View Full Version : AR 15 Handguard

December 14, 2009, 09:24 PM
I am planning on switching the factory handguard on my RRA carbine. I am a little torn between a few options and do not fully understand the implications of choosing certain ones so ill consult the experienced :).

For the most part, I will not have anything mounted on the handguard... however at some points in a given year I will want to attach a foregrip and maybe a flashlight for a class I take. I will mostly just use the handguard...for my hand at the range and at Appleseed.

For this reason, the Magpul MOE hanguard (http://www.midwayusa.com/viewproduct/?productnumber=745421) appeals to me because it is light, inexpensive, looks nice, and can accomodate rails. However, I am concerned about this product overheating during my tactical carbine classes at which I sustain a hefty volume of fire all day long. Also, for this class If i choose to attach a foregrip and/or a flashlight I do not trust poylmer rails.

The alternative choice which is starting to trump MOE is a metal quad-rail handguard. Thus far, I like the looks and price tag of DoubleStar's Hanguard (http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct/?productNumber=463458). I believe the added weight will be negligible, love the looks, understand that it will be sturdier than polymer, and understand I can employ rail covers when shooting at appleseed, and take them off for the tactical class.

So, unless someone can pursuade me to go with Magpul, I will assume that a metal handguard is the way to go for me. That said, what recommendations can my fellow gunsmen make as alternatives to DoubleStar?

Thanks in advance everyone... always a pleasure dealing with this community.

December 14, 2009, 09:54 PM
I was quite happy with my set of Magpul MOE handguards. They did not overheat, even under rapid fire. They were also very easy to attach a vertical grip and flashlight to...


December 15, 2009, 05:58 AM
Get the MOE.

Bartholomew Roberts
December 15, 2009, 07:50 AM
All of mine are midlengths so I cannot run the MOE; but if I could I would definitely replace all of my normal handguards with them. Top notch gear, as usual. I got to play with an M&P15 MOE and I think they would do well in a class/training.

Given the choice between the MOE and a Doublestar non-free-float rail, I would probably go with the MOE; but I have not had the chance to use the Doublestar.

December 15, 2009, 07:54 AM
I like the UTG link to Midway, paid less than the Midway price but read the the Midway reviews.


December 15, 2009, 01:58 PM
IIRC the rails on the MOE are aluminum, not polymer.

The January SHOT show debuts new products from makers, Magpul has at best hinted a mid-length MOE could, or could not be shown. Its's just a few weeks, I'll wait.

Instructors at carbine classes are quite fond of having students remove broken or useless rail attachments during the course. I'd study up closely from grads of the one selected to see if anything at all is recommended.

As for long term use, the continuing miniaturization of optics and lights will make a 4 rail obsolete in the future. They simply won't take up the space and make multiple rails necessary. I'm avoiding them.

December 15, 2009, 06:05 PM
I think at some point all those guns with picatiny rails all over them will be like a guy with a Yosemite Sam tattoo :barf:

December 15, 2009, 08:18 PM
Sooo how about this guy http://www.midwayusa.com/viewproduct/?productnumber=312093. Cheaper than the Magpul, is a free floating design (helps accuracy), lite weight, expandable depending on what you want to add to your rifle and is comfortable to shoot (at least for me, I have one on my AR).

Just another idea ;).

December 15, 2009, 08:33 PM
I have the MOE on my M&P 15. Great handguard, not free floated, but an all around good bargain.

All I have mounted on it right now is a sling mount, but will soon mount a flashlight.

If you want the best one IMO, go with Troy. Might be out of your price range, but just throwing it out there.


December 16, 2009, 10:20 PM
I think at some point all those guns with picatiny rails all over them will be like a guy with a Yosemite Sam tattoo:barf:


December 16, 2009, 10:36 PM
I changed my stock front handguard grip to a 4- Rail Metal Handguard -


It's hard to see here, but works great .

I can hang something on all four sides if I want to.


December 16, 2009, 10:44 PM
Hey dondavis is that a UTG quad rail handguard? How is it??

And thanks everyone. I don't necessarily agree with the notion that quad rails will soon become obsolete.

