AR-15 handguards come in many shapes and forms. There are so many options you can choose from. Quad rail, M-LOK, Keymod or no rail? Polymer or aluminum? Free floating or drop-in?
With so many options out there, it can be difficult to choose the best handguard for your AR-15. The handguard will set the appearance and functionality of your weapon. It will also allow you to add more accessories to the rifle.
Factors to Consider
To help you make the best decision, we’ve compiled a list of 5 things you need to consider when looking into handguards for your weapon:
1. Mounting Options:
The handguard you choose will decide what other accessories you can mount onto your weapon. Think about how you intend to use your rifle and the sort of accessories you would like to mount on it. How many other accessories would you want?
The more you add to your weapon, the heavier it will become. Are you alright with sacrificing weight for the purpose of adding functionality to your weapon? Bear in mind that a heavy weapon may restrict movement.
It doesn’t matter how sophisticated your weapon is if it’s not accurate. At the end of the day, the most important thing about your gun is that it allows you to shoot with precision. Free float handguards will tighten your groups, does that matter to you?
4. Ease of Installation:
Some handguards are easy to install, others may require you to modify your weapon.
For example, in order to install railed free float handguards, you may have to disassemble your rifle partially. You’ll also need to use specialized equipment such as Armorer wrenches and a vise block. If you’re handy with tools, it’s not the most difficult thing to do. Disassembly and installation will take around 30-40mins.
5. Heat Resistance:
When AR-15s are used for long period of time they can heat up making it difficult for you to carry around. Will you be using your weapon long enough for the heat to become an issue?
Handguards made of aluminum tend to heat up; having vents on the side can help them cool off. If heat is a problem for you then it’s better to look into polymer handguards.
Once you’ve thought about the above factors, you can finally begin looking at different handguards and see what each of them offers.