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Howdy all -


I recently entered into the wide world of AR-15 ownership. I'm looking at options for getting a few (tasteful!) accessories added, not trying to go all Navy Seal or anything, but would really like to get a light mounted somehow. I know the "right" way to do it is to pay for one of the $100-200 quad-rails that replace the front grip, and then pay for a $100-200 light with a rail mount to tack onto it. But, I'm trying to do this on the cheap, while still ending up with quality results.


On my shotgun, I currently have mounted a small 90 Lumen Coleman LED "tactical" flashlight in one of the ATI clamps like this:





I've been really happy with that setup, puts out plenty of light for bump-in-the-night defense, has held up very well several hundred rounds later, and set me back about a whopping $40. Is there any reason I can't do this same thing on my AR? I've read about the advantages of "free floating" the quad-rails so there is nothing clamped down on your barrel potentially impacting accuracy, but would this light clamp have the same effect, and if so would it impact accuracy enough that I'd even notice? This is primarily serving as a plinking/home defense/shtf weapon, I don't need to be able to hit a squirrel in the big toe at 500 yards or anything, more like minute of pop can at maybe 150 yards. Thanks!
 

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I hear you one spending a small fortune on the accessories. I bought a UTG quad rail fore end for my Bushmaster, and I give it good reviews. Depending on what type of tac light you like, GG&G makes a single mount adapter that's just right for the cost if you'd like to keep the carbine length hand guards. Just takes a little work on your part. I actually still have the set of handguards with the mount 7 3/4" length with the mount installed. I have the Insight Technologies M3 and M6. Cheap, quality results for around $25. Very functional.
Tactical Flashlight Forearm Mounting Rail - Rail Light Mount for ITI M3/M6, Surefire X200 & Streamli
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Well that's an interesting option. So you just tap holes for it in your existing handguards?
 

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No tapping. Just drill bit. Nuts and bolts. Only through the plastic part of the handguard. No holes through the aluminum heat shield.
 

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Here's my solution and it's a real balance between quality and price. You can likely find the pieces at lower prices but this will get you started. You can buy three of the four pieces from Yankee Hill and they might have the vertical fore grip as well.

Rail: Yankee Hill Rails for Tube System

Dovetail Angle Mount: Picatinny Dovetail Angle Mount

Vertical Grip: Yankee Hill M16 Forward Grip

Flashlight holder: SureFire M78 E2E/4L Flashlight Mount - Universal Clamp Mount .8" Ring FREE S&H M78. Surefire Flashlight Accessories.

This is what I put together. It's not exactly cheap but it's less expensive than Quad rails "plus" the stuff you need to put a light on. it'll go on the standard hand guards. You don't have to drill. Just screw the single rail to the bottom grip using the existing holes, then add the angle mount and the vertical grip. the holder is the best made thing I've seen in a long time. Pick a good LED surefire light with tactical tail cap and you put it in the holder and the holder screws to the angle mount. The nice feature is you can easily move the flashlight to another gun like a shotgun if you set that one up in a similar fashion. The ergonomics on this are perfect. when you grip your vertical fore grip your thumb is naturally right at the tail cap of the light so you don't need to mess with tactical pressure switches and the like. I'll try to take a pic of my setup later. I wanted quality but not some quad rail system when all I was going to hang was a light.

Another lower cost, one piece option is this: ARR-620 - AR-15 Flashlight Holder with Quick Release Thumbscrew Model
But I don't think that would work anywhere near as well.

Gideon

PS, Ram Rods suggestion coupled with the flashlight holder I reference would be an outstanding setup if you want to mound a light only without a vertical foregrip. If I had to do mine all over again, I'd very likely consider his option because I don't find the vertical foregrip to be any more comfortable or manuverable than just using the regular handguards. Again, with the holder I reference and the one rail he mentions, you could position the light so your thumb falls right by the tail cap. Then get a good LED light with a tail cap that is really exposed and is the type that will turn the light on if you just apply pressure to the tail cap without having to "click" it. That way you can press it slightly to turn on your light and let up to turn it off without having to click it on and click it off.
 

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I have the Elzetta ZFH1500 mount on my AR. It attaches to the front sight base so I can use the standard handguards. The mount is about forty dollars but I got mine cheap; you can get it cheap as well since they are on clearance right now.

Specials

I like this mount because it ended up being the cheapest solution for me. Instead of having to buy a piece of rail, and then a flashlight, and then a mount, and then a pressure switch, and then a mount for the pressure switch or a vertical foregrip, I just needed to buy the mount and the flashlight. I put a Surefire G2 in it and it is positioned just right (for me) to use the regular tailcap.

Pushbutton Activation

Total cost was $75 ($55 for the flashlight, $20 for the mount). If you use the flashlight Ram Rod suggested you'd be down to ~$50 for the whole shebang. I don't think it gets much better than that.
 

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I've got a small rail screwed onto my handguards. From there, I have a flashlight in a scope ring.
 

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The OP does not specifiy if he has a flattop or not, but I have an M15A4(t) from Armalite that is a flattop. On it I have BUIS, a Primary Arms Micro Dot, and a flashlight to be mounted with this side rail adapter from Brownells. I am ordering this mount today...the red dot was a Christmas gift that replaced a much larger unit with its own rails built in that my light mounted on. The beauty of the side mount adapter is that it will keep the light out of my field of view.

Pictures to come as soon as I get it all mounted up.
 

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Thanks BAC, that prevented me from chasing good money after bad...LOL! I will come up with another solution. Vltor looks good, but I am running out of room...my forend is free-floated and does not have rails.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Lots of good suggestions. Only heard one person weigh in on my original theory regarding the clamp I've been using on my shotgun, any other input in reference to how much/if at all that option would effect accuracy?
 

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There are any # of mounts you can purchase on the cheap that will work. I am using a mako short rail similar to the GG&G . A front sight base mount might work well too.
You can mount to the barrel with none to little accuracy issues, however it places the light further than the handguards and the barrel will get hot during firing.
 
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