Midwest Industries Combat Rail system
I recently received a 14 inch Midwest Industries M-Lok Combat Rail. This forend may be the finest rail system that MI has ever produced, but IMO it could be a touch better. More on that later.
From the package, you receive the 6065 aluminum black anodized forend, 7 to 15 inches in length measured from the front of the receiver’s top rail, with 7 sides of M’Lok slots and a full Picatinny rail continuous along the top, steel barrel nut with a Titanium barrel nut available, torque plate, clamp screws which are steel but Titanium are available, one 5 slot polymer M-Lok rail section, two Allen wrenches, one for the clamp screws, one for the M-Lok rail section, and instructions. As a past user of many MI products, I noticed that the use of an adhesive to bond the forend to the barrel nut is no longer needed. Using that mild adhesive never bothered me, just the opposite, it gave me an added since of security that that rail was not going to slip no matter what big bore AR I used it on. But some seem to get un-nerved about it, and some have even used the adhesive as a lubricant on their BCG and barrel nut with surprising results (gotta read the directions people) so they will find the lack of adhesive to be one less reason for Murphy to visit them.
Also, there are also two QD swivel attachment points on the rear end of the rail at the 3:00 and 9:00 positions. This is my only complaint about the rail. Yes, this is a combat rail, but no, I am not a combat person. I don’t use single point or the combat two point slings. I shoot of a bench, or I hunt. In order for ME to hunt with this, I have to mount a QD M-Lok attachment point out on the forend, near the muzzle end of the handguard. That’s where I like my sling swivels to attach, and I like them on the bottom. But with a M-Lok QD sling attachment point mounted on the bottom of the rail, it interferes with shooting off a bench rest. That is my only complaint, no muzzle end QD attachment points like there have been on rails past. This is the only thing I can see where an already great forend could be even better, for me anyway. Of course, if the top rail was not solid all the way down with Picatinny slots only at the ends of the forend, some more weight could be saved, but MI has their Lightweight rails with this weight saving feature.
The OD of the rail is 1.5 inches, ID is 1.3 inches and weight, well, what weight? It is very light but exact weights, including barrel nut, are listed on MI’s web site for whatever length of rail you decide on. The 14 inch forend that I have is a scant 10.8 ounces, but would be even lighter with the Titanium barrel nut and Titanium clamp screws.
The instructions walk you through every step of the process and there is even an excellent video on MI’s web site if you do better with visual and audio instructions, however, if you are one of those poor soles who cannot pour water out of a boot with the instructions on the heel, take it to you local gunsmith for installation. Installation should not be expensive, and if it is, find another gunsmith. The rest of us will have no trouble installing it ourselves.
One of the great things about this rail system, like the G3, is that the barrel nut does not need indexing. Just slip on the forend, drop in the torque plate, tighten it and loosen it three times to season the threads if that is your way of doing things, then finish by torqueing to 40 ft-lbs. The forend top rail slip-fits around any forged mil-spec upper receiver rail so there is zero chance of forend rotation (but may not fit some billet upper receivers and will NOT fit piston driven AR systems) and is super fast to install and IMO is as secure as any rail on the market. The barrel nut is simply tightened down to 40 ft-lbs, the gas block and gas tube installed, and the forend slipped into place. The torque plate drops in and is much simpler to use than the Gen 3 torque plate, which sometimes did not want to fit around some lower receivers. That concern is no longer valid. The torque plate is similar to the SSP MI series of suppressor rails but the barrel nut is steel, or Titanium, and the torque plate is round instead of flat. One tightens the clamp screws on the bottom of the rail to 50-55 inch-pounds and Bob’s your uncle. You are done.
Rather than post pictures here, there is a very good video available on Midwest Industries’ web site. The installation video can be viewed on their web site at https://www.midwestindustriesinc.com/product-p/mi-crm14.htm
While the Combat Rail is not available in any color other than black, it is easily coated with your favorite super finish. I fancy DuraCoats Magpul FDE, and here is the finished installation on my 19” .30 HRT along with MI’s extremely functional two-port muzzle brake.