Grauer Systems IGRS (Integrated Grip Rail System) Review
Honeoye Falls, NY –(Ammoland.com)- THe following is a short overview of the IGRS. I will start a dedicated thread in the New AR Products on the AR15.com forum where we can discuss, answer questions, and I can post many more pictures.
As you can tell from the name, the pictures and the interview with John found here, the IGRS is an integrated vertical grip and rail system designed to provide your AR with a more comfortable hold and at the same time include a quad rail for all your accessories. Before a bunch of you start yelling out “the Simpson's did it!”, lets discuss why this system is not like any other.
When I first heard about the IGRS, I thought to myself- great another rail! Just what we needed! However, because it was designed around a magazine well grip which happens to be how I prefer to shoot, I decided to keep an open mind and give it a shot. Once the IGRS arrived and I opened the box, I had two thoughs: wow this thing is big, and this thing is UGLY! The magwell funnel is so big it looks like you could insert your .50 BMG magazines!
The system is made mostly of aluminum, and consists of three major components: the upper rail, the front lower rail, and the grip/magwell funnel assembly. The upper rail is the “base” of the system, and is designed to attach to a standard M4 and fit over the front sight base. It is secured by the delta ring in the back, and the front is tightened against the handguard cap by two screws inside the upper rail. With this in place, the grip component attaches via two captive “take down” pins just like your lower and upper receiver. The front pin provides a pivot point, and the rear one locks the grip in the normal position. The smaller lower rail assembly fits in front of the grip assembly and is locked in place by that front pivot pin.
Installation is very straightforward, and can be accomplished in a matter of minutes with no permanent modifications to your rifle (except the front sling swivel needs to be removed if you have one). All it takes is an allen wrench to tighten the two tensioning screws. Once installed, everything fits together very well, matches up with the lower perfectly and locks solidly in place.
The real surprise with this system comes when you pick up your rifle for the first time after installing it. It is not nearly as heavy as it looks (most of the weight is rearward), and it is nothing short of the most comfortable and most natural feeling rifle I have ever held. A traditional magazine hold puts your hands too close together, and with very little to hold on to. Putting a traditional vertical grip near the magwell is better, but again not very comfortable. If you're coming from the more current trend to have your support hand way forward either with and index finger forward grip or using one of the popular AFG grips, IMHO that works great for fast action sports, but supporting a rifle that far from your body tires you out quickly.
At the risk of going against the teachings of people significantly more experienced than I, the best way for me to describe what I personally feel is the best way to shoot an AR is as follows: get in an upright standing (dare I say bladed) position, and put your arms up in front of you like you're about to fight someone. Your elbows will be close to your body, your hands slightly curled and in front of your face to defend your most important body parts. Needless to say this is a starting position for just about any type of fighting, and is also the defensive position your body goes into instinctively if you were startled. Now, in this position, you could put an IGRS-equipped rifle into your hands without changing a thing.
You can still use your index finger to “point” naturally, your support hand thumb has a perfect place to rest, and all the other fingers have a comfortable and wide grip to grab on to. This translates to a natural support hand position where it can support, aim, and apply rearward pressure to keep the rifle right where it needs to be. If that's not enough, after a bunch of dry-fire magazine changes and several trips to the range, I grew to appreciate the large magazine well funnel. Because the vertical grip is so large, the funnel provides a good transition from the grip to the magwell, and gives you a target that's hard to miss.
Those are the immediate benefits of the bare IGRS; excellent handling, increased comfort, and ergonomically almost perfect. All this is achieved without sacrificing your ability to use a traditional hand-forward position when desired. But wait- there's more! Yet another design goal of the IGRS is to improve laser and light integration. Wiring for these devices can be routed internally, and pressure switches can be mounted at desired locations. I suspect as its popularity grows, there will be better integrated lighting solutions for this rail that streamline the overall system.
So what is my opinion? Besides the fact that it is big, some might call it ugly (I no longer do!), the Grauer IGRS is the absolute single best improvement I have seen for the AR-15 series of rifles. It is not perfect, but I would describe it as “revolutionary” as it is one of the most significant changes to an already highly customized weapons platform. I believe that over time it too will have a line of accessories and customization options that will adapt the IGRS further.
Perhaps the biggest problem with it is that it needs to be handled to really be appreciated. Because of the relatively significant cost, no one wants to be the guinea pig. In order to help overcome this obstacle, we've secured access to a small number of these and are making them available to you via the AR15.com store below. In addition, Grauer is working on a lower cost version of the grip that will attach to existing rail systems, and we're working to bring that to you in 2011.
We have an opportunity to offer a very small number of these to the civilian market, and we're making them available for $399 in the AR15.com store.
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