Modular accessory systems should have rang the death bell for bulky, heavy picatinny railed handguards years ago.

The old cheese grater system keeps a foothold thanks to the incompatibility of the two major competing attachment standards: M Lok and KeyMod.

Both allow shooters to mount either rail segments or accessories where needed, drastically reduce a firearm’s overall weight and function phenomenally. Issues arise because most accessory makers don’t build both M Lok and KeyMod-compatible versions of their products, forcing shooters to either settle or buy rail segments, defeating the purpose of either new standard.

Burgeoning firearms accessory maker Manticore Arms recently unveiled a cost-effective solution allowing both M Lok and KeyMod accessories on the same rail: the Transformer.

Like its name suggests, the Transformer changes itself allowing shooters to mount either M Lok or KeyMod sections on a lightweight, free-floated aluminum rail for the AR15. It accomplishes this by integrating small rail segment slots secured by two allen screws set the same distance apart as the Picatinny rail systems the KeyMod and M Lok systems originate from.

This is important because it allows the Transformer to be future proof; any new standards can be adapted into segments and made available to owners looking to try out any new mounting systems.

Other segments are available outside the two major accessory-mounting systems that allow shooters to personalize the handguard with soft, textured polymer grip panels. These are available in two variations, an ultra-fine cross-checkering ‘snakeskin’ pattern and a larger groove, ‘frag’ pattern resembling the surface of an MK2 Pineapple grenade.

The rail ships with either three M Lok or KeyMod rail segments and either three snakeskin or frag polymer grip panels. Additional packs of three rail segments will be available for purchase separately once the Transformer ships in the next few weeks.

But modularity isn’t the only noteworthy feature of the Transformer. In pursuit of streamlining the product further, the top portion of the Transformer rail does away with the raised portions rarely employed by shooters. Instead it retains a segment at the end for a front sight and the base for red dots or holographic sights. Additionally, it replaces the standard barrel nut used by most AR15s with a proprietary one covered in threaded ports offset from one another by a few degrees. This offset system ensures level, straight rail mounting when torqued within tolerance and intelligently uses the gas tube to index the nut itself.

Modular, lightweight and forward-thinking, the Manticore Arms Transformer rail embodies the concepts at the core of the AR15’s design. Finally shooters can choose their favorite accessory without worrying about compatibility, and instead concentrate on meaningful aspects like ergonomics and weight.