While screw and slot dimensions are available on the web, the T-slot nut dimensions are currently under review by the US State Department to determine whether it should be regulated by ITAR, and until it is clarified drawings are only available to US citizens.
M-LOK, for Modular Lock, is a firearm rail interface system developed and patented by Magpul Industries. The license is free-of-charge, but subject to an approval process.
What is the difference between Picatinny Quad Rail and M-LOK?
The Picatinny rail system is more heavy-duty and built to handle heavier mounts without a loss of performance. The M-LOK system from Magpul isn’t quite as hardy, but it is lighter and has more and more tactical hardware being built for it every day. Cached
While M-LOK is licensed free-of-charge, it is not open source, and thus manufacturers must acquire a license from Magpul before making products using the M-LOK standard. Magpul claims this gives them more control in assuring that all M-LOK products are made to specifications ensuring compatibility. Program participation is open to any interested manufacturer.The slot dimensions (used on handguards, etc.) are available on the web. The slots provide metric 20 mm (0.79 in) length intervals, and accessories can be mounted either within a slot or bridging between slots, making it possible to adjust the position of accessories in smaller intervals than the length of the slot. The slots on an M-Lok handguard are approximately 32 mm (1.260 in) long and 7 mm (0.276 in) wide and space 8 mm (0.315 in) from each other. The radius of the corners is approximately 2.38 mm (0.094 in).
Does the military still use quad rail?
Both the M4 and the M16A4 feature “quad” Picatinny rail handguard systems made by Knight’s Armament Company that have remained in use since they were introduced in the early 2000s.
Attachment screws made by many U.S. manufacturers are often either #8-32 TPI or 10-24 TPI UNC threads, which respectively have major thread diameters of 0.1640 inches and 0.1900 inches (4.166-0.794 mm and 4.826-1.058 mm expressed in metric designation). Many M-LOK screws on the international market instead use either M4 or M5 metric threads to reduce cost. A prototype of the MOE slot was revealed by Magpul in late 2007 together with their Masada Concept Rifle (which would later be known as the Adaptive Combat Rifle). The MOE slot system was released by Magpul in 2008 as a feature on their MOE handguards, and at the same time compatible accessories such as Picatinny rail sections, direct MOE mounted light mounts, grips, bipod studs, etc. were released. M-LOK allows for direct accessory attachment onto the “negative space” (hollow slot) mounting points, and is a competing standard to VLTOR’s open sourced KeyMod system for replacing the ubiquitous Picatinny rail in some applications. Compared to the Picatinny rail system, both M-LOK and KeyMod enable the user to have a slimmer, lighter, smoother and more fenestrated handguard/fore-end with accessories mounted only where needed, whereas a Picatinny handguard typically will have rail slots for its whole length, resulting in a heavier and bulkier handguard with sharp edges and poorer barrel ventilation.Acknowledging shortcomings of the MOE systems, Magpul drafted M-LOK as a new and improved mounting standard which was released in 2014 replacing the existing MOE slot. The M-LOK rail specification included metric dimensions instead of imperial, and utilizes a T-slot nut capable of only 90-degree rotation, reinforced by thread-locking fluid, making it suited for applications on free-floating handguards. It was designed to work with both metal and polymer parts.
Does the military use M-Lok?
M LOK has enjoyed a huge popularity among both military and civilian users alike. There are several reasons for that. One huge advantage that this system has over traditional 1913 picatinny rails is that they allow for much more airflow around the rifle’s barrel.
The M-LOK system can be seen as an evolution of the Magpul Original Equipment (MOE) system, but the two are not fully compatible. Though newer M-LOK accessories can be used on older MOE slot handguards if an adaptor plate is used, there is no adaptor available for using older MOE accessories on the newer M-LOK handguards.In 2017, a summary report of testing conducted by NSWC-Crane for USSOCOM indicated that, while comparable in endurance and rough handling testing, M-LOK greatly outperformed Keymod in repeatability, drop testing and failure load testing. In 2016, Colt Canada developed and released the Modular Rail Rifle (MRR) that uses a monolithic upper receiver with the M-LOK attachment system. In 2017, several companies produce M-LOK handguards as well as accessories like Picatinny rail strips, vertical foregrips, bipods, sling adaptors, and flashlight mounts. Note that although Magpul describes the license as a “free license”, the meaning does not match the more common meaning originally established in computer circles. The computer “free license” refers to a freedom to use, while Magpul only conditionally offers the license for free (analogous to a source-available freeware).Tube rails, like the above Daniel Defense model, have been popular with civilian and special operations shooters for years now, and it’s time to bring their many benefits to the military at large. Tube rails are significantly light, reducing the overall weight of the weapon. Some tube rails are less than one inch in diameter, making them the rail less bulky and easier to grip using modern techniques. Finally, tube rails allow as much attachment space as needed using bolt-on sections of Picatinny rail, or newer, low-profile direct mounting interfaces like Keymod or M-LOK. The user only needs to mount enough rail space for each attachment, or simply direct mount them to the handguard.
Advances have been made in other types of muzzle devices. New “hybrid” devices have come out that offer the low signature muzzle flash of a flash hider with some of the properties of a muzzle brake or compensator; namely a small reduction in felt recoil and muzzle climb.
An adjustable gas block allows the shooter to easily regulate the amount of gas that flows through the gas tube. This has two main applications for military use. First, it makes using a suppressor significantly easier, as the user is able the regulate the gas systems to ensure the weapon cycles reliably. Second, it allows certain types of specialized ammo to run through the gun smoothly; the ability to reliably shoot precision ammo would lend both the M4 and the M16 to use as a designated marksman rifle when dedicated platforms like the Mk. 12 or M110 are not available. Both of these would provide valuable capabilities.
