M-Lok standards for Modular Locking System, and it was originally developed by Magpul as a way to supersede the aging, simple, and relatively heavy profile of the MIL-STD-1913 rail – more commonly known to you and us as the Picatinny rail system.
In direct competition to the KeyMod handguard, M-Lok offers generally more real estate for attaching accessories to your AR 15 rifle or pistol – obviously a much needed consideration for the latter, given its compact size and shorter barrel. This is why we offer plenty of rifle and pistol uppers equipped with M-Lok handguards.
Our Magpul Angled Foregrip, designed for M-Lok, provides a compact, ergonomic foregrip
M-Lok offers quite a few advantages over the typical Picatinny rail, and some argue that it’s better than KeyMod. Let’s dive into why these claims are made, and whether they’re true or not:
M-Lok provides quite a few benefits, including some serious weight savings. Where Picatinny rails use a “male-to-female” configuration (the rail functions as the male piece, the accessory functions as the female), M-Lok is the opposite. M-Lok uses negative space for accessory attachment – holes instead of raised surface area.
This obviously translates into less required material being placed on your weapon, and thus less weight. Remember, the AR 15 was designed to be a lightweight alternative to the typical battle rifle – every ounce counts.
Ergonomics and Comfort
Because the M-Lok system uses negative space, there are no pointy bits upon which your hands can get cut up or chafed. M-Lok rails are smooth and flush. This provides a natural, ergonomic grip when compared to conventional rail systems.
Our most popular Pistol Upper features Magpul’s MOE handguard with the M-Lok system integrated for comfort and easy attachment
Because M-Lok uses negative space, rails that use this system are inherently slimmer, too. Unlike other rifles, aesthetics is a huge factor in the favorability of any black rifle, and this slim, sleek profile naturally lends a more modernized, “sexy” method of presenting one’s AR 15.
Thankfully, M-Lok is an open-source rail system – it’s freely licensed, so any manufacturer that makes AR accessories or rail systems can fabricate it. That means you’ll be able to easily find your favorite AR attachments (like slings and mounts, bipods, sights, grips, optics, and the like) with authentic, compatible M-Lok configurations – and you won’t have to pay a premium to get your hands on it like other custom, niche systems seldom found in the black rifle market.
Proven by Tier-One Operators
That sounds like a salesy pitch title, but it’s true: M-Lok was developed as new rail mounting system to be fitted on Magpul’s Masada Concept Rifle – you and we know it today as the Adaptive Combat Rifle. Yes, the tried and true ACR, currently in use by SEALs and military units we don’t know the names of existence of, is the same rifle that spawned the creation of M-Lok. If that ain’t proof enough of its concept, we’re not sure what is.
Compatible with Picatinny
The nice part about M-Lok is that it integrates quite easily with Picatinny. Found a had-to-have accessory outfitted with Picatinny-only attachment methods? That’s okay: M-Lok supports any length Picatinny rail attachment. If you really wanted to, you could pick up an M-Lok handguard and slap full-length Picatinny rails on all sides.