How To Measure Free Float Handguard Length

October 9, 2021
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In recent years, free-floating handguards have grown in favor, sometimes known as “floating” handguards. They function by only connecting to the weapon at one place, on the barrel nut near the upper receiver, with the rest of the handguard not making contact with the barrel. The length of a free-float handguard rail will be determined initially by the length of your AR’s barrel and, more particularly, the gas system. The handguard should reach from the front of the top to the gas port at the barrel’s end.

The complete customizability raises several questions, such as “Which portion is best?” alternatively, “How do I decide?” The broad, general answer is that the components you choose will heavily influence your intended usage and what you want your AR to be capable of. Of course, some of the components you choose will significantly affect your personalization than others, so make an educated choice. We’ve included some recommendations below to assist you in choosing the handguard rail length.

How To Choose A Handguard Rail Length

AR 15 Key Components

A handguard rail system is one of the essential components you’ll choose when modifying your AR 15. Not only will the handguard rail you choose influence the look and weight of your weapon, but it will also impact the use and customization of your AR.

Considering how much your selected handguard rail system may influence future usage. This is one component you’ll want to thoroughly research—no purchasing one second-hand from your best friend’s cousin’s uncle simply because it was cheap. Before diving headfirst into the handguard rail, there are a few things to think about, so keep reading.

The Importance of Length

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The length of your handguard rail, as well as its weight, may have an impact on your overall accuracy. The right handguard rail may help you tighter your groups by decreasing weight, improving grip, and increasing accessory mounting possibilities. However—and this is important—even if you select an AR15 free-float handguard rail, the length will be determined first by the length of your AR’s barrel and, more particularly, the gas system.

The handguard should reach from the front of your upper to the gas port, located towards the end barrel. So, in general, if you wish to convert to a shorter or longer handguard rail, you’ll need to replace your barrel and gas system. The only exception is if you have a low-profile gas block. The extended handguard rail with a shorter gas system may be feasible if you dole.

The Role of Your Rail

First and foremost, it’s challenging to discuss selecting a handguard rail if you don’t know what it’s for. Let’s start with the basics, whether you’re new to the AR universe or simply to AR 15 customization. A handguard is what it sounds like; it’s the component that wraps around the outside of your rifle’s barrel and protects your hands from the heat produced while shooting. It also provides a spot to grasp for a more stable firing posture.

A handguard rail system provides the same defensive function as a forend rail system, but with the option of a rail system for attaching attachments to the forend. While there are various methods for mounting accessories, a rail system is generally the most practical and commonly used choice.

Choosing A Rail System

We’ve already gone over the specifics, but there are a few distinct choices for the train system. AR 15 handguards and ar 15 rails are usually available in various standardized lengths that match the standard lengths produced for the gas system and barrel.

When selecting a rail system, you should consider the availability of various accessories that you know you’ll need; after all, a rail system is essentially worthless if you can’t connect what you need to it. You should also consider the length of the handguard rail, how much it weighs, how easy it is to install, and what it is composed of.

Select A Rail Based On Your Needs

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Because the AR is so modular, it’s generally relatively simple to swap out barrels, gas systems, and handguard choices, so there’s little need to be concerned. Just make sure that the components you’re replacing are compatible with one another. Aside from that, the length of the handguard rail you choose will be mainly determined by personal taste and planned usage.

An owner who mainly uses their AR for range shooting will have different requirements than one who maintains their AR for home protection or hunting. Of course, while selecting a handguard rail, bear in mind what a comfortable shooting posture is for you since this may influence your accuracy more than you would imagine.

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