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View Full Version : AR Handguard


04Cobra
July 16, 2012, 06:50 PM
Forgive my ignorance, but I'm about to buy my first AR. My only experience with that type rifle was when I had to qualify in basic (after I had to qualify with the M-14).

I have seen that I can buy an AR with a standard handguard for quite a bit less than one with rails. My question is, can I buy a mil. spec. AR with, say a carbine gas length and a regular handguard and then update it with a rail guard like from Magpul?

Creeper
July 16, 2012, 07:18 PM
My question is, can I buy a mil. spec. AR with, say a carbine gas length and a regular handguard and then update it with a rail guard like from Magpul?

You want a carbine (16" bbl) gas block location with a carbine length handguard to start... and then later, fit a mid (18" bbl) or rifle (20" bbl) length handguard? Is that the question?

Sure. If you fit a rail type handguard, the extends beyond the gas block, then you run a cut down or low profile gas block and install a sight that fits the 1913 rail.
Or... a Daniel Defense AR15 Lite Rail (https://danieldefense.com/rail-systems/ar-15-lite-rail.html) that allows the use of the stock sight/gas block while still going past that point.

Cheers,
C

jephthai
July 16, 2012, 08:48 PM
One tip -- I bought my upper built with a low-profile adjustable gas block. I also specified a handguard that blocks the allen-key to adjust it. :rolleyes: When you get around to choosing your parts, make sure you pay attention to what you're doing...

Creeper
July 16, 2012, 08:50 PM
I bought my upper built with a low-profile adjustable gas block. I also specified a handguard that blocks the allen-key to adjust it.

End up drilling a hole? :p

Auto426
July 16, 2012, 09:14 PM
The short answer is yes, you can buy something mil-spec like a Colt 6920 with it's basic plastic handguards and then change them out later on down the road. Most aftermarket quad rails are a relatively easy install and don't require any special tools or modification to the rifle.

However, if you do get something like a Colt 6920 with a fixed front sight, you have to use either carbine length handguards or handguards designed to work around the front sight. Alternatively, the front sight can be swapped out for a low profile gas block that will fit under a rail/forearm which will allow you to use mid length or rifle length rails and forearms.

Alternatively, if the Magpul forearm tickles your fancy, many manufacturers offer Magpul models that come with Magpul furniture already installed. Magpul offers plenty of accessories designed to work with their forearm as well as picatinny rail sections that can be attached to it to allow the use of other accessories.

04Cobra
July 16, 2012, 09:47 PM
I think I worded my question poorly. Sorry.:(
I want to know if I can buy an AR with a regular M4 handguard and then later replace it with a railed handguard. If I get a Magpul after market handguard I can save a couple of hundred dollars. The more I save the more ammo I can buy.

Achilles11B
July 16, 2012, 10:12 PM
Changing out the handguards is a common mod, changing them out shouldn't be a problem.

raimius
July 16, 2012, 10:53 PM
Yes, there are many railed hand guards you can replace the standard ones with. Some are going to be better for certain applications. Cost and effort to install will vary! If you wanted a top of the line free-floating hand guard, that will take a bit more work than a 2 piece "drop in" hand guard. Personally, I think most shooters would be fine with the drop in style, as long as they aren't placing aiming devices on the rails.

Auto426
July 16, 2012, 11:33 PM
I want to know if I can buy an AR with a regular M4 handguard and then later replace it with a railed handguard. If I get a Magpul after market handguard I can save a couple of hundred dollars. The more I save the more ammo I can buy.

That depends on which rifle you plan on buying.

A basic Colt 6920 can be had for around $1000, with the Magpul equipped models selling for as little as $100 to $200 more. When you take into account the costs of the MOE parts (grip, handguard, trigger guard, stock, rear sight, forward grip) and the Pmags that come with the rifle, it's a bargain compared to going out and buying all those pieces yourself.

toppermost
July 17, 2012, 12:23 AM
LOL... Sometimes the gun nuts over think things:

These were $40 bucks. There were two halves. They bolt together with four tiny little allen-head screws. Took about a minute. No modification whatsoever to my standard, military specification carbine.

http://i226.photobucket.com/albums/dd271/toppermost/IMG_1291.jpg

Justice06RR
July 17, 2012, 03:07 AM
^ Very nice. Keep it simple is always good.

To the OP, yes if you want a no-fuss handguard replacement just go with the Magpul MOE plastic handguards, and spend the rest of your $ on extra ammo. The Magpul handguard still accepts small rail sections for a Vertical/Angled foregrip and flashlight/laser IIRC.

04Cobra
July 17, 2012, 12:05 PM
Thanks, everybody.

Hey, Toppermost: What brand is that handguard on your rifle?

tobnpr
July 17, 2012, 01:53 PM
Easy to change out.
The advantage of the free-float handguard is the same as free-floating the barrel on a bolt action- no contact/pressure points on the barrel which generally improves accuracy.

btmj
July 17, 2012, 02:27 PM
Be aware that every free-float handguard I have ever seen was heavier than the polymer standard handguards. Some are only an ounce heavier, but some are almost a full pound heavier.

batmann
July 17, 2012, 06:12 PM
I changed out my handguards on my S&W M&P 15 from the original Magpul (they moved and I never could keep them tight) to a carbine length quad rail rail from Midwest Industries. The whole change took less than 5 minutes by myself and no tools. The fit is great and it allows you to add (or not add) things like lights etc. I did get some ladder type rail covers for mine just to help protect them and give me a little more cushion when the barrel heats up.