Magpul MOE SL Review

By: Will

Photos by: Markland Photography

I recently had an opportunity to get my hands on some of the brand new Magpul Ind. MOE Slim Line (SL) AR-15 furniture.   

The parts that I sourced were the three main components:

1. MOE SL Stock

2. MOE SL Hand Guard

3. MOE SL Grip

The package literally arrived the night before heading to Colorado Springs for Circle the Wagons 2014.  I hastily thew the three components on my personal Arizona Armory AZ-15 and they mounted up without a hitch!

Now I have to admit that, with the exception of the MOE Grip, I haven’t had a lot of experience with the original Magpul MOE components.  I have however, used a black standard MOE Grip for several years and it has been a fixture on another M4 that I use often.

First Impressions:

Right off the bat I noticed that the grip and hand guard are substantially thinner than their predecessors. Not only were they thinner, but both are the most comfortable AR-15 hand guard/ grip combos I have ever used! And I don’t say that lightly….

The stock on the other hand, I can’t speak to as I still haven’t used any of Magpul’s prior offerings.  What I can say is that it was comfortable and the angle of the buttstock/padding works perfectly with my plate carrier/assault pack straps.

The MOE SL Stock:

The MOE SL Stock is basically a drop-in replacement buttstock for both MIL-SPEC and commercial carbines (separate models).  The MIL-SPEC variant features a slightly smaller buffer tube diameter and it is important that you determine which one your rifle sports.  An easy way to determine which one you have is to inspect the end of the buffer tube, commercial variants will feature a slanted end plate.

The particular MOE SL stock that I sourced was a MIL-SPEC variant, and slid on very snuggly.  This is a positive note as it removes any wiggle or movement and may vary based on the specs of your buffer tube.

The MOE SL Stock features an ambidextrous, dual sided release latches that will take a little getting used to seeing they are placed higher than typically seen on your standard buttstock.  The latches do however, maintain a high speed low drag profile and are up out of the way and snag free.

As I mentioned before, the MOE SL Stock features a comfortable angled rubber butt-pad that felt at home when shouldered with full kit.  

The Magpul product page states that the MOE SL Stock is “Optimized for use with body armor or modular gear and provides for efficient shoulder transitions”.

Currently, the MOE SL Stock is available online or through your local Magpul dealer at an MSRP of 59.95.  Currently it is only available in black.

The MOE SL Hand Guard:

The real news surrounding the MOE SL line of sleek M-4/AR-15 furniture, is the MOE SL Hand Guard.  The hand guard is substantially thinner/sleeker than its predecessor and when you first grasp it, it is immediately apparent that a  lot of thought and knowledge was put into its development.  Grasping the MOE SL Hand Guard feels natural and begs the question, “Why wasn’t this thought of before?”  

Installing the MOE SL Hand Guard isn’t difficult but it does take a certain finesse to properly mate the two parts together.  

The MOE SL Hand Guard only works on standard configuration, carbine length gas systems and with A2 style gas block mounting hardware as well as the standard M-4/AR-15 barrel nut. Of further note, the MOE SL Hand Guard features a, reinforced, heat resistant polymer as well as substantial heat shielding on both halves.

An interesting feature of the MOE SL Hand Guard, is that it continues on past the sides and bottom of the gas port. This features gives the operator added protection from heat emanating from the front sight post/gas block. Users of gas port mounted sling swivels will find that they will need to adapt and overcome!

Luckily, Magpul’s foundation is all about adapting and overcoming, so they offer a number of accessories to transition your sling mounts onto the side of the MOE SL Hand Guard.

Speaking of accessories, the MOE SL Hand Guard features Magpul’s all new M-LOK slots for mounting flashlight, grips and other items such as sling attachment points. The M-LOK standard is a semi-open source standard that companies can license free from Magpul. Look for our upcoming review of M-LOK titled “What is M-LOK and Why You Should Care”.

