When I first saw the Midwest Industries Side Folding Fixed Extruded Stock, I immediately thought of my Ruger PC Carbine. This new steel and aluminum side folding stock combines classic design with modern construction. That makes it right at home on the AR and AK formats, but also rifles from HK, Steyr, Sig, and more. Including the humble PC Carbine. While it will fit just about every rifle with a rear Picatinny rail, the takedown Ruger is just begging for this stock. Once it’s taken down and the stock folded, the 16″ barrel is the longest piece. If you’re looking for easy storage, discreet transport, or just want to pack a PC Carbine into a smaller bug out bag, this is the way.
Design, construction, and specs
Let’s start with the name. Obviously, this is a side folding stock. And once in place, it’s fixed, rather than adjustable. I’m not exactly sure how it’s extruded, as that process usually results in one continuous length in a specific shape. What I do know is that the stock combines traditional wood and wire stock shapes in a way that maximizes both. Its triangular shape makes it more rigid than a wire stock, and curved top makes it more comfortable. Unlike a classic wood stock, there are five QD sling points. The lock-up is solid, and it can be configured to fold to either side.
Midwest Industries used 4140 heat treated steel on the hinge, for strength where it counts. That steel gets a durable mag phosphate finish. The rest of the stock is 6061 with a hardcoat anodized finish. More durability. When installed, the stock adds 9″ to the overall length of a firearm, but only .75″ when folded. And the whole assembly weighs 15.5 ounces. It probably goes without saying, but it’s produced here in the United States of America.
Clear instructions, two wrenches, and some thread lock are provided. I haven’t used the thread lock yet, as I wanted to try it folding to the left and right first. Installation is as easy as loosening the clamp, attaching it to the Picatinny rail, and tightening the single screw. To reverse the hinge, it first has to be folded. That provides access to the two screws inside the hinge. Remove them, and rotate the stock inside the hinge, then reinstall the screws. At that point, the whole unit needs to be flipped over. If that sounds confusing, keep in mind that the stock must be installed first in order to fold at the hinge. Once you’ve settled on which side, remove the screws and add some thread lock.
I tried it folding to the left, and it struck the charging handle. That kept it from folding flush, but it was close. Then I switched it to fold to the right. It just clears the ejection port, but not with enough room for comfort. So back to the left again. At that point, I moved my charging handle to the right side, and the stock folds nice and close against the receiver. There is the tiniest bit of clearance between it and my oversize magazine release. If I press it, it will eject the magazine. At this point, I’m seeing a few compromises on my part, which I will weigh in on below.
Range time and operation
Since I had skipped a weekend, I was behind on range time. That meant I had five different firearms to shoot in one beautiful afternoon. I’m not complaining, although my wallet took a hit, with several hundred rounds of 9mm burned up in a single afternoon. Turns out that the Side Folding Fixed Extruded Stock offers a length of pull within a quarter inch of where I usually set my adjustable stock, so it was pretty much perfect. And the weight wasn’t really noticed, as the Ruger PC Carbine is already heavy. My Vortex SPARC sits pretty high, but I could still see it well with a nice cheek weld. If I wanted a really tight cheek weld, a lower optic might be in order. I had reservations about the metal against my cheek, but it was fine. Might feel different on a hot summer day though.
The force required to fold it isn’t insignificant, but it’s not difficult. That comes with the solid lock-up. Press the back of the receiver with the thumb while pulling up on the stock. Once folded, it stays that way, yet can be deployed with just a light pull into place. Being hardened steel, I don’t expect the hinge to get sloppy over time, like some aluminum ones do. Overall, great quality, as expected.
Without any other firearms besides my PC Carbine (well, and a 10/22) with a rear Picatinny rail, I can only offer up thoughts specific to my application. This is a solidly made product. The clamp and hinge are steel, and definitely feel like they are made to last. I wouldn’t use it to hammer tent stakes, but I’m sure it would hold up. And I really like how compact the whole thing is when the stock’s folded and the barrel removed. Since storage and transport were my two main concerns, I’m okay with having to swap my charging handle. As far as swapping the magazine release, I cannot see a situation where I would have it folded with a magazine inserted, so that might not be an issue.
If the main reason for a folder was to carry with the stock folded, and deploy as needed, it may not be ideal for this single application. I expect that it would work much better in that capacity on just about any other firearm. When installed on a Ruger PC Carbine, folding to the right, it’s just a little too high, and I’m not certain ejected brass would clear it. That may be a deal-breaker for some. As would having to swap the charging handle for left side folding. None of this a reflection on Midwest Industries and their product designers. It’s made for a wide range of firearms, and as such, can’t fit each one 100% perfectly. In the end, I am fine with making these small compromises. It’s not a battle gun for me, it’s another range toy. And it’s that much better with this new stock.
Where to get yours?
I’d like to thank the folks at Midwest Industries for sending me their new Side Folding Fixed Extruded Stock for testing and evaluation. It’s always cool to try something new, and see some innovation. If you want more info, check out the Midwest Industries website. You’ll find it there for $184.95, and also note that it’s available at Brownells for a limited time too.
Comments? Questions? Have any of our readers tried one out on a different rifle? Feel free to share below.