Grauer Systems Integrated Grip Rail Systems
Interview By AR15.com
Honeoye Falls, NY –(Ammoland.com)- This month we talk with John Brixius from Grauer Systems. You may have seen or heard of their IGRS (Integrated Grip Rail System) from SHOT or one of the various discussions on the AR15.com forums. If not, then read below. What we have are two parts: one is a brief background of the company and the thought behind the IGRS from John, and the second is hands-on with the product.
Q: Who is Grauer Systems?
Grauer is a team with diverse professional skills, educational backgrounds and skills across a number of industries, with an emphasis on engineering and design. We strive to be a team that can collaboratively think outside the box and innovate at a systems level, including the human element. Our mission is to provide unique and advanced solutions for the US warfighter and Homeland Security Operator along with synergies in other markets. The company was formally incorporated in 2008 around some advancing developmental efforts. As the incorporation date drew near and a quality sounding name for the firm had not yet been identified, a randomly passed street sign, Grauer Rd, provided the inspiration.
Q: Where did the idea for the IGRS come from?
It started from seeing images and videos with an incredibly high percentage of real warfighters in combat grasping the rifle in front of the receiver and magazine. This is commonly done even with a vertical fore-grip on the weapon. We started looking into it and it turns out there are a lot of intuitive ergonomic advantages to this hold and hence why many shooters gravitate toward it despite training to the contrary. The negatives are that the hands are too close together and that grasping the magazine can cause jams. We tried to eliminate the two negatives while not diminishing all the positives of the traditional magazine hold. As we went down that path, it lead to other questions about how users handle the weapon and found that there were other, synergistic enhancements we could make. The effort grew from being an improved magazine grip to a system design to do much more.
Q: What is the goal of the IGRS?
There are probably a number of ways to say this and each seems to resonate differently to different users. At a high level we wanted to enhance the performance potential that a user can achieve with the weapon. At a more descriptive level that could be superior ergonomics, faster learning curve, more versatility of weapon holds for different positions, better rail loading for either lower bulk or less forward weight, faster reloading, better ambidextrous transitions, and more comfortable patrolling. At the same time, we didn't want to cause any limitations or any trade-offs compared to how users currently use their weapons. For example, the IGRS was designed to also synergistically work with a vertical fore-grip and the hand forward horizontal hold. In particular, the internal wire routing capability allows for use of remote pressure switches with either of these two holds. The intent isn't to force one particular hold on users, but rather to provide maximum versatility.
Having said all this, the first thing the vast majority of users notice when they pick up an AR equipped with the IGRS is just how intuitive and natural it feels and just how much more balanced the weapon is in their hands. A number of folks have compared it to a well balanced double shotgun. Those who like the magazine hold overwhelmingly like the IGRS more. And, we're getting a pretty high percentage of converts from the vertical fore-grip and hand forward horizontal hold schools of thought. Their first reaction on seeing it is often to dismiss it outright for being a magazine style hold, but once they pick it up and play with it a while, often to their surprise, they start to reconsider that the improved grip on the IGRS may be useful for some applications. In particular, when their arm is tired while in a standing position or when prone. Some just switch outright. Others won't ever use a magazine style hold, but they like IGRS for its internal wire routing or the magazine funnel.
But, the system goes beyond an improved magazine grip. The magazine funnel enables faster reloading. It has a unique asymmetric, non-linear design that minimizes bulk while allowing for a very smooth feed. The IGRS allows for better laser and light integration in that the vast majority of the wire for the remote pressure switches can be routed internally, regardless of the position of either the switch or the device itself. When routed tightly, the wires never come in contact with the heat shield. Again, this isn't just for use with the grip on the IGRS, it works with either a vertical fore-grip or the hand forward horizontal hold. An often overlooked little feature is the forward wall of the thumb rest. It was designed so that it butts up against a corner and allow the shooter to exert minimal effort to keep the weapon steady over long periods of time while also allowing the weapon to be re-pointed easily. Then, there's our heat shield, which may be the most unique design on the market. Users consistently tell us that it manages heat much better than other systems they have used.
Q: Where is the IGRS currently in use?
Overall, elite domestic users and experts in the military, law enforcement and civilian markets. Our marketing approach has been to rely on word of mouth, so we're growing with some expert product innovators in these segments. In particular, expert users who are so familiar with the AR that they have a personal list of the pluses and minuses of the weapon and can immediately resonate with the IGRS. Our first production samples went to some Spec Ops guys who tested it out for many months. We immediately started to get some traction with LE weapon trainers and police AR armorers. We're starting to get some 3 gunners. In fact, the IGRS won the first 3 gun event in which it was entered.
Q: What is the new product you're currently working on?
We can't divulge any IP, but we've got a lot of proprietary development efforts. We've been getting a number of requests for a lower priced IGRS variant. We don't want to compromise on quality, so rather than doing a less expensive overall system we're looking into just a grip/funnel component that attaches to an existing rail system. Obviously, some of the benefits would be lost with such an approach but the overall ergonomics and reloading would be there.
Q: How is your concept different from anything else out there?
In addition to what has been already stated, we have a unique combination of performance and functionality. We improve upon the traditional magazine hold by moving the hand forward 2.5 inches. As previously implied, this distance seems to be a magic spot in achieving optimal balance and ergonomics for an AR carbine. This, along with optimizing the design in other ways creates a challenge: such a grip design affixed in this location would interfere with field stripping the upper. That's why we incorporated our unique dual takedown pin design. It allows the grip component to quickly and easily swing away from the receiver and at the same time still be attached to the weapon so that it can be put quickly back into place. It's the same basic design that is used on the AR itself. Our product is unique in this regard. In our opinion, any system that hinders the ability to quickly field strip the upper to access the bolt is not suitable for tactical use.
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