quad rails and vertical grips


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rifleman14
April 8, 2010, 12:16 AM
hey guys. i recently purchased a doublestar M4 style AR15 in 5.56/223. i have purchased a pro mag flip up rear sight and i just ordered the YHM riser mount so that i can mount my crappy "temporary" NcStar red dot sight. the next purchase i would like to make is a quad rail forarm and vertical grip. what are some good quality M4 quad rail handguards for someone on a budget? how about vertical grips? i will also be buying spare magazines eventually, so what are your suggestions on those? the 30 round doublestar mag that came with the rifle feeds wolf steel cased ammo flawlessly and the gun never jams even with this ammo and it actually shoots it pretty darn straight at 50 yards. anyways...what do you think about the C products mags? theyre usually about eight bucks. anything else that someone might want to add as far as aftermarket things that i may want for my AR, feel free. such as lights and stuff for the side rails of the quad.....
thanks everyone
dylan

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Broken11b
April 8, 2010, 12:20 AM
Spend the extra 6 dollars per mag and get the Pmags, theyll be worth it, more reliability.
Or it you dont want the Pmags, just get the real USGI mags.

Vertical grips, eh, whatever fits your hand, I have KAC's, an AFG, and a stubby, theres tons of grips out there.

Oh, check out the magpul foregrips, cheap, but I havent heard anything bad about them yet,

rifleman14
April 8, 2010, 12:23 AM
what are some good brands? which brands should i stay away from?

rifleman14
April 8, 2010, 12:24 AM
aimsurplus has UTG handguards that look like exactly what im looking for. anyone have experience with this handguard?

Balrog
April 8, 2010, 12:29 AM
I have a set from Midwest Industries that replace the original handguards and work just fine for a vertical grip.

They worked fine, but added weight and bulk to the gun, and the vertical grip really gave me no improvement over the original forend.

I have since removed them and replaced with the original handguards. I have decided that the AR is best when it is a light carbine. If I decide I want to carry an 8+ pound rifle, I will move up to a bigger caliber, and not add a bunch of crud to an AR.

Broken11b
April 8, 2010, 12:29 AM
mags, standard USGI and magpul pmags, lancers run fine as well. FN makes a steel mag for the scar and fs2000 that work great too. those mags are the only ones I'll trust my life to.

quad rails, knights armament, YHM, Ive heard good things about diamond, and Magpuls foregrip isnt a rail "per say" but it can mount rail sections

Grips, pick any you like

Havent heard too many good things about UTG, caveat emptor

rifleman14
April 8, 2010, 12:31 AM
so balrog, youre saying that you prefer the standard handguards? can you still fire just as quickly and accuractly as with the vertical grip? do you grab the handguard when you fire or the magazine well?


also to everyone, what are good sling options? none of those forty dollar fancy tactical ones, just standard slings that you find comfortable

Justin
April 8, 2010, 12:41 AM
The vertical foregrips are not really necessary, and in some instances, such as shooting through a narrow port, can be a hinderance.

Broken11b
April 8, 2010, 12:44 AM
just get a GI sling, cheap and proven.

Double Naught Spy
April 8, 2010, 08:50 AM
The vertical foregrips are not really necessary, and in some instances, such as shooting through a narrow port, can be a hinderance.

Right as can many accessories attached to the rifle and event things like permanent front sight towers.

seanie!
April 9, 2010, 02:29 AM
I can tell you to stay away from the Pro Mag vfg. It looks like a KAC clone, but is made from crap plastic. The post that screws up into the rail slots shredded away on mine.

giggitygiggity
April 9, 2010, 07:40 AM
I do not know exactly what your budget is, but LaRue Tactical makes some solid handguards and other AR equipment.

Z-Michigan
April 9, 2010, 08:20 AM
I would not get any quadrail or VFG until you've used the rifle extensively and decided you really want one based on experience. I have installed and removed both on my AR with no benefit in between. They have uses for some people, but know what your uses are before dropping the money. All but the most expensive quadrails add a lot of weight in addition to the cost and screw up the balance of the rifle.

The UTG quadrail is decent for the price, but its rails are far outside of spec. Typical of inexpensive rail stuff. If you ever get a quadrail you are better off buying a quality US made one.

C-P mags are random in quality. Skip them and get USGI mags (D&H or NHMTG manufacture), readily available for $8-9 each right now, or Pmags instead.

Zach S
April 9, 2010, 08:36 AM
aimsurplus has UTG handguards that look like exactly what im looking for. anyone have experience with this handguard?

