Mil Spec Buffer Tube Vs Commercial Buffer Tube, Which One You Like Most?

Mil Spec Buffer Tube Vs Commercial Buffer Tube
Mil Spec Buffer Tube Vs Commercial Buffer Tube

Do you want to upgrade your AR-15 stock? It is essential to understand the exclusive differences between mil spec buffer tube and commercial buffer tube. These two have some similar standards.

Remember, all tubes look similar in terms of function and design. No doubt, these have some options and variances for rifle builders. The receiver extension or buffer tube is useful for two different purposes:

  • It permits users to attach a stock to the rifle.
  • It encapsulates the buffer spring and buffer, allowing the carrier bolt to ride forth and back to expel the brass and load another round.

Remember, two differences in the tube are the commercial spec and mil-spec tube sizes. These have a different diameter. See the main differences between these two categories:

Overview of Mil-Spec

Military specifications (mil-spec) are standard set by GAO (General Accountability Office) to define standardized measurements and requirements of equipment utilized by the military. These standards are established to certify reliability, commonality, and interoperability for every purchased part.

Remember, the main difference is the diameter of an area where stocks slide on a tube. The buffer tube (mil-spec) is almost two-hundredths of one inch small as compared to commercial. Buttstocks design for a standard may not be compatible with others. There are several differences, such as the rear angle of the tub and metal type. These properties may vary based on the manufacturer.

Difference in Size

Mil-spec and commercial buffer tubes have different sizes. A 7075-T6 alloy is used to design a firearm tube that offers 16-16 and 1-2 UN thread rolls. Commercial additions were designed to decrease the overall cost of the owner of a firearm. The extension may be manufactured from extruded tubes.

The tube comes with a special welded-on cap made from metal. All these threads are compatible with mil-spec 16-16 and 1-3 thread. These may be longer and more slanted. Both tubes (mil-spec and buffer) work really well on AR-15 receivers. However, manufacturing procedures can make threads of commercial tubes weak as compared to other mil-spec tubes.

Commercial-spec buttstock tubes may have buttstock around to mount on the rifle and have a 1.168” diameter. Remember, the Mil-spec is small and has a 1.148” diameter. A buttstock may not work for every tube.

Overview of Commercial-Spec

For commercial buffer tubes, the manufacturers start with one tube that complements the final diameter of the tube. The threads will be cut in the front end with one lathe similar to other threaded pipes. Moreover, the end caps of commercial tubes are welded on and are made from two different material pieces. The outside diameter of tubes can be 1.168”.

Some famous brands for commercial buffer tubes are YHM, Rock River Arms, DPMS, Bushmaster, etc. Manufactures may bring variations in the parts of rifles; therefore, it is essential to carefully check the diameter and confirm the shape of the back end before replacing any buffer tube. A tube should perfectly fit your stock.

Reasons Behind Different Standards

The price of a buffer is an essential element to change its standards. The buffer tubes (mil-spec) are available at an affordable price. You may find some units at an affordable price. Initially, M4 was introduced as a military weapon. At this time, there was only one variety of tubes.

As the M4-pattern rifles moved to civilians, the manufacturing companies realized that these are expensive. They started to offer cheaper versions under the category of commercial buffer tubes. You may find them at different costs and diameter. It is essential to know the exact measurements for your buffer tube to avoid possible issues in its fitting.

FAQ Of Mil Spec Buffer Tube Vs Commercial

Final Verdict

Mil-spec buffer tubes are widely compatible and produced. These are capable and stronger than commercial tubes. If torqued suitably to spec and protected with Loctite, the tube may perform correctly in different conditions.

Remember, mil-spec tubes are standard across the market of AR-15. This standard is becoming more accepted as the new manufacturers and parts are introduced in the market.   

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