A Trio of Mako AR Accessories

We tried out the FAB Defense Survival Buttstock, the Monopod Buttstock Addon, and the Magazine Well Grip/Funnel.


The list of extras and “hop-up” parts for the AR-15 never seems to stop growing. Some of these parts are just for looks, but others do have a lot to offer. In the case of adjustable-length buttstocks, many are designed to improve cheek weld and offer a more secure, wobble-free locking system. We bought a pair of $122 FAB Defense Survival Buttstock GL-MAG units from TheMakoGroup.com to see what utility they might give us over a standard stock. We installed them on two different AR-15 carbines.

Promotional materials for the stocks said they provided a spare magazine well located immediately forward of the buttpad. The obvious advantage is that you can pick up the rifle and have an extra magazine in tow. In addition to extra rounds, a loaded magazine located in the buttstock provides ballast, allowing the operator to re-balance the rifle as he prefers.
The Survival Buttstock will stow any length or capacity AR-15 magazine (but not magazines for AR-10s).

The Survival Buttstocks arrived with 10-round magazines in place. The magazine-release buttons were located on the left side of the buttstocks.

We installed one stock on a carbine built to Mil-Spec standards and the other on a commercial-size tube. Installation was by standard procedure, simply slipping them on the buffer tube. The initial inlet of the Survival Buttstocks had some extra material that was not apparent when installing on the commercial-size AR-15. It glided smoothly into place, yet didn’t wobble at all on the buffer tube. Getting the buttstock onto the buffer tube of our Mil-Spec AR-15 was more difficult. But a call to Mako’s service rep assured us to go ahead and be more forceful. Once past the extra detent, the buttstock was secure and still moved easily forward and back.

Our Team Said: The Survival Buttstock was very comfortable against the shoulder and cheek. Operation proved solid and smooth. The primary difference from the standard buttstock was the length-of-pull adjustment release lever. Instead of pinching it upward from behind its pivot point, we had to press the lever from the leading edge of the buttstock. We’d trade this small difference for the extra magazine. Actually we’d buy it just for the addition of the flat surface supplied by the magazine basepad located at the rear of the buttstock. We found when shooting prone or from a bench, the basepad of the 10-round magazine offered a flat surface for additional support. In our view, this was a big advantage because the bottom side of standard AR-15 buttstocks are notorious for being void of any such platform.


We also tried another upgrade from the Mako Group. This was the $97 Monopod Buttstock Addon (item MBA). The Addon is a separate buttpad with a two-stage adjustable-height monopod. The monopod rides hidden until pushing a button on the left side releases the first stage via spring tension to its maximum length of about 2.8 inches. Monopod height was adjustable in smaller increments by pressing the release and letting it go at the desired length. The second segment was extended by rotation. Full extension of both segments totaled about 4.2 inches in height.

The Addon replaced the original buttpad completely. The buttpad retention lever was visible from inside the magazine well. Push it in with a screwdriver or other object, and it slides right off. The Addon lengthened the buttstock by about 1.2 inches overall.

Our Team Said: Monopods are best used on hard surfaces or a shooting mat. During long waits between shots, you can set the weapon pretty close to how high you need the stock for precise aim. The MBA proved sturdy, easy to deploy, and there was a lot of available adjustment. Installation was simple and reversible if so desired.


Our last Mako Group upgrade was the $25 Magazine Well Grip and Magazine Funnel (item MWG). This added three finger grooves to the forward surface of the magazine well. The plastic MWG consists of two halves connected by three screws to clamp it over the magazine well of the AR-15 lower. This also added a funnel to the mouth of the well. There’s a cutout window on one side so it won’t block out the serial number of the lower frame. During installation, the MWG had to be ground to fit over our Bushmaster lower, but it went on our DPMS carbine without modification.

Our Team Said: The magazine well grip-technique is a good alternative to attaching a vertical forend grip. It’s also more comfortable if you have a bad shoulder and have difficulty extending your arms.


Written and photographed by Roger Eckstine,
using evaluations from Gun Tests team testers. GT


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