Rail Integration System

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KeyMod and M-LOK handguards from various manufacturers. The tops of these handguards feature Picatinny rails. These handguards were used in a KeyMod™ vs. M-LOK™ Modular Rail System comparison in 2017 by the US Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division.

Rail Interface System (RIS, sometimes also referred to as Rail Accessory System, RAS) is a generic term for a system for attaching accessories to small firearms such as pistols, rifles and light machine guns.

Common accessories include tactical lights, laser aiming modules, forward hand grips for improving weapon handling, telescopic sights for medium-ranged or distant targets, and reflex sights/red-dot sights for short to medium-ranged targets, iron sight lines, bipods, and bayonets.

Most RIS equipment is compatible with one or more of the most common rail systems, all of which are broadly similar:

  • Dovetail rail Earlier system,can only be uses compression without extra hardware stopping movement on parallel plane.
  • Weaver rail mount - an early system, still popular in the civilian market
  • Picatinny rail (MIL-STD-1913) - standardized US military version
  • NATO Accessory Rail - developed from MIL-STD-1913
  • Keymod - open standard design to replace MIL-STD-1913 for mounting accessories (except for scope mounts)
  • M-LOK, a free licensed competing standard to KeyMod

These are used primarily in the military and by firearm enthusiasts to improve the usability of the weapon, being accessorized quickly and efficiently without requiring the operator to field-strip the weapon. Basic systems such as small rails (20mm is standard) with holes machined in them to be screwed onto the existing hand-guard of a rifle and can cost as little as US$25 to US$40. More advanced systems allow for numerous accessories to be mounted simultaneously and can cost upwards of US$200.

See also[edit]

  • UIT rail, an older standard used for mounting slings particularly on competition firearms
  • Sling swivel, older standard used for mounting slings, particularly on hunting firearms
  • KeyMod vs. M-LOK comparison [1]
  • KeyMod Rail Integrated System release by Military times [1]
  • MAgpul FAQ pdf on MLok rain Integration System [2]
  • KeyMod vs. M-Lok: The Next AR Rail Standard by Chris Baker, November 19, 2014[3]
  • Naval Special Warfare Center Crane Division report on 2 Modular Rail Integrated Systems [4]
  • KeyMod VS MLok Comparison 2014[5]
  • MLok and KeyMod Comparison 3 years later 2017[6]


  1. ^ Curtis, Rob. "VLTOR gives the keymod tdp to you". Militarytimes.com. Archived from the original on 2014-02-26. Retrieved 2013-04-09.
  3. ^ KeyMod vs. M-Lok: The Next AR Rail Standard by Chris Baker, November, 19, 2014
  4. ^ KeyMod vs. M-LOK Modular Rail System Comparison, Presented by Caleb McGee, Naval Special Warfare Center Crane Division, 4 May 2017 full pdf on page
  5. ^ Slowik, Max. "New Open-Source KeyMod Universal Mounting System by Vltor". Guns.com. Retrieved 3 August 2015.
  6. ^ M-LOK vs KeyMod comparison 2017