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I know, I know...Keymod vs M-lok Login/Join 
Web Clavin Extraordinaire
Picture of Oat_Action_Man
posted
Having never followed the 9 vs. .45 du jour in the gun community, I'm going to ask for advice on Keymod vs. M-lok.

I currently have only 1 Keymod rail system; all my others are Picatinny. I am very much in favor of moving away from Picatinny for my future projects because it's much easier for me to grip non-Pic forearms. Hence why I went with Keymod on the AR10 I just finished.

I'm about to dive into a BCM to compliment my LMT MRP (which is waiting on its Form 1).

Plan for the BCM is to go 14.5" with a perm. attached FH while until a Form 1 comes back on it, at which point I'm going to go to a 9" BCM 300 BLK upper.

Since I only have 1 Keymod gun (and it's a DMR type AR10), should I go Keymod on the BCM or go M-lok?

I'm not crazy about having accessories floating around which don't work on a host of guns, so upping my mounting systems to 3 is not the best idea, IMO. But if M-lok is truly superior, I'll go with that.

So what are the ACTUAL benefits of one vs. the other? Should I add that third system in and standardize to that, or should I just stick with Keymod?


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Posts: 17850 | Location: SE PA | Registered: January 12, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Fighting the good fight
Picture of RogueJSK
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Ah, yes. The great "Keymod vs. MLOK" debate has been raging for the past 5+ years. The market is pretty much split between both systems, with neither system completely dominating yet, although it seems the balance may be shifting towards MLOK lately. The military did some testing a year or so back, and found the MLOK attachment system can stand up to a bit more abuse before failure. So the neckbeards have started pointing towards that as the "definitive proof" that MLOK is "better". However, the Keymod system allows the accessories to be installed more easily than MLOK, and I've never had any of my Keymod accessories fail, despite being knocked around quite a bit. But then I'm not completely abusing my rifles, and neither are the vast majority of AR users.

There are a number of good choices for both Keymod and MLOK handguards on the market these days, so it mainly comes down to personal preference. (The main complaint most folks have against Keymod is purely cosmetic... They don't like the "cheap shelving" or "dick-shaped" look of the Keymod cutouts.) If you already have Keymod and like it, I don't really see any reason to add MLOK to the mix. There's nothing that makes it definitively "superior".

I have both Keymod and MLOK on various rifles, and having used both, I personally prefer Keymod. The cosmetics don't bother me, and I like Keymod's simplified attachment system compared to MLOK's more fidgety attachment system. But the both work just fine.


Just note that while there are any number of accessories for either MLOK or Keymod, some companies only make MLOK accessories and some only make Keymod accessories. So if there's a certain accessory from a specific company you're wanting to put on that rifle, you might want to check to see if it's available for MLOK, Keymod, or both. That could push you towards one type of handguard over the other.
 
Posts: 20973 | Location: Northwest Arkansas | Registered: January 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Go ahead punk, make my day
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The military supposedly did testing and MLOK was found to be 'superior'.

Personally I find Keymod easier/faster to install correctly than MLOK, although MLOK isn't hard. There definitely is more work to get MLOK on correctly the first time.

I have both and once you have it installed, you really can't tell the difference. The weapon feels how the weapon feels.

Of course if a person play Barbie dress up AR more than you shoot, maybe there is an advantage to standardization on one or the other.
 
Posts: 38976 | Registered: July 12, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Bolt Thrower
Picture of Voshterkoff
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Holding them side by side it's easy to see how the mlok slots are more structurally sound than the keymod cutouts. I only have one keymod rail but any future rails will be mlok.
 
Posts: 8113 | Location: Woodinville, WA | Registered: March 30, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I have tons of both, not a hoot of difference in general. But at this point I think Mlok is winning so if I'm ordering something and I have a choice I get mlok.


“So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong, and strike at what is weak.”
 