What is the point of M-LOK?
M-LOK allows for direct accessory attachment onto the “negative space” (hollow slot) mounting points, and is a competing standard to VLTOR’s open sourced KeyMod system for replacing the ubiquitous Picatinny rail in some applications.
Retractable stocks, like the one above developed by Naval Special Warfare Center Crane Division, allow the user to select whatever length of pull is most comfortable. Retractable stocks also enable the rifle to be easily carried inside vehicles and aircraft. The Army and Marine Corps could simply swap out fixed stocks for the standard M4 and Crane stocks already in inventory, or they could upgrade both guns with a new commercial stock design. Companies like Magpul, B5 Systems, and Vltor offer enhanced stocks with quick-detach sling points, battery storage, and other features.All of these upgrades serve to extend and enhance the capabilities of the M4 and the M16. Even in the age of the sequester, these upgrades are cost-feasible, especially compared to programs like the F-35 or the Littoral Combat Ship. Combined with new and improved shooting techniques, they’ll make a good weapon even better.
The M4 and M16 family of rifles don’t deserve the sour reputation they’ve been saddled with since the first M16s had reliability issues in Vietnam. All of those problems, mostly stemming from bad magazines, inferior gunpowder, and a misguided notion that the weapons was self cleaning, are gone in current incarnations of the rifle. Every attempt to find a replacement has borne little fruit. Over the past 15 years, the civilian firearms industry and special operations units have developed a number of innovative parts for AR-15-style rifles that leave M4 and M16 variants looking rather dated. With both the Army and Marines Corps potentially upgrading their rifles, here are a few components that will bring theses weapons to the next level.Some of these improvements have already been adopted by special operations forces. SOCOM adopted versions of a quick-detach suppressor series made by Surefire in 2012.
This is more of an improvement for the M16 than the M4; the M4 already features a six-position adjustable stock. The M16 has a fixed stock, which was the norm when it was first introduced. But today’s reality is much different. Most service members wear hard body armor systems in a combat zone. Many will be constantly moving it out of various vehicles and aircraft. And one thing that hasn’t changed: People’s arms are different lengths.
Quick-detach suppressors like the Knight’s Armament model pictured above have become extremely popular in the past decade. They use a mechanism that allows the suppressor to be quickly slipped over and secured onto an existing flash hider, compensator, or muzzle brake. While the silencing capabilities of suppressors have been vastly overstated in popular media, they do provide a limited measure of stealth. More important is the safety role of suppressor; it makes firing the weapon hearing-safe, particularly indoors. Without a suppressor, a shooter must wear hearing protection to avoid temporary and permanent hearing loss.
The standard A2 “birdcage” flash hider has been the only muzzle devices mounted on M4 as and M16s in conventional units for decades. It’s time to change that.The gas block functions as an important part of the M4 and M16’s direct impingement system; it funnels gas into the tube and back into the bolt carrier group in order to cycle the weapon. On the M4 and M16, the regular gas block is fixed. This was fine when those weapons were first conceived, but times have changed.
The Picatinny rail standard was a revolution when it was introduced in 1995. With a system of standardized T-shaped ridges and gaps, Picatinny rails allowed for truly modular accessories. Both the M4 and the M16A4 feature “quad” Picatinny rail handguard systems made by Knight’s Armament Company that have remained in use since they were introduced in the early 2000s. This design allows for plenty of attachment space, but has two major flaws.
Far and away, the Magpul PMAG is the most popular aftermarket AR15 magazine. Its polymer construction makes it less likely to suffer bent feed lips, a common cause of malfunctions with standard aluminium magazines. It has a four-way anti-tilt follower that prevents misfeeds or double feeds. PMAGs simply feed ammo reliably, which is why they’ve become a ubiquitous sight among civilian AR-15 shooters and special operations personnel. It’s time conventional forces got with the program.But this brings out second major issue: The quad rail design is bulky, heavy, and uncomfortable to hold. While a quad rail does provide a great deal of real estate for mounting accessories, most of it isn’t necessary; you really only need short rail segments to mount most accesories.Optics are now commonplace in the hands of infantry units. The M68 red dot optic (known as the Aimpoint CompM4 to civilian shooters), the M150 magnified scope (Trijicon Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight), and EOtech 553 holographic weapon sight have all seen widespread use in the Army and Marine Corps. However, optics technology has rapidly grown in the past ten years, and many of these designs are now outdated.
A good sling is an important component of any fighting rife. It allows the user to stow the rifle when they climb an obstacle, transition to sidearm, or any other number of task that require them to use both hands. A good sling allows for comfortable patrol carry and ensures that the user retains the weapon if they fall, slip or get knocked over. Unfortunately the military hasn’t been issuing great slings.
First, they are not “free-floating” handguards, which are handguards that do not interface with the barrel in any way. The current quad rails are connected to the front of the barrel at the front sight; this means that any pressure exerted on the rails by the shooters will have a significant effect on the weapon’s accuracy.The Marines are ahead of the game in this regard; in 2012, they began to issue and train with the Vickers Combat Applications Sling (pictured above), produced by Blue Force Gear and designed by Larry Vickers, a former Delta Force operator.
Does M-LOK work with Picatinny?
