Is the quad rail obsolete? The answer to that question is a resounding YES. In the not so recent past the rise of quad rail systems was stunning to see. It seemed like every week a new manufacturer was coming out with a new length rail system or a new fastening system to make their quad rail unique and different. Larue, Daniel Defense, Yankee Hill and Machine, Knights Armament and Midwest Industries all fought for rail supremacy and military contracts.

While no one will deny the positive features that the quad rail offered over the standard round two piece AR15 hand guards they replaced, many will argue it was a waypoint in a progression towards a better overall design that was waiting to replace it. The quad rail was not perfect but it was the best available option at a time of great transition and change in the world of firearms.

The modern quad rail that we are use to seeing started it’s life in 1995 when the design was sent to the Picatinny Arsenal for a lengthy test and evaluation period and would later come to be known as Mil-STD 1913. Some of our readers may not remember a time in history before red dot optics and AR-15’s downloaded with accessories and laser designators on them, but I assure you there was a time. The Late 1990’s was an amazing time for gun owners, it was the first time that red dot style optics could be purchased on a working mans wage and people began to use their AR-15’s as the Barbie doll of the gun world, all via the Picatinny style quad rail.

Top: Key Mod from BCM Middle: Geissle M -Lok Bottom: Larue Tactical Quad Rail

Quad Rail Problems

While quad rails were revolutionary in 1995 things were not to remain so as the rails hit the shooting market and military units across the globe. The first problem with quad rails is the end user, and that may sound harsh but follow my logic. The problem with a lot of rails is that some people will try to attach every gadget known to man to them and fill all the space with “needed” gear. This percentage of the shooting world just can’t say no to the latest gizmo to let dangle from their gun, and quickly a 7lb AR15 turned into a 11 lb AR15 full of add ons. we all know that guy, we just don’t want to admit it

My personal issue with my Larue quad rail doesn’t have anything to do with the quality of the material, the fit or finish, its the basic design works on my hands about as well as a cheese grater. Even with gloves trying to manipulate and do drills with my quad rail that requires my hands to slide just rips them to pieces. I’ve tried using gloves and they provide temporary relief then are also torn and ripped.

After a few years of frustration I took a hard look at my quad rail and realized that I only needed a rail section on the bottom towards the front for the installation of a bipod and that was only for one of my rifles. I performed an assessment of my AR15 collection and needs and decided right then that things would be changing in my AR15 collection in relation to hand guards.

Quad Rail Solutions