December 16, 2009, 10:47 PM
I have another question... what are the advantages of having a free-float rail as opposed to regular non-free float? I understand if I wanted supreme accuracy I would want to eliminate any forces on the barrel including those from my hand and jerking the gun around... but does it really make that big of a difference?

December 16, 2009, 10:50 PM
Any differences, IMO, would be sub-MOA noticable.

December 16, 2009, 11:07 PM
free floating an AR15 first became popular on National Match guns because the tension a sling put on the handgaurd would distort the barrel, free floating the handgaurd solved the problem

December 16, 2009, 11:25 PM
Ditto for bipods

December 17, 2009, 12:38 AM
I do apply quite a bit of force on the sling when I shoot offhand and prone... i'll consider the free-float design to remedy any porblems this might cause.

December 17, 2009, 07:53 AM

It's a AR-15 Mako Quad Rail Handguards for Carbines Heavy Duty Aluminum High Quality 6 1/4" long

I got it at "Cheaper Than Dirt" several years ago on sale.

I like it - very high quality.:cool:

I don't agree that the quad rails or the bipods will become obsolete either.:eek:

Bartholomew Roberts
December 17, 2009, 09:35 AM
I have another question... what are the advantages of having a free-float rail as opposed to regular non-free float? I understand if I wanted supreme accuracy I would want to eliminate any forces on the barrel including those from my hand and jerking the gun around... but does it really make that big of a difference?

I've kept a shooting log for awhile now and one thing I noticed after adding a Knight's free-float to my 16" Bushy HBAR was that my average groups tightened up about a half-inch at 100yds. The only other change I made at that same time was adding a Magpul M93 stock, so I am inclined to credit the free-float tube.

A gentleman going by the handle "Molon" at AR15.com did a similar before and after experiment that was much better detailed and thought out than my log book; but he arrived at the same result, about 0.5 MOA improvement.

The other edge to the free float is that because it attaches directly to the barrel nut, the better designed ones act as a big heat sink and help cool the rifle better than the non-free float tubes. However, it is a small enough difference that I don't know there would be any practical effect to it.

If you are looking at rails, I believe Bravo Company is selling the Daniel Defense Omega rail for $179 right now. No tools needed to install it and lighter than most rails.

Having said that, I'd probably go with the MOE, Magpul's new angled foregrip and a Surefire G2 in a cheap mount for my next build (assuming Magpul comes out with a midlength MOE).

December 17, 2009, 10:15 AM
There is a lot of new old stock and used but still in the box hand guards floating around. 40-50 cents on the dollar. Gunbroker, evil bay and many of the gun forums have tons listed. I picked up a nib Surefire two piece for $45, beats the $125 retail all to heck. There seems to be more on the market now than ever.

December 17, 2009, 01:46 PM
I have been shopping for a nice rail for a while. I had the UTG, but it was real wide. I wanted something narrow and lite. I looked at the Magpul, Ergo, Doublestar, YHM, Troy and Daniel Defense.

DD is not cheap, usually, but after seeing the post by Bartholomew Roberts i just ordered a DD Omega from Bravo Co. That is one hell of a deal. Thanks BR.

All of those rails are good and there are many other good brands out there. The UTG is ok, but it is wide, the aluminum seemed softer than others and the coating comes off easily. If your set on rails, get Doublestar or YHM for budget, troy, DD, larue or surefire for a little more. IF you dont like a wide fore arm look at the widths. Maybe try to get your hands on a few. some are very wide.

December 17, 2009, 09:01 PM
I've got a Yankee Hill free float on my carbine and it seems to be very solid. It came highly recommended by my local AR shop. This one:



December 18, 2009, 02:42 AM
VLTOR CASV if you want the option of rails where you want them, not where you dont...



December 18, 2009, 07:57 AM
what holds the bottom half of the CASV to the epper half? Is it 2 screws on the back and latches in front? Does it feels solid?

December 18, 2009, 12:41 PM
The top half locks into the delta-ring just like regular handguards, and screws in back and those metal clips hold it together at the front.