Midwest Industries Gen2 SS Series Handguard Review


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plouffedaddy
December 3, 2012, 09:52 PM
http://i96.photobucket.com/albums/l178/tiffani33/Picture3-1.png

http://i96.photobucket.com/albums/l178/tiffani33/Guns/IMG_1287.jpg

I've had the Midwest Industries Gen2 SS series handguard on my AR for about 6 months so far and figured I'd do a product review since there seems to be a lot of questions out there about these rails.

Pros:
-Lightweight (7''-7.1oz, 9''-8.3oz, 10''-8.6oz, 12''-9.3oz, 15''-10.9oz)
-Made of 6061 anodized aluminum. The anodizing is holding up well so far.
-Made in the USA.
-The narrow profile helps you really "grab on" to the handguard and stabilize the rifle.
-Comes with 3 2.5'' rail sections for mounting whatever toys you have in mind. One of the rails has an anti-rotation QD socket for sling mounting. There's also a bipod stud that comes with the rail.
-Comes in OD green, FDE, and black.
-A barrel wrench is included (not the best but it is functional).
-The slots in the rail allow for good barrel cooling. The holes just below the rail also help the gas tube cool.
-The anti-rotational system works as advertised (better explanation/visualization in the video).
-The rail sections are contoured to the shape of the rail and mount flush so there's less chance of snagging.


Cons:
-The barrel nut has to be replaced. I don't think it's a big deal but it's just an extra step vs some competitors out there.

Here's the video review with a little shooting and a discussion/demonstration of the rails' properties:

MI Gen2 SS Series Rail HD Video Review Link (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6EVazuy6tU&feature=g-upl)

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gotigers
December 3, 2012, 10:36 PM
I like MI rails. I have 2 of the Gen 1 SS-12's. Rock solid.

The Gen 2 SS rails are very light and are great for 3 gun. Small enough in diameter to get a good far out grip.

Any trouble with alignment or with the tabs bending upon tighting of the set screws? Those are the only 2 issues i have read about. I read about those over at ar15.com. It doesn't seem to be a widespread issue. I am thinking about getting a 10" Gen 2 T-series.

Thanks for the review. And nice setup.

fatcat4620
December 4, 2012, 05:46 AM
I'm telling the AK guys your playing with ARs ;)

madcratebuilder
December 4, 2012, 06:46 AM
I like MI rails. I have 2 of the Gen 1 SS-12's. Rock solid.

The Gen 2 SS rails are very light and are great for 3 gun. Small enough in diameter to get a good far out grip.

Any trouble with alignment or with the tabs bending upon tighting of the set screws? Those are the only 2 issues i have read about. I read about those over at ar15.com. It doesn't seem to be a widespread issue. I am thinking about getting a 10" Gen 2 T-series.

Thanks for the review. And nice setup.
The anti-rotation screw is the only possible weak point. It threads through the bottom of the tube and you have two threads of aluminum to tighten the screw. Very easy to strip these threads. The first tube I had did not align with the barrel, MI customer service handled the problem lightening fast. It was fixed with a new barrel nut.

gotigers
December 4, 2012, 08:11 AM
That sounds like the older Gen 1, like i have. I don't think the gen 2 has that screw. The Gen 2 has a clamping set up at the bottom of the rail with 2 screws. Alignment is via the barrel nut.

I tried to be hulk and stripped the hex out of one of those screws. MI sent a replacement at no charge. MI has great customer service.

If MI had a 10" Gen 2 SS, i would have already ordered it. So far only 12" and 15".

Boxhead
December 4, 2012, 10:38 AM
Good to read. One of their shorties should be waiting for me when I get home to throw on my also waiting PSA carbine. Nice to see someone holding one as I hoped the diameter was not too small. Looks about perfect.

MachIVshooter
December 4, 2012, 11:08 AM
Cons:
-The barrel nut has to be replaced. I don't think it's a big deal but it's just an extra step vs some competitors out there.

I can't think of any FF handguard that uses a standard barrel nut. How would such a critter mount?

I looked at MI for the FF quad on my 12.5", but I wanted a 13" guard, and MI only does a 12". I went with the UTG Pro, which I really like. US made, clean look, perfect fit, 8 QD swivel sockets, still under 1 pound with nut, barely over $100. Only bugger was how much torque I had to put on the barrel nut to get alignment right. It lined up at the minimum torque, but I wanted it tight enough that I could skip the anti rotation tabs. To get the next hole aligned, I was well over 100 ft/lbs. But I definitely don't need the tabs now........

