What is a Picatinny Rail Mount: A Comprehensive Guide

What is a Picatinny Rail Mount

What is a Picatinny Rail Mount: A Comprehensive Guide

Although it can be assumed that the Picatinny rail mount is a mount of some kind, few people would provide a correct and comprehensive answer to the question, “What is a Picatinny rail mount”? Few people would argue that there are not that many techniques in the world of customizing firearms that revolutionized the process and changed gun addition the way the Picatinny rail mounts did.

This custom mounting system is currently a gold standard for everyone who wants to equip their gun with some gadgets. However, this platform has a somewhat long and eventful history and is characterized by many unique qualities. This guide will explain in detail the characteristics and functions of the Picatinny rail mounts and the process of their installation.

History and Development

The Picatinny rail mount is a prime example of military advancements benefiting the civilian world. Developed in the late 1980s by Richard Swan of ARMS Inc.

This standardized mounting system replaced various proprietary options. Initially designed by the U.S. military to improve accessory attachment on firearms, the Picatinny rail’s versatility soon made it a popular choice for hunters and sport shooters. By 1985, it was well on its way to becoming the standard for mounting sights and other accessories in both military and law enforcement applications.

Related: How to Install a Picatinny Rail on Your Firearm

Design and Structure

At its core, the Picatinny rail is characterized by its distinctive “flattened T” shape, featuring a hexagonal cross-section and evenly spaced cross slots. This design allows for secure attachment of accessories using compatible mounts and rings.

A notable improvement over its predecessor, the Weaver rail, the Picatinny system offers enhanced stability and versatility, ensuring optimal performance in various shooting scenarios.

Related: Buy The Dovetail Optic Mount

Functionality and Applications

The versatility of the Picatinny rail knows no bounds, the Picatinny rail can accommodate virtually any firearm accessory with ease. Its standardized dimensions and precise engineering ensure compatibility with a wide range of modern firearms, including rifles, handguns, and shotguns, making it a must-have addition for any discerning gun owner.

Step-by-Step Guide

Compatibility check:

Here, the physical fit is vital. Lay your scope mount on the Picatinny rail. Be sure to check whether the mounting holes on the scope mount fall on the slots on the rail. The scope mount must sit flat on the rail entirely. It will not have any gaps or will rock when you push it.

For your measurements to be accurate, the distance between the holes must be the same and be done from the center of the mount to the center of the next hole.

Related: Buy Glock 17 Magazine Online


Before mounting the scope, ensure that both the rail and the scope rings where to attached to the rifle. Use a solvent like rubbing alcohol to clean away any dirt. Clean and rid the oils and any dirty fingerprints ensuring the mounting surfaces are sparkling clean.

Thread locker:

Apply a pea-sized piece of thread locker on every thread of the screws that you drive into the mount. Use the one that is designed for use in metals and follow the appropriate amounts to apply.

As you screw the two components together, the thread locker will set and harden as it dries, locking the screw in place. It will prevent the screws from vibrating loose due to the recoil produced when you fire the gun.


Now that both the rail and the scope mount are clean and prepared the final step is to carefully place the mount on the rail. Now is when you will determine the importance of eye relief. The eye relief is a comfortable distance from your eye to the scope eyepiece. If you want to be sure about your measurements, check the manual of the scope.

Now attach the mount to the rifle and shoulder your Glock the same way you would aim your gun. Look through the scope and adjust the position of the mount. Push the mount along the rail if the sight is not clear and move a bit backward if you see the black rings that indicate too close-to-eye relief.


The next step is to attach the scope mount to the Glock’s rail. This is done using the screws provided with the mount. It is important to tighten the screws firmly but evenly in a star pattern. This means you have to tighten each screw a little at a time and always move to the next one in a star-shaped sequence.

This applies equal pressure across the mount, ensuring it does not warp or become misaligned. Tighten properly but do not overtighten the screws as this can damage the mount or the rail. If your scope and mount came with a user manual, consult it for any torque recommendations.


The final step is boresighting the scope. This means roughly aligning the reticle with the bore of your Glock. This is not a zeroing procedure, of course, but it gets the scope close enough for the point of aim and point of impact to coincide at short distances. It will save you some time at the range if you boresight instead of zeroing at the range.

Two main boresighting devices are commonly used.

  • The first is the bore sighting laser, which is inserted in the chamber of an unloaded Glock and projects a laser beam at a target located at a fixed distance from the weapon.
  • The second device is a collimator sight, which also projects a sight onto the target but does not utilize a laser, only light.

Both types of devices allow you to adjust the windage and elevation of the scope until the reticle is centered on the laser spot or the collimator sight.

Remember boresighting is just a starting point. For a true zero, you will still need to go to the range and fire some rounds through your Glock at different distances, adjusting the reticle between the shots so that the point of aim on the target coincides with the point of impact of the rounds from your pistol.


All in all, the Picatinny rail mount is an excellent example of a design that revolutionizes gun accessories. Its universal compatibility and highly standardized nature have led to the explosive popularity of the platform among owners of all types of firearms. Whether you are an experienced or a beginning shooter, the Picatinny rail mount is an essential element of getting the most out of your firearm.


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