M-l-o-k Rails are Essentials for Hunting Shooting! Ideal for Attaching Kinds of Picatinny Accessories: Picatinny Rails Allowing You Add On Any Standard 21mm Picatinny Accessories, Such As Flashlights, Iron Sight, Red Green Dot Sights, Micro Dot, Sling Mount, Scopes, Optics, Grips, Bipods or Other Tactical Accessories.
The latest optics, like Aimpoint Micro T-1 red dot sight pictured above, are smaller and lighter than their forebears. Battery life is also improved; the T-1 for example has five years of continuous use at the fourth highest brightness setting. Sights like the T-1 and newer EOtech models also can use magnifiers to provide better options for long-range shooting. New models from companies like Trijicon or Leupold provide hybrid options that can serve both close quarters and long range roles.The standard issue sling is either a simple two-point sling with fragile buckles, or a three-point monstrosity of sling that is confusing to install on a rifle. Special operators have thoroughly tested slings over the years. They settled on quick-adjust two-point designs, which allow the shooter to quickly alter the length the sling. The user cinches it tight to stow it on their chest or back, and loosens it for shooting or switching shoulders. Quick-adjust slings have become the preferred choice of law enforcement, special operations, and competitive shooters.
Free floating rails solve this issue by attaching only to the receiver: The barrel “free floats” inside the rail system and is unaffected by any pressure from the shooter’s grip or sling on the handguard. The military actually already has free-floating rails in the inventory; this Daniel Defense quad rail system is in use by many units in Special Operations Command.
Both AR rail systems are in widespread use throughout the United States, and both have some unique characteristics to offer. Our goal here is not to crown a champion or even attempt to sway you. Our goal is simply to provide some information that we hope will get you started in your search. Let’s get going.So, if you want an AR rail system for long-range target shooting, hunting, or other shooting that requires heavy-duty, advanced optics, then the Pic rail might be a better place for you to start. However, if speed, rapid-fire accuracy, and comfort are more important to you, than chances are good you’ll prefer the M-LOK system. Developed in 1992 by a New Jersey weaponsmithing firm, Picatinny Arsenal, at the behest of the United States military. Picatinny Arsenal re-imagined the Weaver rail system that had been in use since the 1930s and combined it with some of the elements that they were using on long-range artillery — miniaturized, of course. The result was the Pic rail. Although we can’t tell you what is right for you, we can assure you that in a market this developed, there are options that you’re going to love once you find them. In today’s blog from the team at RailScales®, we present some high-level information about two modern and popular styles of AR rail systems — the Picatinny Rail, or Pic rail, and the more recently created M-LOK system.
M-LOK offers some enticing benefits. First and foremost, it’s a pretty lightweight rail system, yet it still maintains a reputation — over its relatively short lifespan so far — as being more than durable enough for just about any AR user.The M-LOK system is a real newcomer in the AR rail system marketplace. Developed in 2014, the M-LOK system was Magpul’s answer to the also relatively new KeyMod system from VLOTR Weapons Systems.
With the ability to mount hardware onto the 12 o’clock, 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock, and 9 o’clock positions on a Picatinny quad rail, not only was the US government thrilled with the result, but it allowed widespread customization for private AR owners as well.
The final benefit of the M-LOK we want to cover is the system; it was Magpul’s choice to make the designs open-source, allowing designers, engineers, and arsenals everywhere to produce parts and accessories for it with the need for an adaptor.
The M-LOK system also offers a dual point attachment platform that allows for AR 15 accessories such as lights and foregrips to be mounted with a lot of flexibility for personal preference and comfort. M-LOK systems are designed to get the most out of the least amount of material. This helps with weight, but it also helps to reduce the cost of the M-LOK AR rail system, making it a popular choice for budget-conscious shooters.Of all of the modern AR rail systems — we define that as everything developed since about 1980 — Pic rails have proven they have the most staying power. In time, that may change, but as of today, Picatinny rails hold the prestigious, if unflattering, recognition as the “Old Faithful” of AR rail systems. The M-LOK system has positioned itself as the de facto king for this argument at this moment in time. With the ability to add Picatinny rail accessories to an M-LOK now, going the pic rail route doesn’t make sense as a modern shooting enthusiast. The adaptability of the M-LOK rail system and its weight savings truly give it the edge that the Picatinny rail system just can’t compete with anymore. Now if you want to be “clone correct” on some older weapon layouts, then you have to go Picatinny, those are the rules. Fortunately, for those with the more modern MLOK system on their AR-15 rails, RailScales has a multitude of products available to upgrade the function and aesthetic far beyond what a Picatinny rail could offer. Both of these AR rail systems enjoy a healthy dose of popularity and strong sales. So, which one is actually better for your needs? That all depends on what your needs are. The Picatinny rail system is more heavy-duty and built to handle heavier mounts without a loss of performance. The M-LOK system from Magpul isn’t quite as hardy, but it is lighter and has more and more tactical hardware being built for it every day. Picatinny rails offer a consistent and wide locking slot, and a relatively sleek, angular feature. A Pic rail can accommodate a lot of hardware if you’re in the mind to load up your AR. Additionally, it is still widely considered to be the superior AR rail system for heavy-duty, advanced optics. AR-15 owners all across the nation are searching for the right hardware, AR rail systems, and accessories for them. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer because every shooter possesses a unique and distinct set of traits. Ranging from height, weight, and shooting technique to shooting frequency, shooting purpose, and aesthetic preferences, these variable factors determine what kind of accessories, receivers, and AR rail systems will be right to make your AR the total package for you.Let’s talk about the final pro with the keymod system and that is where you can put your support hand while you fire. Now, when I put my support hand around the picatinny rail it was bulky and uncomfortable. As you can see with the keymod system, it lends to a more natural grip of your support hand making shooting a more comfortable experience.
