Hand Guards: Favorite & Why
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Old 07-05-2013, 11:18 PM   #1
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Default Hand Guards: Favorite & Why

Been researching my AR for a while now, just finished my lower, and have started ordering parts for my upper - range time looms I know there are TONs of hand guards out there, many different philosophies of use, and then there is personal preference and cost right?

I thought it might go a long way for me, and probably other newer members to hear from you all what's what on hand guards.

I am looking for vendors, types, POU's etc. Right now, I am looking JP's rapid config and others with similar design.

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Old 07-05-2013, 11:24 PM   #2
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my preference is for the M16A1 triangle handguards. most comfy ones ever created for the AR15. blows everything else out of the water. second are the magpul MOE handguards they are very close in feel to the A1. third are the A2 handguards. after that the JP freefloat tubes are really good then tied with JP are the midwest industries offerings.

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Old 07-05-2013, 11:30 PM   #3
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My favorite is by far the Magpul MOE, there are many reasons for this.

Its lightweight, much lighter than any quadrail and has the ability to have accessories attached through the slots and the use of rail sections. The top is tapered in such a way that makes it very ergonomic to me and the shape of the top of them with the cooling vents is reminiscent of the Vietnam era triangular handguards, which I have a soft spot for.

They are also very affordable at roughly $30. You can't go wrong I dont think.

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Old 07-05-2013, 11:55 PM   #4
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I like quadrails honestly. Put an afg2 on there and things really work out. Even without the afg, i still like the rails

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Old 07-06-2013, 01:15 AM   #5
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Another vote for the Magpul MOE. Light, strong, fits very tight and does everything I need. And for a bargain price. Plus it's easy to add an IWC QD mount for a sling. You can add rail strips if needed, as well.

For $30 it's worth giving them a try. That's what I did and was impressed.

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Old 07-06-2013, 02:07 AM   #6
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I have thoughts of trying 3 gun at some point. Right now, I am trying to decide if I want to mount irons/backup sites at 1:30... I am leaning that way, but who knows... in practice I might not like it... range time will tell I honestly don't know, which is why i'm here. I am watching, reading, etc etc and that can only get me so far.

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Old 07-06-2013, 02:50 AM   #7
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I prefer the XM177 style hand guard and using a drill to drill a hole through the guard to mount a SureFire X300 on it (GG&G mount) for a short range carbine. Apart from a sling and an optic, you don't need anything else. A carbine with a pencil weight barrel, Aimpoint Micro or Trijicon RMR, XM177 hand guard, and X300 is about as light as you can go and still have a functional carbine. There are plastic and carbon fiber receivers, but those can have (not necessarily do have) durability issues.

For a long range rifle or carbine (routinely shooting at over 200 yards) or a carbine that needs to mount accessories at 12/9/6/3 o'clock, look into a Troy Alpha Rail or Battle Rail or whatever marketing buzz term they're using for it now. It floats the barrel and you can put picatinny rail sections where you need them (9 or 6 o'clock SureFire X300, 3 o'clock bipod).

There are other rail systems on the market, but the Troy Alpha Rail and latest KAC Rail are some of the lightest and there's little functionality difference between them and competitive designs.

The quad rail is now old technology and unless you're just trying to make your rifle or carbine heavier, there's nothing that the new designs don't offer that the quad rail holds over them. You don't need extra sections of picatinny rail with nothing on them. Quad rails look cool, but don't actually do anything to improve usability. An AR-10 sniping rifle with lots of gadgets on it may benefit from a quad rail, but that's about it.

Modular plastic hand guards like the MOE are a compromise that improve functionality for a modest price. If you don't need or want free float, but want to mount a weapon light, sling swivel, and perhaps a bipod for prone shooting, then the MOE is the answer.

Carbon fiber float tubes are generally very light, but mighty toasty with any volume of fire.

Single piece forged uppers like the Colt 6940 upper or Armalite COP upper are ideal for large and/or heavy forward mounted optics such as CNVD or large telescopes set into mounts that would run forward of a normal AR receiver. The scope mount issue for large telescopes has largely been resolved by cantilever mounts. Any type of hand guard, to include float tubes that are bolted to the upper receiver extension (can't recall the correct terminology right now) is going to flex when the weapon is fired, some more so than others. It's not a big deal and won't affect CNVD's, but it's not ideal for large scopes. The 6940 is old technology quad rail, the COP is new technology user-installable sectioned picatinny rail. Both designs float the barrel, improving accuracy somewhat (something that only matters outside of 200 yards).

That should cover just about cover it.

Whichever option you go with, just remember that if you actually have to carry it in your hands any distance, you'll appreciate a lightweight setup a lot more than a heavy setup.

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Old 07-06-2013, 02:54 AM   #8
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I used to like Magpul's MOE handguard the best, until I felt an AB Arms Mod1 handguard. Very comfortable.

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Old 07-06-2013, 03:38 AM   #9
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I have a Lancer LCH5 mid length carbon fiber hand guard that will be delivered on Tuesday. I'll let you know how I like it. When you ask for "opinions" especially in AR15 topics you will get a broad broad spectrum of opinions. You can read about what others like, but there really is no substitution for handling a few different set ups to see what feels best to you. Then once you find what's comfy you can look through the vendors and see which is most appealing to you.



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Old 07-06-2013, 09:39 AM   #10
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I like the Magpul MOE alot too. It's light, feels perfect, tight fit, several colors available and only costs about $30. Most of my guns wear these, but I don't hang too many accessories off mine.

If you want something more elaborate the possibilities are endless. Everything from Daniel Defense is outstanding, but will set you back about $300. For more like $200 I would look at the Vltor Cas-V and some of the options from Midwest Industries or Troy.

These also look like solid sub-$200 options: (1) (2)

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