In this chapter we will examine a host of buttstocks, so I thought it important to first discuss the concept of cheek weld.
Cheek weld is fundamentally the position your head is on the rifle when lining up the sights for a shot.
An ideal cheek weld is the single spot or location you return to every time you position your cheek on the buttstock. In order to become a consistent shooter, you’ll want to replicate this action. A proper cheek weld will ensure that you get on your target quickly and accurately.
The correct cheek weld will by definition be comfortable. It has to feel right and it won’t be the same for every shooter.
Your cheek weld will depend on your anatomy as well as the shape of the buttstock, its length, and all the other elements that go into ergonomics.
Some buttstocks will simply feel more comfortable than others.
Like Cinderella trying on her slippers, it is incumbent upon you to evaluate a number of stocks to determine which one will work best for you. You’ll also want to make sure that if you’re planning to buy a folding, triangle-type stock, you test it out before you acquire it.
Another advantage of a proper cheek weld is the capacity to quickly recover from recoil. If you’re shooting a gun with some kick, you’ll want to be “anchored,” albeit ergonomically, to the rifle, so as to be rapidly back on target.
The key is that you find the gear that’s comfortable and allows you to use the sights on your gun. This can sometimes be a tricky proposition with an AK, especially when using optics.
Using optics with a side mount can change the geometry because the device will usually be mounted higher than iron sights. Thus, in order to use the optic, you may have to reposition your cheek weld.
This is not something that you necessarily want to do in a radical manner.
In other words, you want the stock to rest on your cheek—not your chin. Putting your chin on the gun is at the minimum uncomfortable or, in the worst case, a painful experience, if the recoil whacks you in an unforgiving manner.
If using the optic necessitates moving your cheek weld to an uncomfortable positon, the solution might be to find a buttstock that will have an adjustable cheek rest that can be elevated. These will allow you to see through the optic without changing your basic position.