Saturday, March 12, 2016

Osprey Battlegrip and Magpul MOE -- First Impressions

Osprey Battlegrip. I ended up moving the position of the grip slightly further to the rear after this photograph was taken.
I have had an Osprey Battlegrip with green laser for some time, but only recently mounted it on a weapon. The Battlegrip is a one-piece front vertical front grip which incorporates a tactical flashlight (500 lumens according to Osprey), a "map light" (low power flash light) and a green laser for targeting. The description indicates that the Battlegrip is 20.2 ounces, but it weighed 21.4 ounces according to my scale.

The batteries for the unit fit into the vertical foregrip--there is a screw on cap at the bottom of the vertical foregrip section. At the base of the cap (i.e, the bottom of the vertical grip) is a push button for activating power to the unit. At the top of the vertical grip is a trigger switch. Ahead of that (i.e., at the back of the flash light) is a knob switch that allows you to switch to four different settings.

Going from left to right, the first position leaves the flashlights off, but allows the laser to be activated by the trigger switch.

The second position activates the primary flashlight. Pulling the trigger switch in this setting will cause the flashlight to go into strobe mode. My personal preference for this setting would have been to have been to forego the strobe feature; but, instead, for the flashlights to have been off until depressing the trigger switch.

The third setting activates the "map light," or secondary flashlight. Pulling the trigger switch will activate the laser. The flash light at this setting is bright enough to see by and move around inside a structure, but not overwhelmingly bright. I see this setting as the most useful for navigating inside a building if you need a light.

The fourth setting activates the primary flashlight. Pulling the trigger switch in this mode will activate the laser.

My original intent was to mount the device on an AR, but with a weight well over one pound, and putting it out far enough to not obstruct the light from the flashlight, I thought it really threw off the balance of the weapon. Of course, this was with an 18 inch barrel with a wide handguard. Consequently, I decided to mount it on an AK. However, to do so, I needed to replace my Arsenal handguard ...

Arsenal Handguard
... with a Magpul MOE AKM Handguard.

Magpul MOE AKM Handguard
The reason was not any defect with the Arsenal handguard. I had chosen the Arsenal handguard not only because of its traditional shape but because, at least at the time, it was the only polymer handguard on the market featuring a metal heat shield. A very good handguard, and I appreciate the thoughtfulness of the Russian designer that put the palm swell in the lower handguard.

However, to use the Osprey Battlegrip, I needed to be able to mount it to a Picatinny rail. Because the Magpul front grip has M-Lok attachments, I could install a rail section to the bottom to mount the Battlegrip. As a bonus, the Magpul handguard also features a metal heatshield. While the Magpul handguard is nice, I do not believe it is as comfortable in hand as the Arsenal unit. But the Magpul handguard is well made, fit well, and was easily installed. It is certainly superior to most other handguards I've looked at for the AK.

Obviously, because of the location of the rail section on the AK, I had to mount the Battlegrip much further back. Because the magazine for the AK must be tilted when inserting or removing it, the Battlegrip cannot be installed as far back as preferable. Nevertheless, because the barrel is narrow, it does not materially interfere with the beam cast from the flashlight. Obviously, with the Battlegrip mounted further back from the muzzle, the weapon also balances better. The setup makes a handy CQB style weapon system.

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