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The debate has been raging for a couple years now about which is better, the established quick-attach system known as “keymod” or the Magpul designed M-Lok competitor. SIG SAUER seems to have taken the side of keymod, while others are transitioning to the M-Lok side of the force instead. The latest M-Lok convert is a fairly big one: Canada has chosen it as the rail attachment system of choice for their next generation of infantry rifles.

According to Calibre the Canadian government chose the M-Lok system because most of the end users preferred it over the keymod equivalent. Also because it’s a little stronger and more resilient than the keymod equivalent. There was also something about the cheaper production costs.

The decision to select M-Lok over its chief competitor, Keymod, was credited largely to M-Lok’s preference among Colt Canada’s LEO and military customers. However, additional performance metrics such as tear-off strength and ease of manufacture were also taken into account. We will be following up with Colt Canada in the coming days to get more information on their selection of M-Lok over Keymod so check back over the next couple days for more on this story.

There’s little doubt that M-Lok is a lot easier to produce than keymod, but with keymod being an already established standard there’s some question about which one will eventually win the debate and become the next attachment system of choice, superseding the current strategy of “just put Picatinny rails on every available surface and pray it works.” Despite being a keymod fan from the beginning I’m starting to come around to M-Lok’s benefits, especially with the introduction of Kinetic Development Group’s fast attachment system.

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  1. Canadians chose M-Lok and immediately apologized to VLTOR. But it seems only fair and just that Canada would reject the open source system in favor of one owned by Magpul.

    • M-Lock is also royalty free to whoever wants it. Keymod was made by VLTOR/Noveske. M-Lock by Magpul. Both open-source and both competing for the market.

    • Both are open-source, if I recall. I have a keymod rail, a kmr 15, and already a light has been ripped from it when I hit a corner. The problem seems to be the nylon rail buckling under pressure, but thankfully dummy cord saved it and I didn’t lose my ligjt in the dark.

      If I ever replace this rail, it might be mlok.

    • Magpul is not charging any licencing fees as far as I know. And IMHO MLOK blows the others out if the water–it’s so simple and flexible

  2. Estimated date of full replacement and upgrade: 2065.

    Brought to you by the country who still issues Lee Enfields to the Canadian Rangers and Browning HPs to the Army (Inglis pistols).

    • What can I say, James Paris Lee sure knew how to make a dead reliable rifle, and .303 British is good against polar bears. Heck, we should have just restarted the line and made new ones.

    • What’s wrong with the hi-power as a side arm? Modern magazine capacity is 15, same as M9, shoots the same crappy ball ammo as the m9, only thing negative as a combat pistol is the mag safety.

      • In theory nothing. In reality, they sound like baby rattles, have no bluing left and most seem to have some sand in them from Normandy.

        • So…where can I get a Canadian surplus Enfield and Hi-Power?

          And by the way, much respect to my Canadian brothers in arms. A teeny tiny SKT got sent our way a few times in eastern Afghanistan. Hard Western Rockies mountain mofos if there ever were. Prior to those dudes, my only encounter with the Canadian military was at Tim Hortons in KAF. These guys were cut from an entirely different cloth.

  3. Ever thought of using KeyMod on pistol dust covers? That way there’s no more bulky rail when trying to go covert without the light. Gotta figure out a way to plug the holes without interfering with the recoil spring, though

  4. Both are a solution looking for a problem. 1913 just works. Of the two M-LOK would be my choice. Keymod just looks stupid.

    • Weight is a problem. 1913 works, but it costs you in weight that could be used for something else. Remember, these are meant for guys that have to carry them for a living.

      • Your body called and asked me to leave a message:

        Please do more burpees, kettlebells, barbell lifts, etc until carrying that heavy 1913 rail around doesn’t hurt so much.

