It’s becoming pretty clear that the now-ubiquitous quadrail forends on firearms are just too bulky to be useful. They make attaching things a breeze, but the cheese grater effect and the tube diameter required to make it work is just way too clunky. It’s the reason that we’ve seen the increasing move toward the keymod as the new attachment system to end all attachment systems, an “open source” standard developed originally by Noveske with help from VLTOR. But now Magpul appears to be trying to introduce their own standard, dubbed the “M-LOK” system, that uses straight slats instead of keyed holes . . .
From their announcement:
M-LOK is a modular locking accessory mounting system that is a direct attachment method for hard mounting accessories to a negative space mounting point. Designed by Magpul Industries as an evolution of the MOE slot system used since 2007, the M-LOK system is being released as a free licensed platform to allow greater compatibility of accessories between all manufacturers.
From my armchair, it looks like a “too little, too late” effort to start a new standard. Keymod has been widely accepted by the best in the business, and just like Betamax before it, this new standard might just fade into the distance. But there’s one very good thing about this announcement: Magpul is releasing the M-LOK system royalty-free. So anyone can use it without having to pay Magpul for the privilege.
Magpul is probably the most popular rifle furniture manufacturer in the world, and if they push the new standard hard enough then there is a good chance that they can force people to adopt their standard as the “one slot to rule them all.” But with the huge headstart that keymod has, it will be an uphill battle. I’m just happy that people are recognizing the need for a new flat mounting system to replace (or supplement) the existing Picatinny standard.