MLOK Is Better And NSWC-Crane Has Proof

MLOK is better. We can say it with conviction now that NSWC-Crane has released a slideshow that details the processes they used to conduct the testing and the results of said testing.

With no appreciable difference in cost to the consumer and MLOK being theoretically cheaper to produce, there is literally no reason for KeyMod to continue to be offered by top-tier manufacturers. Sure the open source nature of KeyMod is attractive, but getting the OK to build MLOK parts isn’t tough, and the benefits to the consumer appear to be well worth it.

I should come clean as an MLOK fanboy, in past reviews I have said “I really wish that it came in MLOK” when reviewing firearms or accessories. I have long felt MLOK is better and when you are spending your hard earned dollars on quality rails, making the right choice with your dollar matters. Now with the new information from Crane, we can make the right call on that next rifle build relying on science instead of industry rumor and feels.

Crane installed 18 rails to upper receiver groups to conduct the testing from three different manufacturers, three keymod and three MLOK in each style. The full details of the test can be found by reading the slides in the following PDF.

Crane – M-LOK vs KeyMod

Some of the most interesting data points in the test come out of the repeatability testing. This is where they mounted a bit of rail to either KeyMod or MLOK, then mounted a laser to that rail. The laser was then zeroed then removed without removing the laser from the rail section, and a POI shift was recorded.

KeyMod showed a 0.2 MOA to 14.6 MOA shift, MLOK on the other hand only exhibited a 0.0 MOA to 6.6 MOA shift. The most impressive of this bunch was two Seekings MLOK rails that showed an average POI shift of only 0.1 and 0.2 MOA.

There are a few areas where KeyMod and MLOK came out about equal, but again, the results aren’t enough for me to even consider KeyMod for any use. It may be just fine if you already have KeyMod on a rifle, but given a choice between the two, the data suggests that you should choose MLOK.

If that isn’t enough to sway you, maybe the drop test is the data point that you needed to see. Lord knows I have knocked my rifle off a table or my tailgate a time or two, drop resistance is something I really need to consider like most of you.

With only a third of the KeyMod rails retaining the accessory and the damage to the rail being rather extensive, it is hard to not take this into account when buying a new rail. MLOK, on the other hand, retained all of the mounted accessories with some slight damage indicating rearward movement of the mount.

The only way that KeyMod was described as being easier to use was attaching an accessory onto the rail. They said that more care was needed to ensure that the mount was attached properly with MLOK and the nature of KeyMod allowed a user to be less precise and still get the accessory mounted properly.

The conclusions that Crane came to are enough to make me no longer take KeyMod seriously. I might not be a hard user, but if it costs the same money as MLOK, there is no reason to go KeyMod. You can head over to Soldier Systems to read more about the testing or just download the PDF above and make your own conclusions. I highly recommend reading through the slides and making your own decision. Like I said previously, it is really hard to justify buying more KeyMod after seeing hard results like this, MLOK is better in just about every way.

Disclamer: this post was written under the influence of heavy cold medication. Even if it is unintelligible, MLOK is better. 



Patrick R

Patrick is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and TFBTV Host. He is a verified gun nerd. With a lifelong passion for shooting, he has a love for all types of firearms, especially overly modified plastic handguns, precision rifles, and AR based things. You can follow Patrick on Instagram @tfbpatrick, Facebook, or contact him by email at TFBpatrick@gmail.com.

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


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  • John Dough

    Pretty glad I chose the AeroPrecision M4E1 with M-Lok for my first rifle. No buyer’s remorse.

  • My biggest issue with the conclusions is that they aren’t compared the best mlok rails vs the best keymod rails. Simply the brands that do one of each, and the brands chosen aren’t always what I would consider the highest end brands.

    For example maybe a BCM KMR-A vs a Geissele MK4 might have different possibly equal results.

    • Patrick R. – Senior Writer

      You can’t compare two different designs and get a scientific result. Comparing the same rail in both standards is the only way to do it and get objective results. The limitations of KeyMod are going to be the same no matter who makes it.

