By Will, Jared Ross and Adam Kraut
So, here is the Blacksheepwarrior.com NEA CCS stock review! This review has been a collaborative effort by a handful of companies and photographers and I owe a lot to all of them for helping me share this information with you, our readers.
The NEA CCS stock is an intriguing product due to its unique design and ability to shorten even a 16″ barreled AR-15 style carbine. The NEA CCS features a proprietary bolt and buffer tube that we will go into below. The stock is comfortable to operate and so far no problems have arisen during testing.
After playing with the stock a bit, I reached out to my friend John from Down Range Photography and asked him if he would like to get his hands on the stock and provide some images for the review. John, being the good guy that he is, immediately agreed and you can see his photos above! John also had the opportunity to install the NEA CCS on a KE Arms full auto SBR which I’m told, had no issues cycling.
After getting some range time and great shots in, John sent the NEA CCS stock to my buddy Jared Ross of Rockwell Tactical Group. When Jared isn’t running around the globe, he and some fellow operator friends teach tactical training courses in Pennsylvania. In fact, Jared will be teaching at the Circle the Wagons training event in Colorado Springs at the end of August (We will be there!). Jared spent some time with the NEA CCS and arranged to have his good friend Kevin ofF Markland Photography take some images of it as well. So, you can see where this is going!
Here is what Jared had to say:
“I have to be honest, I was skeptical when I opened the box and saw the North Eastern Arms Compact Carbine Stock. The bolt carrier looked interesting. So I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it and give it a try.
A small group of us headed out to the range for some field testing. We first put it on an SBR with a 10.5 inch barrel, chambered in 5.56. Each of us took turns shooting around 5 rounds apiece — just to get the feel. There were no complaints. I then took over and started shooting some rapid-fire drills. I was hoping to cause some kind of malfunction or feel something wrong as I shot. The more I shot it, the more I started to enjoy it. We slapped on a 7.62 SDN-6 can on it. And, again, there were no problems or issues.
We next switched it to a 8.2 inch 300 Blackout SBR, and proceeded to do the same thing. We shot it both suppressed, and unsuppressed. After spending a few hours, I came away a believer in the CCS. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a registered full-auto to test with the it. We are hoping to do that in the future. I think the highlight of the day was watching my 11-year-old son shoot the 5.56 suppressed. The SBR, with the stock, almost looked like a full-sized rifle in his hands.
We put around 1200 rounds of various 5.56 and 300 Blackout with the CCS that day. After I became convinced that it was reliable, I started thinking of different applications for the stock. I know that SBRs and AR pistols are all the rage right now. I’m still a big proponent of 14.5-18 inch barrels for most instances, but there’s a time and a place for real-world applications of SBRs. With the right barrel length, and with this stock, it would be perfect for executive protection, and could be easily concealed inside a coat. It would be good for certain Law Enforcement applications as well, such as a dog handler using it instead of a full-sized patrol rifle.
As a guy who wanted to not like it, and tried hard to get it to fail, I would not have a problem using it during my next trip down range.”
Note: We are BIG fans of the Lanco Tactical Grip Stop featured in the above photos! They come in two varieties, key mod and rail attachable. You can get yours at Rockwell Tactical Group Online Store.
Click below to see detailed images of the North Eastern Arms CCS as well as an added bonus review from Adam Kraut of King Shooters Supply.
The Exterior Components:
Installation of all the parts were pretty straight forward and to be honest, the hardest part of the process was removing the prior buffer tube etc. Anyways, the kit comes with instructions and you will be like a kid on Christmas morning!
The NEA CCS stock is most easily broken down into two parts groups; the stock itself and the bolt carrier and buffer spring. The stock features an aggressive grip machined into it that I call the “meat tenderizer”. The meat tenderizer is perfect for jamming into your shoulder when wearing bulky plate carriers etc.
When opened, the NEA CCS stock is just slightly longer that a completely collapsed M4/AR-15 mil spec stock (collapsable). Collapsing the NEA CCS is quickly accomplished by depressing the “mag release” style button found on the lower left side of the locking mechanism. One interesting feature of the locking mechanism is that it doesn’t lock closed so deploying the stock is accomplished by simply pulling the stock out. Note: read that last sentence again before you “fake” a rifle butt to the face of your nearest buddy. The meat tenderizer does inspirer it and we will not be held responsible for any medical bills 🙂
One of the questions that I hear often is whether or not the tube braces will interfere with aftermarket selector switches. So far there is no indication that they will and the stock fit perfectly on my Arizona Armory AR-15 that is based off a Sun Devil billet lower.
Another question that I get a lot and one of the reasons I sent the NEA CCS to Rockwell Tactical Group, is that there is no castle nut on the buffer tube. Now I may be a gear guy but I’m not an armorer so I asked Jared about it and he tells me that after shooting the stock for some time there have been no issues.
The Interior Components:
The NEA CCS stock’s internal components are almost as unique as its outward appearance! The NEA CCS features a modified bolt carrier and buffer spring that is nothing short of ingenious! The bolt carrier integrates the buffer so as to cut down on overall length. The buffer spring itself is considerably shorter than a standard spring and the entire system can only be used in conjunction with the NEA CCS. Furthermore, the buffer weight is actually integrated into the bolt carrier cutting down on the overall length of the system.
I asked Jared to weigh the NEA CCS’ parts so our readers would have an idea regarding the actual weight of the stock and its components.