A lot of the negatives about UTG are from snobs that turn their nose up at anything less than DD, Larue, KAC, etc. I cant say too much about that though, a lot of folks are fine with buying a $50 battery for their car, while all of mine have $180 optimas.

You will probably not find a more honest review:

You get what you pay for, and UTGs cost less than half what the troy DI does.

I have one. I didnt expect much, and I got what I expected. The aluminum used is a step above pot metal IMO. We use 3003 AL sheetmetal at work, and the UTG forend feels softer. Its pretty light when naked, but the included rail covers weigh as much as, if not more than the fore end itself, effectively doubling the weight up front.

I know it works well enough to hold a VFG, sling loop, and a surefire G3 on a closet/HD gun owned by a single father who doesn't get to the range very often. However, if I were in LE and it was a duty rifle, you wouldn't find UTG anything on it.

I may put a little more faith in the carbine model, but only because there isnt as much to break.

I plan on replacing it with an Omega 12.0 if I can ever find one in stock, when I haven't just spent my spending money (I'm about to order $400 worth of wheels for my caprice, so I expect them to be in stock soon).

The UTG fore end is, IMHO, a plinker quality part. Once I get the DD fore end on my HD rifle, the UTG is going on my .22. I may even buy another, if I ever get around to installing the FSB in the rifle location on my 9mm AR.

One thing I will give UTG is the price. Its worth what you pay for it, and that's about it. But since its cheap, you could try one and decide if you want all that rail space before dropping a few hundred on a nice fore end and deciding you like the KISS configuration better, like Balrog did. If you like it, you could put the UTG on a plinker, sell it to someone for $50, or toss it in your junk box when you replace it with a quality part.

RSVP2RIP
April 9, 2010, 09:04 AM
Save your money for a Surefire forend with light integral. It is the only accessory you need to a carbine. I wish I went that route. Instead I'm now kinda stuck with a quad rail (Doublestar BTW) to mount my light on. I've had a VFG that was aluminum and solidly built that went out the window because it mostly got in the way. Sling, eh...I like single points and only because they can be detached easily. I don't normally carry the thing around slung. If you need a VFG then I really can't make any suggestions other than I see alot of G.I. M4's in pictures that have the twist out bipod, but I can't remember what brand that is. If it rugged enough, then I think that would be the only worthwhile grip out there. But you shooting style may vary from mine. One other thing the think about, if you are using this for HD, it would be eaisier to pry a gun ot of your hands when you have a VFG because you now have less leverage on the forend. Have a friend try it with you with a TRIPLE-checked unloaded gun if you doubt me.

Zach S
April 9, 2010, 09:19 AM
it would be eaisier to pry a gun ot of your hands when you have a VFG because you now have less leverage on the forend. Have a friend try it with you with a TRIPLE-checked unloaded gun if you doubt me. BTDT.

Harder with a VFG IMO. I can get a better grip on the VFG than I can the HGs.

On a side note, I feel compelled to mention that accidentally hitting the guy in the jewels with the FSB is a pretty good way to regain control the rifle and make you feel like a jerk...

Maverick223
April 9, 2010, 11:05 AM
I would recommend YHM quad rail on the cheap. They make great products (although it won't be especially light). I would skip C-Products magazines and just buy Magpul PMags or Lancer L-5 magazines instead, the additional cost is well worth it. WRT vertical grips, I'm not a big fan, but the new AFG (angled forward grip) by Magpul is pretty nifty. I formerly had a YHM grip, but that has since been replaced. The AFG looks like this:

http://i642.photobucket.com/albums/uu141/Maverick223_album/IMG_4668.jpg

Balrog
April 9, 2010, 05:41 PM
so balrog, youre saying that you prefer the standard handguards? can you still fire just as quickly and accuractly as with the vertical grip? do you grab the handguard when you fire or the magazine well?

For my purposes, I do just as well with the standard handguards. As I said, I prefer AR's that are light and very easy to maneuver... that is the whole point of a 5.56mm carbine. I find the vertical forend grip also makes shooting prone, or from some rested positions, more difficult.

rifleman14
April 26, 2010, 08:01 AM
alright well ive pretty much decided against a vertical grip but would still like to get a quad rail handguard because i like the looks and it adds options to what you can do with your rifle. I have a few questions first

1. How much weight would i be looking at adding to my rifle with the addition of a quad rail?

2. Are most quad rails made of plastic or metal? I see that aimsurplus has a troy industries M4 length quad rail thats made of plastic...ive always heard that troy is the best you can get for BUIS but what about the handguards?

3. My rifle is a doublestar M4 style and midwayusa has a doublestar two piece quad rail for $139.99. I think it would be cool to keep most of the parts on my AR doublestar, so does anyone have experience with these handguards?