      • The limitations of keymod might also be worked around by using a better material or a thicker material which aren’t factored into this test. But to push a whole buying paradigm without testing to see if that is true, is hardly scientific.

        And I am not fanboy of either systems, to me that are six of one, half dozen of another. So I have no dog in this fight one way or another. Particularly since outside of Magpul or BCM all of the direct attachment mount makers seem to support both systems.

        • Patrick R. – Senior Writer

          The dimensional requirements of each system won’t change. You should read through the PDF and take a closer look at the failure points. A BCM KeyMod rail is still subject to the same shortcomings as the rails tested.

          • Except it does with keymod, and it even does with the more controlled mlok. The thickness of the material can vary greatly from some super thick rails, to some very thin rails. The Noveske rails were famous for being real thin, and to the point had issues attaching Noveske keymod attachments to other rails because they didn’t design them with enough play to work on thicker rails.

            So while for the same thickness a mlok rail will be stronger than keymod, but given the right thickness keymod would still be adequate for duty usage.

          • Patrick R. – Senior Writer

            Wouldn’t variations on the dimensions be exactly the thing that you would want to avoid?

            If you want to continue to support a substandard attachment method, who am I to stop you from being wrong?

          • The system you support probably has the largest variation in dimensions. As the plastic based rails require even thicker material.

            Like I said, I don’t support either. For me the length, and diameter of the tube are more important in the particular interface. As I rarely change my guns up, I set them up and only change once in the blue moon as technology moves forward.

          • ostiariusalpha

            Yes, the plastic M-Lok slots are thicker than the plastic KeyMo… Oh, that’s right, KeyMod can’t be used with polymer handguards.

          • Havok

            Tell that to BCM…

          • ostiariusalpha

            It’s not really a polymer handguard if you are just using the nylon to cover the steel plates that actually hold the accessories in place. I can’t say my RIS II quadrail is a polymer handguard simply because I put plastic rail covers on it.

    • SPQR9

      If you look at the repeatability testing of point of impact, its clear that the test using 3 articles of each manufacturer shows quite a lot of variation between any one manufacturer’s production – which makes me doubt the quality of the results.

  • lolwat

    “Cockmod”

    • Henry C

      It’s essentially dicks vs bricks

  • ShooterMcGavinNC

    Weight. In every manufacturer’s portfolio who makes both. The Keymod is always a little bit lighter. SLR Rifleworks has the lightest aluminum Keymod rails and the comparable M-LOK models weigh more.

    • Patrick R. – Senior Writer

      Durability > weight. Who cares if it weighs less if it is going to break at some point? If weight is a real concern, there are plenty of rails out there that are light and MLOK. I think Faxon makes one out of Carbon Fiber that is pretty light.

      • JumpIf NotZero

        Now look what you made me do.

      • William Kalas

        If that is the case, why not Pic rails? I would imagine those are stronger than either keymod or mlok.

    • Gun Fu Guru

      Ok, Nutnfancy. Go back to Utah and make a pointless fifty minute-long review.

  • Machinegunnertim

    Yes!!! Vindication!!

  • Form Factor

    “KeyMod is dead, and i have killed it” _Patrick R. Nietsche_ 08.05.2017

    • Patrick R. – Senior Writer

      If I could kill KeyMod, I would consider it a public service to the shooting community. Long live MLOK, death to KeyMod!

      • Form Factor

        I know, and youre right with it, hopefully you dont get to much hate for this article~

        • Jack

          But m-lok has a garbage form factor!!! Am I right?!?!

          • Gun Fu Guru

            Feels better in the hand though.

  • Kamen Rider Blade

    What about Manticore Arms Transformer Rail? I really like the concept.

    • Patrick R. – Senior Writer

      That rail still has to adhere to the dimensional requirements of each system. Looking at it, I think that it would preform even more poorly than KeyMod. Why bother with one that can do both and just buy MLOK.

  • Matt

    I would rather not drop my firearm, and make sure it doesn’t fall off my tailgate.