Posts: 6950 | Registered: October 14, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I have both.
The only thing that (in my opinion) gives one a leg up over the other is this:
https://kineticdg.com/product-category/kinect/

KDG has some absolutely fantastic mlok mounts which snap on/off easily - and are very secure.


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Posts: 831 | Location: Cary, NC | Registered: June 04, 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Fighting the good fight
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quote:
Originally posted by creslin:
https://kineticdg.com/product-category/kinect/

KDG has some absolutely fantastic mlok mounts which snap on/off easily - and are very secure.


Nifty. I'll have to give those a try.

I figure if someone comes up with a MLOK attachment system that's just as easy (or easier) to attach than Keymod, while retaining the extra reported strength of the standard MLOK attachment, that would be the final word in the Great Debate.

Perhaps KDG has found that magic bullet?
 
Posts: 20973 | Location: Northwest Arkansas | Registered: January 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I don't get what exactly the kinetic offers. If -for example- I put a rail section on my keymod or mlok fore end its because I need a rail to attach something that's not Keymod or Mlok. I would expect whatever is on the rail to come on or off not the rail?
In addition and this might be somewhat off the topic but KDG simply did not stand behind their products on the SCAR issues, so I wouldn't trust them -ever-. FWIW.


“So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong, and strike at what is weak.”
 
Posts: 6950 | Registered: October 14, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Fighting the good fight
Picture of RogueJSK
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quote:
Originally posted by hrcjon:
I don't get what exactly the kinetic offers. If -for example- I put a rail section on my keymod or mlok fore end its because I need a rail to attach something that's not Keymod or Mlok. I would expect whatever is on the rail to come on or off not the rail?


Right. But it's KDG's attachment system itself that has me intrigued.
 
Posts: 20973 | Location: Northwest Arkansas | Registered: January 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I prefer MLok, I think it looks better and it is compatible with the misc. Magpul items I already had.

I don't think it matters much either way though.




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Posts: 3540 | Location: Oregon | Registered: October 02, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of lkdr1989
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+++KDG Kinect, very easy to move my lights around if I want.

quote:
Originally posted by creslin:
I have both.
The only thing that (in my opinion) gives one a leg up over the other is this:
https://kineticdg.com/product-category/kinect/

KDG has some absolutely fantastic mlok mounts which snap on/off easily - and are very secure.




...let him who has no sword sell his robe and buy one. Luke 22:35-36 NAV

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Posts: 3214 | Location: Valley, Oregon | Registered: June 03, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of heisrizn
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My opinion, and that's not worth much.

M-lok all the way

I have a feeling keymod will go the way of the HD-DVD. M-Lok will be the Blu-ray of the Industry.

1. Magpul is M-Lok
2. Machining keymod is much more involved.
3. Magpul is M-lok.


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Posts: 1312 | Location: Fayetteville, NC | Registered: April 05, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Armed and Gregarious
Picture of DMF
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quote:
Originally posted by RogueJSK:
Ah, yes. The great "Keymod vs. MLOK" debate has been raging for the past 5+ years. The market is pretty much split between both systems, with neither system completely dominating yet, although it seems the balance may be shifting towards MLOK lately. The military did some testing a year or so back, and found the MLOK attachment system can stand up to a bit more abuse before failure. So the neckbeards have started pointing towards that as the "definitive proof" that MLOK is "better". However, the Keymod system allows the accessories to be installed more easily than MLOK, and I've never had any of my Keymod accessories fail, despite being knocked around quite a bit. But then I'm not completely abusing my rifles, and neither are the vast majority of AR users.
Yeah, the testing was done by Crane. Problems with return to zero, for the laser attachment, were attributed mainly due to user error. Problems with failure of the rail were in a test where the rifles were dropped from five feet on to a steel plate, so it impacted on a mounted accessory.

Did M-Lok perform better? Sure, but most users will never come within a fraction of the abuse of the testing, and won't be quickly trying to remove then replace a laser.