In this video, we’re gonna be talking about the three most popular aftermarket handguards that are available to you for your AR-15. The goal with this video, like all videos from the STNGR Workshop, is to give you the pros and cons for each. That way, when you finally take the step of purchasing an aftermarket handguard, you’ll be more informed about which one works for you.
Yes, you have four attachment points – That’s great. Yes, you can put as much as you want on it. Yes, that’s also great. However, I told you, this is all added weight that’s before you put on your lights, your foregrips, your scopes, whatever your heart desires. The more you put on there, if it’s put on your AR-15 it’s gonna start weighing it down and a lot of people will find that the rifle is out of balance. When we get to the keymod, and when we get to the M-Lok especially, you’re gonna see how the machining got rid of all this extra weight and it made it much more lightweight for shooters while retaining the ability to put on attachments.The M-Lok system was an evolution of Magpul’s original equipment mounting system. Now, like the keymod, the M-Lok system does offer a slim profile, lightweight construction, and a customizable rail system. Now, the main difference between the keymod and the M-Lok system here is the way that the rails and the accessories mount. Instead of using keymod holes that you see right here, the M-Lok system features a series of uniform slots.
Now, the keymod system was introduced in 2012 and it gets its name from the keyhole profile of the mounting slots as you can see right here on the system.
So which one should you pick? Well, it comes down to personal preference for each gun owner who sees the keymod and the M-Lok as improvements over the picatinny rail system. Both share some characteristics, chief among them that lightweight designing construction as well as a simplicity of accessory installation. You’re gonna have to experiment with both.
So why is there a picatinny rail on the top? It’s because it’s been around forever and with the improvement of technology and the fact that this is made out of high-grade aluminum, you can put this picatinny rail on the top and you can get that extra attachment point without having to sacrifice excessive weight. So you can get the best of both worlds. You can get your picatinny rail at the top at the 12 and the 6 o’clock positions while still getting a more comfortable position for your support hand.
Let’s talk about support hand placement with the M-Lok handguard. With the picatinny rail, very uncomfortable, very bulky. We had improvement with the keymod system, but it still wasn’t quite right. Now, the M-Lok gets it right. Not only is it lightweight but it also has a smoother design with these cutouts making it a superior shooting experience.
One last thing that goes against the picatinny rail is a newer shooting position. For a long time, people used grips on this bottom part of the picatinny rail to put their support hand while they’re shooting it. If you’ve seen Youtube videos in the last couple of years, a popular place to put your support hand is around the actual handguard. Now you can see already that’s uncomfortable and I’m just holding it. Now imagine trying to hold it while you’re dealing with the rest of the things that are going on while you’re shooting an AR-15. You’ll start to get cuts, it’ll be uncomfortable, your hand will get fatigued quicker. Now, some people will say you can put on covers, you can wear gloves and you can do all those things, but that’s just one more negative that goes against the picatinny rail. This made it very popular right off the bat. Why? Because without the use of an adapter which is increased weight, the keymod system permits the direct installation of attachments like your vertical grips, your lights, all that good stuff. This resulted in a lighter handguard. And that’s why the M-Lok, if you look at sales and just the vast amount of companies that are making them, has become the primary aftermarket handguard that people go to. But if you choose to use the picatinny rail because you want more space for your accessories or you just like the way the keymod system works for you, those are both options for you.Let’s look at the third popular option for aftermarket handguards that is the M-Lok system. This one right here is one you can get at stngrusa.com and this is their HWK model.
What's the difference between M-LOK and quad rail?
M-Lok is much newer than Quad rails and accessories for them are not as plentiful (soon to be rectified). To mount something to an M-Lok handguard you need an accessory that was made for M-Lok (fewer options). Or you have to put a rail where you want it to be and then mount the accessory to that rail. Cached
One last thing I want to talk about is the machining. Look at the slots on your keymod (and you’re definitely gonna see this with the M-Lok in a moment) vs your picatinny rail. Look at all this extra metal that is on the picatinny rail. That’s increased weight. You can see with these more aggressive machining cuts, how much weight you can lose while still keeping all the good stuff that this one has. Now, I know what some of you are going to say. There’s a picatinny rail on top of this. I’m gonna address that at the end of the video.
So Rick, if there are all these pros and all these attachment points and everybody loves it, what are the cons? Well, I’ll tell you. First, let’s talk about the attachment points. Yes, you have four places to put your accessories. But I want you to take a look at the mass that each one of these picatinny rails has. All this right here is weight. Nobody’s going to tell you that the picatinny rail is a lightweight system and its biggest pro can in fact be its biggest con. I’ll explain.
So let’s talk about the solid veteran which is the picatinny rail (it may also be called a pic rail for short, or more officially as the MIL-STD-1913 rail or 1913 rail). As I said before, the picatinny rail is the standard bearer. It is the most widely adapted and the most widely popular and that’s because it was designed in the beginning to make it possible to attach scopes onto the receivers of larger caliber rifles.
Does anyone still use Rails?
Why is Ruby on Rails so popular? While its popularity may have waned slightly since its heyday about 10 years ago (it’s 20 years old now), it still boasts highly attractive use cases for devs in the object-oriented programming and Agile development spaces.