1. Stock minus spring and carrier is 1 lb. 4.2 oz.
2. Carrier without bolt is 9.7 oz.
3. Spring is 1.2 oz.
4. Carrier with bolt, firing pin etc is 11.9 oz.
5. Everything together (Stock + carrier (with bolt) + spring) is alb 1.3 oz
6. Off the shelf bolt + carrier is 11.4 oz.
7. Buffers vary but Jared’s is 3 oz.
So, the NEA CCS stock may look super cool and successfully shorten your boom stick down considerably but there are some negative sides to it. First off, the finish of the proprietary bolt carrier is not going to win any prizes! When placed next to the mil spec Fathom Arms full auto phosphate coated bolt carrier the finish leaves something to be desired. Secondly, the overall finish of the CCS, while better than the bolt carrier, is a flat grey that I found hard to match with any weapon in my inventory.
Thirdly, pricing looks to be around the upper $300 dollar range if you can find it!
Another issue is that servicing the weapon is not as easy as a standard AR-14/M4 and will require some training for departments. Adam Kraut (GM of King Shooter’s Supply) goes into detail on this topic on the last page of this review.
Finally, the most glaring negative aspect is that the NEA CCS is virtually impossible to source in the US, unless you purchase it from a private party or import it from Canada. Furthermore, while I have talked to North Eastern Arms about potential distributors, think Rainer Arms and Brownells, so far neither are carrying it (Now available at Brownells!).
So, with that said, and my sourcing frustration aired, I have to say that I am a big fan of the stock and will be running it on my upcoming SBR build (I might have to fight both Jared and the Range Monkey for it….).
John, from Down Range Photography, have have had several conversations about the stock and each time I lament how life without the NEA CCS just isn’t the same…….
As an added bonus, we have a detailed review by the General Manager of King Shooters Supply. Adam Kraut, spent some time with the NEA CCS while it was at Rockwell Tactical Group and took the time to write up his thoughts! Thanks Adam!
Here is what Adam Had to say:
I was recently invited to join Jared from Rockwell Tactical to spend some time on the range playing with the North Eastern Arms Compact Carbine Stock (CSS). Having two short barrel rifles and the quest to make an already compact rifle even smaller I jumped at the opportunity to play with a stock I had seen pictures of but never had the chance to hold.
My shortest AR-15 is chambered in 300 Blackout with an 8.2” barrel and an overall length of 25” along with a 5.56 gun that has a 10.5” barrel and an overall length of 28” with the stocks collapsed. The 300 Blackout is already pretty short but I wanted to see how short we could actually make it. On my setup I have a Magpul CTR that is locked out in the second position on the buffer tube.
In order to do the testing, we had to install the CSS at the range. Installing the CSS itself was a fairly simple process. It required placing the stock assembly portion against the lower to hold in the rear takedown pin spring and detent and then screwing the provided buffer tube into the lower.
The bolt carrier group (BCG) and buffer are one assembly given the short nature of the stock and its associated buffer tube. It required the swapping of my bolt, firing pin, cam pin and firing pin retaining pin to the assembly. The CSS also came with the correct length buffer spring.
In order to install the upper to the lower the CSS BCG had to be inserted into the upper and the spring placed on the buffer which lead to the spring sticking out of the rear of the upper. This then had to be inserted into the buffer tube and pushed back and down to assemble.
After getting the stock onto the gun the first thing that came to mind was “this thing is short”. I was very impressed with how much shorter it made the gun and that should not have been a surprise given its intended purpose. The stock deployed easily and locked up tightly. It was then I noticed that the stock only had one position notch on it. The stock was either locked open or closed.
Let’s Shoot this Pig!
After getting everything squared away we hit the range with the stock. The stock itself offers no padding but it was not uncomfortable to shoulder or shoot with only a T-shirt on. The cheek weld was not noticeably different from that on any of my other AR-15s. I spent some time collapsing and deploying the stock to see if it was any different from my initial impression. My initial impression was correct and it was very easy to use. I was still able to shoot steel at 200 yards and hit it with no issues.
Having watched this stock online for the past year I’m grateful I’ve been given the opportunity to review it. The stock’s price commands a pretty penny. It is easy to forget it includes a BCG in that price, but that BCG is only useable with this set up. The stock is an awesome concept for those who want an ultra-compact SBR, however I feel that it has a few shortcomings.
The BCG is a pain to stuff into the gun and equally a pain to remove. This does not make it field friendly to service if you had to. It would require you to take the gun entirely apart instead of just the rear takedown pin. It might be possible to remove the assembly through the buffer tube area but that isn’t something I tried. This isn’t a deal breaker for me, but something a prospective buyer should be aware of.
My biggest complaint was the length of pull the stock offered. For me it was about half an inch too short of where I would have liked it to be. Looking at it collapsed I think NEA got the most out of it that they could with the way it collapses. Adding other notch points on the stock would have done nothing for me as they would have all been too short to be useful. It just didn’t feel comfortable for me at the length it was when deployed.
The CSS is a unique stock in the market for an AR-15. Unlike other firearms on the market, the AR-15’s design does not allow for a folding stock thus pitting manufacturer’s ingenuity to shorten the gun against the gun’s design.
NEA did a fantastic job of visualizing a solution and implementing it. They were able to reduce the length of a SBR significantly to make it worth of a PDW setup. The rapid deployment of the stock and only one position means little time to fuss around with getting it ready to use. While I’ve decided that this stock isn’t for me, I certainly see a wide market for it and am confident that many end users will be pleased with their choice.
About the Author
Adam Kraut is the General Manager of King Shooter Supply outside Philadelphia, PA and is a gun loving Pennsylvanian who has spent the last 4 years pursuing a law degree in order to support 2nd Amendment causes.
One more thing…..
So, my good friend and fellow law enforcement professional, “Opie” let me throw the CCS on his little 9mm baby that he picked up. ( Weapon is a registered NFA SBR). It should be noted that the SBR as it is set up, would not function with the stock. However, it was a cool mock up and it would be cool to see a functioning model someday!