The MOE SL Hand Guard features M-LOK slots at the 2, 6 and 10 o’clock  positions and Magpul offers a number of accessories that both support the standard as well as make your current accessories backwards compatible.

The MOE SL Hand Guard is available from or local Magpul dealer or online MSRP $34.95

The MOE SL Grip:

Like the MOE SL Hand Guard, The MOE SL Grip is much slimmer than its predecessors.  In fact, its very similar to the Magpul MOE-K2 grip in angle and thickness.  I actually really liked the feel of it  but it will take some testing before I’m completely sure if I prefer it over the original MOE grip that I currently use on my “other” rifle.

Magpul claims that the MOE SL grip is optimized for short length of pull (LOP) weapon platforms  that have the weapon hand closer to the shooters body. 

Magpul also provides all the required hardware to switch out your current grip or install the MOE SL grip on a new weapon build. 

Like the other components, you can find the MOE SL Grip at you local Magpul dealer or online for an MSRP of around 19.95.

Negatives:

There are a couple of negative aspects that came up while installing the MOE SL furniture. Firstly, installing the hand guard isn’t quite as easy as some other hand guards I have played with.  The reason I believe, is due to the tight tolerances that the hand guard exhibits as well as the heat shielding.  The MOE SL Hand Guard is very narrow, and the heat shielding requires that the user install the two pieces carefully for everything to line up properly.  

The second point that may or may not be of issue was the limited number of M-LOK slots, especially on the 12 o’clock where they are non existent.  I did manage to mount my Grip Stop, flashlight and a small rail section with a Tactical link QD sling mount. All three of the above attachments are probably sufficient for more than 90% of all home defense and sporting/training builds, but professionals needing extra mounting real estate for pressure pads, PEQs etc. might find the MOE SL Hand Guard slightly cramped.

The last point, if it can even be considered a negative, was the found on the buttstock.  I found that the low profile latches on either side of the buttstock were just a little high and I kept reaching to the traditional location that you would normally find the single latch.  This might not be such an issue for folks that regularly use Magpul Stocks as I believe the majority of them have latches placed higher.  In the end it is more of a muscle memory issue than an actual flaw in the design.

Wrap Up:

So, like I mentioned above, I barely had time to install the Magpul MOE SL furniture before heading out to Colorado Springs for the second annual Circle the Wagons Training.  

Luckily, while I was there, Kevin Markland from Markland Photography shoot some detailed pictures of the MOE SL line installed on my personal Arizona Armory AZ-15.  

But, we didn’t just take pictures! Both Kevin and I sent a good number of rounds down range while attending the training and the heat shielding was more than adequate.  

Overall I was really impressed wight he ergonomics of the MOE SL line and would recommend it to anyone looking to modestly dress up their AR-15. I must admit that M-LOK slots are pretty cool as well and I fully expect the standard to grow in popularity sooner than later.

It should come of no surprise that the developers of the MOE SL line are hardened war fighters with years of experience fighting the war on terror both home and abroad.  Moreover, it’s this knowledge, experience and dedication to excellence that really sets the Magpul MOE SL line apart from the competition!

Stand by for more photos of the MOE SL line in our upcoming San Tan Tactical build review!

Where To find it:

Magpul

Help us keep the lights on by purchasing through Amazon below

Other Products seen in this review:

B.E Meyers 249F Flash Suppressor (I’m a BIG fan of this flash suppressor and the noise it makes is pure freedom!)

Fathom Arms Enhanced BCG (This is an affordably priced BCG that is just as good as the “others”. read our review!)

Snake Eater Tactical Spagetti Western Cobra Belt and Burro Mag Pouches (Been rocking this belt for months now and love it! Same with the mag pouches)

Blue Force Gear Trauma Kit Now IFAK (Only been using this IFAK for a few weeks now but its a keeper!)

Raine Black Standard Plate Carrier (Read the review here)

Eleven 10 Gear Kydex Tourniquet holster (Read the review)

Thanks for reading!

– Will

Special thanks to Markland Photography for the outstanding shots!