Pet peeve

A little background – I am in love with the Magpul AFG, or “Angled Fore Grip” for rifles.  When used correctly, it really does use the body’s natural mechanics to help absorb recoil and improve follow up shots.  The important part is “used correctly”.  The AFG is designed to be positioned as far forward on the rifle as possible and with your hand as high on the bore as possible.  Here’s Magpul founder showing the textbook rifle and hand position for the AFG.

Click the image for the full size version, but you can see that his hand is way forward on the rifle and the AFG is as far forward as possible.  This allows the shooter to use a grip similar to a “thumbs forward” pistol grip on their rifle.  I tried this out for the first time at Gunsite, and it is faster in transition and in my opinion also helps mitigate felt recoil.

And that’s what brings me to my pet peeve.  I have seen pictures floating around of AFGs positioned way back next to the magazine well and people trying to hold them like it’s just the bottom of the rifle.  Why even bother?  Unlike a vertical foregrip where the positioning and usage is open to interpretation, the AFG is pretty much at its most effective the way the designers intended it to be used.  So why put it on your rifle if you’re not going to use correctly?  Is it just because it says “Magpul” on the side and you think “Magpul” makes you a better shooter?  If you don’t understand the body mechanics of the part of the shooting style it uses, it won’t help you.

Okay, that’s the end of my rant.  But seriously though – don’t buy gear if you don’t know how to use it.  Some gear is neutral in that it supports a variety of styles and skill levels.  Not all gear is neutral, and some is designed to be used in a very specific fashion.  If you have specific use gear, make sure you know how to use it first, okay?


  1. So far, I love the AFG on my AR. However, it’s almost like there’s half of the thing missing. My fingers wrap around it perfectly, snapping right where they need to go, but the problem is my thumb and part of my palm are still stuck grabbing onto the sharp edges of the rails.

    There should be a thumb rest on top. I know I can put covers on to soften the edges, but I’d still like something for the thumb to positively rest on.

  2. I think it’s because a lot of people (myself included), have trained from the day we first picked up the rifle, that for close quarters action, you use the magwell pinch grip.

    I’m BY FAR, most comfortable using that grip; and when I’m shooting with gloves, at short range, I use it almost exclusively.

    So much so, that I bought one of these:

    I love it; because if I’m not wearing gloves, it keeps my finger out away from the barrel receiver junction (which gets VERY DAMN HOT).

  3. That’s all well and good, but the whole point of the AFG is that it’s a new (and arguably better) way of doing things.

    That’s what really kills me – why buy a piece of new gear that’s designed to be used differently from the way you’re used to using gear if you’re just going to do it your way? Defeats the whole purpose of “trying new techniques”.

  4. Something is better than nothing.

    Some people learn that the gear is good so they buy and use it. But they don’t know how to or worse try to reinvent the wheel. With the latter some are teaching themselves technique, with others, long story short, they think they are better than everyone else.

    So instead or using the tech “right” they “just” use it; thinking that “something is better than nothing.”

    Which is a pathetic excuse for stopping short just as a task is about to become work.

    deluding oneself about the value of non-action and calling it Productive or Smart.

    Most govt mistakes are simply “something is better than nothing” via law.

  5. BTW the “Something is better than nothing” attitude is my pet peeve.

    It is the reason why morons give honey to a newborn.

    It is the evil doppelganger of learning something new.

    1. Yes, although I’ve been told that Chris Costa, the most badass Coastie ever will hunt you down if you don’t wear Oakleys while using it.

  6. Hmmm, I don’t know, I’ve never seen the AFG being utilized by a non-sideburner.

    Man, without sideburns I can’t use AFG, or Shoot Myself in the Dick appendix carry or Position Cul.

    Curse you, sideburns!

  7. Caleb,

    I’m not saying you shouldnt learn the right way to use the gear you own; I’m just guessing that they’re defaulting to earlier training and habit.

    It’s hard to break ingrained patterns. It takes thousands of repetitions, to establish the new pattern and overrride the old.

    Now this new grip comes out, and it is very easy for them to say “hey, I’m comfortable with it back here, I’ll just use it back here”.

  8. Chris,


    I don’t get it. To my thinking, what youve said is like a British or Swiss soldier in the 1950’s saying, “Hey, I’m comfortable with bolt actions, I’ll just shut the gas system off and use this battle rifle like a straight pull!”

    (Note, I do not have, nor am planning on getting, an AFG. I looked at it, and it doesn’t fit in with my CONOPS for the rifle I’m assembling right now — I’d rather have a grip-bipod, and don’t think the AFG is significant enough an improvement to mount it tandem. Maybe if I put togther another AR, perhaps as a pure home defence carbine, I’d re-evaluate.)

  9. Translation of Shootin’ Buddy:

    “Percussion caps? I don’t trust it if I can’t see the damned spark! What makes it work? It ain’t natural!”

  10. Tam,

    Are you SURE that shouldn’t be, “Use a ROCK?!? What if thou dost not HAVE the right and proper rock? What if thy rock breaks? Even the Rock of Peter denied the Savior three times. Thankee no, kind sir, I shall continue with my trusty match. At least I can touch it with an ember even if out of match or the lock be frozen with rust. PRITHYEE, BYTCHES!”


  11. IMHO,

    Chris is not advocating using the AFG wrong, he simply explained why some people do. Furthermore, he offered an alternative for those who work it “old school”.

    geodkyt, a closer comparison would be a guy who is comfortable with bolt actions and does not know how a semi auto works. So every time he pulls the trigger he then racks the bolt and kicks out a live round.

    Just because you can explain an idea, doesn’t mean you think it is a good one.

  12. Clint,

    I didn;’t accuse Chris of doing it that way.

    I would have to say that my analogy seems closer. The people under discussion have assembled the device on their rifles in such a manner that it cannot function in the way it is intended. It’s not a matter of them USING it incorrectly — they’ve INSTALLED it incorrectly, so it cannot be used properly.

    Now, if they mounted the AFG in the correct location, and then used it solely as a handstop to keep their fingers from sliding forward under the massive, bone crushing recoil of the 5.56mm round while they held the forearm behind the AFG, I would say your analogy would then be more on target. The kit is assembled correctly, but being used improperly, and in such as way as to be DISadvantageous. (Like your semiauto shooter ejecting a live round between every shot, so he effectively has half the ammo capacity.)

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