When I was growing up my father used to say, “If something seems too good to be true then it probably is.” Over the course of my life, I’ve found his advice has to be spot on—until recently. ALG Defense, the sister company of Geissele Automatics, recently introduced their new AR-15 M-LOK Ergonomic Modular Rail (EMR) to the market at a starting price of $100. Yes, you read that correctly: $100.
Seem too good to be true? I had the privilege of getting my hands on a 13” model of the M-LOK EMR to install on my personal AR-15. Here are my thoughts, opinions and some information on this new (and affordable) M-LOK rail from ALG Defense.
First Thoughts Right Out of the Box
When I first lifted the EMR out of the box, I thought to myself, “holy dang, this is light.” I then realized that the rail was shipped with the barrel nut installed inside of the rail. This meant that I was feeling the full weight of the rail with the barrel nut and screws installed. Considering that this was a 13” rail that came in at around 10.5oz, you can color me impressed.
The next feature that came to my attention while examining the EMR was the lack of M1913 picatinny top rail running along the 12 o’clock position. Instead, it was almost completely tubular in shape. Different, but I liked it. The top section is smooth and beveled rather than having a M1913 rail. I found my thumb naturally wrapped around the top while gripping it. Before you start worrying that you can’t attach sights or accessories to this rail—you can, but more on that in a little bit.
When I held the EMR as I would for shooting, my hand and fingers were able to wrap around the entire circumference of it and then overlap some. This was a thinner profile than I have used before, but, considering there aren’t any sharp corners or edges, the grip is comfortable. I understand why ALG Defense labeled this rail as “ergonomic.”
The EMR also includes what I call “micro-facets.” I felt that these small facets weren’t pronounced enough to make my grip uncomfortable, but they do serve to make the rail more “grippy.”
Just a brief summary for those who have not heard: Magpul has designed a new modular system called M-LOK that is also open source so that any company/manufacturer may utilize it if they choose. It is similar to the Keymod system in the sense that accessories can be mounted directly to the rail rather than having to utilize a section of M1913. It also has the added perk of not making your rail look like an adjustable shelving unit. Keep your eye out for a future article where I talk more about M-LOK, but for now it’ll be enough to identify M-LOK as the modular attachment system the EMR utilizes.
The EMR was designed to be lightweight and have a low profile; it does not have any integrated M1913 rail sections. Instead, ALG Defense has made M-LOK sections available for purchase so the user can place accessories right where they want to. The EMR importantly also allows the user to attach M-LOK accessories and rails at 45 degrees.
At the 12 o’clock position, ALG Defense has created special M-LOK sections of M1913 that they call “co-witness” rails. These are different than the other M-LOK pieces and are specific to the top rail section of the EMR. In this way, the user can attach back up iron sights and have them line up in conjunction with the rest of the upper receiver and rear sight—pretty slick, if you ask me.
The last things I made note of while looking over the EMR were the quick detach (QD) sockets machined directly into the left and right sides. These would offer a way to use a QD sling without having to install an extra adapter or fixture. This saves on weight and bulk for sure.
To see the entire detailed process of installing the ALG Defense M-LOK EMR, be sure to check out the video above. I won’t go through the directions on how to install the EMR (since they are available here and are also included in the box with the EMR), but I will touch on one aspect of the process that I found particularly interesting.
ALG Defense designed the free floating EMR to be an easy install. Using a unique barrel nut wrench and a color coded shim system, the installer just has to follow a chart in the provided instructions to figure out which shim(s) to use to achieve proper alignment and torque of the barrel nut.
Obtaining proper torque and alignment of the barrel nut is done without the need of a torque wrench (gotta love those little conveniences)—just use the included barrel nut wrench. In some cases, a pipe can be used in conjunction with the barrel nut wrench to give yourself a little extra leverage. I used a small section of PVC pipe I had lying around to finish pushing the last part into place.
At the time of this review, the ALG Defense M-LOK Ergonomic Modular Rail is available in three different lengths: 10”, 12” and 13”. Compared to what you’d normally spend on a M-LOK-compatible rail, I think that $100 for the 10 inch EMR is a real bargain.
The ALG Defense EMR is lightweight, sturdy, and, true to its name, ergonomic. Whether you’re looking for a highly customizeable handguard, or simply a more high speed-low drag option, the EMR will deliver. For once, too good to be true, isn’t.
For more information on the new ALG Defense EMR and other products that they offer, you may visit the ALG Defense website here.
Featured image courtesy of ALG Defense.