1.2. 3. 4.
5. 6. 7. 8.
1. Doublestar Ace FSA, 2. SB Tactical BTFA, 3. Sylvan Arms FSA 4. MDT Carbine|Carbine FSA,
5. UTG/Leapers FSA, 6. XLR FSA 7. Law Tactical FSA (and clones) 8. Hera Arms SFU
Continuing our series on folding stock adapters, we’ve received and done our testing on the UTG/Leapers unit so let’s dish some dope.
UTG/Leapers AK-47 Folding Stock Adapter – $15 retail
This is the least expensive unit by FAR. 5x cheaper than the next cheapest and ~10x cheaper than the average. Definitely made of aluminum and lacking in pretty much any kind of sophistication. That’s ok. Keeps prices down. It also is not capable of being what it advertises itself to be because AK’s don’t come with buffer tubes. It’s unclear how much we should expect from this thing. The unit was ordered on October 24th and is arrived on November 9th. A single shipping notice was sent when it was shipped. If someone were really smart they’d take this design and make it out of steel with very snug tolerances and burn off some of the pointy parts while they’re at it. I betcha that would be a heck of a unit.
Installation is a bitch. It’s not hard to thread the thing in, and it comes with its own especially slender castle nut but that castle nut is still a little fucker to get cinched down. Pro-tip: Start at the back and snug forward. Seems to be the only way. If you don’t have a standard AR armorers tool or a specialized castle nut tool for AR’s then don’t even try to start the installation. While installing, pre-clock the stock about 20 degrees short of where you want it to come out and then when you’re snugging the castle nut the stock will end up rotating into position. Yeah, shitty but it was the only way I could get it to work.
Once you do manage to get it installed and everything lined up you’ll go to open it and find that it will either be very easy or very much a little pain in the dick. Whilst being a pain in the dick it will bite the absolute hell out of your hand. It’ll do this a number of times before you work out a technique that allows you to open and close the thing and not get bit. For me it’s not easy to have the muzzle resting anywhere but on my toes and the scope pressed against my belly to fold/unfold it. The upside of that is, when it’s closed it’s staying closed and there’s a lot of material involved in the lock-up so it’s looking like that’ll be pretty hard to bust.
Honestly, if some enterprising individual were to look at it and make a couple tiny design improvements like: unlocking cams (so you don’t have to muscle it to unlock it), rounding off all the places that are in line with bolt operation, making the engagement angles wider, making the whole damned thing out of carbon steel… but I digress, they would make an affordable as heck to produce and thence own FSA that would probably own the rifle market just on price.
It’s hard to stress how weird the thing is. It’s cheeeeeeeeeeap and it sweats cheap out of every pore but it’s not the typical kind of cheap that has it breaking on installation. It’s the kind of cheap that says, “I’m ok with the occasional blood blister if it makes the total cost under $20.” Lockup isn’t super solid but it’s not a wiggle-bitch either. 8 strips of masking tape strategically applied to oppose the lockup surfaces took 100% of the wiggle out.
I have to say that for under $20 and 8 little strips of masking tape, it’s pretty darned surprisingly ok. It really is something that I think MOST guys with rifles in chassis stocks that use AR buffer tubes could probably get by with. I certainly would personally and at minimum upgrade to the XLR unit. That said, if $115 is hard for your budget to justify, under $20 sure as shit isn’t so hard, especially when they made the thing pretty robustly. Probably they made it robustly because they care about their name so they went cheap-ish on the materials but not so cheap that they have to violate PayPal and Facebook ToU’s to sell any of them.
Instead of stealing a design that really necessitates steel, they went with aluminum and a design that could deal with being made from aluminum. UTG is one of those outfits I give TONS of well deserved shit to because they aim at the low end of the market and their quality of execution is nearly always below my expectation. The suitability of the stuff they make to at least minimally function isn’t normally the problem. It’s that it only minimally functions on average. This FSA minimally functions. It functions well in the open and closed positions and it accomplishes the transition with, if not no bloodletting, at least a minimum of it and I think guys on an extremely snug budget would be decently served with one. That said, save the money and get the XLR or a Doublestar. The amount better that they are over the cheapest options is pretty worth it, if for no other reason than the reduction in blood blisters the thing will give you.
With all that going for it, the initial score for the UTG unit was 11.5 out of 20. That’s pretty darned good, especially since it lost a high proprotion of the points that it did lose in there being a little wiggle and there being no instructions or tools included.