One thing you can notice right off the bat is the four attachment points: One at 12 o’clock, one at 3, one at 6, and one at 9. These four attachment points allow you to put extra equipment onto your AR-15. We’re talking foregrips, night vision equipment, tactical lighting, pretty much whatever you want. With the picatinny rails running the full length of all fours sides of the handguard, it’s also called a Quad rail.Now let’s bring in the keymod vs the M-Lok. The keymod has the key holes while the M-Lok has these uniform slots. One of the things, in addition to these uniform slots, which gives you the ability to mount any kind of equipment that you want at the 3, 6 and 9 o’clock positions, is that these M-Lok systems, especially the one you find here at STNGR USA, is incredibly light. I believe this one is six ounces, which gives you all the strength you need and all the performance you need while dramatically decreasing your weight.
Hello and welcome to the STNGR Workshop. My name is Rick Barrett and I’m your host for the series of videos where we talk about everything in the gun community from gun accessories to gun maintenance.
We’ll also add that in 2017, US SOCOM (United States Special Operations Command) conducted rigorous testing on Keymod and M-LOK. The testing revealed that M-LOK held up well beyond their requirements where accessories stayed attached 100% of the time during drop testing. Accessories mounted to keymod rails were found more likely to separate from the handguard. Summary: M-LOK is more secure.
One thing that I did forget to mention, but I’ll mention it now is I made a point to talk about the machining on your picatinny rail vs your keymod. So let’s take a look at this. Look at how aggressive the machine cuts are on this M-Lok handguard from STNGR USA. What is the benefit to that? That is less metal than this one. Also, more ventilation to keep your barrel cooler. So we talked about the machine cuts on the M-Lok vs the picatinny rail. Let’s bring in the keymod because the keymod was the one who did the machine cuts first Why would they be more aggressive? That’s less weight on this handguard (M-Lok) vs this one (Keymod). Now these handguards are the exact same length yet the M-Lok handguard from STNGR USA vs the keymod has more aggressive cuts. This is to keep your hand and the barrel that much cooler.
Me personally I like the M-Lok, I like the STNGR USA one, I like the design of the HWK. I think it’s a lot better and personally, I think it’s a lot cooler looking and you can see all the cool M-Lok handguards they have at stngrusa.com.Now, I’m gonna bring in the picatinny rail real quick and I just want you to see off the bat – they’re both 6.5″ rails. Look how thick your picatinny rail is compared to your keymod rail, all this weight from your attachment points is now gone with the picatinny rail vs the keymod.
Now the picatinny rail has become so widely adopted by the firearms community that a lot of firearms manufacturers will forgo the traditional handguard and sell you an AR-15 with one of these preinstalled.
Drop 5 caused the handguard to slide further off the barrel nut, and on drop 6, the handguard separated completely from the barrel nut, so it was no longer attached to the rifle:The purpose of this test was to see how much point of aim of an attached laser optic would shift when the handguards were uninstalled and reinstalled. The test optic was a PEQ-15 laser, and point of aim (POA) was measured before and after each handguard was uninstalled and then reinstalled.A: This is the original handguard design found on commercial AR-15s, adopted directly from service-issued M4s and M16s. As the name implies, a two-piece handguard comprises two halves, which meet together at the barrel nut and front sight bus / gas block, clamping together around the barrel and gas tube. These types of handguards typically have a quad Picatinny rail for attachments, or they’ll be smooth, provided only as a place to grip with your non-firing hand, like the one below.Overall, we’ve seen the KeyMod rail system is prone to suffering small fractures where accessories are torqued. When the rail suffers no fractures, the accessories tend to remain fixed in place. Let’s see how M-LOK fairs with the same drop tests.
Are quad rails outdated?
Is the quad rail obsolete? The answer to that question is a resounding YES. In the not so recent past the rise of quad rail systems was stunning to see. It seemed like every week a new manufacturer was coming out with a new length rail system or a new fastening system to make their quad rail unique and different.
Aero’s KeyMod rail suffered no damage on drops 1, 3, and 6. On drop 4, the rear mounting lug that secured the accessory to the handguard failed and was pulled out of the rail system. The handguard suffered a crack in the aluminum slot, which allowed this separation to occur:Overall, M-LOK noticeably outperformed KeyMod in the drop tests. After removing the accessories from the rail systems, we can see that the KeyMod slots were damaged, often with cracks. The M-LOK slots suffered no damage beyond superficial scrapes and scratches:DISCLAIMER: If you are new to the world of DIY gun building, you likely have a lot of questions and rightfully so. It’s an area that has a lot of questions that, without the correct answers, could have some serious implications. At GunBuilders.com, we are by no means providing this content on our website to serve as legal advice or legal counsel. We encourage each and every builder to perform their own research around their respective State laws as well as educating themselves on the Federal laws. When performing your own research, please be sure that you are getting your information from a reliable source.
The final test compared which rail system could endure the most load before the accessory and its mount would quite literally rip away from the rail slots. To perform this test, a chain and hook were fixed to the mounted accessory, and the handguard and rifle were clamped into a metal vise. the chain and hook were pulled and the amount of tension measured, until the hook eventually ripped the accessory off the rail, constituting total failure.
Overall, M-LOK appears to be the better investment when it comes to picking a good free-float handguard with a female attachment system. Drop-in and two-piece handguards still have their place in the AR community, especially for builders who want to replicate an M16- or M4-type rifle configuration.This is perhaps the most relevant test conducted. After all, we’re all most likely to drop our AR or bang it on the ground once or twice. For this torture test, each AR was dropped six times at different angles:The Midwest M-LOK rail suffered minor damage on drop 1, but the accessory did not loosen. Drop 2 caused no further damage. Drop 3 caused the handguard to slide forward on the barrel nut and rotate slightly. Drop 4 increased this displacement on the barrel nut. Drop 5 caused the handguard to rotate on the nut 45 degrees. Drop 6 caused the handguard to slide back into position, but it damage the torque plate meant to keep the handguard oriented at the 12 o’ clock position. The mounted accessory did not loosen at all, and remained torqued to the rail:
Because the handguard is only attached via the barrel nut, it does not contact the barrel itself or the gas block. These handguards are typically much lighter and more aesthetic. While they may be less “robust”, they’re still tough enough for combat conditions (we’ll review military testing below) and they improve accuracy, especially at greater distances.
