StrangerDanger Posted June 11, 2009 Share Posted June 11, 2009 I received my Sidearmor rail in the mail today. This rail system has generally been given a thumbs down in the past mainly due to the out of spec Picatinny rail system. I saw value in the system due to the retention of the factory handguards and the ability to mount the weapon light parallel with the barrel. This keeps the weapon light out of the vicinity of your hands on the handguard. A velcroed tape switch to the factory handguard would work great. A properly placed light with a momentary rear cap could be activated via your thumb. The top rail is closer to picatinny spec than the factory unit. The raised locators are thicker, and part of the center cut is left in tack. While it isn't true spec as being a solid locator, it is better. Without getting too technical, there is more meat on the rails than on the factory one. In the current configuration, a true spec picatinny rail could not be used on the Sidearmor rail because it would obstruct the iron sight view. The rail sits slightly higher than the factory one. I attempted to use a ladder rail from Surefire, but it completely blocked the view. It sits up higher because the rail itself is sitting on top of a base that conforms to the top of the receiver. This wider base adds lateral stability to the rail. The Sidearmor rail is attached with five hexhead screws. It also does away with the washers like the factory unit has. At the front, there is a barrel clamp that indexes and attaches just ahead of the handguards where the barrel casting supports the magazine tube. Once the barrel clamp is installed, the top rail aligns with the clamp and has a captive spring loaded knob that links the barrel and the top rail together. This offers much needed support to the front of the rail. No tools are needed to disassemble and clean the weapon. The side rails are proprietary to the Sidearmor top rail. The top unit has a dove tail that their shell carrier and side rails engage. Then they are screwed into place. Sidearmor offers two different size side rails. The rail comes with a long rail. I purchased a small rail for my light. I may purchase a small to replace the longer one for my sling mount to reduce weight and bulk. I decided to give their shell carrier a try. I have tried the Tacstar and the Mesa unit in the past. This one is by far the better of the set. It uses a spring loaded detent to retain the shell in place. It is also easy to remove. Two bolts, and it comes off. It only holds four rounds, so it is relatively light weight. I had no issues carrying the weapon slung on a brass hunt I went on earlier today. Mounting my front sling mount to this rail was better than on the Surefire M80 rail. The rifle seems to hang a little better being higher up. It also keeps the sling away from the handguard. The sling is out of the way of the shell carrier also. Kip's Picatinny rail is a much more solid rail. If you're primary purpose is mounting an optic with a rock solid mount, his is the way to go. Weights Sidearmor claims that the rail weighs around 11 ounces with one full length side rail installed. They didn't mention that you are removing 1.5 ounces by removing the factory top rail. The small side rail I added is around 1 ounce. The shell carrier is approximately 4 ounces. A stock Benelli M4 weighs approximately 8.5 pounds unloaded. Mine, fully loaded weighs around 11 pounds. 12 gauge rounds weigh quite a bit of it. There are 12 rounds in/on the weapon. Overall, I'm happier with the rail than I had expected. A lot more thought went into it than you can see from their webpage. They performed a lot of lightening cuts on the underside of the rail. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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