Husker_Fan
December 4, 2012, 11:26 AM
Maybe a silly question as I've never had an AR, let alone one set put like that, but how does the flashlight hold up to muzzle blast?

MachIVshooter
December 4, 2012, 11:35 AM
but how does the flashlight hold up to muzzle blast?

A quality one will hold up fine, though it will have carbon deposits on it and could end up being discolored. The heat up there is intense, but very brief.

I personally prefer to keep them back a little.

henschman
December 4, 2012, 11:40 AM
Nice review. If I end up deciding to go free float on my PSA 20", the SS gen 2 12" is at the top of my list. I like the Troy TRX Alpha too, but they don't make them in the right length for a rifle length gas system. Strangely they do make a 12" for the .308 ARs, but not the AR-15.

plouffedaddy
December 4, 2012, 12:30 PM
Any trouble with alignment or with the tabs bending upon tighting of the set screws? Those are the only 2 issues i have read about. I read about those over at ar15.com. It doesn't seem to be a widespread issue. I am thinking about getting a 10" Gen 2 T-series.

I haven't had that issue at all. Just torqued to spec then lined it up.

I'm telling the AK guys your playing with ARs

No!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :what:

I can't think of any FF handguard that uses a standard barrel nut. How would such a critter mount?

I know the Sampson does, the Troy Bravo does as well I believe. I know there are others but they're not coming to me at the moment....

Maybe a silly question as I've never had an AR, let alone one set put like that, but how does the flashlight hold up to muzzle blast?

Not a silly question. I've never had an issue with either a Streamlight or Surefire light being damaged by recoil (and I use them on pump shotguns). That one is the Streamlight Protac HL 600 lumen beast. Here's a video showing it in action and demonstrating it's brightness:

Streamlight Protac HD Video Review Link (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hVkRlUG5pA)

JustinJ
December 4, 2012, 12:34 PM
I can't think of any FF handguard that uses a standard barrel nut. How would such a critter mount?

The troy alpha rail has screws that secure the base of the rail to the standard barrel nut, as i understand it.

gotigers
December 4, 2012, 01:56 PM
I can't think of any FF handguard that uses a standard barrel nut. How would such a critter mount?


Troy alpha rails
Samson Evolution & Rainier Arms Evolution
Daniel Defense Omega
Centurion Arms C4

ssyoumans
December 4, 2012, 02:56 PM
I have a 12" MI Gen 2 SS on my 18" 6.8 SPC. I really like it, light weight, looks good, place rails where you need them, very narrow.

To me, best lightweight handguard for the price (which isn't cheap), but not as high as some competitors.

Note: requires a low profile gas block, I used a YHM with set screws. I've heard the clamp on ones touch the FF handguard.

helotaxi
December 4, 2012, 05:00 PM
I can't think of any FF handguard that uses a standard barrel nut. How would such a critter mount?In the case of the Samson that I have, the rail is 3 pieces (though the 3rd piece is made to be removable to mount a M203 so it ca be done with 2). The main section is the upper rail and side rails. The end closest to the receiver has a groove machined around the inside that encloses the flange on the standard barrel nut. The 2nd piece is the clamp that also has a groove in it for the barrel nut flange as well as a few indexing tabs to lock it to the barrel nut and keep the rail system from rotating. It mounts to the first piece with 4 hex screws and clamps around the barrel nut. Once it's tightened, the rail isn't going anywhere without the barrel nut going with it. The third piece on this particular rail is dovetailed into the main piece and locked in with a pin very similar to the takedown pin on the receiver.

I bought one of the MI Gen 2's hoping that it would work with the Adams Arms piston system, but unfortunately, while it does clear the piston assembly, the barrel nut that it uses won't work with the piston return spring. I'll still use it with a different rifle and will still probably order 1-2 more for other rifles, but it won't work with the rifle that I was really hoping it put it on.

Caliper_RWVA
December 4, 2012, 08:39 PM
Love that rail, the slim look is veery good on an AR.

How sturdy is the sling attachment though? I do a lot pf shooting from prone using a loop sling and don't want the sling stud stripping out...

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