    • Patrick R. – Senior Writer

      Things happen. My rifles get banged around now and again, if you are doing anything more than plinking at the range once every six months there is a good chance that your rifle might take a spill as well.

      • Jack

        Sounds like my wife!

        • LGonDISQUS

          Your wife gets banged around now and again at the range once every six months?

          • Dan

            Yours doesn’t? She assured me it was part of a normal healthy relationship!!!!

          • LGonDISQUS

            Sorry, I’m a little more gung-ho with frequent drills and reps. 😉

          • pun&gun

            Your wife doesn’t like drag?

          • Jack

            Yes. Yes she does

  • Never was a fan of KeyMod. Have had great success with MLOK, and am glad to see this empirical data to support my personal preference.

  • Sean Glenville

    Let’s not forget the most important aspect, MLOK is better looking than Keymod

    • Juggernaut

      I like MLOK because then my rifles don’t look like Home Depot shelf posts.

      • Sonny

        Actually Costco shelves

  • Bierstadt54

    I have a strong instinctive preference for open source, and when MLOK came out I was not happy about it. But I have been won over. KeyMod is good, but MLOK is better and should be the standard for shooters unless one has a lot of KeyMod already and does not want to switch.

    • randomswede

      What license type is M-lok under? It seems to me a trademark would be sufficient, at least for the slot.
      But I also understand the dimensions for the nutt might be/become ITAR regulated.

      • Gun Fu Guru

        MLOK is a proprietary free-source. Magpul doesn’t charge anything for manufacturers to use it. They only require that companies sign a licensing agreement to keep the dimensions exactly as specified. (This is very smart because that is how 1913 got screwed up. Everyone tinkered with it so much that their products wouldn’t work with another companies’ items.)

  • Oxopoha

    Breaking News: Magpul shills continue to auto felatiate details at 11

  • Slim934

    Why are soldiers now called warfighters instead of soldiers? Last time I checked we haven’t fought an actual war in decades. When the heck did this change in nomenclature occur also? I just do not understand it. Warfighter just sounds like a really dopey term compared to soldier too.

    • Malthrak

      Marketing and fantasy mostly. Same reason why “tactical” gets applied to things like gloves and pants and straps instead of denoting a scale or a coordinated, forward thinking action, or how we get stuff like “Operator” and the like.

    • Matt

      I worked with a Marine, who was offended when I referred to him as a “soldier”. I didn’t know the difference. Maybe more PC to say warfighter

      • Independent George

        I think that’s more service rivalry than anything else; Marines are (a) Marines, and not soldiers, and (b) capitalized.

      • James Young

        I suppose it’s like calling a pen a pencil. They both write but they are different things.

        • iksnilol

          “A soldier is one who fights as part of an organised, land based, sea based and air based armed force”

          I dare say a marine is a soldier by that definition.

          • Ask around at a bar near a Marine base and see what kind of responses you get. Make sure to have a friend film it.

          • iksnilol

            Hey, not my fault they ran out of crayons and have to take their anger out on everybody else.

          • pun&gun

            I’d have to agree. The notion that the US Army would have exclusivity on such a general term is pretty absurd. Just because you’re a Marine doesn’t mean you wouldn’t also be a soldier, especially if you’re deployed on land. Seems more like rectangles and squares from a linguistic perspective.

      • Sonny

        Marines are so easy to offend over this title/naming bravo Sierra.

    • Patrick R. – Senior Writer

      Soldier = Army

      Warfighter = All personnel engaged in war like activities

      Truth is it is a feel good term that was put into place at the start of GWOT. Personally I prefer it to soldier, sailor, airmen, marine, etc. Just use one term and move on with life, we are all one team.

      • randomswede

        There’s a joke here that goes something like “Indeed, we are all on the same team, even the sailors!” Replace sailors as needed to suit your purpose. ; )

    • “Warfighters” uses 11 characters instead of the 38 of “Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines”, and brevity is important when the President only has 140 characters at a time.

  • Mmmtacos

    MLOK might not be open source but it’s the next best thing.