A: We’re going to break that down in detail in this guide. The three types are M-LOK, Keymod, and Picatinny. M-LOK and Keymod are “female” attachment systems, in that the rail is the female side and the accessory to be attached uses small bolts and risers to affix to the handguard’s various open slots. Picatinny is a “male” attachment system, in that the accessory to be attached uses a female attachment to clamp onto the exposed rails on the Picatinny guard. We’re comparing M-LOK and Keymod with this guide, since Picatinny is well established and quite different from the former two.
We are a national retailer of individual components and not all products depicted on this website are legal in every state. Shipping of various products found on this website are prohibited to some states (such as California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington). The information, pictures, text or products presented on this website are not a representation by us, and should not be understood by you, that any product or completed firearm is legal to assemble or own in your state of residence. We encourage each and every builder to perform their own research about the state and federal laws that apply to them. It is your responsibility to understand the law and we encourage you to consult with an attorney or your local ATF representative.Drop 5 was the final nail in the coffin for this accessory attachment. The rail system failed completely, with both mounting lugs on the accessory failing. This allowed the accessory to separate from the rail’s keyholes:A: That depends on the type of handguard you want to utilize. If you prefer the military look of a drop-in/two-piece guard, you’ll need to buy one that matches the length of your AR’s gas system, since it connects to the gas block. If you choose a free-float handguard and your AR’s equipped with a low-profile gas block that fits underneath the guard, you can install virtually any length you want. You’ll probably want a guard long enough to at least cover the gas tube and gas block to protect them from damage. You can get a guard that goes all the way to the muzzle, if you prefer. The Seekins M-LOK handguard’s mounted accessory rotated slightly within its mount on drop 1. Drop 2 caused no damage. Drop 3 caused the accessory to slide rearward in the M-LOK slots just slightly. Drop 4 caused additional rearward travel of the mount within the slots. Drop 5 caused no damage. Drop 6 caused the accessory rail to slide rearward about 50% of the distance of the slot, but the accessory itself did not separate: By averaging out the results from each brand of handguard, we can find that POA shifted about 4.9 MOA for KeyMod, and just over 1.2 MOA for M-LOK. The data’s also displayed graphically by NAVSEA: The purpose of this test was to determine which attachment system could hold up to full-auto live fire without attached accessories becoming loose, shifting, or the entire handguard coming loose on the AR. The simulation replicated about 1,000 rounds per minute of full-auto fire in 30-round bursts. Two seconds were allowed between each burst, with a total of 20 bursts conducted, simulating a total of over 10,000 rounds fired downrange. The attached accessories included a weapon light, laser light, and accessory rail fasteners to secure to each handguard. With so many handguards available on the AR parts market, picking the right one can get a little confusing. Is M-LOK better than KeyMod? Does a Picatinny rail still have its place on a modern AR-15? What’s the difference between a drop-in handguard and a free-float unit? Let’s clear it all up.Unfortunately for KeyMod, the results are quite apparent. M-LOK far outperformed KeyMod in its ability to maintain a secure mount, before failure. The graph below compares the pound-feet of force required to cause failure on both rail systems, across all three brands of handguards: A: A free-float handguard quite literally “floats” over the barrel and gas block. It only attaches at one point on the rifle or pistol, and that’s via the barrel nut, which is secured to the front of the upper receiver: Drop 1 of the Seekins KeyMod rail resulted in no damage. On drop 2, the handguard suffered a small scratch. On drop 3, a slight gap developed between the handguard and receiver, with the guard sliding ever so slightly off the barrel nut. On drop 4, there was further scraping, but no damage. On drop 5, a small fracture developed on one of the rails. Drop 6 resulted in major damage to the handguard, also the accessory remained attached to the rail, with neither lug being separated from the slot: Using the live-fire simulator, the torture test was modified to simulate bumps and bangs on the handguards and their rifles. The tests simulated hard impacts starting at 200 lb. ft., moving up up to 400 lb. ft. The same light and laser accessories were used in their same positions on each rail system for this test. Both rail systems withstood the entirety of the live-fire torture test without the attachments coming loose or the handguards themselves failing in any manner. This test illustrates that, when accessories are properly torqued to their rail systems, both M-LOK and KeyMod perform just as well each the other.
Can you use M-LOK on Picatinny?
Designed for use with all M-LOK compatible Hand Guards and Forends, M-LOK Aluminum Rail Sections allow the attachment of various 1913 Picatinny spec rail-mounted accessories such as lights, vertical grips, etc.
A: Mostly, yes. The AR is split into two basic platforms: The AR-15, and the AR-10 or LR-308, which is the larger .30-caliber variant. The LR-308/AR-10 uses its a physically wider handguard to accommodate the larger barrels, barrel nuts, and gas blocks, while all AR-15 handguards are “universal” and can be installed on any type of AR-15, regardless of the caliber being chambered (300 Blackout, 5.56, .223, 6.5 Grendel, 9mm, and so on).
