Occam Defense Solutions has introduced a new AK handguard called MERC. This is a patent pending design which is advertised to decrease the heat transfer to the shooter’s hand and provide a solid optics mounting platform for AK family of rifles. Let’s take a closer look at the features of this product.
The handguard shown in the images has a two-piece construction (with upper and lower parts bolted together), however, according to the manufacturer, the shown handguard is the prototype and the production version will be a single piece handguard made of extruded 6061 aluminum and will have a black anodized finish. The final version will come with a two piece barrel nut. This handguard is compatible with the stamped receiver AK rifles. It is not compatible with Yugo AKs, milled receivers, and US-made Century Arms rifles.
Here is how the company describes the way they managed to decrease the heat transfer from the barrel to the handguard and shooter’s hand.
The mounting methods used for previous extended guards were less than optimal. They pulled unacceptable amounts of heat from the barrel and deposited in the worst place possible–the operator’s hand! Occam’s Patent-Pending MERC solves this problem by anchoring the guard far back on the barrel at a single, cool, point, and uses heat shield technology to reflect heat away from the handguard. In field tests, the Occam Defense was over 100°F cooler than the nearest competitor.
The MERC handguard features a top Picatinny rail as well as a number of M-LOK slots on the sides and the bottom portion. The length of the handguard forward of the receiver is 11.75″. It also extends back over the top cover by 2.5″. The height and width of this handguard are 2-5/8″ and 1-9/16″ respectively. The overall weight is 16 oz.
The installation of Occam Defense Solutions MERC handguard requires minor skills and basic tools. In order to install it, you’ll need to remove (or don’t install if it is a new build) the front and rear sight blocks. Then, it is simply a matter of bolting the handguard onto the rifle. In some cases, however, it may require minor fitting to the gun. If you are not confident that you can install it, the company suggests to send it to one of their partners (M13 Industries or Mesa Kinetic Research) to have it installed.
The Occam Defense Solutions MERC handguard is currently available for preorder at a price point of $300. If they manage to get at least 100 orders by October 1, they will be able to make these handguards. If not, then they will have to cancel the project and refund the money. In case if they do make these handguards, then the estimated shipping date will be Q1 of 2019.
Images from www.occamdefense.us