Today I was messing with some of my Surefire weapon lights and started to write a review of a VFG. That got me back to a line of thought where I wonder if these newer attachments systems are a step backwards from the 1913 picatinny rail.
Now don’t get me wrong, the new modular handguards have many merits. But lets back track for a moment.
Back in the day we either didn’t mount stuff to our weapons, had to use proprietary mounts, or clamped stuff on. You can find pictures of hose clamps holding Maglites on M16s and MP5s. Special equipment like the AN/PEQ-2A IR Laser and the M203 sights had their own unique mounting systems.
When the 1913 Picatinny Rail showed up, we installed these heavy quad rails and started attaching everything to our firearms.
Now your standard screw on rail mount could hold its zero fairly well. Often with in a minute of angle, if the person installing it was consistent.
Then things got really nifty, we got all sorts of quick detach mounts that held their zero.
Now, you could have a red dot and a magnifed scope ready and zeroed for your long arm. You could mount stuff like lights, lasers, bipods, as you needed them.
But quad rails are large, heavy, and when poorly made can be sharp as a cheese grater. Keymod and MLok, along with their predecessors allowed for lighter, thiner, slicker firearms.
All good, right?
Now, we can remove and reattach something from MLOK and Keymod handguards, and still they will tend to hold their zero.
In military testing, they reported that KeyMod had an average shift of 4.9 MOA shift and M-LOK 1.3 MOA.
That is probably why we still see rail on the tops of uppers and we don’t see KeyMod or M-LOK scope mounts.
So, what point am I really trying to say? I’m saying that M-LOK and KeyMod are not really QD. That is a step backwards.
I keep a Harris BRMS bipod on an ADM mount. That way I can slap it on a rifle when I need it, and take it off when I don’t.
Some years back I bought a brand new Surefire Scout light, and I remember planning to put a QD mount on it so I could just move it from rifle to rifle with out having to buy another one.
So now I have guns with KeyMod and M-LOK. I have to buy little rail section so that I can put my Bipod on them. If I want to quickly be able to move a light, laser, or grip, I have to mount another rail section.
The step backwards with these new systems is the loss of quick disconnect. We can certainly live with out that, but it was very nice to have.
I’d love to see a replacement or upgrade to MLOK allowing us to quickly remove and reattach items with out loss of zero. Then I think we will have the best of both worlds.