When it comes to shooting, there are a lot of accessories out there to consider. One is the Picatinny rail. If you have heard this term, you may wonder – what is a Picatinny rail?
Today, Picatinny rails have become popular and are used on all types of rifles. While the rail isn’t perfect and has some disadvantages associated with using it, it offers a smart and effective way to attach your scope to the receiver.
The rail was named after the Picatinny (N.J.) Arsenal. This is where it was tested and then designated as the Mil-STD-1913 in 1995.
It is a modified option of the Weaver mount and has slightly different dimensions.
Keep reading to learn more about Picatinny rails and why they may be something you want to use.
The Design of the Picatinny Rail
It’s worth noting that Picatinny didn’t create the rail concept. Instead, it was standardized and refined.
The Weaver rail, which was developed first, has unique dimensions compared to the Picatinny option. The most notable is the width of the cross slot and recoil lug.
The Picatinny 1913 has a 0.206-inch slot, while the Weaver has a 0.180-inch-wide slot. There aren’t any set standards with the Weaver for slop spacing.
However, standardized spacing was required for the Picatinny rail because military optics included two recoil lugs at the time.
While most Weaver rings will fit the Picatinny rail, not all Picatinny rings fit the Weaver rail. This depends on the recoil lug dimensions.
Unique Design Elements of Picatinny Rails
You can find several accessories for your firearms, such as a tactical bipod and your choice of rails. While this is true, the Picatinny rails stand out thanks to the standardization elements used in the design.
For example, most Picatinny rails are numbered. This ensures optics can be attached at the same point after they have been removed.
If the same slot is not used, it may cause a point of impact shift.
This standardization created by Picatinny rails was considered a windfall in the firearm industry. With this, manufacturers saved quite a bit of machining time and work.
With this rail, you can purchase a single mounting system that works on several guns, which helps minimize the amount of equipment you must have while shooting.
Using the Picatinny Rail
Today, the rail is a popular accessory and can be used for hanging flashlights, lasers, bipods, and more. It can also be used with belt-fed machine guns, pistols, shotguns, and rifles.
For many gun owners, this is a must-have accessory. It may be just what you are missing from your shooting experience, too.
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