A handguard protects the rifle shooter’s hand from the barrel heat while using the machine. The heat-insulated surface safeguards the shooter’s hand. Also, accessories such as lights, lasers, and bipods can be attached to the handguard. Before purchasing a handguard, check the requirements and their types.
Types of Handguards
There are two ar handguard types. They are free-floating and drop-in handguards.
In recent years, free-floating are popular as they are attached to the firearm and do not touch the barrel. The cost of the free-floating handguard is worth it. It is also heavier than the drop-in model. The drop-in model is light in weight and simple in design. It is used with a spring load mechanism and is easy to install. In addition, the drop-in models are inexpensive and do not support adding more accessories to the rail.
It depends on the usage of the shooters on what they require. If they do not require attaching many accessories and looking for a cost-effective handguard, then drop-in models are best. If one requires attaching more accessories and is serious about shooting, one can go for the free-floating model.
Mounting Systems in Handguards
A mounting accessory system allows the shooters to install various accessories to the rifle. There are three types of mounting systems in the market, such as Picatinny, M-LOK, and keymod.
Picatinny is renowned as it was used by military and law enforcement. It was the leader to attach lasers, lights, foregrips, etc. It can be used for quad rails on each side of the rifle (left, right, top, and bottom). The only drawback of this system is the weight. It is heavier than the other two types. Adding the accessories creates an extra weight to the shooter.
As the name says, the system looks like keyholes. It is very light in weight and easy to install. It is not as heavy as Picatinny. The drawback of this type is that the few accessories do not work well with the polymer handguards due to the design. It is the best choice if the shooter is searching for a better lightweight handguard than the Picatinny. One more drawback is that shooters cannot find the features like MLOK as some industries produce accessories that suit the MLOK model.
Modular Lock is patterned by Magpul Industries. It allows attaching the accessories directly. Instead of keyholes in keymode type, MLOK uses narrow slits and T-shaped nuts. This works well with polymer handguards. It is not open-source like Keymod. The accessories that are made for MLOK are uniform. Also, after obtaining a license from Magpul, the products can be made. The only disadvantage of using MLOK is that sometimes it becomes tricky to use the handguard.
The handguards come in different sizes. Consider the handguards with the material, barrel length, and gas system. By selecting the right handguard, the shooter can tighten the accuracy and have better grip and mounting options.
Upgrading the rifle with stability, reliability, and smoothness does not win the competition; instead, it can enhance the shooter for accuracy and train in the advanced shots. It is possible to customize the colour, size, style, weight, and material of the handguard to suit the shooter’s preference.