This comparison uses data and testing collected from the Naval Surface Warfare Center. NAVSEA compared the most popular brands of M-LOK and Keymod rail systems (Aero Precision, Midwest Industries, and Seekins) by engaging in various torture tests. Their goal was to determine which of the two rail systems was superior. Read below for an in-depth comparison.The first drop of the Midwest Industries KeyMod rail resulted in the rail suffering a fracture. The rail suffered no damage on drop 2. Drop 3 resulted in the handguard sliding forward, off the barrel nut, but about half an inch. Drop 4 resulted in the handguard rotating clockwise on the barrel nut, so it was canted at about 30 degrees. A hairline fracture also developed between one of the KeyMod slots:
Aero Precision M-LOK handguard suffered no damage on the first drop. Drop 2 caused a slight deformation to appear where the accessory was attached, but the accessory did not loosen or separate. Drop 3 caused the accessory to slide foward slightly within its mount, but the accessory mount securing it to the M-LOK slots did not loosen. Drop 4 caused a fracture in the handguard, but not where the accessory was mounted. Drop 5 caused no additional damage, while drop 6 caused the accessory to finally loosen and slide rearward in the M-LOK slots, but it did not separate entirely.
This handguard is considered the most “rugged.” It would take an exceptional amount of force – likely enough to bend the barrel itself – to dislodge this handguard. The drawback is that such a handguard, when affixed directly to the gas block and barrel, can reduce accuracy. That’s where free-float handguards come in.
Who trains the hardest in the military?
There’s a great argument that the Marine Corps has the hardest military training of anyone, and here’s why. Of course, when you reach the top, you can find them becoming SEALs or a part of the Marine Raider Regiment (MRR), but the training of any Marine is some of the hardest military training in the world.
Barrett is the world leader in long-range, large-caliber, precision rifle design and manufacturing. Barrett products are used by civilians, sport shooters, law enforcement agencies, the United States military, and more than 75 State Department-approved countries around the world.
My personal issue with my Larue quad rail doesn’t have anything to do with the quality of the material, the fit or finish, its the basic design works on my hands about as well as a cheese grater. Even with gloves trying to manipulate and do drills with my quad rail that requires my hands to slide just rips them to pieces. I’ve tried using gloves and they provide temporary relief then are also torn and ripped.In 2007 the first M-Lok by Magpul was unleashed on the world and a few years later grew into the current M-Lok that we see today. In 2012 the Key Mod rail system was unveiled by VLTOR and later refined by a team lead by John Noveske of Noveske Firearms. I will say that before anyone calls out the mob and breaks out the frankenstein style witch hunt, EITHER design is better than the quad rail systems of old. I also own both systems on my AR-15’s , but I prefer the M-Lok.
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Is the quad rail obsolete? The answer to that question is a resounding YES. In the not so recent past the rise of quad rail systems was stunning to see. It seemed like every week a new manufacturer was coming out with a new length rail system or a new fastening system to make their quad rail unique and different. Larue, Daniel Defense, Yankee Hill and Machine, Knights Armament and Midwest Industries all fought for rail supremacy and military contracts.While no one will deny the positive features that the quad rail offered over the standard round two piece AR15 hand guards they replaced, many will argue it was a waypoint in a progression towards a better overall design that was waiting to replace it. The quad rail was not perfect but it was the best available option at a time of great transition and change in the world of firearms. The modern quad rail that we are use to seeing started it’s life in 1995 when the design was sent to the Picatinny Arsenal for a lengthy test and evaluation period and would later come to be known as Mil-STD 1913. Some of our readers may not remember a time in history before red dot optics and AR-15’s downloaded with accessories and laser designators on them, but I assure you there was a time. The Late 1990’s was an amazing time for gun owners, it was the first time that red dot style optics could be purchased on a working mans wage and people began to use their AR-15’s as the Barbie doll of the gun world, all via the Picatinny style quad rail. After a few years of frustration I took a hard look at my quad rail and realized that I only needed a rail section on the bottom towards the front for the installation of a bipod and that was only for one of my rifles. I performed an assessment of my AR15 collection and needs and decided right then that things would be changing in my AR15 collection in relation to hand guards.While quad rails were revolutionary in 1995 things were not to remain so as the rails hit the shooting market and military units across the globe. The first problem with quad rails is the end user, and that may sound harsh but follow my logic. The problem with a lot of rails is that some people will try to attach every gadget known to man to them and fill all the space with “needed” gear. This percentage of the shooting world just can’t say no to the latest gizmo to let dangle from their gun, and quickly a 7lb AR15 turned into a 11 lb AR15 full of add ons. we all know that guy, we just don’t want to admit it
The Key Mod and the M-Lok are similar but different in some ways but still share some common traits with their predecessor the quad rail. They are both available in free float and non free float configurations and that is about where the similarity ends between quad rails and the new generation of rails. Both of the replacement systems offer the user a great deal of choice wether or not to install rail sections on selected areas of the tube. This lets users like myself have the flexibility of being able to install a tripod on their rifle and still have large areas of smooth material to slide their hands on.
So readers, where are you at in the great debate? Quad rail ?, Team Key Mod ?, Team M-Lok ? or is there another dark horse in the race that we don’t know about? Drop us a line and let us know where you stand in the debate, maybe you are still using old M16A2 style hand guards and iron sights.
