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A Tale of Three MLOK Rails

What started out as "I want a new rail for my competition rifle" quickly turned into a full blown build out of three AR uppers with new handguards project. Normally I'd chalk this up as an impulse buy or some sort of investment into my shooting future- a justifiable excuse if there ever was.

The truth is much more complex. The AR15 world that we now live in is busting at the seams with every type of mumbo jumbo to make your modern sporting rifle look cooler and more importantly punch holes in things betterer. Square barrels, titanium takedown pins, side charging upper receivers, stocks that make Ethiopians look fat, direct mount this and quick detach that, are just a taste of where the industry has taken AR's. Don't get me wrong, I'm usually the first guy in the comments on said company's  Instagram page screaming "TAKE MY MONEY" but there comes a time when one has to draw the proverbial line in the sand as to what's making it on to their rifle.

For me that line was drawn between two of the most common types of handguards, Keymod and MLOK. I could go on and about how Keymod sucks whilst currently using some of these rails on my guns BUT that's not what this article is about. Instead what I'm going to break down is what I've found to be the best MLOK rails on the market for you high drag low speed guys and give you the good and bad of each.

 

ALG Defense EMR V2

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Yes the purple was a conscious decision.... Since it will remain a dedicated race gun that will never leave the 3-gun arena, I figured why not go a little bold with the color choice. Color aside, this MLOK handguard from ALG defense (Geissele's sister company) is the most comfortable in hand out of the other two handguards. On top of that it is also the cheapest of the bunch coming in at $165 for the purple 12" which is $25 cheaper than the Midwest Industries and $100 shy of the snobby EraThr3 rail.

 

What's to like about it?

-Feels awesome in hand

-Lightweight

-Anti-rotation tabs prevent barrel nut from mysteriously coming undone

-Extremely slim

-Integrated QD sling attachment point

-Comes with everything you need, plus tons of stickers

-Affordable

 

Watch Out!!!

-While the instructions are very easy to follow, my prepubescent brain had a hard time figuring out the "easy to use" barrel shims and barrel nut tool

-Least sexy out of the three, even with the Barney skin

 

EraThr3 MLOK Handguard

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If you're a tightwad just keep scrolling, this is not a company for you. At 270 shekels, it's sure to get you in an argument with your Ol' lady-you've been warned.  If you can get past your frugal instincts, EraThr3 makes some of the slickest gear one could want and this MLOK rail from them is nothing short of perfection.

What's to like about it?

-Extremely high quality

-Very slim in hand

-Attention to detail

-Anti-rotation pin prevents barrel nut from coming undone or handguard twisting

-Comes with everything you need

-Uber lightweight

 

Watch Out!!!

-Price.......

-Smallest inside diameter of the bunch means only the lowest of low profile gas blocks will work

-No built in QD sling attachment point

 

 

Midwest Industries G3 Lightweight Handguard

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Take the nice ergo's and value of the ALG rail and combine it with the sharp looks of the EraThr3 handguard and what you're left with is the Midwest Industries G3 lightweight rail.

 

What's to like about it?

-High value

-High quality

-Very slim in hand

-Super Lightweight

-Built in QD sling attachment points

-Comes with everything you need

 

Watch Out!!!

- No anti-rotation tabs or pin to prevent the barrel nut from coming undone or handguard twisting

-Small inside diameter of the rail so make sure you have a low profile gas block

-The collar that locks the rail onto the barrel nut is not robust enough for my liking

 

 

 

And The Winner Is?

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Before I get in to why EraThr3's handguard is my favorite out of the three that I tested, the Midwest Industries and ALG rails are equally as awesome and would be great upgrades for your AR. They're both relatively cheap, built in the states, and would be perfect for gamers or tactical Timmy's.

What sets the EraThr3 apart from the pack is the attention to detail and the lifestyle, cough cough marketing, that you're buying into from the moment you place the order on their website. Fast cars, fast women, and pushing your gun/gear to the limit and looking good while doing it, is more or less the company's pathos. For someone like myself that thinks I'm cooler than I actually am, buying this $270 handguard instantly puts me into the cool kids club or something like that-right?

The truer reason why if I had to do it all over again and buy just one MLOK rail it'd be the EraThr3, is the OCD like attention to detail. The little things like their logo machined into the barrel nut which no one but you will see once the rails installed, the comical instructions, and the finished fitment, are why you spend the extra Benji on this handguard over the others.

 

In an AR15 market that's over saturated with go-fast look cool crap, this company has the "mhmm just right" blend of bravado and well thought out gear. Take notice.

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