Free Float vs Handgaurd


March 7, 2011, 03:50 PM
I am somewhat new to ARs and have a couple quick questions. I have a Colt 6520 Govt Carbine and am looking into putting on a new handguard. The main reason for this is to be able to put on a vertical foregrip with a light. I have been looking into the Midwest Industries Two piece Free Float and the two piece handguard. Would there be an advantage to going with one over the other. Any opinions and other options would be appreciated.

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March 7, 2011, 04:36 PM
In my opinion, if you're never going to put an optic on the rail - go with the handguard. That will work fine for a verticle foregrip and a light.

March 7, 2011, 04:38 PM
Free float. Barrel harmonics aside, its amazing how little force it takes on a barrel, whether from sling or rest, to affect POI.

March 7, 2011, 04:55 PM
I would never even consider a hand guard on one of my AR's. If your building a tacticool video game gun(which I have nothing against) than put whatevers cheap on it. But if you actually want to get the best accuracy out of it, than the FF is the only road to travel and you can find free floats if your creative for a pretty reasonable penny. you may also find you like the grip on a tube better anyway. My personal opinion I would never get a quad rail unless it was customizable. I hate holding pictiny rails

March 7, 2011, 04:55 PM
i personally like a free float rail very solid don't have to worry about play in the rail system + u get the advantage of nothing touching your barrel but now if you go with the 2 piece drop in you don't have to remove your barrel nut so if you don't have all the tools needed and don't want 2 pay someone a drop in rail is for u

March 7, 2011, 05:03 PM
It depends on what I am using the rifle for. If I am using it defensively, accuracy isn't my main concern. Something like the Magpul MOE grip is pretty lightweight, cheap, and I can accessorize it however I want to. If I am building it for varminting, that is where the difference between 1/2 MOA or 2 MOA matters to me, and I free-float it.

March 7, 2011, 05:07 PM
Most folks aren't able to utilize any accuracy advantages that a free float handguard will provide. If you are satisfied with 3-4 moa, then it would not be cost effective to either purchase the tools or have a gunsmith install a ff tube.

A railed handguard will be a drop in fit and work just fine. I use a Magpul MOE with extra rails installed.

Jake Tyler
March 7, 2011, 06:08 PM
there are free float hand guards that have rails or can attach all sorts of rails YHM comes to mind

they make rifles (and carbines) with standard clamp on handguards that shoot less than 4moa or (I know its hard to believe) even 1 moa !

if hes adding a verticle grip I doubt hes building a varminter or benchrest gun

no reason you cant do both

Shawn Dodson
March 7, 2011, 09:26 PM
I have handguards on all my ARs.

One of my M4s (which I call "Fat Bob") is equipped with a SureFire M500A WeaponLight "handguard".

My other M4 ("Skinny Bob") has MagPul MOE handguards.

Fat Bob and Skinny Bob both shoot about 2 MOA which is adequate for my needs.

I rebarrelled an older Colt AR15A2 with a 20" 6.8x43mm barrel for use as a general-purpose hunting rifle. It shoots about 1.5 MOA. I have standard M16A2 corn cob handguards on it.

If you're looking to shoot nice tight groups then free-floating your barrel makes sense. If you intend to use it as a general-purpose carbine and it's shooting 3 MOA or less, I wouldn't make the investment.

March 7, 2011, 09:45 PM
I'd say give the Magpul MOE handguard a try first. A very cheap but solid solution. Most people are pleasantly surprised at the quality for only $30. I wouldn't consider replacing mine for a FF rail. If you find out you made the wrong choice you're only out $30 instead of $300 or more.

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