The PDW craze is upon us. After the ATF changed its opinion again to re-allow braces to be shouldered Americans have been busy building compact weapons that are easier to store, transport, and wield. Folding stocks are nothing new in the firearms world, but aftermarket options to retrofit folding mechanisms have grown. In the video below we take a look at three options. One each from Matador Arms, Law Tactical, and Sylvan Arms.
Firearms like the CZ Scoprion, Grand Power Stribog, and AK-47 are easy to fold because the reciprocating action happens forward of the stock. For guns like these the Matador Arms Sidewinder is a good option. The challenge comes with try to fold an AR-15 based platform. In the AR the bolt must be able to travel rearward and into the buffer tube. This is the primary reason why folding ARs were previously uncommon.
Law Tactical and Sylvan Arms have solutions for this dilemma. Their folding solution involves an extension of the bolt carrier which plugs into the back of the carrier. this plug is held in place with friction and then the folding mechanism is closed bridges the gap. Both the Law Tactical and Sylvan Arms systems have a spring-loaded tab that prevents bolt travel when folded open. It’s important to note that the guns should not be fired when open. It will fire, and all that thrust will be pushed back into the expensive folding mechanism.
Selecting which folding mechanism is best for you comes down to intended use, budget, and personal taste. The Law Tactical is the most expensive, but also the strongest, most respected. It also has a shape that flows well with the AR receiver. Sylvan Arms is a less expensive and lighter-weight option, but the weight savings comes from the use of aluminum in place of steel. As a casual folder it works, but it also rather unsightly and prone to snag on things.
There are other folding options out there, these are just three that I’ve tried. Let us know in the comments below which folding mechanisms you’ve had experience with and what that experience has been.