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Results From Defense Department Testing of M-LOK and KeyMod Platforms

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As you may have recently heard, M-LOK finally sealed the deal on the long argument of which modular accessory rail system was better.

The official report points out that both systems performed adequately for modular mounting of multiple accessories under all test conditions. In other words, they both work. Both systems were tested from three manufacturers: Aero PrecisionMidwest Industries, and Seekins. That’s six handguards, installed on 14.5 inch barrels.

All of the rails passed the maximum cyclic rate and rough handling tests with flying colors.

The drop test showed some clear differences, however. Six drops at six positions for each guard, from 5 feet above a steel plate. Enough to smash your flashlight or laser sight. The results were clear. Out of 6 rifles, all of the KeyMod systems were loosened, and two of them lost their accessories. The tiny beveled bridge between the key-slots showed cracking. The M-LOKs? Two of the systems allowed the mounts to slide a tiny bit, but the accessories remained secured to the rail. Clear victory for M-LOK.

Failure load testing (trying to pull accessories directly off the rail by force) showed that the M-LOK accessories sustained on average 215% more force than their KeyMod counterparts. To be clear, enough force was applied to bend the picatinny rail into an arch away from the guard. The rails were pulled away, as if you were tugging them directly off. You know, with a winch.

Repeatability testing was the clear decider, and the results most amazing. In this test, a sighting system was installed and removed several times to test the shift in point of aim when installed on the same part of the grip repeatedly. Minimum, maximum, and average POA shift was observed. The results. The KeyMod sight moved from 0.2 to 14.6 MOA with an average shift of 4.9. The M-LOK moved 0.0 to 6.6 with an average of 1.3. Which would you prefer on your sighting system? While direct mounted accessories are rarely meant to be hot-swapped by themselves (unless built for this purpose with a quick-detach system) the results are clear.

Decisively, the winner of this little competition was the M-LOK system. Sorry if that hurts your feelings, but in this case the numbers are not lying, and the results could hardly be misrepresented in any form or fashion. M-LOK is sturdier, more reliable, and more accurate than KeyMod. Which one will look better on your AR-15? Well, I’ll leave that decision to you, but that might have to do with the Cerakote job that you go with. Just know that as a result of this decision, M-LOK is more likely to hang around for a long time. I won’t discuss sales figures, because that seems to be its own argument on the forums.

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