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Drop-In Handguard vs. Free Float Handguard

free float handguards Handguard Muzzle brake red dot

The first thing to ensure with a firearm is its comfort and safety net. Guns can go very wrong when handled incorrectly or without care and there have been many incidents of triggers going off when they shouldn’t have.

In order to ensure that you’re on the right side of the safety net, there’s of course the handguards option. They lock firmly into place and are conducive to your grip on the gun.

The Two Types of Handguards

There are two types of handguards: the drop-in kind and the free-floating ones. The main difference between them is that the drop-in handguard uses delta ring pressure to stay in place, whereas the free-floating variety does not come into contact with the barrel. The drop-in handguard can move during installation, whereas the free-floating option is completely fixed in place, being secured firmly to the barrel nut.

Image showing need for free float handguard

Find out more about the two varieties below.

The Pricing

Drop-in handguards are the cheaper fare and their design, too, in comparison is simpler. They’re thus more common and more commonly bought, being easier to manufacture and faster to produce. If you’re looking for a cost-effective option, the drop-in handguard should be your way to go.

Their Weight

Drop-in handguards are relatively righter, the free-floating ones being a little less free of weight. This is due to the accessories that have to be overall supported, right down to their barrels.

Since drop-in handguards are directly in contact with both ends of the handguard and the barrel, they’re less heavy.

The Optics

We don’t recommend mounting of optics on the drop-in variety, since they’re far less steady when compared to the free-floating handguards.

In case of the drop-in handguards, however, the front sight remains at the end of the handguard, and is thus mostly a non-issue.

In terms of the free-floating variety, the barrel and the front sight meet, with the sight remaining unaffected by bending or pressure on the handguard when you’re holding it.

Bipods and Grips

Both these kinds of handguards have space for the installation of bipods and forwards grips given their length. However, it is this difference in length that matters since it directly affects the torque. You can actually rotate the drop-in variety due to this very reason, even as you’re moving your rifle.

Many shooters use both varieties with their bipods and grips without any problems. Flashlights, similarly, are easily installed on both kinds.

Image showing need for handguard

The Sum

Simply put, free float handguard are the heavier option—both, in terms of weight and in terms of pricing. They have complex design and are also difficult to install. However, they’re more accurate than drop-ins.

Drop-ins, on the other hand, are lighter—both, in weight and on your pocket. They’re simpler an easier to use.

At the end of the day, it all depends on what you’re comfortable with.

Find Quality Free Float Handguard

Mentium USA has been providing high quality handguards to shooters and shooting enthusiasts, among other sports products and rifle accessories like iron sights, red dot sights, quad rails, and more. Get in touch with us here.



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