Though the name may make your grandfather go on a rant about Tojo and your douchebag hipster nephew harange about how “authentically rustical” Godzilla movies are, rest assured this relatively new company is all American.
The first thing you’re probably going to ask yourself is, “wait–are these Japanese rifles?”
No, they’re not–so all of you guys that masturbate to WWII comics and the History Channel are going to be immediately disappointed. Arisaka, named in homage to the legendary Japanese weapon designer, is best known for their WML mounts but they have more on the table. They focus on pieces for KeyMod, M-LOK, and a little curiously, CMR interfaces. What initially grabbed my attention was their sleek, functional, and minimalist approach, lending to their
Steve Jobs Japanese aesthetic.
What kept my attention was their Surefire Scout replacement bodies (more on that in a minute).
Arisaka makes a number of mounts, from the simple offset, to ring, to inline. Yes, with the advent of more forends with 45° mounting surfaces (such as the BCM KMR, Knight’s URX 4, and Geissle Mk8) inline has once again become a popular choice. On the aforementioned 45° surface, it puts your light in easy position for thumb activation (if that’s your thing) and reduces the overall weapon width. You can still accomplish this with an offset mount, but Arisaka is all about slim, clean lines. So why not?
Finding myself with a couple of different rails equipped with 45° mounting surfaces, I decided to nab an Arisaka mount. Though I happened to choose a KeyMod version, all of the features and attributes are the same with M-LOK. The mount arrived in a simple clamshell, no scissors or KaBar required. In addition to the mount, the packaging also contained a glossy cardstock instruction sheet, to include torque specs. Yeah I know, we’re talking about a light mount and not a rifle barrel–so you can just fingerfuck and forget it, but the gunnerd in me grinned. In my experience, if a company is paying proper attention to packaging, they’re more likely to pay attention to other [more important] aspects of production.
Onto the mount:
As you can see above, the mounting holes where the unit is attached to the Scout light are staggered. This allows slight adjustment in either direction for additional clearance if needed. The inline mounts have three different positions and the Arisaka offset KeyMod mount sports four. The design allows you to cantilever your Scout light beyond the forend, which is especially useful if you have shorter handguards to reduce any barrel shadowing.
Each mount is CNC machined out of 6061 and then type III hard anodized, and the deepness of the color demonstrates they’re doing it the right way. Though instructions are included, there are some nuances. There’s no included wrench, so you might have to dig through your workbench, Also, there is no thread locker included, so be sure to have some on hand (blue loctite or vibratite is what I pefer). While some may view the lack of thread locker as a negative, I like it so that I can play with positioning before fastening everything down (they have staggered mounting holes for a reason, remember).
Remove the factory mount from your Scout light, if you haven’t already, and attach it to the mount. Take the tailcap off of your Scout prior to mounting; you can’t get to the KeyMod or M-LOK locking nuts until you do.
It should also be noted that the included locking nuts are not captive, so you absolutely can back the screws entirely out. If everything is where you want it to be, disassemble and apply some thread locker. If I’m using a pressure switch, I prefer the WML to be on the outside. Inside for thumb activation. If you haven’t grown any strong predilections I suggest you try out a couple of configurations.
The hex wrench used for the nuts on the Arisaka is exceedingly small. I would prefer for them to be Torx (everything should be Torx) so they’d be harder to strip out. But remember that these don’t have to be Hulk-smashed to stay in. As expected, the mount locks up solid with no movement. At only 0.6oz, you aren’t exactly going to be overloading the scales either.
Replacement Surefire Scout Bodies
I love Surefire. I’ve been carrying and using them for more than a decade, and have spent thousands of dollars on their products (an informal survey of other minions showed much of the same). While I may occasionally dabble in other WMLs for handguns, the rifles all get Surefires all the time. So what’s the deal with replacing the body? What’s the gain? I’ll show you:
The factory Surefire Scout bodies have flats for their OEM mounting interfaces. If you’re just going to stick it on a 3 or 9 o’clock picatinny rail that’s all fine and good. The fact is that many of us don’t do that anymore. A quick scan of any class will show assorted aftermarket mounts, most of which are smaller and lighter than the OEM offerings. One issue you can run into is clearance of your front sight (or in the case of my SCAR, the front sling mount). Either the mount gets in the way or the body itself does. Arisaka produces a body streamlined for additional clearance with any mount (though I imagine Arisaka would prefer it if you used theirs!). If you’re still using the factory thumbscrew picatinny mount, you need not apply (and why are you reading this?). Arisaka makes replacements with this improved contour for both the M300 (single CR123) and M600 (double CR123) bodies.
More than once I’ve opened a new mount and attached a WML, only to find that I can’t put it where I want it because the front sight causes interference. So I either have to not use that mount, light setup, front sight, or some combination thereof. A lot of switching and swapping can happen. No matter how you cut it, it gets to be a pain in the ass.
Even still, due to the shear number of iron sight and rail options, there’s no guarantee the Arisaka will fit. I can say, however, that the Arisaka body will fit more combinations.
The Midwest Industries sight shown, while not the largest of the bunch, is certainly no Leitner-Wise MFG eSight. The Arisaka body fit on both sides, a Surefire factory body didn’t.
Like the light mounts, the Arisaka Scout bodies are CNC’d from 6061 and hard anodized. Included with each body are the appropriate O-rings for weatherproofing. While they’re currently only available in black, your desired color is just a rattlecan away. If you want to go the Cerakote route, Arisaka went out of their way to provide some additional instruction about appropriate masking.
When you visit Arisaka’s page on their M300 replacement bodies, there’s also this short paragraph:
It is also possible to build a complete light from scratch by sourcing additional components. A variety of tailcaps and aftermarket light heads are available from online retailers. Our favorite light head to pair with the 300 Series Light Body is the Malkoff E1/Scout, which offers higher lumen output and greater spill over the stock M300B, a smaller overall size, and is made in the USA
[Before we go any further, as of just last week the part about the Malkoff E1 being brighter is no longer true. Stock M300B’s are now 300 lumens]
Under most circumstances, I like to stick with OEM parts–no Amazon.com/AliBaba/China shit for me. Malkoff is a different story though. For years I’ve been giving new life to old incandescent 6P’s and G2’s with Malkoff bulbs. They’re tough as shit and they hit me right in the lady parts with their flavor combination of spill, throw, and hotspot. Intrigued, I decided to follow Arisaka’s suggestion and purchase the Malkoff E1 head. A Surefire UE07 tailcap was purchased used (hence the mismatched FDE), and I picked up the toughass SR-07 switch (I do not like the wussy ST pressure switches).
Damn, if TNVC and Unity Tactical would get their TAPS switch to the market, almost none of this WML would be Surefire. I’m not sure if I should be astonished or ashamed. Is ‘Astonishamed’ a word?
Arisaka, launching only last year, is a newcomer to the scene, but by all appearances appear to be doing it the right way. In addition to their mounts and sterling Scout bodies, they also have hand stops, sling mounts, vert grips, and even some optic leveling tools. Currently, the available colors go the route of the Model-T and if you want a QD mounting system you’ll have to look elsewhere. The addition of a wrench and a small packet of thread locker would be nice to see. I appreciate the attentive design of the inline mount but the Surefire replacement bodies are the real stand outs to me; they’re an elegant solution. I’ll be purchasing some more of their mounts and will give their VFG a gander as well.
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⚠️ Some hyperlinks in this article may contain affiliate links. If you use them to make a purchase, we will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.
It’s just one way to Back the Bang. #backthebang