Choosing Handguard Rails and Accessories

We love the AR 15. You’re probably pretty big fans too, if you’ve made your way to the Bootleg, Inc. blog, so we don’t need to spend ages extolling the virtues of this particular firearm. However, if you’re new to the AR world, or still on the fence about purchasing one for yourself, we could stand to brag a bit more. First and foremost, we are huge fans of the modular nature of the AR; because the lower receiver is the only component that is technically the firearm, any of the upper receiver components can be manufactured and sold without a great many of the restrictions that limit firearm sales to local, licensed dealers. This means that, thanks to small businesses and online sales for upper receiver components, you can customize your AR 15 right down to the screw (practically)! The biggest problem – which really isn’t a problem at all – is wading through the variety of AR 15 parts and accessories to choose which will best fit your needs. Still, there is are a plethora of different options, so let’s talk handguard rail systems and how they affect the accessories you can add to your AR.


Handguard Rail Systems

If you’re still pretty new to the AR world, the options for handguard rail systems and accessories alone can be an overwhelming set of choices to make. If you don’t know what we mean when we talk about handguard rail systems, start with the very basic information with our previous blog post about the history of handguard rail systems. When it comes to choosing a handguard rail system, you can go one of two ways.


First, if you already have a specific accessory in mind (or already purchased), like a scope, that only attaches to a Picatinny handguard rail, you can narrow your search by Picatinny handguard rail options and select from there. However, we don’t necessarily suggest this route as handguard rail systems can affect the weight and feel when firing your AR. For instance, many AR owners find that they don’t care for the Picatinny handguard rail system because it is bulky and heavy. If that’s the case, you may want to choose an M-LOK or KeyMod handguard rail. These designs were developed more recently than the Picatinny and take into account newer materials and a desire for as light a firearm as possible. Instead of choosing your accessories and finding a handguard rail system they work with, go the reverse route. Choose your handguard rail system first, make sure you’re comfortable with the feel and weight, then seek out the best AR accessories for that rail system.

Alternative Options

Thanks to the open market for AR 15 accessories, odds are good you’ll be able to find the style, size, weight, and function you’re looking for in a specific accessory that will attach to the handguard rail system you choose. That’s the beauty of having such a modular firearm like the AR with so few restrictions on upper receiver components. However, we know it does occasionally happen that you want some accessories that work with one handguard rail system and another accessory or two that only works with a different system. Don’t worry; Bootleg, Inc. has you covered!


We developed our patented PicMod handguard rail system to solve just such a problem. We know that many AR owners prefer the low weight and increased stability offered by the KeyMod handguard rail system, but already have accessories that are only compatible with Picatinny rails. Our PicMod handguard rail gives you a Picatinny rail and three KeyMod rails in one handguard. Shop our handguard rail options online today to get your AR customized just how you want it!

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