A look at the Rail Scales LDAG

A while back I picked up a LDAG from Railscales. I had seen a couple of great reviews about it so I decided I wanted to try one.

It is bigger than your average handstop, but smaller than the stubby vertical grips. One side is 90 degrees from the rail and the other angled at 70 degrees. One of the major draws of this is that texturing on it.

The LDAG has a very grippy texture with out being sharp.

I’ve seen people claim that the LDAG (and similar) are not vertical grips because of the angle and that they are designed to be hand stops. Because of that some people will mount them to pistols, like this photo taken from the internet.

Photo was posted on AR15.com

Personally, I wouldn’t want to be the test case for the legality of that.

The LDAG is a very nice piece of kit. The only downside I can find with it is the cost. List price is $129.

In perspective, a stubby Tango Down grip is lighter, and half the cost.

Continuing with that example, if you take the cap off the TD Stubby grip, it is similar in length, and even lighter still. So if you don’t need the angle and form of the LDAG, there are far cheaper options to achieve the same goal.

Frankly, the LDAG falls into the “gucci gear” category of stuff. It is something you could live without, and the type of thing someone would buy mainly as a status symbol. For example, you guys all can see how awesome I am because I have one.

So if you want one, get it. If cost is a concern, there are plenty of cheaper options.

Don’t over charge your mags

Saw someone mentioning about how they could stuff an extra round in their mags. This is bad thing to do.

Let us use the AR15 as an example. If you load 30 rounds into a USGI mag it can be a little more difficult to insert that fully loaded mag when the action is closed. In some newer magazine designs, like the PMag, extra space is given so that it will be easier to insert that mag when fully loaded.

The problem becomes when you stuff that extra round in, you not only use up that extra space, but can cause binding or other issues. For another example, I found I could stuff an extra round in the Beretta 21A magazines, which would cause the pistol to not feed correctly.

If you want more rounds, buy a bigger mag.

KeyMod vs M-LOK

M-LOK Left, KeyMod right

We were asked, “What are the pros and cons of M-Lok vs Keymod?”

Long ago there was no standard for attaching stuff to firearms. We use sling studs, bayonet lugs, hose clamps, bespoke custom mounts, etc.

Then came the MIL-STD-1913 Picatinny rail. And all was well. It took some time for people to move away from the weaver rail, but eventually most of the world adopted the 1913 rail. Except for Zee Germans, who as always thought they could do better. They came up with their own spec for rails, where they took the surface most likely to get damaged in use and make that the critical dimension. Thus the NATO spec rail was born.

Then people wanted smaller and slicker hand guards. Companies started milling off the rail section and offering bolt on rail sections. But each company had their own system. While the bolt spacing was somewhat standardized due to the sizing of Picatinny rail, how the rail section interfaced was not standardized. KAC, LMT, Larue, Colt, etc all had their own various rail attachments for their slick handguard.

VLTOR designed a new mounting system in 2012. Somewhat similar to the old post and slot system used in shelving, they included a taper on the mounting tab and recoil lugs. Best part is that they released the design as open source, so any company could use it for free.

Noveske and Bravo Company were early adopters and helped popularize the system. It looked like it was going to be the next standard. But then something interesting happened.

Before we get to what happened, lets talk about the other option, M-LOK.

Magpul came up with a new mounting system on their Masada and their early MOE line of accessories. They had slots cut(or molded) into the hand guards allowing accessories to be bolted to the slots. This was 2009. But this MOE slots sucked. They were inconsistent, and the backside of the slot had to be accessed to install an accessory.

In 2014, Magpul came up with a new standard, the M-LOK. M-LOK used slots where the accessory would lock in using a rotating T-Nut. M-LOK is free licensed, not open source like KeyMod. So people can made it freely, but they have to get permission from Magpul. This way Magpul ensures people don’t deviate from spec.

Wow, writing the history there took longer than I thought this article would be.

So what are the cons:

KeyMod accessories can be installed wrong. When I first mounted a KeyMod QD swivel, the next day I read about people mounting Keymod accessories backwards. I said, “How could anyone mount one of these backwards?” Then I found out that I mounted mine backwards. Doh.

Also some companies are cutting corners and making KeyMod accessories out of spec. Either missing the critical taper on the lugs, or missing recoil lugs.

As for M-LOK. M-LOK accessories protrude into the rail, so in areas with little clearances they can be an issue. Or sometimes the screws can protrude enough to touch a barrel in a narrow free float tube.

