Magpul is well known for making first-rate AR15 platform furniture. Their MOE line of stocks, pistol grips and handguards in particular has seen great market success due to its superior functionality, quality and usability at a very reasonable price.
Magpul recently modified and expanded their line of MOE handguards to accommodate piston uppers and also midlength and rifle length gas systems; while these have been well received, they contain what many consider to be a rare design misstep on Magpul's part - a slot pattern on the midlength and rifle length handguards that is not conducive to adding a sling attachment point at the rear side of the handguard, one of the most popular arrangements for tactical slinging.
Impact Weapons Components, LLC (IWC) is a small company located in Timnath, CO that specializes in CNC manufacturing. They have made a big splash in a very short time by providing US designed and made accessories for the AR15, mostly in their 'Mount-N-Slot' line of direct mount products. One feature common to IWC's products is a clean, smart design - you can easily identify a product as being IWC at first glance, they have a common 'look'. They are very responsive to shooter's needs and actively solicit input from their customers.
I've been following the development of IWC's latest limited rotation QD mount for several months now, and when Earl at IWC offered me the chance to test and evaluate it in one of my midlength MOE handguards I jumped at the chance. (My Momma didn't raise no fools.) Please note the QD MICRO MOUNT-N-SLOT shown here is an unfinished production sample - it is in the final configuration except for application of the black oxide corrosion protection finish that is common to all IWC products.
IWC's new QD MICRO is designed for dual duty - it direct mounts into any of the holes in a Troy TRX Extreme handguard (yes, even the 1, 4, 7 and 11:00 positions!) but it was also designed to be applicable to all MOE handguards via the drilling of a single 1/2' hole. This MOE modification is very easily done by the user - if I can do it, anyone can.
The mount itself is a little jewel of modern CNC manufacturing. It's solid steel and has been pared down to be just what's needed for the job with no waste. I forgot to toss it on my gram scale before mounting but it is advertised as being less than a quarter ounce. It inserts into a single 1/2' hole from the inside of the handguard and is retained by a 'Spirolock' device on the outside assisted by a pair of setscrews from the inside to prevent the mount from rotating. This is a smart design on the part of IWC - it places all the slinging stresses in compression against the inside of the handguard instead of in tension on the thread of fasteners. All the Spirolock really needs to do is prevent the QD socket from being pressed into the handguard, something it does very effectively. The QD fits well in the space between heat shield and handguard with no issues; I like how it uses a single hole instead of a pair of holes that must be precisely placed. It incorporates a limited rotation feature, too.
OK, enough background - how to install this puppy?
Here are the QD components and what I used to install it into my midlength MOE handguard. For tools, I used a 1/2' Forstner bit in a cordless drill for the main hole, a 1/8' drill bit for spotting the setscrew locations and a hobby knife for cleaning up the hole after drilling - any knife will do. Not shown is a small flat bladed jewelers screwdriver that I found to be helpful in installing the Spirolock retainer.
I first taped the outer and inner surfaces of my MOE to allow measuring and marking and also to protect against tool slips. I projected the slot edges using a steel rule and a pencil and determined the hole's location.
I then lightly marked the drill location with a center punch and drilled it with a 1/2' Forstner bit in a cordless drill. Go easy and let the bit do the work - Magpul uses a tough polymer for their handguard.
After the hole was drilled I lightly cleaned up the hole edges by chamfering both sides with a hobby knife.
Next, I threaded the setscrews into the back of the mount but kept them below flush of the front surface. I inserted and held the QD in place and installed the Spirolock device. It's designed very much like a split keychain ring, you need to gently spread the coil and walk it into the retaining slot. The QD has two slots to accommodate both the thickness of a TRX-E and the thinner MOE - I installed the Spirolock into the outer slot then repeated the process to move it to the inner slot. It's very similar to installing a McFarland gas ring, you gently twist it on like a Slinky. I used a small flat blade jewelers screwdriver to spread the coils and prod the Spirolock into place.
Magpul's polymer is tough enough that the setscrews work best if you lightly dimple their location on the inside surface of the MOE. I positioned the mount and lightly tightened down the setscrews to mark their position, then backed them off and rotated the QD 90 degrees to expose the spots that were just made. I then centerpunched the positions and used a 1/8' drill bit from the inside to make a pair of shallow dimples for the tips of the setscrews to bed against.
Last, I rotated the QD back into position, put a dab of threadlocking compound on the setscrew threads and tightened them down. These setscrews do not need to be overly tightened - all they do is snug the QD down and prevent it from spinning in the hole. Don't gorilla them - 'farmer tight' is too tight!
The result is a low profile, low mass limited rotation QD socket that integrates seamlessly into the MOE handguard.
Many thanks to Earl and the crew at IWC for making this much needed accessory and for giving me the opportunity to get a sneak preview! I think these will be available on their website in the next few weeks, I'm told the production run is off at the finisher's right now.
ETA: I found a better way of marking the setscrew positions.
Iwc Slot N Mount Olive
Iwc Slot N Mount Vernon
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