    (tl;dr Magpul doesn’t charge to use MLOK but requires an agreement for QC purposes according to them)

    From Magpul’s MLOK FAQ:

    Q: Is the M-LOK design free for any manufacturer to use?
    A: Yes, there is no fee to use the M-LOK design, however we do ask that manufacturers
    sign a simple no-fee license form before using the M-LOK system and logo on their
    products and media.

    Q: Why is a licensing agreement required instead of releasing the system “open-source”?
    A: By licensing the system for free, the same no-cost access to the system is provided
    as with an open-source release. However, this method protects both manufacturers and
    consumers by assuring that all products bearing the M-LOK logo are made to proper
    specifications and will work with all other M-LOK products, preventing problems with
    compatibility and inaccurate or counterfeit versions of M-LOK products.

    • Gun Fu Guru

      That is where 1913 rail failed. Companies tinkered with it to the point that Product A couldn’t work with Product B.

    • LGonDISQUS

      This sounds like a Nintendo Quality of Assurance sticker license from the 80s.

  • Gun Fu Guru

    I swear the only reason KeyMod exists is because BCM uses it.

    • Independent George

      There’s some inertia to it; KeyMod really was a big improvement over both quad rails and the Troy Alpha system, and was adopted pretty quickly as a result. Even if Mlok is an improvement (and I own and believe in Mlok myself), there are enough Keymod users that both will likely remain supported for the forseeable future. Both are still mostly using picatinny sections rather than direct attachment, so it’s not like either would be completely obsolete.

    • James Young

      This is true

      • Jeff

        I’m not trying to be rude but calling the results of this “experiment” proof of anything is ridiculous. If you presented these findings to an actual scientist who does experiments for a living they would laugh in your face. 3 rails each from 3 different manufacturer’s is not even the beginning of a decent data set. The only thing it showed to me is the most manufacturers have a wide tolerances from unit to unit.

        • marine6680

          But there is a difference in scientific rigor and accuracy, and what is good enough for the practical.

          While a more thorough test with larger data sets would be great, it’s not necessary to establish a reasonable hypothesis of overall performance between the two.

          Especially when it comes to the physical strength of the two systems.

          While I do believe that using “high quality manufacturers” would improve the keymod performance… It would only be in the repeatability/POA tests. Which the asymmetric design of keymod, gives it a disadvantage.

          Due to the design of keymod, it has less physical material under the attachment hardware, so it has less strength by default. Even if the overall surface area was the same, which it isn’t… keymod has less… So that further weakens keymod.

          Keymod isn’t bad, but mlok is, if not anything else, physically stronger and able to handle more abuse.

        • E Wolfe

          I don’t need a scientist to tell me that my empirical knowledge with KeyMod proves, rather emphatically, that MLOK is a vastly superior, user-friendly system.

    • alex archuleta

      Say what you will. Having both I can say more companies stock and always have in stock key mod accessories.
      Where as mLok is either out of stock or companies just don’t make as many products as KEyMod

      • It’s always in stock because KeyMod is becoming more and more of a shelfwarmer as customers move to a different format.

      • Gun Fu Guru

        That’s because KeyMod (actually, BCM) took over the market from the beginning and people have all of the accessories they need. MLOK is playing catch-up and sold out because people are still getting all of their furniture figured out.

    • Squirreltakular

      BCM is about to release their handguards in M-lok. Keymod is good, but it’s going to die.

  • SPQR9

    I’m no fanboi of either system but some of these results are being given exaggerated significance. Given the sample size, and the dubious repeatability of the tests, to say that “KeyMod showed a 0.2 MOA to 14.6 MOA shift, MLOK on the other hand only exhibited a 0.0 MOA to 6.6 MOA shift.” is a really significant result is quite a stretch in my opinion.

    I don’t find this to be as definitive as the author does.

