Weaver Rails vs Picatinny Rails: What are the Differences?
When you're mounting accessories onto just about any firearm, you need a rail. Rail systems are versatile mounting brackets designed to be standardized and capable of holding a variety of accessories. Foregrips, scopes, lights, and more can all be attached to rails.
However, as with most semi-standardized systems, there are still compatibility issues to deal with. The two most common rails are called Weaver and Picatinny, both with their own benefits. It's important to know what rail your firearm has before you start buying accessories.
Weaver Rails vs Picatinny Rails
I. Weaver Rails
Weaver rails are the older standard, developed by the Weaver optics company. At first, the standard was solely for Weaver products but gained more widespread use over the course of several decades. Weaver rails have slots which are .180" wide and do not necessarily have standardized spacing between its grooves.
If you're uncertain what kind of rail is on your weapon, this is the giveaway. Picatinny rails have perfectly-spaced grooves, while Weaver rails may have wide or irregular gaps between them. Some Weaver Rails are also designed to come in two parts, one in front and one in the rear to allow the attachment of larger accessories like scopes, without interfering with the bolt opening.
II. Picatinny Rails
Picatinny (or just "Pic") rails are the newer standard and
have started to take over the market. These rails have slots which are
.206" wide and, as mentioned above, have standardized spacing between the
This standardization makes Picatinny rails easier to design accessories for. In addition, Pic rails were adopted as the standard by the U.S. military in 1995, which created a huge push for Pic-compatible accessories. Today, it's fair to say that Picatinny is quickly becoming the standard in weapon rails.
Is There A Reason to Use Weaver Rails Today?
Some vintage weapons require that you use Weaver rails and therefore no other type is compatible. Other than that, however, Picatinny rails are more widely supported. Plus, Picatinny rails can accept Weaver accessories. However, the opposite is NOT true. Weaver rails can only work with Weaver parts. This gives Pic rails even more versatility, and more reason to put them on your weapons.
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