Strike Industries is a great outfit that really knows how to make use of all the machine tools at their disposal. They produce some truly spectacular pieces of gear for shooters of all types and I have yet to evaluate a piece I have not been thoroughly impressed with.
Recently Phil contacted me to let me know I would be receiving a set of rails to evaluate for the HK416/MR556 platform and I was quite thrilled. The MR556 is a great rifle and offers perhaps the greatest and most refined AR piston system on the market today (a feat that even the US military has recognized with the acquisition of their M27 automatic rifle). The HK416 is popular among special forces the world over and has even made inroads into becoming a popular service rifle (first Norway, next France?). After all, HK stuff simply is the best there is! (Braces for impact/hater-storm after intentional provocation)
Either way, HK has a lot of experience with pistons on ARs, starting with their installation of one on a vintage Dutch made vintage AR10 in the 1990s and refining it to the current 416 variants. According to a firm I spoke with that at one time considered purchasing the outfit during financial troubles (which are intermittent), had it not been for unusually strict German firearm export laws and US import laws, HK may well own the piston driven AR market and not have been forced to put off its civilian introduction until so late in the game (2010 before they really hit our shelves in the USA).
Nonetheless HK now offers uppers and complete rifles for sale after they succeeded in navigating the long bureaucratic process of having their designs approved for export and adhering to US law (odd things like having a prolific US outfit finish out partially machined German barrels!). Strike is capitalizing on this by releasing a number of parts to help folks customize their HK rifles.
I mentioned to Strike that I had brought my rifle up to 416 specs (err, tried as best I could) by having the barrel cut down, gas port welded, carrier made full-auto ready, etc. and they happily sent the appropriate short rails:
First up I installed the standard Crux rail. I found it to be just as, if not more bulky that the factory quad rail:
Alignment is perfect and the rail did not interfere with the front sight or gas block:
The tolerance between the rail and the rifle’s upper receiver is just as nice as the factory unit and fits nice and snug:
That said, I did not favor the standard Crux rail over the factory rail. The “+” shape just is not comfortable for me to grip, and I strongly preferred the factory rail with the overs installed. Some people may like the shape and feel of the standard Crux, and the keymod’s “anywhere you want it” accessory slots, but Strike has another rail that really did it for me.
I present the SLICK handguard:
The SLICK is much thinner and the shape is not as interrupted. You also get rails right up front where users are likely to attach a light or other accessory:
Here you can see how Strike reduced the profile of the lower rail and sunk in the sides:
I must say, I rather like this rail and with the addition of a PVS-14 and a compatible optic, this is how I would outfit this rifle to bust up some hogs in the dead of night:
I am very impressed with the Strike SLICK handguard and I would highly recommend MR556/MR223/HK416 owners check them out. While the Crux is a beautifully machined piece that offers the user that nice slick-sided feel courtesy of its keymod interface, I simply found it too bulky for me.
The CRUX retails for $169.00 while the SLICK comes in at $179.00 (worth the extra $10.00 in my opinion!).