Before I start with the IRS Keymod review I just want to say I haven’t written or made any reviews before – since I’m employed by a Airsoft company I never planned to make reviews for the company’s products which would be considered biased or for other companies which would be a breach of contract. So I never really had reviews in mind with this blog or my Youtube channel. 

On that same note nobody really sends me stuff to review nor do I ask for it either… well maybe once. So for the IRS Keymod review, it’s all on me.

IWA2015

IWA 2015

I was there working the booth with ActionSportGames, now in case you don’t know ASG – we are one of the biggest companies that deal with Airsoft and Airguns in Europe. One of the company’s strongest assets is our exclusive license agreements with real firearms manufacturers.

One of those manufacturers is German based HERA Arms.

HERA Arms stands for ‘Highgrade European Research for small ARMS’ – and boy, where do I start with these guys.

I’ve talked to these great guys several times at IWA14 and IWA15 – and they are always accommodating and humble. Last year, I stopped by their booth and had a chat with Thomas from HERA. He showed me some of their new stuff for 2015. One of these items was the new Keymod front for the AR platform called IRS. Intergrated Rail System – Keymod.

And guess what…

I FREAKING GOT ONE, BITCHES!

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HERA Arms 15″ IRS Keymod

When I saw it for the first time I was sold right away. Not only sold on the IRS but also on Keymod in general which I had been avoiding up till then. Right from the first glance, it looked sturdy, slick and slim. When I felt it in my hands as a standalone part, I was blown away again. This has to be one of the narrowest Handguards on the market. The 15” is a featherweight fighter at only 9,2 oz or 760 grams, that’s roughly a 110 grams heavier than a Iphone 6 Plus. Yet it feels more than solid enough to be used and abused in most environments found on earth unlike the Iphone.
Made out of high-quality aluminium, CNC milled and hard coated anodized for added strength, this is a must have for tactical and competitive shooters – and Airsofters of course.

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Total diameter of the IRS Keymod is 38.04mm – now i have medium size hands with long skinny fingers so this Handguard is a pure pleasure to use the overhand grip on.

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Bonus fact – the IRS Keymod is 2.07ish mm thick.

Yes I use Magpul Dynamic overhand grip for Airsoft, not for better recoil control but my body mechanics just works better that way so give it a rest. And the IRS Keymod is PERFECT for that kind of weapon control. I can image that more beefy medium/large size hands would love holding this handguard as well since it would fit even better into a bigger palm and give you better control.

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If you aren’t into the overhand grip, then there are plenty of Keymod grips on the market or Keymod rail sections and then the sky’s the limit. As you can see on the picture below the Keymod holes are made after what appears the right specs.

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The precision of the chamfer slot looks well and the Keymod nuts fit in nicely and locks well. Something to note, not all manufacturers make the Keymod chamfer after true specs as this requires more work and thus bumps up the price.

The IRS Keymod comes with it’s own proprietary barrel nut. But it’s simple in terms of installment and rock solid. The IRS Keymod uses the clamp system to mount the front to the barrel nut. This is where some concern does pop up. The clamp solution for handguards is usually a “shortcut” way of mounting a free float front as it doesn’t require additional machining or timing/shimming of the nut.

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Why it might spawn some concern is because this puts stress on top of the rail or the sides when you tighten it at the bottom, kind like stretching the metal. For the purpose of just mounting it, this isn’t an issue. But running this on a real firearm where you fire off a lot of rounds and heat up the gun, things start to expand or you are using the system in very cold weather where metal contracts could give off a lot of stress on the IRS Keymod. But the IRS system is clamped in place with 3 hex screws at the bottom, which should be more than enough to ensure that the IRS doesn’t contract or expand too much and put a lot of strain on the top part or the sides. The clamp wings are also long and thick which should take a lot of the stress from the sides and top of the rail when used under heavy pressure. I’m in no way technical qualified to write such a statement – just don’t trust everything you read online.

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I don’t want to sound like a fanboy already, but I’m pretty sure German engineering shines through with the IRS Keymod.

Once the barrel nut is in place, you simply place IRS Keymod over it and tighten the 3 hex screws at the bottom and one at the 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock position. I’m thinking the 9 and 3 o’clock hex screws helps with relieving the pressure when used under heavy stress.

The ridges at the back doesn’t serve any particular purpose – if I had to guess they are there to aide you when holding the rifle by the magwell or for people with Hobbit length arms.

Now back to the slim design.

Back in the day with the chunky bulky handguards, they were all the rage! The bigger – the better, right? Nowadays it’s all about low weight, streamlined design and superior quality – and the IRS Keymod doesn’t let down on any of those buzz words.

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With the IRS Keymod being so slim in profile, adding a suppressor might be a problem especially if you want a shorter barrel to accommodate a longer suppressor. The inner diameter of the IRS is 34.49mm which doesn’t give off a lot of room.

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There are suppressors that fit in it, including HERA Arms own suppressor – so be sure to go check out their stuff at www.hera-arms.com

For me, the lightweight and slim design really made holding the rifle a pleasure and getting sights up on target easy and fast. The 15” model might seem a bit too long for some, as you can see my flash hider (made by ASG – the Vulcan Ref. 17966) precludes ever so slightly out of the IRS Keymod. The 15” isn’t a problem as I’m a tall guy and have long arms. Plus the added length to the weapons platform and amount of keymod slots is perfect as this gives me an unprecedented amount of options. Whether it be adding accessories or simply having more space to place my hand is a bonus.

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Conclusion.

I’m not going to bring up the pros and cons list – because they differ from person to person. We’re all built differently, have different body mechanics and different budgets when it comes to firearms – both real steel and Airsoft.

I love this rail, this should be clear in my review and I’m not being biased because it’s somewhat work related due to our license agreement with HERA Arms. But the IRS Keymod just fits my needs perfectly. Airsoft is a fast, yet tactical shooting sport and the IRS is designed for exactly that.

The only “con” that I can think of is that the keymod section (not the holes) is a little too clean cut and has a sharp feel to it. It’s not a problem for casual shooting at the range, but during high pressure situations where you might hold your grip a bit tighter, could cause some cuts to your hand. Problem solved if you’re wearing a glove. But It would be a shame to have your rifle be the cause of gear getting torn up due to the sharp handguard. This isn’t new at all, all handguards featuring keymod or rail systems have this “flaw” and that’s why we have rail/keymod covers… well at least one of the reasons why we have them.

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I’ve been running this front ever since I’ve gotten it and it’s always performed… meaning it hasn’t broke. And believe me I’ve banged it, tossed it, lost it and dropped it way too many times that I want to admit. It’s got the battle scars to prove that I should never hold a baby in my hands. Yet even though it’s been through a lot of abuse it still get’s the job done. I’ve added a short silencer as well which gives it a better look… because we all know it’s all about the looks.

HERA arms IRS Keymod review

So to finish it all off. Great Keymod front, excellent design and quality. Gives you a bunch of options, easy to mount and if you get one – all your friends will envy you. Mine sure does.