M-LOK screws protruding past the hand guard

It looked like KeyMod was winning the modular handguard war. Many were pushing it as the superior mounting system and it looked like the Army was going to adopt it for use on newer hand guards and sniper rifles.

Then we get to the interesting test. NSWC-Crane did a test between the two. They deemed M-LOK as being better.

https://ndiastorage.blob.core.usgovcloudapi.net/ndia/2017/armament/McGee19427.pdf

Overall, test and evaluation demonstrated that the M-LOKTM modular rail system surpassed the performance results achieved by other modular rail systems. In repeatability testing, M-LOKTM allowed for the repeated installation of the same accessory rail in the same location on a handguard with an average point of aim (POA) shift of 1.3 MOA, as low as one quarter the average POA shift observed by other modular rail systems. Drop test results demonstrated that M-LOKTM systems maintain securement of accessories to the handguard and sustain less damage from impact forces than some other modular rail systems. Failure load testing demonstrated that M-LOKTM systems support the highest load of all modular rail systems tested. In fact, the test equipment used to interface with 1913 accessory rails secured with the respective modular rail system across testing repeatedly failed prior to failure of the M-LOKTM attachment system. Even so, testing of the M-LOKTM systems failed at loads as high as over three times the maximum failure load of some other modular rail systems. NSWC Crane recommended to USSOCOM that the M-LOKTM modular rail system be utilized over the alternative systems tested. USSOCOM has chosen to incorporate the M-LOKTM modular rail system in acquisition efforts including the Suppressed Upper Receiver Group (SURG) and Advanced Sniper Rifle (ASR).

Since this test, interest in KeyMod has been reduced, but it is far from dead. M-LOK is gaining much more popularity.

M-LOK design of just being simple slots has allowed M-LOK mounting slots to be added to a great deal of accessories for other older firearms. Newer gun designs are able to have thin aluminum hand guards with simple slots milled in them allowing for the end user to add what ever accessories they deem fit.

Both are good, but now the consensus is that M-LOK is better.

Guest Post: How they’ll use the Trump Manouver to ban Standard Magazines in the Future

Reposted with permission. Originally Posted by MKSheppard on AR15.com

Maryland’s Bump Fire Stock ban bill had this language originally: 

“RAPID FIRE TRIGGER ACTIVATOR” MEANS ANY DEVICE, PART, OR COMBINATION OF DEVICES OR PARTS THAT IS DESIGNED AND FUNCTIONS TO ACCELERATE THE RATE OF FIRE OF A FIREARM BEYOND THE STANDARD RATE OF FIRE FOR FIREARMS THAT ARE NOT EQUIPPED WITH THAT DEVICE, PART, OR COMBINATION OF DEVICES OR PARTS ANY DEVICE, INCLUDING A REMOVABLE MANUAL OR POWER–DRIVEN ACTIVATING DEVICE, CONSTRUCTED SO THAT, WHEN INSTALLED IN OR ATTACHED TO A FIREARM: 

(I) THE RATE AT WHICH THE TRIGGER IS ACTIVATED INCREASES; OR 
(II) THE RATE OF FIRE INCREASES.

The following clause was struck out of the final bill apparently. 

ANY DEVICE, PART, OR COMBINATION OF DEVICES OR PARTS THAT IS DESIGNED AND FUNCTIONS TO ACCELERATE THE RATE OF FIRE OF A FIREARM BEYOND THE STANDARD RATE OF FIRE FOR FIREARMS THAT ARE NOT EQUIPPED WITH THAT DEVICE, PART, OR COMBINATION OF DEVICES OR PARTS

so that the text is now 

“RAPID FIRE TRIGGER ACTIVATOR” MEANS ANY DEVICE, INCLUDING A REMOVABLE MANUAL OR POWER–DRIVEN ACTIVATING DEVICE, CONSTRUCTED SO THAT, WHEN INSTALLED IN OR ATTACHED TO A FIREARM: 

(I) THE RATE AT WHICH THE TRIGGER IS ACTIVATED INCREASES; OR 
(II) THE RATE OF FIRE INCREASES

A judge noticed how restrictive this was: 

https://www.ammoland.com/2018/09/maryland-gun-owners-out-to-dry-gun-oil-ban/#axzz5lIEIh0to 

At the hearing, Judge Bredar remarked on the extreme vagueness of the State’s law as he demonstrated how GUN OIL being used to lubricate a BOLT-ACTION RIFLE to “increase” the “rate of fire” of the rifle because the action could be worked more efficiently, meaning the trigger could be manually activated faster than it could before using the GUN OIL.

