John Farnam's tip on rail-covers

John Farnam, 2010 ILEETA Trainer of the Year, continues to share excellent tips and updates via Dtiquips. If you have not yet done so, you may want to consider signing up for his daily email distribution over on Defense Training International. Below is an excellent example: John’s thoughts on rail covers. Here’s the full text of that tip.  Thanks John, for letting us share it with P1 Members.

The most common accessory-mounting system for serious rifles is currently the “Picatinny Rail,” which has, by now, all but superceded the similar “Weaver Rail.”

After the 2004 SHOT Show, I “railed against rails,” seeing so many rifles with maladroit accessories heaped upon them to the point that it was difficult to actually see the rifle itself under all that junk!

In the interim, I’ve been compelled to admit I was wrong. Like anything else, rails can be misused, as noted above, but, for modern, serious rifles, they have turned out to be a great boon to mankind!

Top, side, and bottom Picatinny forend-rails provide a genuinely secure platform for mounting optics, weaponlights, and lasers, the three most applicative accessories for serious rifles. Heretofore, many accessories were glued, screwed, and pinned to guns. None of these attachment methods were sufficiently durable for serious weapons. Conversely, Picatinny rails are not only durable, but they are also positively “repeatable,” so that optics can go on, be subsequently sighted in, then come off and go back on, all with no necessity for re-zeroing.

However, one pesky downside lingers on:

Forend rails on the side and bottom will scuff hands, particularly in cold weather. They also snag on fabric.

One solution has been rubber “rail-covers,” but, until recently, they have been excessively bulky and difficult to adjust with regard to length.

Now, Surefire is marketing its skeletonized “Z70" rail covers. They look like a rubber ladder, and fit onto Picatinny rails, filling in the slots, but adding no bulk! They come in five-and-a-half-inch lengths, but can be easily cut to fit any unoccupied portion of rail.

However, heat is still an issue, although railed forends are typically shielded. So, for maximum cooling, it is best to leave as much rail exposed and uncovered as possible.

The result is a good, non-snag gripping surface that doesn’t scuff hands.

I have them on all my railed rifles.



About the author

Doug Wyllie is Editor at Large for PoliceOne, responsible for providing police training content and expert analysis on a wide range of topics and trends that affect the law enforcement community. An award-winning columnist — he is the 2014 Western Publishing Association "Maggie Award" winner in the category of Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column — Doug has authored more than 900 feature articles and tactical tips. Doug is also responsible for planning and recording the PoliceOne Podcast, Policing Matters, as well as being the on-air host for PoliceOne Video interviews. Doug also works closely with the PoliceOne Academy to develop training designed to prepare cops for the fight they face every day on the street.

Doug regularly represents PoliceOne as a public speaker in a variety of forums and is available for media interviews — he has appeared on numerous local and national radio and television news programs, and has been quoted in a host of print publications. 

Doug is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers' Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA).

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