ALG Defense is the sister company of Geissele Automatics, which is known for making match triggers for the AR-15/AR-10. Geissele manufactures the 2-stage trigger for the Mk. 11, Mk. 12, M110 and the HK416 in service with the US military. A few years back when USSOCOM adapted the HK416, they asked Geissele to make a better handguard for it. The end product is the Geissele Super Modular Rail (SMR). The two important features of the SMR are its modular interface in place of the fixed picatinny rail on the 3, 6, and 9 O’clock position and its super strong 2-inch long barrel nut. The ALG Ergonomic Modular Rail (EMR) is heavily influenced by the design of the Geissele SMR but the ALG EMR is lighter and only costs 1/3 the price.
So, is the ALG EMR just a cheaper version of the Geissele SMR? The ALG handguard is a lot more than that. While the Geissele SMR is more of the traditional quad-rail design, sans the 1913 rail in 3 of the 4 locations, the ALG EMR is completely modular with no fixed 1913 rail at all and features a slim tubular profile. The round shape and smaller diameter of the ALG EMR allows the shooter to wrap his or her thumb over the handguard for a more secure and comfortable grip.
The ALG EMR is available is 3 different accessory mounting interfaces. The mounted black one has Geisseles own modular interface. The gray color unmounted one has the Magpul M-LOK interface. Also, with limited availability is the 8-inch Keymod interface version that was developed for Sig Sauers M400 direct-gas AR-15 model. The standard versions of the ALG EMR are available in 10, 12, 13 and 15 inch lengths. The color options are black, gray, desert and the ALG purple. Rail sections and direct mounting accessories could be mounted on any of the 8 sides of the ALG EMR.
FYI, Geissele Automatics was a significant contributor in the development of the Magpul M-LOK modular interface system. Many of the Magpul brand M-LOK metal accessories are actually manufactured by Geissele and ALG for Magpul.
The M-LOK model package comes with an allen wrench for the 6 mounting screws that attach the handguard to the barrel nut. The purple color barrel nut wrench and a set of color coded index shims for the proper installation. The M-LOK and the Keymod models don’t come with any extra rail sections. The original model with the Geissele modular interface comes with two small rail sections. One of those is marked co-witness for mounting the front sight. The latest V2 version of the ALG EMR now has a short fixed rail section at the top front of the handguard for mounting a front sight. The 13-inch M-LOK sample in the picture weighs just 10.1 ounces with the barrel nut and 6x mounting bolts.
The included aluminum purple color barrel nut wrench is noticeably lacking a 1/2 – inch torque wrench socket. That’s because the ALG EMR is cleverly designed to be installed without the need of using a torque wrench. Those machined rise lines on the left side of the barrel nut wrench are index marks for tightening the barrel nut with the proper torque value. The color coded shims are used for lining up the barrel nut to the designated index line on the wrench. The handle on the barrel nut wrench is made for the insertion of a piece of metal pipe for additional leverage.
Like other Geissele products, the workmanship of the ALG EMR is first rate. The barrel nut is a tight fit inside the handguard. I really like the horizontal lines texture machined into the outside of the ALG EMR. Those not only improve the grip surface but also give the handguard a distinctive look. The anti-rotation feature consists of the two small taps near the top of the ALG EMR. Those are quite bit simpler than what the Geissele SMR uses and it lacks the adjustment screws found on the Geissele. Each ALG EMR has two QD sling swivel sockets just in front of the barrel nut.
Priced at just $100 for the 10-inch model and $115 for the tested 13-inch version, the ALG EMR is not only affordable but also well made with many good design features. It has two of the best features of the much more expensive Geissele SMR, the modular interface and the long barrel nut for strength. It even improved upon that by having modular interfaces on the 8-side and allows offset mounting of weaponlights and accessories. After using the ALG handguard for a while, I could say it has became my new favor free-float handgun in the slim form-factor.