    • Patrick R. – Senior Writer

      6.6 MOA might stay on a man sized target at 100 yards, 14.6 MOA wont.

      • Independent George

        I thought that was the least useful test of all; people seem more likely to reinstall attachments to the rail rather than removing the rail and re-attaching. The average differences within a brand seems more relevant than the max differences, and each group seemed to contain one extreme outlier. My biggest takeaway from those tests were that (1) the average differential is more likely to be around 2-3 MOA, and (2) that Seekins handguard was really consistent.

        Actually, the numbers were kind of all over the place; it makes me wonder if he just tightened by “feel” rather than to a specific torque setting. If so, then the numbers are really kind of meaningless.

      • SPQR9

        Those two numbers were the extremes. It’s not how any real engineering analysis is done. And that’s ignoring the ridiculous small sample size. In terms of statistical significance it’s utter and complete garbage.

        More interesting is the large variations both systems demonstrate between different manufacturers and between individual samples from each manufacturer.

        Besides the statistical nonsense of the methodology, I thought the following slide showing how much easier it was to mount Mlok accessories incorrectly, and how that shot repeatability into the toilet more significant (but no less subjective ).

        As I said, I don’t have an opinion that one is better than the other myself, but this report is statistically gibberish.

      • randomswede

        That the average shifts for the Keymod were (mostly) nearer the maximum is most concerning, that is to say; you are more likely to be nearer the maximum shift than the minimum with Keymod.

  • Audie Bakerson

    I’ve barely seen any accessories for either that weren’t light mounts or adapters.

    • Cymond

      And grips.

    • Squirreltakular

      What else do you need?

  • Uncle Mike

    Nice to know that a couple of my tax dollars went to good use…

  • Herp

    Am I the only one left who still likes 1913?

    It seems like it’d be more durable than keymod or mlok.

    Is there any data on that?

    • TJbrena

      I’m still down with old fashioned quad rails, but i can’t say anything as to durability.

    • randomswede

      A single chunk of any material is likely to be more durable than a combination of pieces. However systems like M-lok and keymod are there to save weight without sacrificing modularity, they do this without appreciably jeopardizing structural strength or durability.
      It’s essentially the best of two worlds, minimizing the bad.

    • Quad rails are definitely sturdier, but they’re also much heavier and more likely to beat up your hands/gloves. They’re called “tactical cheesegraters” for a reason.

    • Phil Hsueh

      You can always split the difference and just get a modular handguard and attach all of the Pic rails that you want, wherever you want. That’s assuming that anybody still sells those these days.

  • Uniform223

    Now I have to throw out all my 1913 pic-rails and any keymod related stuff I have lying around and invest all into Mlok. It’s a shame too cause I just got me a Springfield Saint…

    • AK™

      How many pieces of silver was that rifle again?

      • Uniform223

        Before tax, 875.

    • Joshua

      Nah, the Army will never go M-Lok.

      Did you see the huge MOA shift if you don’t install the rail right? When you have 500,000 active duty soldiers, all with M-lok and 10+ little rail sections….Yeah, that’s never going to work.

      • Not enough gear cheerleaders pause to consider just how dim Pfc Chucklenuts can be when they’re jumpin’ up an’ down to promote The Latest Hotness; I used to know a guy who was a platoon level armorer in the Army during Operation Useless Dirt, and the horror stories he told of how certain soldiers treated their weapons were pretty lurid.

        • nicholsda

          If you give a PFC a hammer and an anvil, both will be returned broken.

          • To be fair, you have to smash the bullets off a lot of cartridges to get enough propellant out to launch an anvil straight up in the air, so really it’s kind of unreasonable to expect that there won’t be some hammer-related malfunctions.

  • USMC03Vet

    MLOK is better than KEYMOD?
    Thanks, Capt Obvious!

  • Independent George

    It looks to me like the biggest difference is the space between each Keymod slot – all of the failures seem to originate with cracks forming in between the holes.

    I don’t have a keymod rail handy to examine, but it looks like it’s combination of (1) the keymod holes being very tightly spaced, such that only a thin section of aluminum separates them, and (2) the Keymod “feet” rely on force being applied laterally through the angled cuts, whereas Mlok is based entirely on friction/torque from the t-nut being applied perpendicular to the plane of the handguard. I think that angled cut in the Keymod was meant to hold the attachments in place even when force was directed parallel to the Keymod attachment points, but ends up shearing through the metal over time.

