I’m not rich, but I love black rifles. Unfortunately, this is an expensive hobby. It also means I can’t dump countless simoleons on every single AR part that comes across the market. As a result, my process for buying products usually goes something like this: first, I see someone at the range with a doohickey that I don’t have. I want it, I’m not sure why, but I want it. I go home, heat up a hot pocket, jump on the Internet, and start researching. I find a review on someone’s blog, read it and scroll down through the end of the comments section. I keep reading on every forum and review site I can find and eventually learn the widget in question is either the greatest thing since gunpowder, or a silly tacticool looking piece of junk that belongs on the clearance aisle of a gas station. If it is worth buying and I still want it after a week, I wait for a deal and jump on it. This study-before-you-buy strategy works well for me, but it drives my wife nuts.
Recently, I was building a decent quality AR for a friend of mine. When I asked him about the rail system, he said he wanted a UTG PRO. I chuckled and replied with a slightly condescending tone that he didn’t want that. The gun snob in me sometimes rears its ugly head. I was under the impression that UTG and Leapers stuff was fine for value rifles, .22 LR conversions, and Airsoft, but not intended for serious use. He told me to keep an open mind and look it up. I decided to apply my usual research to find out more.
In 2009, Leapers Inc. started making their UTG PRO line right here in the U.S.A. This is a surprise to some, since many think all their stuff comes from Asia. It doesn’t stop at AR rail systems either. They make AK rails, Saiga 12 rails, Mil-spec collapsible stocks, buffer tubes in both mil and commercial spec—these guys do it all. For their rails, they use solid aircraft aluminum components which are also hard anodized. Decent stuff, especially if you’re as tough on your gear like I am.
For the average range gun, you really can’t beat the price. All the rails I’ve swapped out fit perfectly on my mil-spec uppers. They are rock solid and get the job done. When attaching them, especially after applying a little Loctite, there is no rattle or wiggle and all my accessories fit perfectly. The Loctite isn’t really necessary, but I’m a little obsessive. Are there better quality rails available? Sure. Some companies make some ridiculously pricey high-quality stuff you could drop out of an airplane, straight into an active volcano and it would still operate as if it were new-in-the-box. However, in the price range, the UTG PRO has very little competition. There is definitely a diminished return in spending four times as much and getting the same result.
In the box, Leapers includes some rubber rail guards to protect your hands. In case this is your first rail, I have to say that rubber guards really help in preventing that cheese grater effect. No more need for keeping a box of bandages in your range bag.
If you’re the kind of shooter who likes solid quality gear and a price point regular people can reach, the UTG PRO line delivers. Check our selection and see if there is a rail that’s right for your rig. You may be a pleasantly surprised as I was.