On April 5th, 2011, posted in: AR Style Rifles, Gunsmithing by Comments Off

A nice review of the TRIM Rail!

Thanks, Alex!  Click on the image to get to the TRIM rail page.

Wilson Combat TRIM Handguard Review                                                                                          Alex Garnat

A new free-float handguard rail system for the AR-15 family of weapons was released during the first week of Feb 2011 by Wilson Combat. Mine must be one of the first of the production units, as I received it the second week in February. This system is a real thing of beauty. The finish and machining were, as I have come to expect from Wilson Combat, flawlessly executed. Called the TRIM rail, an acronym for Tactical Rail Interface, Modular, it is aptly named. These handguards, available in four lengths: 7.3”, 9.3”, 10.4”, and 12.6”, come with one accessory mounting rail segment. Mine is the 12.6” rifle length.

This handguard has an integrated top picatinny rail and the ability to add additional rail segments as needed by the end-user. The result is the capability to tailor the rail system to the operator’s mission-specific requirements without the disadvantages of having un-needed rails cluttering up the weapon. The attachment system for additional rails is well though-out. Wilson Combat refers to this as a Direct Mount, as it eliminates the need for and rail adaptors to secure accessories. The handguard itself is drilled and tapped for the mounting bolts of the additional rail segments. The handguard also has a pair of machined grooves that align with and support matching areas on the back of the segment. These pieces will not spin or come out of alignment.  Also built in are QD sling swivel mounting points, one on the right and one on the left side. They are of the 360 degree style, without rotation limiters.

Alignment of the top rail to the receiver was a snap as I used my rail alignment tool, then tightened the mounting bolts. The picatinny rails of the handguard matched up perfectly with the rails of the receiver. In all honesty, I was pretty surprised to find that the top rail is missing the laser engraved “T-marks” which are so prevalent on this type of equipment. I contacted Wilson Combat concerning this matter and was told that it had been decided in the planning stage to omit the T numbering system on this handguard, as it was believed to not be necessary. While I agree that it is not truly necessary, I do find that it is a nice, useful feature to have, and quite frankly, on a handguard of this quality and price point, a feature I expected to see. Perhaps, since this product is geared more to the civilian/sporting market than to the military and law enforcement field, they may be correct, as most end-users won’t be changing optics and other accessories as frequently, making the addition of the number superfluous. Numbered or not, the rails appear to be “in spec” and accepted all accessories that I mounted on them, from optics to lights, bipods and low profile rail guards.

Unfortunately, when I acquired my handguard, not all of the accessories were available, such as the vertical foregrip, the 10/2 quick detach swivel mount and additional accessory rails, so I cannot comment on them. They should be available as you read this.

I completed my build using a mid-length gas system barrel, which is covered by the rifle length handguard. Despite the small inside diameter of 1.47”, I did not encounter any problems sliding the body of the handguard over the gas block. In fact, I tried the handguard with many gas blocks, and it cleared them all. The gas blocks I used for this trial were a new style Noveske Rifleworks, a Noveske/Vltor, a Daniel Defense Mk12, a Troy low profile, a Yankee Hill Machine low profile, and a Brownell’s low profile, which is what will live on this carbine. Installation, including the three trial and error attempts for timing, took me less than ten minutes.

Adding to the simplicity and ease of installation, the barrel nut is sized to take a standard wrench, unlike most other rail/handguard systems that require a unique, proprietary, and often expensive, wrench for installation. Wilson Combat includes the two needed hex wrenches that are required to install the handguard to the barrel nut, and the accessory rail segments to the handguard.

While some handguards require an anti-rotation feature, the ingenious design of the TRIM eliminates this concern. Granted, there is not a tab that extends from the rail to engage the upper receiver to prevent the rail from spinning, but this is really not an issue. Once properly torqued, the barrel nut is not going to just spin loose. The handguard is bolted directly to the barrel nut. If this assembly starts spinning, you have bigger problems that just a loose handguard. I am not at all concerned about this handguard coming loose, once properly installed. It is a well thought-out and well engineered piece of kit from a very highly respected manufacturer.

Wilson Combat has produced yet another fantastic product, exhibiting great styling, design features, and engineering. I would rate this useful product as among the best of its kind on the market. The TRIM handguard is easily installed and end-user adaptable, making it an attractive option to many users for many applications. I am very satisfied with mine, and would highly recommend this product to others who are looking for a versatile free-floating handguard for their AR-15.