Important Considerations When Upgrading AR Handguards
While many gun owners are happy with the stock look of their AR long gun, there are just as many owners who want to create a unique, personalized look. There is also a group of hunters, competitive shooters and gun owners who want to have handrails that serve more of a functional role and can allow for mounting of a variety of different accessories to the weapon.
A great option for either of these gun owners, as well as for people who want the upgrade both for practical as well as aesthetic reasons, it is to shop around online and look at the various aftermarket AR handguards on the market. When you are doing this, it is easy to see the range of different styles, options and features out there as well as make a comparison of several other factors.
When replacing the current AR handguards, it will be important to understand what features you need from the old components and what features you want to add. This is true for both the drop-in as well as the free-floating types, each offering easy installation as well as different looks.
For those that use their weapons for more than just casual use on the target range, one practical consideration will be the weight of the new component. While not a major source of added weight, even a few ounces can get more challenging to hold for long periods of time, particularly if you are constantly walking and moving about.
For the ability to provide the greatest number of mounting options for accessories with any AR handguards, look for the railed types of designs. These are lightweight, although the free floating is heavier than the drop in, and they offer four rails (the quad rail) and will typically use the Picatinny mounting rail specification.