A light grip
Is this the ultimate accessory for your military-style rifle? – the editor asks
As the tactical wave washed over the airgun industry, the chance came my way to test this interesting, vertical fore end grip, with an integrated ‘flashlight’. My Big Test gun this month is the Benjamin Armada, which looks just like a modern assault rifle. The fore end is a huge aluminium extrusion with four flat faces, onto which it is possible to fix almost anything. It has sections of Weaver/ Picatinny rail, ideal to accept the vertical pistol grip that many special forces units seem to favour today. They believe that the vertical grip offers a more natural and secure hold than gripping the fore end ever could, and in close- quarters combat, the rifle is less likely to be pulled from your hands. Of course, it also offers the opportunity to add an ultra-bright LED torch and a laser in the same device. I’ve never handled a gun in this configuration, so I was intrigued to see how it felt.
Because there is a housing for a light and laser, the grip sits well below the barrel. In fact, the middle of the knurled area is over 5” below the barrel. This makes for a completely new feeling as you handle the rifle. Your leading hand is very low, and I felt this reduced some of the strain on holding such a heavy rifle off-hand. The construction is very chunky and rigid, to the extent that I could detect no flex at all.
One of the advantages that this ‘rail system’ kind of rifle offers is that you can reposition any of your accessories with the twist of an Allen key, and I experimented by shifting the grip back and forth until I was happy. For me, this was a couple of inches forward of the balance point.
Adjusting the laser is child’s play and takes just seconds. I’ve used lasers like this for years as instant rangefinders, so I know they work very well. The ‘flashlight’ is rated to give a 165-yard beam and offers an even spread of light. The whole unit has a good solid feeling and is well made, as I’ve come to expect from Hawke.
So, if your assault rifle has a space on the fore end in need of a new accessory, let me recommend this to you. It does exactly what it promises, looks just right on rifles like the Armada, and adds that ‘special ops’ handling too.
Above: This grip simply looks right on rifles like this. Inset: The build is very substantial, making for a solid and secure feel