Transformer rail – one choice to rule them all

People say that the AR-15 is adult Legos. The only problem is, it’s Lego’s if every different colored block has a different connection mechanism. Reds can only connect to reds, yellows to yellows, etc. We started with picatinny rails and the accessories to match. Then KeyMod was introduced. If you have ever seen modular shelving units, you know KeyMod. Magpul decided that a better option was their ‘open-source’ M-LOK. Consumers flocked to each option, so manufacturers made their widgets in multiple formats and the clutter has grown.As a consumer you end up with an AR with a KeyMod rail. You buy KeyMod attachments and go about your life happy. Oh, hey look, Magpul released a new widget, but it’s only M-LOK. You’re faced with the choice of moving your AR over to the new standard, relegating your old accessories to the parts box. That irritates me. In digital media we were faced with some format wars. Ask anyone who bought HD DVD equipment how they feel with their antiquated, useless equipment. Or ask anyone who owns Star Wars in 4 different formats.

Manticore Arms recently introduced a fix to the problem by engineering a new rail system based on a concept by KM3 Solutions. Enter the Transformer rail. A very nice looking AR-15 handguard that sports 6 separate areas that allow inserts of different kinds to be attached. Have a KeyMod flashlight mount and an M-LOK foregrip? No problem. The inserts are recessed and attached by two machine screws. The rail sports reinforced screw bosses for extra strength. There are eight quick detach mount points in the rail. If no mount points are required, there are polymer inserts in two different patterns that will cover the panel area. Additionally they have engineered an easy to install barrel nut. Offset attachment holes allow easy alignment. If you’ve installed a standard barrel nut, the Transformer rail will be a treat. The end result is an attractive, comfortable and versatile handguard that not only covers existing mounting schemes but is future proof for any other ‘standards’ that are introduced.

The initial product offering is 13″ long, comes with 3 polymer insert panels, 3 connection panels in either M-LOK or KeyMod, the barrel nut, barrel wrench and all mounting hardware. It will be priced at under $250.

We’ll have some to work with very soon but our initial hands on experience was very positive.


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