfect, and overall ergonomics were conducive to obtaining a perfect sight picture during fast shouldering of the weapon. Also, Fitzpatrick is currently in the process of modifying the locking mechanism(the rotating lever that locks the sliding buttstock into place via a rocking motion) so that it "clicks" into place, instead of just coming to a stop after meeting increasing resistance. Representatives from the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps who got to physically handle the prototype showed a very high level of interest. Some of these representatives were Special Operations personnel. All the people that I spoke to about it, like me, were pretty much blown away by it.
Here’s my prediction: The MSS is going to kick some serious ass in the M4/CAR-15 market in military and police SWAT circles, provided that the the per-unit cost isn’t perceived as too high by budget-conscious personnel in procurement. At a projected retail price of $300(law enforcement and military price is likely to be a bit less), the unit is not cheap. That being said, one doesn’t have to be a nuclear physicist to realize that the MSS is simply light years ahead of the current standard, especially once one has actually handled an MSS-equipped M4. I believe that special operators, in particular, are going to really appreciate it’s obvious superiority and significant advantages for CQB engagements. That being said, the system is also a good deal more complex than the standard collapsible buttstock. Some operators have expressed some concern over this aspect. I have a feeling that, once the MSS is perfected, it will be totally realiable and far more durable than the standard collabsible unit. Ergonomically, the MSS already has the edge.
Addendum: Fitzpatrick calls the MSS an "adjustable length carbine stock", not a "collapsible stock", as it operates via a very different mechanism than the standard M4 stock. The MSS does not really collapse on itself. The military will probably end up describing the MSS as a "carbine stock- adjustable for length".
If you’d like to see a PDF version of a handout that I received from the inventor himself, click on this link.
Click here to read a thread I started on TFL(TheFiringline.com) regarding the MSS. In the thread, one of the TFL members, USMCO3, provides a little more information on the MSS.