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Art: Quad Rail Art: Free Float Farbe: Black Hersteller/Modell: AR-15 Länge: 10.5 Versandgewicht: 0,616kg Versandhöhe: 108mm Versandbreite: 108mm Versandlänge: 356mmI spent 10 of the best years of my life as a USAF Civil Engineer, traveling the globe, drinking beer, and causing chaos. My superiors dubbed me “King of Useless Knowledge” a title that I still love to this day. I separated in 2002 as a SSgt (E5- in the USAF), and chose to stay in the frozen north of Alaska, currently I work as an Emergency Management Specialist where I combine my love of chaos and preparedness to ensure people know how to survive disasters.
The modern quad rail that we are use to seeing started it’s life in 1995 when the design was sent to the Picatinny Arsenal for a lengthy test and evaluation period and would later come to be known as Mil-STD 1913. Some of our readers my not remember a time in history before red dot optics and AR-15’s downloaded with accessories and laser designators on them, but I assure you there was a time. The Late 1990’s was an amazing time for gun owners, it was the first time that red dot style optics could be purchased on a working mans wage and people began to use their AR-15’s as the Barbie doll of the gun world, all via the Picatinny style quad rail.
One thing is clearly evident, the Picatinny style quad rail is obsolete, people are abandoning the quad rail in favor of the Key Mod and the M-Lok systems. If you don’t believe me just check the prices of quad rails in the last year. Larue Tactical in the last year has slashed their prices, I would be willing to bet it’s because of lagging sales. Another further proof of the fall of the once mighty quad rail is the price of used rails on the market. I tried to sell my Larue 7.0 carbine length rail for $75 after I once paid $200 for it and I got zero offers, not even low ball offers.Rick Dembroski I spent 10 of the best years of my life as a USAF Civil Engineer, traveling the globe, drinking beer, and causing chaos. My superiors dubbed me “King of Useless Knowledge” a title that I still love to this day. I separated in 2002 as a SSgt (E5- in the USAF), and chose to stay in the frozen north of Alaska, currently I work as an Emergency Management Specialist where I combine my love of chaos and preparedness to ensure people know how to survive disasters. The 15″ LO-PRO SLOPE NOSE M-LOK Free Float Quad Rail was developed to accommodate the features of our 7.5″ LPSN quad rail to a longer 15″ version. The LPSN15 M-LOK was inspired by beneficial features that shooters have requested and demanded from us and other manufacturers. M-LOK is a modular locking accessory mounting system that is a direct attachment method for hard mounting accessories to a negative space mounting point. Designed by Magpul Industries as an evolution of the MOE® slot system used since 2007. The slender light weight design, longer nose, ease of installation and superior construction and finish quality are some of the features that we designed into this system. The LPSN15 M-LOK undergoes a rigorous extra de-burring process in order to ensure a smoother snag free finish. The details and level of care during the manufacturing of the LPSN15 M-LOK makes it the perfect choice for your AR-15 rifle build. Phase 5’s True-fit technology was developed to secure the rail system onto the barrel nut with an accurate and solid full contact method around the entire surface area. The Phase 5 Weapon Systems Inc. True-fit rail attachment system gives the operator peace of mind and confidence that the system will not move or come loose. This is accomplished with 6 screws that form the rail with our True Fit feature around the barrel nut without distorting or pinching the rail at the bottom like in other rails on the market. Phase 5’s True-fit rail attachment system allows for the repeated removal and reinstallation of the rail without fatigue.From hunters and military members, to competition shooters and general firearm enthusiasts, we welcome anyone who values and respects the way of the firearm.
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That being said, if you already have KeyMod and are happy with it — there isn’t a major reason to switch. USSOCOM testing is extreme for good reason and you the normal user are never likely to heap that much abuse onto your rifle, so KeyMod is a safe option.Back in the old, old days Dovetail mounts were very common in sporting rifles. These are basically two pieces of metal that are cut in a fashion to allow one to slide tightly over or into the other.
Picatinny or MIL-STD-1913 visually look very much like Weaver and fundamentally they work the same way, however, they are radically different specifications.
Weaver railing externally is similar to dovetail but has the added benefit of cross cuts so a bar or screw can be placed through the material. This provides a stronger clamping force but also a physical object to lock the attachment in place.Picatinny 1913 railing is a great way of attaching things and is perfect for optics on top of weapons or lights on the bottom of pistols where space is limited.
When removing and reinstalling sighting systems like lasers, M-LOK had a standard point-of-aim (POA) variance of about 1.3 MOA — this was 1/4th the amount as “some other systems” (read, KeyMod) showed. While you should always re-zero your sighting systems, closer is better.
And finally, for max load M-LOK outperformed “some other systems” by more than 3-times the amount of weight and it even outperformed Picatinny 1913 railing.
First, it’s heavy. A 15” Picatinny quad-rail is about 17 ounces, and an M-LOK rail of the same length is around 11.5 ounces. A full third of a pound lighter on the front end of your rifle makes a big difference.
While Weaver is more rounded and Picatinny is sharper and more square, the major difference mechanically is that the gaps between ridges in Picatinny are a standardized size. Weaver is looser and questionable.M-LOK’s slots are long rectangles and the pegs are cut with more of a T shape. Simple turn the T shape pegs so they fit in the slot, press down, and using a driver turn the pegs so the T’s lock down and clamp the attachment to the surface.
Secondly, holding a quad-rail kind of really sucks. These rails quickly got the name “cheese grater rails” because it kind of feels like holding one. Do any running or movement while holding on and it can start to cut your hand if you’re not careful.
While most of these started out as ways to mount optics to rifles, the attachment systems have grown past that and now extend to weapon lights and lasers, grips, bipods, and other attachments.However, when you try to expand the system so you can mount whatever you want wherever you want — such as with a full handguard, Picatinny has two major problems.