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Drop-in Handguard Vs Free Float Handguard

Handguard Muzzle brake

If you own a gun or are someone who shoots for sports, hunts, or are a military or law enforcement professional, you probably know the importance of rifle customization. If you own a rifle, an AR-15 in particular, one of America’s most popular guns, ease of use is essential. What determines how easy or not your rifle is to use in part is what you equip it with.

Image showing ar 15 free float handguard

Among the many essential rifle accessories, some of which include scopes, sights and muzzle brake, handguard are definitely up there.

Choosing the Right Handguard

If you’re out looking for a handguard suitable for your rifle, you will first need to decide between the types of handguard you want. In order to do this, you must be clear on your options and what each offers.

There are two basic types of handguards. These are; free float handguards and drop-in handguards. We’re going to elaborate on both as well as on the advantages of each.

Drop-in Handguards

Drop in handguards are a lot simpler than free float handguard. For the most part, these are two piece accessories that are dropped in and clamped over the muzzle section of the rifle. Drop-ins are held in place using a delta-ring with a spring load mechanism.

Drop-in hand guards are easy to remove and replace as all this requires is pushing the delta-ring forward hence releasing tension on the guard.

Drop in handguards are prized for being extremely inexpensive, very easy to install and light. On the flipside, railed drop in handguards are not exactly great as using a drop-in handguard to add accessories can be destabilizing.

Free Float Handguards

Image showing handguard

Free float handguards are another option. These handguards are directly attached to the rifle’s upper-receiver. In other words, they do not touch the barrel hence the words ‘free float’. Though free float handguards can be a little on the pricey side, the cost is well worth it. Apart from this, free float handguards can often be a bit heavier than their drop-in counterparts.

Advantages of free float types include increased stability and hence accuracy, tactical flexibility and overall aesthetic. Apart from this, where attaching accessories to drop-in type handguards may cause destabilization while firing, the same is not true for free float types.

You can comfortably attach multiple accessories including sights and scopes to a free float handguard without compromising grip, stability or accuracy.

So Which Is Better?

What’s better really depends on you and the kind of usage you’re looking into. If you’re someone who does not need to attach much to your rifle, is not very experienced or of you are tied for cash, drop-in handguards should do.

On the other hand, if you’re someone who is serious about your shooting and will probably need to attach scopes and other accessories to your rail, go for a free float handguard. Whatever you purchase, make sure you buy your handguard from a reliable vendor!

If you’re looking for AR-15 accessories including Scope mount, grips, handguards and other gear, feel free to check out our online rifle accessory store!

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