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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Getting ready to take advantage of Aeros Memorial Day sale and since I have a Aero upper I think it would be fitting to buy a Aero handguard for it , my question is what is the difference between the keymod and m-lok mounting system? I thinking its just the way the mounting tabs are secured to the handguard but want to make sure before I order thanks.

Mark
 

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I just ordered a Areo enhanced receiver and a 15" hand guard. Can't wait to build my new 6.5 BR upper. I have another Aero receiver great quality. Will be my first experience with the hand hard. Been using SLR so will chime in on the difference if any of quality. Also will try a new adjustable gas block an Odin. Again been using SLR. They are some cheaper so time will tell. Blu I have been using the m-lok from SLR and they are great if Areo works the same it will be good. Way solid lock up on the barrel nut. Hope this answers your question.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I just ordered a Areo enhanced receiver and a 15" hand guard. Can't wait to build my new 6.5 BR upper. I have another Aero receiver great quality. Will be my first experience with the hand hard. Been using SLR so will chime in on the difference if any of quality. Also will try a new adjustable gas block an Odin. Again been using SLR. They are some cheaper so time will tell. Blu I have been using the m-lok from SLR and they are great if Areo works the same it will be good. Way solid lock up on the barrel nut. Hope this answers your question.
Thanks for the reply Rob. So then the only difference between the two systems is how the mounting tabs mount to the handguard.

Mark
 

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Has everyone standardized on Key mod?
It seems to me that many people make keymod accessories while Magpul makes all the M-lok. I won't swear to that but that seems to be what I am seeing.

Thanks for the reply Rob. So then the only difference between the two systems is how the mounting tabs mount to the handguard.

Mark
Yes. That is the only difference. That and M-lok seems to be more proprietary.
 

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might be imagination but the Key Mod seem to be smaller in diameter, still will take all low profile gas blocks tho, at least my Mega rails the Key is smaller than the M lok
 

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One thing to consider with M-lok it that the locking tabs protude inside the hand guard so could be some interference if you needed something where your suppressor was mounted or your gas block. Keymod fits flush.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
One thing to consider with M-lok it that the locking tabs protude inside the hand guard so could be some interference if you needed something where your suppressor was mounted or your gas block. Keymod fits flush.
Thanks guys for all your input , I have a ARP 18" with a mid-length gas system so if I get a 12" m-lok handguard I should be in the clear in my relation to the gas block shouldn't I Woodstock.

Mark
 

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Thanks guys for all your input , I have a ARP 18" with a mid-length gas system so if I get a 12" m-lok handguard I should be in the clear in my relation to the gas block shouldn't I Woodstock.

Mark
It should work fine. I was just saying you may not be able to mount anything right where your gas block is located under the hand guard.
I just measured one I have in the safe that has mid length gas and 12" hand guard. It puts the front of the gas block right at 2" behind the end of the hand guard
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
It should work fine. I was just saying you may not be able to mount anything right where your gas block is located under the hand guard.
I just measured one I have in the safe that has mid length gas and 12" hand guard. It puts the front of the gas block right at 2" behind the end of the hand guard
Thanks Woodstock I think I'll go with the m-lok I like the looks of it over the key-mod.

Mark
 

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I have a ALG V1 M-loc handguard and I can mount most any M-loc accessory directly under the gas block(a Syrac adjustable)(it may require a slight trimming of the mounting screws, but that isn't a biggie) There is several companies making M-loc accessories, not just Magpul, M-loc isn't proprietary, but there is a requirement to stamp the product with the M-loc emblem.
 

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It seems to me that many people make keymod accessories while Magpul makes all the M-lok. I won't swear to that but that seems to be what I am seeing.
That is what it looks like after some searching. The Firearm Blog has a recent post asking forearm manufacturers which is selling more between the 2, and M-Lok is overwhelmingly more popular, but that does not address industry support for when you want to doll up the slots.

A quick search for an M-lok rail on Amazon comes back with MagPul, Strike, MI, UTG, Seekins, and a few others (maybe some airsoft mixed in). A search for KeyMod is same list, minus MagPul, add Noveske, BCM, and NcStar.

The point of both of these systems is supposed to be more efficient mounting by deleting the need for a rail section first and attach the accessory directly to the forearm. It looks like manufacturers have been more hesitant to commit though. A dedicated flashlight mount in KeyMod offers Noveske, BCM, DD, Odin, Monstrom, and Arisaka. In M-Lok you get MagPul, Odin, KAC, and Arisaka.

Still looks like a toss up. These 2 systems may just coexist in the future and the only thing that is eliminated is each rail manufacturer's own proprietary slot patterns or full machined rails.
 