4. Are there any other major accesories that can be added to these quad rails that would really make them worth the $150 or so? I am really starting to want one again but if i would be better off spending the money on ammo or something and the handguards arent really going to help me in any way, then let me know.

5. Since im already on the topic of AR accessories, what are some other accessories that can be added to the AR in places other than the handguards that would be practical and worth the money?

Thanks a ton in advance everyone,

Dylan

TexasRifleman
April 26, 2010, 08:41 AM
what are some good quality M4 quad rail handguards for someone on a budget?

I tried the Troy aluminum 2 piece. Happy with it. I have played with the VFG off and on over the years and it's just one of those personal things. Some people like them, some hate them. They are useful in some applications and they get in the way in others. It's up to you really, and what you are trying to do with the rifle.

But, if you want one, the Troy rails are very solid and cost wasn't bad compared to a single piece, not to mention easier to install.

Save your money for a Surefire forend with light integral.

This is good advice from above but be aware that the Surefire forend is bigger around than a standard handguard. If you have smaller hands it can be hard to hold, it's FAT.
And, since it's fat, if you have something like the Eotech that extends out over the handguards you will have to Dremel a place out of the Surefire handguard to make room for the overhang. See how in the picture below the Eotech (I prefer the AA battery model) hangs out over the handguard? Won't fit with the Surefire without some grinding down. If you sue the Lithium version of the Eotech it might fit. Dunno, I don't like that model.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/texasrifleman2/Guns/SBR.jpg

wally
April 26, 2010, 10:06 AM
aimsurplus has UTG handguards that look like exactly what im looking for. anyone have experience with this handguard?

The UTG/NcStar look pretty good, but they are significantly "fatter" in your hand than the more expensive ones. You might like this, but if you are expecting the narrower profile of the Troy and its competitors you will be disappointed.


I found a new "off brand" at a gun show for about $50 "Firefield" is the brand, I believe, that is darn close the expensive brands in feel and have worked really well for me to mount a red dot in front of the hand guard. I'm not a fan of the vertical grips or hanging things off the side of the rifle.

--wally.

Tirod
April 26, 2010, 10:57 AM
There is a distinct disadvantage to a quad rail, and why only mil/LEO seem to use them effectively. Quad rails allow the user to have contingency options for the wide range of work they may have to do. A light, laser, etc may look entry team cool, but in use, it's a bunch of buttons that better be practiced with - no sense having something on to tell the other guy exactly where you are.

For the civilian shooter, what happens is that the soldiers' perspective is lost. They take it all off and run bare at every opportunity. It's dead weight a lot of the time, and lugging useless gear is the enemy of fast and light. Old school Benning infantry graduates lose the sling, too. It snags, rattles, and impedes the soldier. If the weapon is slung, you are not in a hot zone - so what are you there for? A pistol could do as well.

That leaves the bare quad rail mounted on the weapon useless most of the time, and it is not user friendly or cost effective naked. Adding ladder covers makes it smoother and heavier - and no better than a set of handguards.

If someone not on an entry team or doing street sweeps in Mosul needs rails, they can be added to most handguards, or a free float tube. A rail where it's needed is very little weight and inconvenience, as opposed to 48 inches of it spread in four directions, most of it unused.

Note two more considerations in technology - rail accessories are getting a lot smaller. The old stuff with large batteries needed a lot of space, the new multifunctional gear does it all in one piece, taking up just a few inches of rail. Because of that, the newer introductions of battle rifles are showing up with a lot less rail, simply because the designers already see that there is much less need for it.

A quad rail isn't a useful item in and of itself, it was a necessary evil to get equipment mounted on the handguard in a universal method. With an A3 upper, the average user has about all the rail they need, the rest becomes a matter of style, not function.

Style points don't really get the job done, there still has to be performance. As for all the little numbers on the rails, I really wonder why the operator needs to have a repeatable location for the gear. If it was useful, it wouldn't be taken off. If it's being constantly changed, it goes to the point - soldiers dump the weight as often as they can. I understand the lightswitch might work better on slot 12 rather than 14, use dots of paint and mark them together - blue to blue, red to red.

You need a team leader to tell you to put the light on slot 14 no matter what, you are definitely not a casual civilian shooter.

Balrog
April 26, 2010, 11:12 AM
I think Tirod just gave good advice.

