AR-15 Rail Systems
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 rail systems are modular in design, making them quick and easy to install. Once in place, these systems allow users to customize their AR-15 to meet their exact needs. At Wing Tactical, we carry a wide range of aftermarket rail systems so you can upgrade your firearms whenever you please.
Types of Rail Systems
As you browse our inventory of aftermarket rail systems, you'll see that there are 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: This rail system is the base, entry-level upgrade option. It's quick to install without any modifications to your gun. You can mount some accessories on it, though it's not the most rigid due to its simple installation method.
- Free float: 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. Currently available rail systems include:
- Picatinny: 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.
- KeyMod: This 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.
- M-LOK: This newest rail system features a series of uniform slots instead of keyholes and is considered to be the strongest and most secure way to mount accessories.
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 as needed to keep your gun suited for the task at hand.
Rail systems are also a great way to add some of your 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.
AR-15 Rail Systems FAQ:
Which rail system should I get for my AR-15?
In today's vast market, there's likely a rail system 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. Some of the most popular AR-15 rail-mounted accessories include:
- Front Sights
- Sling mounts
While you can add as many accessories to your gun as you want, keep in mind that each one adds weight. As a general rule of thumb, it's best to spend some time thinking about the function and purpose of your accessories and choosing only the ones that are vital to your desired application. You can always swap them out if you encounter a situation requiring a different set of tools.
Guarantees When You Buy From Wing Tactical
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 everything is of the best possible quality.
Our friendly, knowledgeable team can help you determine which system most closely meets your needs and what attachments are good for your AR-15 rail system. 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.