Like many people, my first introduction to the vertical fore grip (VFG) was Knight’s Armament Company’s Forward Pistol Grip, from their Block I RIS package.
It was very much the blueprint for all those many and varied VFGs which followed. And the market is now awash with KAC’s children. Sure, there were VFGs before KAC’s – many of which were DIY implementations – but it’s often been said that KAC’s version was the modern template.
Indeed, KAC’s version is still in use and may be enjoying a renaissance. Ben from Cobalt pointed out an interesting detail to me, in this picture:
See the CAG guy on the right? Looks very much like a KAC Forward Pistol Grip he’s got there.
The KAC item is a great solution. It’s simple, light and attaches without tools; but it can be improved.
And I think that’s what Heckler and Koch has done. They’ve identified an American classic and re-engineered it with typical German design expertise; much like they did with the HK416.
With a clear understanding of user requirements and a whole market of VFGs to examine, I’d guess H&K looked around and realised the the original had a lot going for it. Not specialised one way or the other, but a Jack of all trades.
They’ve come out with something very similar, but also different. Different in seemingly subtle ways; but in ways which make their iteration minimalist, solid and reliable.
H&K’s main divergence with KAC, is in their rail interface device.
Like KAC, H&K’s interface is simple – with nothing to be lost or mislaid. However, unlike KAC, H&K’s item is solidly held in place by a beautifully CNC’d billet stopper. This fits the entire rail void.
An elongated aperture allows the stopper to be seen and easily lined up with a void. It’s a lot bigger than that of the KAC offering and easier to use.
The stopper is tightened into place, much like the KAC, but using a more aggressively splined knob at the base of the VFG.
This is butter smooth in action and retained by a pair of knock pins. So while the mechanism can be disassembled, it’s impossible to loosen the knob to the extent that it will separate from the grip’s body.
There are other differences – in length and profile – but H&K’s item doesn’t seek to be wildly different. It just seeks to be better.
And for me, it is.