Trinity Force knows there’s a market for good looking, reliable AR-15 / MSR parts and accessories that don’t cost a fortune. Their products are foreign-made to help keep costs down, and the quality of some components is reflective of that approach.
Trinity Force recognizes that not everyone needs or wants (or can justify paying for) high-end components.
After testing TF’s Alpha Stock Kit and three AR pistol grips, I was surprisingly impressed with their products. They’re great values and I still run the Alpha Stock on my primary MSR.
So up next is TF’s Atlas AR15 Keymod Freefloat Rail of the 7-inch variety. For efficiency’s sake, we’ll just call it the “Atlas rail.” It retails for $94.50 – about half the price of many comparably-sized rails – but can be easily found in the low $80’s.
The Atlas style rail comes in five lengths (7″, 10″, 12″, 15″, 16.5″), and a quick look at the details of the seven-inch model reveals competitive specs:
• Weight: 9.52 oz. (No additional 1913 rail sections added)
• Length: 7″
• Width: 1.57″
• Height: 2.36″
• Inner Diameter: 1.3″
• Material: 6061-T6 Aluminum
• Coating: Hard Coat Anodized Finish
• Interface Type(s): Keymod, MIL-STD-1913
With an inner diameter of only 1.3 inches, this rail is indeed skinny – and it feels great while saving a little weight (more so on longer versions).
Aesthetically, the rail shows many different shapes and angles. Somehow they seem to work together, especially when using TF’s ultra-thin Universal Rail Covers and Billet Keymod Hand Stop (pictured above).
Atlas rails are in their second version, now utilizing the FREELOK Clamping System. As indicated by its name, the system utilizes a three-part friction and mechanical clamp underneath the rear end of the rail, which prevents it from twisting and sliding on the steel, non-indexing barrel nut. A set screw located between the clamp pads reaches into the groove on the barrel nut, further preventing slipping of the rail.
As added insurance against rotation, two locking tabs protrude from the top rear of the rail (seen above). Each tab slides on either side of the gas tube port area when mated to its upper and prevents rotation. Although designed around a Mil-Spec upper, it isn’t a precision fit for most that I tried. There were several billet uppers that simply were not compatible.
I found the rail to be an interesting mix of manufacturing processes. The aluminum handguard itself is well-made with sharp, well-finished edges, and solid CNC-cut 1913 troughs with very clearly-printed numbering. The Keymod slots fit accessories snugly.
However, the clamp bracket on the rail and the pads of the clamp mechanism appear incongruous. The pads are steel and clearly not CNC-machined. And the aluminum bracket is lacking the finishing work required to make it fully flow with the rest of the rail. One side still appears to be a rough-cut.
Installation was a straight-forward and easy. Apply your favorite anti-seize compound to the threads of the upper receiver and barrel nut, then screw tight to spec (no indexing required). With the FREELOK clamping system open and the set screw removed, slide the rail over your barrel assembly and onto the barrel nut, taking care to ensure the anti-rotation tabs sit on either side of the gas tube port area of the upper receiver.
Lastly, level your rail to the 1913 rail of the upper receiver, tighten the two clamp screws to spec, followed by the set screw. At this point your upper can be considered complete and ready to accept optics and other accessories.
Speaking of accessories, Trinity Force includes two, five-slot 1913 Keymod rail sections that can attach to either side or the bottom. But, somehow, the skinniness of the handguard makes the prospect of adding a rail section quite unappealing. And besides, there isn’t a whole lot of space for “stuff”…a handstop and iron sights are about all this short rail should bear.
On the firing line the Atlas rail felt great. Compact, comfortable, and controllable. And that “unfinished,” angled side of the clamp bracket actually helps keep good rearward positive contact on the firearm with the support hand.
Over the course of a few hours I whomped this rail with over five hundred rounds out of an ALG Single Chamber Brake and fully expected something to give or a screw to start backing out. No change; the clamp system kept the rail from budging even the slightest bit.
Trinity Force has pleasantly surprised me several times in the past, and their seven-inch Atlas AR15 Keymod Freefloat Rail didn’t disappoint. With a simple, slim design, a precise 1913 top rail, and solid clamping system, not to mention good compatibility with forged uppers, all at under $100, this rail is packed full of value. Toss in Trinity Force’s lifetime warranty and the Atlas rail becomes a top candidate for any mid-to-low priced build.
Specifications: Trinity Force 7″ Atlas Keymod Freefloat Rail
Ratings (out of five stars):
Design * * * *
The Atlas rail isn’t super fancy, but it isn’t Plain Jane, either. It provides solid features with some spunk. With the slim profile handguard this rail is highly controllable and comfortable in conjunction with an AR pistol. The clamp system bracket could use some finishing work.
Quality/Durability * * * *
Each component of the rail system seems to fall along a different quality line. The handguard is very good quality with great 1913 cuts and sharp, precise edges. By comparison, the clamp components are a bit of a step down in quality, but are still highly functional. The hard coat anodized finish is well above average for its price range.
Compatibility * * *
While compatible with nearly all forged Mil-spec uppers, the Atlas rail does not work with quite a few billet uppers due to the rearward retention tabs.
Overall * * * *
Not every build requires a super-precise, high-end handguard. In fact, the majority do not. At under $100, the seven-inch Trinity Force Atlas AR15 Keymod Freefloat Rail is well-made, reliable, packed-full of value, and an excellent option.