I recently received an unsolicited product for review, the America Grip Tool Grip AR rail cover. The owner of the company and I were discussing products over lunch and he described his invention, a rail cover with built-in tools. I don’t use rail covers and the only tools I use often with my ARs are a hex wrench that I keep inside my Magpul handle and a Gerber tool I keep in the rifle bag. So I didn’t think this tool would be for me. Even so, when the Tool Grip arrived at the shop a couple of days later, I agreed to give it a go . . .
Basically it’s four AR rail panels that snap together to allow assorted standard bits into their slots. That allows you to use the rail covers as a solid handle for any of the bits now inserted. I had to install a scope into a new LaRue tactical quick detach mount (which by the way, I am a huge fan of), so I decided to I would use the Tool Grip and a couple of small levels as my only tools for the job.
The kit I got came complete with the four rail halves, eight bits, and a couple of single rail cover bits as well. The bits includes some star keys, and between those and the flat head bits it was all the tools (other than the levels) I would need to do the job. I took a look at the different optics I like to mount on my ARs and this kit includes all of the bits I would need for any of them.
Assembly and use is pretty straightforward. I’m not much of a visual learner, and still this was pretty simple. Just snap two halves together and insert whatever bit you want in either the center slot or the side slots. Be aware, the first time that you snap them together it is a pretty tight fit, but after that it snaps on and off much easier. Inserting the bit into the center slot gives you a good grip, but it actually makes the handle separate, thus ending the turning, with any hard turn.
On their website this is listed as a feature, so that if you have a screw or item that is torque sensitive, use the center slot so that you don’t strip it. The side slots, on the other hand, take quite a bit of toque without separating the grip, more than I would have ever used on any item of my AR.
Using the Tool Grip, installing my scope was straightforward and easy. Installing and removing Magpul flip-up sights were the same way. Really, it works like a socket driver with a big flat handle, and that works pretty well.
As far as their function as a rail cover, they are ABS plastic rail covers and work pretty much just like any ABS plastic rail covers. They, well, cover your rails. So I was pleasantly surprised that this little gadget worked well. I was set to buy one, but not to hang it on my rail, but keep it in my rifle bag as a tool set. And for a couple of my AR’s, like the one pictured, I’ve done just that. It’s in the bag, and at just 3.2 oz, I’ll never notice the weight. For the $24.95 cost, buying a few and putting them in each bag so I know it’s always there is no big deal.
That’s the plan for most of my AR’s, but one of my rifles is a hyper accurate 20″ 5.56 NATO AR with a fixed stock and a bipod made by Underground Tactical. This is my night time varmint gun, and it performs that task extremely well. But man it’s a pain in the butt because I’m constantly swapping optics. US OPTICS daylight scope to ANPVS 14, PEQ15, M646NVS — all sorts of gear is put on and taken off of this gun, and that requires tools to mount and dismount. For that gun, the America Grip goes on the rail, and I’ll get a whole lot of use for it there.
I’m not big on hanging any unnecessary stuff onto the rails of my AR, so I was skeptical about America Grips’ Tool Grip AR rail covers. I also admit when I was wrong, and for your rail or your bag, this is a good little piece of kit.
America Grip Tool Grip
Made in the USA of rugged ABS plastic
• Diamond pattern grip texture provides a sure, long lasting hold
• Each set contains four (4) grip panels
• Each set comes with eight carefully selected 2” hex bit tools:
– P1 Phillips
– P2 Phillips
– 8-10 Slot (Flat Head)
– #1 Robertson (Square Head Punch)
– T10 Star
– T15 Star
– T20 Star
– T25 Star
Ratings (out of five stars):
Build Quality * * * * *
I snapped this thing together and took it apart probably 100 times total, handed it to my kids to play with, and stuck it on and off the rail. It’s solid. If it can survive my kids, it can take anything.
Price * * * *
One star off because I’d like to see a socket bit included with the kit. But $25 puts it well within the stocking stuffer category of goodies.
Overall * * * * *
This little gadget surprised me. It does what is says it does simply and gives you easy access to useful tools with minimal weight and cost.