  • UWOTM8

    REEEEEE-Just kidding I was already planning to standardize on MLOK in the future…..

    • Squirreltakular

      Same. I was kind of upset about it because it meant I couldn’t use my BCM stubby vertical grip, but now that they’re adopting M-lok, the compatible accessories can’t be far behind.

      • UWOTM8

        Exactly my situation

  • Treyh007

    Mlok, Keymod, Quadrail, whatever floats your boat, I have all and have no problems with any of them. Instead of trying to “Kill it” just let the market decide.

    • DonDrapersAcidTrip

      “the market” is not god

      • Treyh007

        lol. So I’m assuming Patrick R. is……. what plant u from buddy?

    • Cymond

      “just let the market decide”

      Discussions about the pros and cons are part of that decision making process.

    • Compare prices– the market is currently in the process of deciding real hard.

  • James Young

    So your BCM rifle sucks and you need to sell it. It will break and can’t hit a man at 100 yards if you take your laser off.

    Somebody better let Military Arms Channel know

    • Rocky Mountain 9

      I’ll take any BCM rifles off any of your hands for scrap and even pay you $100 for each one! I consider it a public service.

  • LGonDISQUS

    TLDR; Average joes – Don’t drop your rifles at the range and you won’t have to worry about upgrading if you have keymod handguards.

    Otherwise……

    • Yeah, unless you’re really punishing your ARs, KeyMod makes hella sense right now given how cheaply retailers are unloading it.

  • Gary Kirk

    NOTE!.. I am not an M-LOCK fan..

    That being said..

    Without Key-mod, how would I ever remove my accessories from my rifle and conveniently store them on my steel shelving units in my store room?

  • Tom Currie

    The results are absolutely conclusive:

    1) If you plan to beat your rifle to death (or want to use it as a sledgehammer) you should definitely choose Mlok over KeyMod.

    2) If you want to use the accessories mounted on your handguard as attachment points for towing your 4×4 out of a mudhole, you should definitely choose Mlok over KeyMod.

    3) If you expect to mount a laser or other sighting device directly (not via a rail), then repeatedly remove and reinstall it without rezeroing, then you should definitely choose Mlok over KeyMod (and be careful whose Mlok handguards you use)

    4) If you expect to mount a laser or other sighting device to a section of rail the repeatedly remove and reinstall the entire rail with the sighting device attached without rezeroing it, then you shouold definitely choose Mlok over KeyMod. (and be careful whose Mlok handguards you use)

    5) If you are a man who immediately discards instruction sheets, you probably shouldn’t use either system, but you might as well pick KeyMod over Mlok.

    6) If none of the above apply, the choice between Mlok and KeyMod is a coin-toss that might as well be decided on which you (or your significant other) thinks is prettier.

  • b. griffin

    When I bought my AR it was Keymod. When I went to build my first upper for it with all the stuff I wanted rather than what it came with, I choose MLOK. When my stamp comes in for my SBR build, it too will have MLOK. ‘nuf said.

  • Anonymoose

    As I was scrolling down I glanced at that graphic and read “Harassing the Warfighter.”

  • SIG fanboi

    Now to find an M-LOK rail for my SIG 556.

  • iksnilol

    Keymod is waaay cheaper though, just go and get some industrial shelving.

    • The cockslots on warehouse shelving are bigger than they are on KeyMod, so no luck on using them to save storage space.

  • The most important thing to take away from this is that pretty soon the 99.99% of us who will never ever operate tactically as tactical operators in tactical operations will be able to buy KeyMod rails and accessories at pennies-on-the-dollar fire sale prices and have perfectly functional and useful mounts that will serve our real world purposes just fine for many years to come.

