KeyMod versus M-LOK has largely been hashed out from the end user opinion and engineering perspective yet both systems still have their proponents. Both systems seem to have their share of high profile manufacturing backers which equates to staying power. End user opinions, engineering, and support are one thing but none of those take into count the actual numbers that will likely decide this debate – sales.
I reached out to a number of manufacturers and retailers who make/sell accessories for both KeyMod and M-LOK and asked them two simple questions: Can you give me a ratio of many KeyMod and M-LOK accessories you sell directly to consumers and does that ratio change on dealer orders?
The only manufacturer that reported that they sell more KeyMod than M-LOK items was Arisaka. They reported that they sell KeyMod over M-LOK at a rate of about 2.5-3 to 1. That ratio holds true for their dealer sales as well.
Arson Machine reported that their end users order M-LOK over KeyMod at a rate of about 3 or 4 to 1. However, dealer orders are typically more like 1 to 1 in the interest of offering a wide selection to their customers.
Midwest Industries makes several hand guards for both attachment systems. They are a big player in this ongoing battle between the two attachment systems. They reported that they are selling M-LOK over KeyMod at a rate of 3 to 1. Interestingly, they added that both KeyMod and M-LOK have “crushed” their sales of traditional quad rails.
Parallax Tactical also makes hand guard for both systems and they report they sell M-LOK over KeyMod at a rate of 2.5 to 1. They also added that they prefer M-LOK from a manufacturing standpoint.
I heard from several others manufacturers who had more anecdotal information (all pointed to M-LOK as the better seller) or that didn’t really want to share their numbers. It was interesting that two small retailers that I spoke to shared the sentiment that they tended to order heavy (or exclusively) M-LOK because they have limited cash for inventory and that is what sold better for them.
This certainly won’t end the debate and it shouldn’t because sales numbers don’t mean that one is truly better than the other. There are other factors that can drive sales like ease of manufacturing (and cost), marketing, and more. Sales numbers alone can’t tell the whole story but they can obviously play a huge role in manufacturers and retailers deciding which system to continue supporting. While M-LOK is clearly outselling KeyMod among those who were willing to share, none of the manufacturers indicated that they intended to discontinue sales of one system or the other any time soon.
What about you? Do you have a preference? Hit the comments below.