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That is what it looks like after some searching. The Firearm Blog has a recent post asking forearm manufacturers which is selling more between the 2, and M-Lok is overwhelmingly more popular, but that does not address industry support for when you want to doll up the slots.

A quick search for an M-lok rail on Amazon comes back with MagPul, Strike, MI, UTG, Seekins, and a few others (maybe some airsoft mixed in). A search for KeyMod is same list, minus MagPul, add Noveske, BCM, and NcStar.

The point of both of these systems is supposed to be more efficient mounting by deleting the need for a rail section first and attach the accessory directly to the forearm. It looks like manufacturers have been more hesitant to commit though. A dedicated flashlight mount in KeyMod offers Noveske, BCM, DD, Odin, Monstrom, and Arisaka. In M-Lok you get MagPul, Odin, KAC, and Arisaka.

Still looks like a toss up. These 2 systems may just coexist in the future and the only thing that is eliminated is each rail manufacturer's own proprietary slot patterns or full machined rails.

What I see is many manufacturers making both hand guards but I haven't seen as many accesories out there for M Lok as I have Key Mod but I haven't really done any research into it either since I went with keymod from the start. That is why I said up front this was just my observation but I wouldn't swear to it.
BCM has some very nice Key Mod covers that are very thin, just snap into place and snap out if you want to modify it or add rail sections or what ever.
 

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What I see is many manufacturers making both hand guards but I haven't seen as many accesories out there for M Lok as I have Key Mod but I haven't really done any research into it either. That is why I said up front this was just my observation but I wouldn't swear to it.
BCM has some very nice Key Mod covers that are very thin, just snap into place and snap out if you want to modify it or add rail sections or what ever.
I hadn't researched until just then and asked the question earlier out of ignorance on the subject. Just sharing my findings. BCM and Noveske seem committed to KeyMod and have a pretty loyal following. Has to be some influence there.
 

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SLR has both I just liked the M-lok
 

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I've owned and used both and my opinion on each has changed as I've gained experience with both. Here is my recommendation: if you don't actually mount accessories to your rail, or only mount accessories while in your shop and seldom remove accessories once installed, then I recommend the M-LOK if you prefer the looks. If, however, you frequently swap accessories or expect to add/remove accessories while in the field then I highly recommend KeyMod.

The bottom line is that M-LOK system is "finicky" at best, and a pain in the ass, at worse. If you can't visually inspect the backside of the rail, you might find that the lugs did not properly engage and have an accessory pop off when you don't want it to. Also, as has been said, the M-LOK system extends much further into the interior of the rail which can interfere with the gas block. This can sometimes be mitigated by using shorter screws (but, again, that requires more fiddling). For large ID rails like the BAR format (e.g., Seekins MCSR or Aero Precision Enhanced), this is pretty much a non-issue.

The advantages to M-LOK are: it is backed by Magpul who produces some pretty good accessories; I think most people generally agree that it looks better than KeyMod when "naked"; it is arguably a bit stronger since the material is thicker at the interface. Note that this last point is the result of it being designed for PLASTIC, for which the KeyMod system just doesn't work.

Here is a pic of two accessories mounted on an AP enhanced M-LOK Rail. You can see how far they protrude.


The advantages to KeyMod, however are: it is super simple and quick to install (you can mess it up, believe me, but generally it's much more foolproof IMO); is flush (or near flush) on the inside of the rail; is supported by BCM who makes some fantastic accessories. The flush mounting on the inside of the rail can be critical for skinny rails with long gas systems where you are likely to want to mount an accessory under the gas block (such as a bipod adapter). The only real downside to KeyMod is that many don't like the "industrial shelving" look. If that bothers you, check out the BCM KeyMod panel covers. They are cheap, awesome, and IMO improve the look. The only real complaint I have with KeyMod is that I'm not thrilled with any of the bipod adapters on the market. The Magpul M-LOK bipod mount is nice but obviously not available in KeyMod. I have a DD Bipod mount which is solid, it's just a bit chunkier and protrudes more than I'd like.

Here is a pic of the BCM KeyMod panel covers on an Aero Precision enhanced KeyMod Rail. I love the feel of this arrangement.


Oh, and biggest advantage of the KeyMod is simple: KMR Alpha. Awesome rail.



Given all that, I've reversed my opinion on M-LOK and am now in the process of selling off all things M-LOK and replacing it with KeyMod because that is the system that works best FOR ME. Ultimately, the differences are pretty minor and I know that many/most don't even mount accessories to their ARs which makes the differences beyond aesthetics most moot.
 

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Thanks for the objective pro/con BoilerUp.

I have mounted exactly 1 M-lok rail in my life, and boogered up one of the anchor points initially. It had not fully rotated into the slot and as I tightened it, it rounded off a piece of of the plastic slot (MOE handguard). It then wanted to rotate as I turned the screw.
 
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