MOE vs MLOK: Which Handguard System is Best?


As someone who’s spent countless hours at the range and in the workshop, customizing and fine-tuning firearms, I’ve developed a deep appreciation for the user-friendliness and practicality of handguard systems.

Among the many options, the MOE and MLOK handguards from Magpul Industries rank as two of my favorites.

But which one is better for your specific use case? Let’s take a look.

What Are MOE Handguards?

The Magpul MOE (Magpul Original Equipment) handguards are firearm accessories designed for simplicity and ease of use.

They are typically made from a heat-resistant polymer and are known for their solid, one-piece construction.

MOE handguards are commonly used on AR-15 rifles and are favored for their straightforward design and durability.

What Key Features Distinguish MOE handguard systems?

The charm of the MOE slot system lies in its straightforward, no-nonsense design.

I remember the first time I installed one on my Diamondback AR-15; it was a breeze, with no need for specialized tools.

Their heat-resistant polymer construction not only offers durability but also safety, an aspect no shooter should compromise on.

What Are The Pros and Cons Of MOE Handguards?


  1. Installation: Their user-friendliness is unmatched. This is the handguard I recommend to beginners.
  2. Cost-Effectiveness: MOE handguards, like the MOE SL handguard, only cost $40.00, so they won’t break the bank.
  3. Durability: They withstand rough handling, a feature I’ve tested personally on numerous hunting and varminting trips.


  1. Customization Limitations: Their solid design and MOE slots do restrict accessory additions.
  2. Heat Resistance: Under rapid fire, they might not perform as well as more advanced systems like the M-LOK.

What Is A M-LOK Handguard?

A M-LOK (Modular Lock) handguard, also developed by Magpul Industries, is a more advanced handguard system that allows for high customization.

It features a slotted design that directly attaches various accessories to the handguard.

M-LOK handguards are popular among firearm enthusiasts who prioritize flexibility and the ability to customize their firearms with a range of accessories.

What Key Features Distinguish M-LOK handguard systems?

M-LOK handguards revolutionized the customization game with their slotted design, allowing direct attachment of a wide range of accessories.

The M-LOK system is a game-changer for those who, like me, enjoy personalizing every aspect of their firearm.

What Are The Pros and Cons Of M-LOK Handguards?


  1. Customization: The sky’s the limit with accessory options.
  2. Weight: They maintain a lightweight profile despite their versatility.
  3. Secure Attachments: M-Lok slots ensure accessories stay put, even in the most demanding situations.


  1. Price: Quality comes at a price.
  2. Complexity: Not the best choice for beginners due to their intricate nature.

Should You Use MOE Or M-LOK Handguards?

As with any gun part, deciding which handguard to use should depend on your use case.

Generally, there are three use cases for these handguards – AR-15, tactical shooting, and hunting.

Should You Use MOE Or M-LOK Handguards For AR-15?

I prefer the M-LOK system on my AR-15. It offers a better balance of weight and customization capabilities.

It’s ideal for those who want to tailor their rifle for specific purposes.

Should You Use MOE Or M-LOK Handguards For Tactical Shooting?

Tactical scenarios require adaptability and robustness, and here, M-LOK excels.

Its secure mounting system ensures that accessories remain firmly attached, a feature I’ve relied on during dynamic shooting competitions.

Should You Use MOE Or M-LOK Handguards For Hunting?

When out in the field, the M-LOK’s simplicity and reliability come through.

MOE handguards have never let me down while hunting. Their straightforward design, affordability, and durability make them a sensible choice for hunters.

Which Type Of Handguard System Is Compatible With More Accessories: M-LOK or MOE?

M-LOK handguards win hands down in terms of accessory compatibility.

Their modular nature allows for a more extensive range of add-ons, catering to diverse needs and preferences.

What Is The Best Accessory To Use With M-LOK Handguards?

I’ve found that a laser sight is the most practical addition for M-LOK handguards.

Laser sights enhance the firearm’s functionality and accuracy, especially in low-light conditions.

You can also add vertical grips – they’re quite handy when you’re busy rapid firing and need extra control over the firearm.

What Is The Best Accessory To Use With MOE Handguards?

The best accessory to use with MOE handguards is a forward grip.

A well-placed forward grip significantly improves the handling of a firearm with a MOE handguard, especially when you’re hunting and stalking your prey.

Of all the MOE attachments, the vertical grip is my preferred, considering its main use case (hunting).

The Bottom Line

MOE handguards are ideal for those seeking simplicity and cost-effectiveness, while M-LOK handguards cater to enthusiasts who prioritize customization and versatility.

Based on my experience, both systems have unique strengths, which can significantly enhance your shooting experience.

Therefore, choosing between MOE and MLOK handguards ultimately depends on your needs and preferences.

About the author

Charles Neser

I'm a life long hunter & gun lover. Currently pursuing my Master's Degree (M.Sc.) in Animal Nutrition at University of the Free State.

Leave a Comment