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Exile Machine Backfin Review

Without a proper test drive, it’s easy to waste money on gun accessories that have a subpar performance on the field. Many of the backstrap fins we’ve used are okay, but the Exile Machine Backfin remains one of our favorites for several reasons.  Here, we discuss all that and more.

Exile Machine Backfin


  • Ergonomic design
  • Comfortable and natural grip
  • Easy one-hand operation with thumb shelf
  • Complies with CA laws for featureless build
  • Affordable price


  • May need some sanding to reduce gloss
  • Some may not like that it’s 3D printed instead of molded


Made to replace the mission adaptable grip v1.1, the Exile Machine Backfin is well-designed and well-thought-out.

One of the unique things about it is that it’s 3D printed instead of molded, which is unlike how Magpul and other gun products are made. The backfin is made out of high-temperature polyester and glossy black nylon as well. Looking closely, you can expect some sheen on this product.

The exterior has sharp edges, hanging nylon strands, and a retaining tab. Overall, the appearance is pretty good. For some shooters who prefer a matte look that’s similar to other polymer parts of the gun, a bit of sanding will tone down the glossiness.

hand holding rifle upright

This backstrap fits nicely and clicks right into place without wobble. It might be a little tight when you first use it, but it’s exactly for this reason why it won’t come loose.

The fin part is placed at a distance that’s on point so the entire thing feels comfortable in one hand. This gives it that natural grip on the AR without an awkward feel. The thumb rest is a nifty little addition as well, but more on this later.

On the whole, the Exile Machine is an impressive product that fits great and grips naturally.


CA Compliance

Some states like California have strict regulations on the use of protruding grips [1]. In CA law, this protrusion is one of the defining features of an assault weapon, and you must register your rifle as such if that’s the case. 

The Exile Machine Backfin is a handy accessory that keeps your rifle legal and your AR-15 functional in California. It complies with all the necessary laws so you don’t have to register your rifle as an assault weapon.

And if you’re crossing state lines, you can easily remove the backfin and just slap it on once you go back to California. This way, you have complete control of your firearm without worrying about breaking any laws.

Extra Configuration

This Exile Machine product has a simple design that works. One of the best features on the backfin is the thumb shelf, which is also a design facet that makes it unique compared to others in the market.

The thumb shelf gives your thumb a place to rest, allowing easy one-hand control of the gun. It’s nice that the thumb falls where it should, so everything feels natural and as if the extension is precisely where it needs to be.

In our experience, fins that don’t have thumb supports feel awkward when held, especially during one-hand manipulation. And of course, that can mess up your balance and your aim. As such, a thumb shelf is a small but useful configuration that can make all the difference.

(On a related note, check out our comparison of the 300 Blackout 1-7 and 1-8 twists if you are a proud owner of the chambered rifle.)

man with mask holding rifle


This fin is more comfortable to use on the field compared to other backstraps we have tried previously. This is largely due to the design of the product itself. The components are placed precisely, making the grip feel as natural as it should.

On several occasions, we tried going with the fixed magazine route, particularly because it’s less expensive. However, the inability to remove a mag is an absolute hassle. 

So, while you do have to buy the MIAD grip plus the backfin, it would be easier (and much more satisfying) to release a magazine and use other non-fixed mags as well. Reloads are fast and comfortable, too. 

If you need any questions or concerns answered, customer service is always available to help.

Have a Taurus G2C? Check out our top recommendations for the best Taurus G2C upgrades.

Exile Machine Backfin Review Conclusion

On the whole, the Exile Machine Backfin is a great product that allows you to comfortably use your firearm in full compliance with the California law. It’s well designed and offers unique features that beat a lot of options in the market.

Whether you’re crossing borders or staying in California, this fin is a versatile piece. Besides being easy to use, it also gives a good grip and fits naturally for a great overall performance.

Exile Machine Backfin

Read more about other must-haves for your rifles—read about our review of the best scopes from Osprey.

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