What to roll with on the fore end of your AR … that’s the question. I figured I’d cover the 3 options that I’ve rolled with: a broom stick (or various forms of vertical grips), kickin’ it old school with a simple rail cover and MagPul’s AFG 2. This obviously comes down to personal preference, but there are pros and cons to each.
Broom Stick Vertical Foregrip This was the way I initially had my rifle setup. I went through quite a few variations like the traditional broom stick, the Dieter Grip and even the Surefire vertical grip with the integrated light. I ended up going back to the broom stick and used this for a while. It worked for me and I felt comfortable with the setup. It wasn’t until I was at the range doing stress drills that I realized (with the help of an instructor) one of the biggest down falls of this grip. When you get all amped up, you have a bad habit of yanking back on that thing which can throw your rounds. Not a good thing. Really the only plus side is when you’re using it for certain close quarters fighting techniques that utilize muzzle strikes. But, I don’t think that outweighs the fact that this style of grip compromises my accuracy.
Rail Cover I went to a “no frills” rail cover when we started using the HK GLM, which mounts on the rail system of the rifle. I got tired of taking my vertical grip on and off and found it easier to just slide a rail cover on when I wasn’t rolling the GLM. Funny how sometimes laziness leads to better setups! Once I started shooting with no fore grip, I was back to that familiar comfort zone, and it just felt right. You can drive the gun faster between targets and a palm up grip tends to force your elbows down naturally. And, of course, there’s nothing to yank back on when firing. I personally don’t really see any down falls to running your rifle with this setup. It’s tried and true.
MagPul AFG2 I just recently started rolling with the AFG2. I’m a big fan of MagPul and they make some great kit, so I figured I’d give it a shot. So far, I’m diggin it. It has the same feeling of just a rail cover, but gives you a positive index of your grip for that warm and fuzzy feeling. It’s still a palm up grip, so you get the same benefits of driving speed and natural elbows down. The feedback I’ve gotten from guys still working down range is the lack of real estate to mount light switches. Personally, I used to mount my pressure switches on the side rail covers, so this isn’t an issue for me. I like the low profile design of the grip. I will say that it takes some getting used to. The first couple times you grap it, it’s a little strange. I haven’t really seen any down falls to the AFG2 yet, but I’ve only been using it for a few months now.
The Verdict Like most of my kit, I’m always willing to try something new. I usually end up going back to the basics, so we’ll see how long the AFG2 lasts. But one thing is certain, I won’t be using a vertical fore grip anymore. Like I said at the beginning, this is obviously a personal call, but I’d highly recommend going to a palms up style grip (whether an AFG or no grip). If you’ve been using a vertical grip for a while, take it off and I think you’ll remember how nice it was without it.
Kit Up! contributor Bill Janson is a former Recon Marine and is the founder of Eleven 10, a tactical gear manufacturer.