Z-Michigan
April 26, 2010, 11:16 AM
Although I could not have come up with it myself, I think Tirod makes a lot of good points. I have removed quadrails from two rifles after determining that they were bulky, heavy, and almost useless for my purposes. The little bolt-on rail sections are becoming cheaper and more common and are perfect for attaching small lights. I think lasers are a past fad, except for guys using IR lasers with NVGs. The one area where bolt-on rails aren't so great is a VFG, as you get too many connections for it to be reliably solid. If a VFG is an essential part of your gear, some sort of quadrail handguard, or better yet a quality smooth handguard with solidly attaching rail sections, may be a necessary item. I decided that a VFG didn't help me, but I think that's a personal decision based on your uses, training, and plain old preferences.

TexasRifleman
April 26, 2010, 11:18 AM
A light, laser, etc may look entry team cool, but in use, it's a bunch of buttons that better be practiced with - no sense having something on to tell the other guy exactly where you are.

I would disagree with this completely. Having a light on a home defense carbine is, in my opinion, not optional at all.

It's reckless to deploy a firearm in your home without a light to verify the target.

Whether you want a rail mounted light or not is certainly optional, but the light needs to be there no matter what.

halfded
April 26, 2010, 12:31 PM
I've got a YHM 2-piece carbine length light weight quad rail in the for sale section.

Good part for the money.

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=519734

Shoot me a PM if you're interested.

dom1104
April 26, 2010, 12:44 PM
I have zero use for quad rails, all I mount is a light on a MOE handgaurd and call it done.

just added a MOE VFG, and so far, it seems decent.

Total cost in handgaurds, light, rail sections, and vfg?

less than 150.

most of that being the surefire.


The only benefit I can see rails providing is free float. Which I have yet to require that extra smidge of accuracy out of my carbine.

jmorris
April 26, 2010, 02:17 PM
can you still fire just as quickly and accuractly as with the vertical grip?


Take a look at most every competitive shooters 3-gun rifle (a timed and scored event), there are not a bunch of gizmos hanging off/attached to them. If it is something that can snag or get in the way, it will. Spending $150 on a FF tube that you then have to spend another $50 on covers for it so it doesn't catch on everthing, just doesn't sit right with me.

Then again no one has ever beat me just because their rifle looked "cool". If that were the case I might change my mind.

Bartholomew Roberts
April 26, 2010, 02:46 PM
Well, my ideal AR handguard looks like this:

1. Lets me place gear anywhere I want using existing mounts I already have.
2. Lightweight - lighter than standard handguards if possible
3. Smooth polymer everywhere I don't have gear
4. Helps handguard cool like a big aluminium heat sink
5. Free-floats the barrel
6. Has an uninterrupted monolithic top rail as solid as the upper receiver

Unfortunately, nobody makes that, so I make compromises instead :) I think the VTAC handguard is probably the closest to my ideal right now; but I don't see enough of an advantage there that I am going to replace my old Daniel Defense 9.0 rail.

The big things I like about the DD 9.0 are:

1. Lightweight - the 7.0 with aluminium barrel nut is lighter than a set of M4 handguards installed.
2. I can put gear whereever I want (although in reality, there is really only about 2-3 places it ever ends up)
3. Better cooling
4. Free floats the barrel
5. Rigid enough to mount a T1 on and still have no zero issues out to 100yds.

Typically, it seems like many of the substitutes I see (Magpul MOE handguards, free-float tubes with adjustable rail sections) sacrifice some combination of 2-5.

rifleman14
April 26, 2010, 04:11 PM
thank you all (especially tirod) for talking me down from jumping off the quad rail cliff :D
i realize now that the most i will ever really need to put on the handguard is a light. with that being said, does anyone make quality, durable, reliable, rail sections that can somehow be attatched to the holes on a standard M4 handguard?

Thanks a lot everyone,

Dylan

rifleman14
April 26, 2010, 04:19 PM
i just researched the magpul moe handguard and it looks great...cheap, light, and you can put rails in different spots and remove them...this was just from a few minutes of research though so can someone possibly tell me in detail what the moe handguards are all about? what can you do with them, hows the quality on them, any disadvantages compared to standard M4 handguards, etc. This handguard looked great to me because as i said, all i need is a flashlight on my handguards and this looks like a great way of doing it..

Thanks again everyone,

Dylan

Z-Michigan
April 26, 2010, 04:23 PM
MOE handguards and a $6 polymer MOE rail section would likely fit your refined purpose.

I have MOE handguards on a Shrubmaster and they are good for what they claim to be - plastic handguards with a better feel than OEM M4 handguards, and somewhat easier ability to add rail sections. The main benefit of the MOE is that slots on the sides are intended to allow rail sections, while with M4 handguards only the top and bottom are well suited to adding rails.

I had a VFG on my MOE handguards and found it clumsy and not solid enough. But a small light, like a pistol light, should be just fine.

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