July 19, 2012
By James Tarr
News flash for those of you who have been in comas for the last 30 years — the AR-15 is very popular. In fact, it is hugely popular, and seemingly getting exponentially so on a daily basis. Not only are companies you never would have expected now making versions of America's favorite black rifle (Ruger, anyone?), but even more companies are making accessories.
This is both good and bad. Good, because more choices and competition are always good at increasing the quality of the accessories out there, and lowering the price. Bad because there are now SOOOO many companies making accessories that it's hard to keep track of just the companies, much less their products.
If you're not one of the big dogs making accessories for the AR (Magpul, Daniel Defense, Troy Industries, etc), there's a good chance that you'll be lost in the crowd. Most every company that makes a good quality product will eventually find their product for sale by Brownells, but if you don't already know exactly what you're looking for when searching Brownells' huge site you may have trouble finding it. If you search their site for AR-15/M4 products, you get 1435 items, and even then you may not find exactly what you're looking for.
Sometimes, the only way you find out about something new and/or cool in the AR marketplace is to either read a review or see one in person on a buddy's gun. That is how I discovered Impact Weapons Components .
I have a few personally owned AR-15/M4s (as opposed to the ones that come through for testing), and on every one you will find something, either a stock or a grip or a forend, made by Magpul. That's because Magpul makes great stuff, items which are product-improved over the standard Mil-Spec design. However, when it comes to attaching items to Magpul forends, I found my options were rather limited. Then I was turned on to IWC.
While they are, in true capitalist fashion, branching out, what originally drew me to IWC was their Mount-N-Slot accessories specifically designed to attach to Magpul forends. Their designs looked very functional and simple and yet were nice to look at, so I ordered both a flashlight mount and what I consider a hand stop but what they call a "weapon control mount". You'll see both of them in the photo.
To be honest, IWC displayed more imagination and ingenuity in the packaging of their products than most companies show in the products themselves. When I opened up the neat little boxes I was not disappointed in the accessories.
Simple, functional, and easy to attach are just a few things I can say about their products. The ones designed to mount to Magpul forends are direct-attach designs, but IWC also makes them to fit rails as well as many of the new generation of round AR forends with slots/holes.
What you see in the photo is IWC's Side Mount Cantilevered (SMC) flashlight mount, and they make several different sizes of rings to fit most flashlights out there. I have their weapon control mount *cough* handstop on the bottom of the forend, but the beauty of their direct attach system is that I can mount it anywhere on the forend there is a hole or slot. Both the flashlight mount and handstop are CNC machined out of 6061 T6 billet aluminum and are very tough. They make other products as well, including a bipod mount and a 2 to 1 point sling. If you've been wanting to mount some accessories to your Magpul or round forend but haven't found anything to your liking, check IWC out.