by David Crane
The Wilderness Tactical Products currently carries MagPul XT Rail Panels (rail covers) for the (MilSpec) M1913 Picatinny rail system. According to The Wilderness Tactical Products, MagPul rail panels/rail covers "feature a segmented full-length design that can be more easily cut into modules by the user". DefenseReview thinks these panels look pretty sweet. MagPul XT Rail Panels are available in Black, O.D. Green, and Coyote Brown. We got the following off The Wilderness Tactical Products site awhile back (The following passage is no longer available on The Wilderness’ website):
"Redesigned for 2004, the Magpul™ Rail Panels, manufactured by Falcon Industries exclusively for MagPul™, are direct replacements for the Knight’s ribbed rail covers. However, they can be used on any milspec M1913 "Picatinny" rails, including products from Colt, A.R.M.S., GG&G and others.
The XT panels feature…
bold texturing for a firm, comfortable grip and more matte appearance. Made of the slightly rubbery but firm thermoplastic Sanopreme™, the covers simply and securely snap into place over the rails. One panel covers an entire M-4 carbine rail section, but they are now segmented to allow the user to cut them into modules of any length necessary with just scissores or a sharp knife and a cutting board. They fit together for a seamless appearance, and can be combined with additional panel segments to cover longer mid- and full-length rail systems. Different colored modules can easily be assembled into a very credible digital camo pattern (above left) and changed at any time. Note that Coyote brown is one of the main colors used in the outstanding woodland and desert U.S.M.C. Marpat digital camouflage utilities.
While we were skeptical at first (we thought we were perfectly happy with our Knight’s covers), we are very impressed with the Magpul covers’ utility. They allow you to add and remove panels without having to remove other items first. You can fit them on the top of an RAS where you can’t slide Knight’s covers onto easily. They snap on and off quickly, so if you switch between your Aimpoint and your ACOG, you can just cover and uncover the appropriate rails on the spot.
You can also snap them onto the very exposed rails of a flattop upper receiver or an aftermarket accessory rail. Their rubbery construction not only safeguards the very expensive rails on your weapon, it also keeps the covers themselves from cracking or breaking upon impact. Think of it as up-armoring your rifle. We find they are also comparitively economical; compare to $20+ each for the alternative."
The new MagPul XT Rail Panels/Rail Covers page gives the following advice/recommendation: "We have had the most success by cutting the rail panels apart with a thin, very sharp serrated knife on a cutting board. While scissors or shears do work, they leave a more ragged edge. The cut ends can be further smoothed with light sanding."
They go on to say, "Steve Hines, president of Falcon Industries, taught us a clever modification to the Falcon and MagPul rail panels. You can drill holes through the recessed sections of the panels and lace small nylon ties or paracord through them to secure switches or even burlap/jute to ghillie your weapon! We attached the on/off switch of a Sure-Fire light system to a module that we can place anywhere on the rails, and take off easily when we remove the light system."
The Wilderness Tactical Products has recently updated their MagPul XT Rail Panels page. If you’re interested in inquiring about or purchasing a set (or sets) of MagPul XT rail panels (rail covers) for your rifle, carbine, subcarbine, or subgun, you can contact The Wilderness Tactical Products at 602-242-4945, or email them via their "Contact Us" page.