What is M-LOK?
M-Lok stands for Modular Lock and is a mounting system developed and patented by Magpul Industries. It represents a further development of the MOE system (also from Magpul).
The MOE system was introduced in 2007, together with the Magpul Masada (later Bushmaster ACR) and went into production in 2009. Special MOE hand guard systems and the suitable accessories (weapon lights, fore grips, Picatinny adapters etc.) were offered. In 2014 the conversion to the new standard M-LOK took place.
It enables accessories to be attached directly to the mounting points. These are available in the form of hollow slots. A direct competitor is the KeyMod system developed by VELTOR.
Picture: Magpul Industries
Both systems serve as replacements for the still omnipresent Picatinny rails. One difference between these two is the way they are distributed. While KeyMod as OpenSource-System is directly accessible to everyone, M-LOK is under a license. Therefore, manufacturers must first obtain an official license from Magpul to produce this.
According to Magpul, this is intended to ensure quality and compatibility between products from different manufacturers. Whether all airsoft manufacturers submit to this is not known.
What advantages does M-LOK offer?
The use of hollow slots makes hand guards / fore-end slimmer and lighter. While the weight of a quad rail system is caused by unused rails, this is eliminated when M-LOK is used. In addition, the sometimes sharp edges of a Picatinny rail are also eliminated.
Even with mounted accessories, an M-LOK hand guard is usually much narrower and lighter than a Picatinny-based one.
With real weapons there is an additional advantage due to better barrel ventilation.
How does M-LOK work?
The accessories are mounted directly in the hollow slot. It is simply inserted and then locked in place. A video directly from Magpul probably explains this best:
Disadvantages of M-LOK?
So far we are not aware of any technical disadvantages of M-LOK compared to picatinny rails or KeyMod. It is simply another system of mounting. Other accessories are needed.
The M-LOK system of a PDW 9mm SBR from King Arms
However, accessories only fit this system and are not directly compatible with the other two systems. It is also possible to mount Picatinny accessories through adapters.
M-LOK and Airsoft – An estimation for the future
Even though there has been a war of faith between supporters of KeyMod and M-LOK for a long time, especially in the field of real firearms, the winner seems slowly clear. And this one comes from Magpul.
KeyMod will not disappear overnight, but it is losing more and more relevance. Especially the many different tests of the US Armed Forces have cemented this. For example, the new M110A1 based on the G28 from H&K is delivered with an M-LOK hand guard instead of the KeyMod based HKey system.
Many Airsoft manufacturers still manufacture weapons in both systems, whereby only the versions with M-LOK system usually appear at the dealers.
And the system offers the Airsoft player the same advantages as real weapons. The hand guard becomes lighter and narrower and less and less senseless accessories are used. The time of weapons where every rail is at least covered with something is nearing its end. Sometimes the question arose, if these systems only serve to install rail panels?
The current trend towards ever lighter “low-profile” weapons is favoured by the newer systems and one can expect to see more of them in the future.
Posts with some M-LOK in it
King Arms PDW/PCC with MP5 magazines With the ARP-9 a new trend began, which many other manufacturers also followed. Compact lightweight PCC airsoft guns. The only drawback is often the purpose-built magazines. Since the IWA 2018, however, we have been observing an airsoft weapon with a decisive difference. It uses magazines that [...]
The KOMODO in a Limited Edition Hyperdouraku shows KOMODO from the CXP-MARS series by ICS Airsoft. A modern AR-15 variation with M-LOK hand guard, Picatinny toprail and collapsible stock. This limited version is especially remarkable for its grey colour. He has built it up a little bit like a DMR for the [...]
Compact M4 PDW's made by Lancer Tactical The current trend of compact M4 replicas is ongoing. To describe them as PDW, even if the term does not quite fit, as well. So what makes the new Pro-Line Battle Hawk PDW's from Lancer Tactical special? Now let's start with the price. Lancer [...]
Not just another M4 I guess we've all heard that sentence before. And in the end it's all about another M4. That is not different in this case. And the G&G SR15 E3 MOD 2 is definitely interesting in one regard. It's not an ultra-compact PDW or PCC, which is usually [...]
6mm Media on the DAS GBLS DDR15 AEG's with recoil are certainly not a new invention. If, however, the handling feels like the real model + a proper recoil, then it can only be the GBLS system. 6mm Media took a closer look at this system and especially the GDR15 at the [...]
King Arms PDW/PCC with MP5 magazines With the ARP-9 a new trend [...]
The KOMODO in a Limited Edition Hyperdouraku shows KOMODO from the CXP-MARS [...]
Compact M4 PDW's made by Lancer Tactical The current trend of compact [...]
Not just another M4 I guess we've all heard that sentence before. [...]
6mm Media on the DAS GBLS DDR15 AEG's with recoil are certainly not [...]