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Mounting Matters
Photography & Story by David Lake

Only in the last 30 years has the weapon accessory mounting solution become standardized. In decades (and century) past, scope mounts and sling attachment points have been created and crafted by individual gun builders. Many larger manufacturers’ proprietary systems have survived and become mainstream. Some odd or antique mounting configurations continue to plague their owners by limiting or even making scope mount options impossible. Assuredly, there will always be a place in this industry for the rare and obscure. As well, there will surely be increased demand and need for continued refinement and standardization among these systems.

THE APPLICATION

The tactics and strategies on today’s battlefield are always evolving, so too must our weapons evolve to remain viable and advantageous. Our weapons must be universal and adaptable. The user of any weapon is always better served by a specialized system. Every combat soldier has a role, and every combat soldier’s weapon must be ideally configured to serve that role.

Modern weapons may be asked to don any number of peripheral accessories—Optics: scopes, red dots, magnifiers, night-vision or thermal ocular; Illuminators and target indicators: those that project light and aiming dots both within and outside our natural visual spectrum; altimeters, GPS units, range finders, clinometers and ballistic computers; bayonets, bipods and slings attachment points; forward pistol grips, hand-stops and barricade stops; less-lethal launchers and direct impact devices; belt-boxes; flare launchers; grenade launchers; short-barreled or AOW shotguns; and sheathed knives, spare magazine holders, ammo caddies and battery storage. The absurd is not off-limits to the well accessorized rifle of today. Bottle openers, cup holders, name tags, repelling gear and even a chainsaw have all found their way onto the handguard of an AR-15.

OPTIC MOUNTS

Weaver

The Weaver, by record and merit, deserves an honorable mention. It is the genesis for our current, most successful and widely adopted mounting system, the Picatinny. It is difficult to identify the Weaver’s exact birthdate; suffice to say that it’s old. One can find photo evidence of its commercial presence around 1950. Weaver’s firm (and continuing) hold on the market stems from the fact that...

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V22N2 (February 2018)
and was posted online on December 22, 2017

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