You may have seen these relatively new screws floating around already, Forward Controls Design carries them not to mention we carry them in our store. So if you’re interested in OCKS, then you’re probably looking for a BCG With OCKS Gas Key Screws, so check out our BCGs here.
That being said, OCKS are quickly becoming the new standard in gas key screws for the AR-15 platform. But why?
What are OCKS?
Before we get to that answer, what does OCKS even stand for? It’s an acronym put together by combining the first letter in the actual name of the product:
- O – Optimized
- C – Carrier
- K – Key
- S – Screws
They were dreamt up and created by Ned Christiansen, a master machinist and gunsmith who saw a need for superior gas key screws. Gas key screws are an often overlooked, yet essential part of the AR’s internal workings. They hold in place the gas key which not only is used to direct the gas into the BCG to effect cycling, but is also guides the bolt carrier group inside the channel of the charging handle when the weapon cycles. However, regular grade 8 screws have been used in BCGs since the inception of the AR platform, so what problem are these OCKS designed to mitigate?
Bolt carrier group fit, finish and part quality vary tremendously across brands and manufacturers. Many big name companies like FN and Colt actually use BCGs from AO Precision or Toolcraft who are known for their quality and consistency. Nowadays just like how everyone seems to own an AR, everyone is also seems to be making AR parts and not everyone makes them to the same level of quality or standard. This was apparent in some of the early to mid 2000s when the AR market exploded and demand was out pacing supply. Some BCGs were using cheap Chinese YFS screws on their gas keys which would either break, or come loose due to improper torqueing or staking. A failure like that at the gas key will take your gun out of the fight, hard. The original Spec calls for grade 8 screws to be used, but not every manufacturer follows that or the recommended torque specs in the TDM.
Cue Ned Christiansen
Ned saw this problem that he could remedy and designed a product to meet and exceed the need. His screws are made from quality, US made steel and are Grade 8 on a bad day. They feature aggressive knurling and then 12 DEEP splines around it as well to have that metal from the key flow into them and hold it in place during the staking process. On top of all that, they just make it look a little more awesome too in my opinion. On top of all the pros, a set of OCKS can often be found for less than $8 which is not bad considering a regular screw already runs about $2.50 at Brownells.
Optimized Carrier Key Screws in my opinion, are the best aftermarket part when building up a BCG or replacing a worn or damaged gas key. If you are looking for a replacement set of screws, I’d highly recommend you outfit your BCG With OCKS Gas Key Screws and either get them staked properly through us, or yourself if you are capable.