        (J/k of course; nothing wrong with a system that takes away unnecessary weight)

        • The extra weight saving thing to me is all about faster swing speed between targets and less overshoot-then-pull-back actions. Watching ounces before they become pounds is secondary on the most important piece of a soldier system. Just my 2cents

        • Lol, I’m still a pt stud, but the ka rail on the m4 is unnecessarily heavy, doubly so if using an extended rai.

      • I agree to a point on the weight. However quality 1913 rails can be light. The standard M4 only uses a 7 inch rail. A nice quality 7 inch quad rail is going to weight 8 ounces or less.

        The BCM KMR is/was all the rage because it is so light. That “lightness” sacrifices strength. Go to 4:51 in this video.

        That rail is done.

        Compared to this rail….

        with a caption of

        “After a 210 rounds full auto dump, standing on the forward grip with a 230lbs man to test if the rail will rotate”

        • Personally, my main problem with rails isn’t even the weight, it’s the bulk. Your typical 4-rail AR forend these days is noticeably thicker than the stock handguard as is, and once you put panels to cover the rails, it’s even thicker, to the point where it’s just not comfortable to hold. There are some railed forends that are intentionally slimmed down, but then they’re too narrow to use without covers.

        • Great example of the KMR’s structural strength. I f-ing loved it, and have wanted it more than most super models. Ironically,it seems that the wonderful beauty and slimness of the rail comes at a cost I’m not willing to pay. Strength is paramount. I know it would be expensive, but a rail/free-float tube strength test of the leading brands would likely be the most important test of this generation of weapon systems. Lets make it happen, guys! Pllllleeeeaaaasssssseeeeeeee!!!!

    • How is lighter and more comfortable not an improvement? Plus MLOK is so simple that the accessories can also be lighter.

    • My 16″ 300blk AR rifle with Nikon P-300BLK scope and a MI M LOK handguard weight less (under 7lbs) than my 10.5″ AR pistol (over 7lbs) with some cheapie quad rail and red dot.

    • 1913 quad rails are great for grating cheese for pizza. They are heavy and uncomfortable. Both m-lok and keymod are preferable and rail covers can be used if the look bothers a user or for more comfort. Personally nearly all of my gear is now keymod, I haven’t yet seen fit to swap a rail out for an m-lok variant as there are tons of inexpensive keymod attachments available.

  5. That’s nice. Now how about Canada recognizes their citizens’ absolute natural, human, civil right to keep and bear arms?

    • Hey – editor of Calibre Magazine (as referenced in the above article) here. I’ll just come right out and say it: Colt Canada makes great guns and we’re happy to have them and proud of the work that Colt Canada, formerly Diemaco, does.

      But if the government of Canada would recognize our natural right to keep and bear arms, yes, I have to agree that would be even better than a next-generation monolithic M-Lok CC rifle. We’re working on it.

  6. What are some of the benefits/negatives of one or the other? My dad is getting (and therefore, I am too) his first AR, and I want to get him something other than the standard plastic handguard (no rails).

    • Either won’t hurt. I’d go MLok for slightly lighter weight. If it’s the first AR you’re buying, the overall features and build quality might be more important than KeyMod vs MLok. If you don’t run lasers probably all you’ll mount is a light and the irons anyway. If you really progress into a stage where you’re debating which is better for the zero-holding of a DBAL after a 100rd firefight, you will have enough experience to decide for yourself. Me personally just a non-LE civie, I run a white/IR light with a NV monocular on helmet, and a plain Aimpoint. Didnt run DBALs too much cuz I didnt like the idea of assuming the enemy not have NOD. Never had a problem with or without DBAL, with Keymod, MLok, or the quad rails.

    • I would seriously look into the Magpul MOE line to start with. Run it for a while, figure out what you want to do with the rifle and then maybe change it out later.

      Basic defense AR, Red Dot (Aimpoint Pro is great) White light and sling.

  7. I personally love M-LOK,
    but calling either “quick attach”, hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha, no. Not at all. Pic is faster, always. M-LOK and Keymod just attach in negative space to save massive amounts of weight space.

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