AR-15 Rail Systems

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If you’re considering which AR-15 rail system is the right choice for your next build, Wing Tactical is here to help. Explore our collection of rail systems (Picatinny, KeyMod, and M-LOK rails) and accessories to complete your custom rifle.

Midwest Industries M-LOK rail with multiple barrels and bolt carrier.

AR-15 Rail Systems 101

The AR-15 has been around for more than five decades, but it's more than just a gun — it's a unique, multifaceted platform with a modular design allowing for endless configurations, upgrades, and customization. Stock AR-15s feature a full-length, plastic handguard, but for many shooters, an aftermarket rail system is the key to unlocking the most potential from their firearms.

Aftermarket AR-15 rail systems are modular, making them quick and easy to install. Once in place, these systems allow users to customize their AR to meet their exact needs. At Wing Tactical, we carry a wide range of aftermarket rail systems, so you can upgrade your firearms whenever possible.

As you browse our inventory of rail systems, you'll see several handguard and rail combinations to choose from. Each system offers unique features, and you'll want to learn about the pros and cons to be sure you choose the right one for your personal firearm.

Beyond the typical plastic clamshells from the factory, handguards will typically fall into these two categories:

  • Drop-in rail systems are an entry-level upgrade option. They’re quick to install without any modifications to your gun. You can mount some accessories on them, though they’re not the most flexible due to their simple installation method.
  • A free float rail system attaches to the receiver and surrounds the barrel without touching it, leaving the barrel free of impingement and optimizing performance.

The rail system itself is typically an integral part of the handguard. Additional rail sections can be attached to the guard via adapters.

ERGO M-LOK Superlite free float modular rail system with Picatinny rail

Picatinny Rails

The "Pic rail" features a sawtooth design that locks accessories in place. Since it's the oldest type of system, there are many compatible accessories available. Many handguards and rail systems feature a Picatinny rail in addition to other rail patterns for additional customization potential.

Kaw Valley Precision Konza KeyMod handguard in three sizes

KeyMod Rails

The KeyMod rail system employs a negative space attachment design with a series of key-shaped holes machined into its surface. Attachments are inserted into the larger end of the slot and slid forward to lock in.

Midwest Industries suppressor compatible M-LOK handguard

M-LOK Rails

The newest rail system on the market, M-LOK rails feature a series of uniform slots instead of keyholes and are widely considered to be the strongest and most secure way to mount accessories.

Wing Tactical: Your Top Source for Firearm Components and Accessories

At Wing Tactical, we carry a wide selection of aftermarket rail systems and accessories you can use to upgrade your AR-15. We only stock products we would use on our own firearms, so you can shop with confidence that our components are of the best possible quality.

Our friendly, knowledgeable team can help you determine which system most closely meets your needs and which attachments are right for your AR-15 railsystem. When you shop with Wing Tactical, you can also take advantage of the following benefits:

  • Fast shipping – Most orders ship out on the same day they're placed, so you'll get your new rail system quickly.
  • Hassle-free returns – Our 30-day return policy allows you to return most items with no restocking fee and no questions asked.
  • LEO/military discount – We offer a discount program for LEOs, active military personnel, and first responders.

Start unlocking your AR-15's full potential by selecting a new rail system and accessories for your firearm. Shop online today or get in touch with our team for help.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I upgrade my rail system?

Adding a new handguard and rail system gives you access to a world of new accessories for your AR-15. Adding accessories along your rail is the easiest way to upgrade your firearm, and anything you install can be moved around and swapped out as needed to keep your gun suited for the task at hand.

Rail systems are also a great way to add personal style to your AR-15. These systems come in a wide range of colors, patterns, and designs, so you can mix or match to customize your gun and create a truly one-of-a-kind look.

Which rail system should I get for my AR-15?

In today's vast market, there's likely a rail system (with compatible accessories) available to meet the needs of almost any shooter. Choosing the right system is just a matter of figuring out your priorities and determining which is the best match.

Factors to consider when choosing your new rail system include budget, rail weight, accessory availability, and the installation process. Drop-in handguards are the easiest to install, though free float systems provide more stability for accessories like optics or bipods.

What attachments can you install to the rail?

AR-15 rail-mounted accessories can be easily added, adjusted, or removed as needed. There's an expansive range of accessories designed to be compatible with each rail system, so you'll likely find the parts you want regardless of which system you choose.

handguard attachments graphic

Some of the most popular AR-15 rail-mounted accessories include:

How many accessories can I add to my rail?

While you can add as many accessories to your gun as you want, remember that each one adds weight. As a general rule, it's best to spend some time thinking about the function and purpose of your accessories and choosing only the ones vital to your desired application. You can always swap them out if you encounter a situation requiring different tools.