Review: FAB Defense GL-Core Impact Recoil Reduction Stock

By Beyond Seclusion
Posted in #Gear
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Review: FAB Defense GL-Core Impact Recoil Reduction Stock

November 13th, 2023

7:58 runtime

In today’s article, Beyond Seclusion reviews the FAB Defense SL-Core Impact stock. Designed to reduce felt recoil, the easy-to-install buttstock promises to make shooting a more pleasant experience. How does the stock perform? Is there a demonstrable difference in this stock over others?

The quality of our answers completely depends on the quality of the question. Is there such a thing as a stupid question? Let’s give it a try. Who likes recoil when shooting a gun? Who thinks recoil is beneficial when shooting? Conversely, who would like to decrease or eliminate recoil when shooting?

fab defense gl-core impact recoil reduction stock review
A potential stand-out in the aftermarket stock options, the FAB Defense GL-Core Impact promises impressive recoil reduction on your AR-type rifle.

Exactly. I bet you see my point. For many, this is a deciding factor in what they will shoot; for others, it’s a badge of pride and machismo. But it still doesn’t address the question of if recoil is beneficial in any way. That is the quality question.

The Root Causes

What exactly is recoil? We all pretty much know what it is, but to be specific it is as follows: The rearward momentum generated when discharging a gun from the acceleration of the bullet down the barrel and the gases discharged forward pushing the gun and your shoulder rearward.

fab defense gl core impact stock
This is a close-up view of the GL-Core Impact stock and its recoil reduction system. Image: FAB Defense

This is driven by Newton’s third law of physics; for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. This makes perfect sense when we think of all the different calibers. The .22LR has almost zero recoil when factoring in the weight of the gun due to the very small size of the bullet and the low pressures. You move up to the .50 BMG, and you have a massive bullet with a whole lot of pressure and power, and thus a lot of recoil.

The .50-cal. is also the perfect example of methods for reducing recoil. One of the most common methods is to use a “muzzle brake”. The .50 almost always uses what many call or refer to as the “Tank Brake.” It is actually very effective at reducing recoil but at the expense of anyone to the sides of you as I just experienced at a shoot in Georgia.

recoil reduction stock
The exposed spring system is designed to mitigate felt recoil when a firearm is discharged. It has three user-adjustable levels.

Everyone was not happy on both sides of the .50 when it was discharged. The sound is also sent back along with the gasses. They are often very unpopular at ranges where there is a “firing line” and frequently require extra hearing protection. Your neighbors on the line may not have brought extra hearing protection, making you very unpopular.

Others have tried springs and hydraulic buffers in the AR’s, with some success. It depends on whom you ask. I personally have not found them very effective and discovered they can cause problems with cycling and last round bolt hold open. I have eventually quit using them all due to this.

gl core stock
In addition to the headlining recoil-reduction feature, the stock is adjustable for length of pull. It also has a QD socket on either side. Image: FAB Defense

Many have also tried simply increasing the padding on the buttstock with some success, too. It definitely helps when you are shooting an old military gun that has a steel buttplate. It does nothing to decrease the actual recoil, but does feel better on your shoulder — much like knee pads for athletes.

The last method I have seen to decrease recoil is in the stock itself. I have had a few spring and hydraulic stocks over the years, and they look and feel very different from the typical AR-style stock. But, they were also large and heavy.

The Impact

Not long ago, I was asked if I had any experience with FAB Defense’s GL-Core Impact Recoil Reduction Buttstock w/ Variable Reduction Settings and I had not. But after seeing it, it did pique my curiosity. It looks almost exactly like any other adjustable stock we know, with the exception of a spring under the cheekrest.

stock absorbing recoil
In this photo, you can see the recoil from the gun and the spring being engaged. The author stated the recoil reduction was real and felt in his shoulder.

But let’s step back to my original question. My answer is “no.” I do not like recoil or find it beneficial in any way. I can take recoil with the best of them and don’t find the recoil of 7.62mm AR rifles to be excessive. With that said, I did have my right shoulder reconstructed many years ago, and a day at the range with the larger calibers can make my shoulder hurt. Would I love to reduce or have zero recoil on the AR in .308? Of course. Who wouldn’t?

Once I received the stock, I realized it really is a “KISS” product, or “Keep It Simple Stupid”. It goes on and off just like every stock we have used before, with the only difference being that the body of the stock/cheekrest/buttplate can move slightly rearward and compress the spring. This then reduces perceived recoil into your shoulder.

During the slow motion in the video at the top of the post, you will see exactly what I am talking about. It is genius in its design and simplicity in my opinion. There are no hydraulics that can leak or malfunction, and the spring could easily be replaced if for whatever reason it needed to be.

stock installed on 308 saint
While any AR-type rifle can benefit from a reduction in recoil forces, guns chambered for more powerful cartridges like the .308 can receive the biggest benefit from the FAB Defense stock.

There are three different settings you can easily access by simply removing a retaining pin and changing the position of the spring on the stock. Basically, you can think of them as low, medium, and high regarding recoil reduction. To me, it seems just logical to put it on high, but I am sure there are calibers and situations where you would want one of the others.

Hands-On with FAB Defense GL-Core Impact Stock

Let’s just get to the point. Does it work? Yes, I can definitely “feel” the difference in my shoulder. It actually “feels” like you have a nice buttplate pad. When you watch the video, it may look like it is actually moving me or recoiling more, not less. The best way to describe it is a “punch” vs. a “push”.

testing the fab defense recoil reducing stock
The author tested the FAB Defense stock with a range of guns and calibers, including the .308 and 9mm.

Actually, this is a perfect example because we tend to actually move more with the push rather than the punch, but the punch is much more uncomfortable and will cause shooting or shoulder fatigue much faster. The punch is what leaves bruises in blunt force trauma, not a push.

With the history of my shoulder, I definitely notice the difference after several boxes of ammo with my .308. In fact, I was so impressed I got three of these stocks to put on all my 7.62 AR rifles.

One other note: For those that have Mil-Spec versus commercial buffer tubes or if you don’t know what you have, this will fit both. That is another genius idea, in my opinion. With the simple change of an insert, you can go from one type of tube to the other.


I could not be happier with this new option for my AR rifles. With its simple design and ease of operation — along with its impressive performance — this is a great option for the AR enthusiast looking to take some of the punch out of recoil.

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Beyond Seclusion

Beyond Seclusion

Drew of “Beyond “Seclusion” earned both his bachelor of science in nursing and his master of science in nursing from the University of Nebraska Medical Center. He has always had a love of the outdoors and shooting and has been shooting for 40+ years. He started a YouTube Channel reviewing guns and ammo just for fun and it is now a full-time business for him. He resides in southeast Nebraska with his lovely wife DeeDee and his two children Adree and Wyatt.

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