Midwest Industries’ New Gen 2 Drop-In Rail Hand Guard for AR15

[ This guest post was written by Timothy Yan ]

Unrevealed at SHOT Show 2011, the new drop-in rail hand guard adds to Midwest Industries’ (MI) already extensive AR-15 product lineup. It’s a major upgrade from the previous generation of drop-in MI rail hand guard. Not only there are many new features but more importantly, it is 2.5 ounces lighter than the older model.

Midwest Industries’ Gen 2 drop-in 2-piece AR-15 rail hand guard is currently one of the lightest on the market at only 7.5 ounces.
The top rail is now continuous and bridges over the delta ring. The first and last rail slots on each of the quad rails are specially machined to accept the KAC style rail panel clip.

I have been using the older Gen 1 model for the past two years. It impressed me on how well it holds up in training. The installation of the new Gen 2 model is as easy as the old one. All it needed is to take off the stock plastic hand guard or existing drop-in rail hand guard then replace it with the new MI hand guard. If your rifle has a very stiff delta ring, you may want to use an AR hand guard removal tool. A removal tool is also handy for taking off the hand guard for weapon cleaning.

The followings are difference on the new Gen 2 drop-in rail hand guard to the older Gen 1 model:

  • Continuous top rail section
  • 4 QD sling swivel sockets with anti-rotation limiters
  • One-piece construction for each halves
  • Improved interface taps for better lock-up
  • Larger cooling holes
  • Better gas piston system compatibility
  • 7.5 oz weight, a 2.5 oz reduction over the Gen 1

All of the Midwest Industries rail systems are CNC machined from T6 aluminum and hard anodized. Each milspec 1913 rail sections on them are T-marked for accessory location. MI backs each of their rail hand guard system with a Lifetime warranty.

One of the newly added features is the QD sling swivel sockets on the two side rails. Those four QD sockets also have anti-rotation limiter build-in.

The MI rail hand guards are always have great compatibility with AR-15 gas piston systems. The new Gen 2 drop-in model is compatible with gas piston systems from Adam Arms, Stag, CMMG, Smith & Wesson, ARES and LWRC. The only exception is the gas piston kit from Osprey, which needs the MI P-series models. Call or email MI for gas piston models that are not listed.

Besides of the reviewed 7-in carbine length, the new MI Gen 2 drop-in model is also comes in 9-in mid-length and 12-in rifle-length size. The color options are: black, OD Green and Flat Dark Earth.

The MI Gen2 drop-in quad rail hand guard is available directly from Midwest Industries or one of its retailers. The MSRP is $124.95 (7-in carbine length, #MCTAR-17G2), $139.95 (9-in mid-length, #MCTAR-18G2) and $159.95 (12-in rifle length, #MCTAR-19G2)

The extra cut at the front of the top rail is for piston system compatibility. The new MI hand guard works with most piston systems currently on the market. All four milspec rails includes laser engraved T-markings.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Other Steve


    • Other Steve

      Also, “T6” is not an aluminum, it’s a temper.

    • Lance

      Got a point they are not as light or smooth on hands as a good old plastic hand guard.

      • Bill

        People who move to rails are probably migrating from plastic handguards whether for cosmetic or functional reasons.

  • Baker Mike Romeo

    That’s a slick looking little rail system.

    Also, I hate to ask a question off the post’s topic, but what’s the optic mounted on the rifle in those pictures? It looks really nifty.

    • Timothy Yan

      It’s the ELCAN SpecterOS4x fixed 4x combat gun sight. A reviews of it is coming next week.

  • W

    I love the detachable swivel sling system. One of the finest things invented since sliced bread.

  • Matt

    So it’s in halves to drop in, then?

    • Timothy Yan

      All drop-in rails are in two halves and they install just like the stock plastic handguard. Some may use taps or screws to tighten the two halves together after those are in place. Of course, the CNC aluminum will give you a much tighter fit than molded plastic parts. That’s why I recommend also get a $10 handguard removal tool.

  • Lance

    As i said before looks awesome too bad it cover the bayonet lug. But like most rail covers its the weight and width that concerns me some the cheap NC Stars are way too heavy and wide to use practically. I went to a el-cheapo CAA quad rail that’s polymer and was glad to it was far lighter than the metal ones.

    To Jdun1911 Whats your opinion on CAA and this quad rail system??

    • 18D

      It doesn’t cover the bayonet lug. It’s a drop in carbine length rail system.

    • Lance

      Oops typo sorry about that bayo thing.

  • Brian in Seattle

    Did MI also decrease the outside diameter of these handguards? I had the MCTAR for mid-length on my Rock River carbine. It was too fat for my smaller hands. I went to the Daniel Defense Omega and got smaller diameter and less weight. DD costs a bit more though.

  • MAJ Mike

    Bought a set last month to update my 35-year old AR15. About the only original parts from my old “Sporter” is the lower receiver group.

    These hand guards dropped into my new upper receiver group with no fuss-no muss. Highly recommend these to anyone seeking to bring their AR15 into the 21st Century.

  • Freebug

    Is there any play on these guards? I have the DD 7 drop in, and they lock up solid. Looking for another one for another build. Thanks.