There are three accessories I consider non negotiable on a fighting AR. They are a useable tactical sling, a quality optic and a bright light.
When it comes to mounting a light and a side sling on an AR the most obvious answer is to use a railed handguard, however it is not necessary the right answer for everyone. For those that don’t want to use a rail, can’t afford a rail or are prohibited from modifying their AR to that degree by policy, there exists the Midwest Industries Tactical Light Mount.
The Midwest Industries Tactical Light Mount consists of two sections of picatinney rail that bolt to the sides of a standard AR FSB. It has recently been revised to allow the use of a quick detach sling mount via the two mounting holes drilled into the sides of the mount.
I purchased my MI mount from Rainier Arms and in the MI packaging I found the two sides of the mount, the single mounting screw, and an allen wrench with which to tighten the screw.
Mounting is as straight forward as anything you’ll ever put on your AR. Place the appropriate section on each side of the FSB, insert the screw, tighten and attach the accessory of your choice.
In addition to its cost effectiveness, simplicity and ease of installation one of the features I like best about the MI mount is that it places the weapon light in a perfect place to be activated by the weak hand thumb.
(Excuse the awkward angle, I was juggling the rifle and camera at the same time)
Criticisms of the MI mount are limited to two things. It looks like the mount could be made slimmer so as to not stick the light quite as far out from the FSB. The other is its weight. At the end of the day it is just two large chunks of metal, however I feel it could be made lighter by drilling two weight reduction holes similar to the quick detach sling mount holes in the area in front of the mounting screw. This obviously would not compromise the integrity of the mount and would make for noticeable weight savings.
In summary, if you need to mount a light and/or sling and a railed handguard is out of the question the Midwest Industries Tactical Light Mount is a viable, simple, and lost cost solution.