99.9% of the people saying Keymod is bad, are just posers who will never use their guns hard enough to even scratch them. Same with those who obsess about having a CHF barrel.

That said, now that the posers have seen that the "cool guys" did some testing, and the test showed the M-Lok is marginally "better," that will probably give M-Lok more momentum moving forward.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: DMF,


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Posts: 12220 | Location: Nomad | Registered: January 10, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
addicted to trailing-throttle oversteer
Picture of soggy_spinout
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KeyMod is a little easier for me to work with, doesn't take as long to attach to as M-LOK does. M-LOK frankly looks better, which for us civilians matters more than anything else if customer comments are to be believed. Personally I never had a problem with my three KeyMod guns looking like warehouse shelving, but I can understand that for some there might be some aesthetic preference of one over the other.

USSOCOM says M-LOK holds gear more securely with less shift when laser equipment is installed onto KeyMod and M-LOK, sighted, removed with their rails then reinstalled onto their respective KeyMod or M-LOK host. They also found that M-LOK is considerably more structurally sound during drop tests, with less damage caused to the host if the connection fails and the mounted gear breaks away, which happened more often with KeyMod than M-LOK. They did find that KeyMod is a bit easier to mount gear to than M-LOK, which from personal experience is no surprise. M-LOK generally requires some added fiddling in order to get the component mounted onto the host so it's not quite as simplistic as KeyMod is.

So on the surface, M-LOK wins on two of the three criteria that was tested, and clearly winning the most important aspect, structural integrity. But for me, the zero hold test criteria is moot and irrelevant, since I'd never choose to remove the rail with the gear since that requires tools. It's like taking the rail off of the top of the receiver on a bolt gun to remove the scope; it's generally NOT done as SOP. I'd rather choose and use equipment that has QD capability if that sort of modularity was ever needed, which out here for a civilian isn't a likely thing anyways. How often does one have the need to change gear on the fly? How often are we confronted with an actual mission? Besides, the tests showed that M-LOK attachments had less shift, not NO shift. Some resighting of equipment was still needed even with M-LOK.

Then comes the ease-of-use aspect, which KeyMod was judged to be superior in terms of speed of operation. Again a moot point if attachment rails are used AND left on the host, rather than taken off. Set up the rails in the comfort of your home, then use QD mounts to add and remove gear as needed when on your civilian 'missions' (yeah right). Maybe this matters for a SWAT officer but for us civilians I can't imagine a realistic scenario that such a need will ever take place. Playing 'tactical tacticool' make believe is about the only setting that comes to mind.

So for me M-LOK wins on one aspect. And it's an important one, especially if the rifle gets abused or takes a tumble. Likely as a result of this USSOCOM testing M-LOK will win out in the end, which should make Magpul very, very happy. Frankly it's because of that 800lb gorilla known as Magpul that I've held out with KeyMod rather than sign fully on with M-LOK. I'm that way sometimes, rooting for the underdog. Especially if it's the homelier one.
 
Posts: 8414 | Location: Drippin' wet | Registered: April 18, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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So hypothetically, if I had a couple of spare lowers in the safe and was toying with the notion of building an uber-lightweight carbine (pencil barrel, LW furniture, micro RDS, no BUIS), what would my best option for the handguard be? I wouldn't be anticipating mounting anything on the rail except MAYBE a WML, and I'd want a QD sling attachment point. My current carbine has the stock black plastic tubular handguard, and the light and sling QD are both on a Midwest Industries mount that clamps onto the FSB. Are keymod and mlok lighter weight than the old-school handguards? Is one of them lighter than the other?
 
Posts: 5407 | Location: Portland, OR | Registered: February 12, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Fighting the good fight
Picture of RogueJSK
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quote:
Originally posted by Expert308:
Are keymod and mlok lighter weight than the old-school handguards?


They're generally lighter than the old style quad-rail handguards. But not lighter than the basic round plastic handguards.
 
Posts: 20973 | Location: Northwest Arkansas | Registered: January 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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