    Sure, M-Lok is objectively superior to KeyMod, but that’s not anywhere near the same thing as KeyMod being utterly worthless; they beat the hell out of these things for testing purposes, and the overwhelming majority of weekend shooters will never subject their gear to that kind of abuse. KeyMod ain’t worth it at the same price, but it’s sure as heck good enough for the discounts that have already set in and are only gonna get steeper as time goes on.

  • The Pontificant

    Ford vs Chevy…
    9mm vs .45ACp…
    AR vs AK…

    Yadda, Yadda, Yadda…

    Maintain your equipment, train hard and stay vigilant; you’ll be fine.

  • Ryan L

    I was gonna read this article but I’m stuck over here with a magnet and this samson evo hand guard trying to fish the backside of my rail into the proper hole.

  • David G

    Patrick seems to be taking a lot of joy in telling his readers that their keymod handguards are inferior.
    Should we also conclude Sig P320s are the best and we should throw away our Glocks and M&Ps?

  • FightFireJay

    2 words, “confirmation bias”.

  • Aono

    Maybe this will push LMT to finally hop on board. Been holding off on their upper only because it’s not in MLOK – yet.

    Same for Megalithic.

  • Anomanom

    It’s all just a con to get you to spend more money than necessary, instead of a quad rail that you buy once and can hang every accessory in the world on. Now it’s get an mlok handguard. Now buy rails to put on your mlok. Now buy stuff to put on the rails on your mlok and other stuff that goes directly on the mlok.

  • David

    As with many things related to firearms and firearm accessories, I see this as extreme testing that proves a point but doesn’t necessarily matter much to the average civilian.

    The best analog I can think of off the top of my head is the comparison of chrome lining vs nitride for barrels. Yes there is a difference. Yes it can be measured. But is the average person going to shoot their rifle enough to the point where it becomes noticeable?

    In my opinion, it all comes down to what’s right for the application. I’m sure there is going to be a lot of hoopla caused by this on various forums on how X rifle is “tougher” because it has M-LOK instead of KeyMod or how you should use one over the other because of this study, but to most people I don’t see it making an actual difference (other than chest thumping etc).

    Me personally?

    The rifle I have with modular-type handguard has the rail segments screw in directly to the handguard with bolts. Until you get more accessories that have the direct-attachment system built in, this is about the same in my mind. With a non-direct mounting accessory, you still need a section of MIL-STD-1913 to serve as an adapter of sorts. How you mount that adapter is where all of this comes in. I still feel that a MIL-STD-1913 quad-rail is superior in durability, but there is no denying the weight saving benefit a modular system offers, especially for a civilian who is probably not using every last bit of rail space to begin with; my other rifle with a quad rail has nothing but a forward grip mounted to it.

    Ultimately, I believe it will be consumers that will decide what stays around. If people prefer the direct-attachment that seems to be primarily* offered with KeyMod it gives KeyMod a reason to stay around. Once more and more products become available in a direct-attachment format for M-LOK, I think KeyMod will begin to fade out. (*I don’t pay much attention to the accessories market so I don’t know how true this still is)

  • DropGun25

    I know I’m in the smaller group here, but I have had nothing but issues with MLOK. It always comes loose and doesn’t seat really well with the screws that it comes with. Maybe its an installer error but I never have an issue with keymod.

  • Sonny

    Buying any an all BCM KMR for $35. Ping me.

  • 2ThinkN_Do2

    Just acquired my first AR/MSR-15 Recon and it is M-LOK outfitted. I doubt I’ll be attaching much if anything beyond a sling mount and bi-pod mount; not a competition shooter so I don’t think I’ll really notice the differences spoken of. The M-Lok has a cleaner look to it and so far I’ve had zero trouble attaching the items I’ve tried to. A standard P-rail might be better, but without a fore grip, an M-Lok or Key Mod is more comfortable to hold.

  • Chemechie

    I find it interesting that NSWC Crane did this testing, not ARL or some part of the Army Test community – Army is the all service lead for small arms, so in theory it should have gone through them. I’m with the other commenters that this was a small scale comparison, not a true test in the military sense of the word.