By the way, while doing research for the next section; I noticed that ATF/Police personnel when they were asked by the media how long it took to empty a magazine, they used Jerry Mikulek speeds. 

If we assume someone can fire 1.5 shots a second and takes 3 seconds to change a magazine; then it breaks down as: 

5 Rd Magazine: 47 RPM (Cyclic) 
10 Rd Magazine: 62 RPM (Cyclic) 
20 Rd Magazine: 73 RPM (Cyclic) 
30 Rd Magazine: 78 RPM (Cyclic) 
60 Rd Magazine: 83 RPM (Cyclic) 
100 Rd Magazine: 86 RPM (Cyclic) 

You can see that by simply existing, a 30 round magazine increases the cyclic rate of fire of an AR15 from the 62 RPM of a 10 round magazine to 78 RPM. 

Therefore, it falls under the bump stock ban language used in Maryland: 

FUNCTIONS TO ACCELERATE THE RATE OF FIRE OF A FIREARM BEYOND THE STANDARD RATE OF FIRE FOR FIREARMS THAT ARE NOT EQUIPPED WITH THAT DEVICE, PART, OR COMBINATION OF DEVICES OR PARTS

and is banned. 

Let’s go a little bit further on how dangerous this is legally from the talk that the NRA put forth about how devices that simulate machine guns should be banned/regulated: 

Let’s assume that your AR15 fires 700 RPM (or 12 shots a second) as long as the magazine holds out and the trigger is depressed. 

Let’s assume that the media/ATF/Presidency (it’s going to go to a democrat eventually) play semantic games and pit: 

Zero Training Shooter, 1.5 shots a second semi automatically, 3 seconds to change magazine 
against 
Competition Shooter, 3 shots a second semi automatically, 1.5 seconds to change magazine 

Basically, they get an average untrained government worker with no experience in guns or automatic weapons, and put him behind a M4 Carbine with a giggle switch; and then test him against the best shooter from the JSOC units (MARSOC, SEALs, DELTA, etc) and using him with a 60 round drum as the baseline for semi auto weapons. 

The numbers crank out as: 

Automatic Rifle, Zero Training Shooter: 12 shots a second (720 RPM cyclic) , 3 seconds to change magazine. 
10 rd magazine: 156 RPM Average 
20 rd Magazine: 257 RPM average 
30 rd Magazine: 327 RPM average 
60 rd Drum: 450 RPM average 

Competition shooter, 3 shots a second, 1.5 seconds to change magazine. 
10 rd magazine: 124 RPM Average 
20 rd Magazine: 146 RPM average 
30 rd Magazine: 156 RPM average 
60 rd Drum: 167 RPM average 

You can see how there is a crossover if you limit the machine gun to 10~ round magazines; and put the best guy on the semi automatic; leading to situations where a semi automatic rifle with a so-called “Large Capacity Magazine” can put more bullets down range than a machine gun in the same amount of time (say, 60 seconds?). 

Thus, they get their “technically accurate” soundbite that gets disseminated on every network news show and all over Vox and The Trace about how 30 round magazines make semi autos equal in rate of fire to a machine gun! 

I’m no genius level intellect, and it took me only a few moments to come up with this attack mode — there are bound to be more that the antigunners will come up with. 

This is called “Red Teaming” where a group of players tries to poke holes in the plan of action — it appears that the anti gunners do a lot of “Red Team” counter study of their own proposals; witness how much smoother and slicker they are now, compared to the 1994 AWB. 

Meanwhile, the NRA is all hurf a derp, Wayne wants you to donate to get a chance to win this Kryptek truck! 

PS: When they use the Bump Stock attack mechanism to ban standard capacity magazines, they will lie to the general public and say that people can keep the magazines they have (grandfathering) as long as they register them.

What they won’t say is that the magazines since they are ruled as “converting a semi auto to simulate near machine gun sustained rates of fire”, they must be registered as destructive devices under the national firearms act, with each individual magazine being serialized and subject to a tax stamp. 

They’ve already done this — look at Washington state — they said one thing in the two sentence description of I-1639 on the ballot; “ban semi automatic assault weapons”, but when you looked at the 50 page text of the actual initative of I-1639, it defined “semi automatic assault weapon” as ANY semi automatic, even a 10/22. 

Happy dreams.