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Thread: Drop in (2 piece) free float handguards.

  1. #1
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    Arrow Drop in (2 piece) free float handguards.

    Hi guys. This is my first post here, although I've been lurking around for the last few weeks after deciding to finally start my first AR build (thanks to my wife and a stipped lower Christmas present). Before deciding to post I was able to read through and research from this similar thread, among other places, but it's pretty old and I didn't want to necro, so I'm hoping for some updated info. I also hope I'm posting in the correct forums to keep all the mods happy.

    To date, I've been collecting up parts, but now I'm stuck on hand guards. I've got a 16" mid length BCM upper barrel assembly with an A2 front sight that I'm not looking to remove or replace, partly because I'd hate to screw up a top notch piece of equipment with my noobiness, and thanks in no small part to this scary thread, but also because I like the look and I wanted a front sight mounted to the barrel/gas block vs. the rail. I really like the idea of drop in free float rails, but the only ones I can seem to find are the Centurion C4, Troy, MI Gen II, and Daniel Defense Omega rails. Of those I think I like the DD or MI versions best, but I was hoping to avoid a quad rail in favor of something a little more smooth and round.

    In contrast to those free float versions, I also like the MI 2 piece Keymod or M-Lok drop in's, as they're more the shape and feel I'm looking for, but ofc they're not free float. So now I find myself in the same position as so many others before me, what decision should I make? Does anybody have any advice for me, or can anybody point me towards a free float solution that I've missed or not considered? Am I a dummy to care about the quad rail? There are options for rail covers after all, and plenty of people seem to like them. Sometimes it just takes a different viewpoint to make a good point or change the perspective, so any input is appreciated.

  2. #2
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    I believe Troy made the Delta rail for exactly this reason, but it is difficult to find now. Of the rails you mentioned, I would go with the C4. Rail is rock solid, relatively light weight, free float, and locks up to a standard barrel nut. They can be difficult to find as well, but of your choices, that would be my first and only. If you want to get away from a Quad and get a more rounded rail (like most out now), there are a ton of offerings in Keymod and MLok, but I don't remember seeing any that would work with a FSP in the way you want it to. If you want to go that route, you may just have to bite the bullet, shave down the FSP, and put a new rail over it.

  3. #3
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    What do you want to mount to the handguard? If you're just mounting a light and maybe some kind of control accessory, the MI drop-in's are fantastic. I have a set of the KeyMod drop-in's that I use to mount an M600U, and they're lighter than polymer handguards, they offer a more streamlined light placement than the polymer choices, and they're thin, which I like.

    Of the ones you've listed, I've used the drop-in MI's of course, MI's two-piece free-float quad rails in a couple different lengths, and a couple C4's on rifles that weren't my own. The C4 is a better design than the MI of similar style, so between those, I'd go with Centurion's design. My MI's held up fine, but I will go C4 in the future if I need a two-piece free-float. And between free-float or drop-in on general purpose rifles, I really don't care. If I'm not mounting something that requires being zeroed, and I'm not going to run a bipod or a sling as support, I'll pick whatever offers a form factor I prefer. If you want a slimmer handguard, go with the MI drop-in's or pop the FSB off for a KMR9A or similar.

    And don't sweat a BCM FSB removal. I actually quoted BCM's how-to in the thread you linked, and it's a very easy process. I wouldn't, and haven't, let that drive my choice of handguard.
    Last edited by Inebriated; 02-15-17 at 20:59.

  4. #4
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    Voting on a non drop in free float too. Just make sure you can get the taper pins loose before buying.

    That being said, I have a delta rail and it is nice. Just looked a few ebay sellers have the Troy and Vtac deltas listed.

    Scratch that advice. Carbine deltas listed. Only 1 used mid delta listed.
    Last edited by JasonB1; 02-16-17 at 13:49.

  5. #5
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    I've always heard that the C4 is the go-to rail for those who don't want to remove the FSB and use the existing barrel nut.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by tehpwnag3 View Post
    I've always heard that the C4 is the go-to rail for those who don't want to remove the FSB and use the existing barrel nut.
    +1 C4 is the way to go if you want to keep your FSB.

    Another option would be to shave the FSB and install another rail that utilizes the standard barrel nut.

  7. #7
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    I have the C4, but dislike the quad-rail section. I have been thinking about milling off the side and bottom rails.

    Seems like there would be a market for a modern (keymod, mlock), tight-locking, free-float drop in rail.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by trackmagic View Post
    I have the C4, but dislike the quad-rail section. I have been thinking about milling off the side and bottom rails.

    Seems like there would be a market for a modern (keymod, mlock), tight-locking, free-float drop in rail.
    They're out there. Troy is one company that makes them. Link You're going to need a low profile gas block or shaved FSB to make it work.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by 556BlackRifle View Post
    They're out there. Troy is one company that makes them. Link You're going to need a low profile gas block or shaved FSB to make it work.
    Someone at Troy doesn't have all the details on feet and inches down

  10. #10
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    I own a DD Omega 9 inch rail that I installed on a BCM 16inch middy for similar reasons to you OP. Not wanting to muck up the upper.

    First, I haven't used the Centurion rail, but I do have the opinion that the lock up is probably more solid. That said, I have not had any issue with the DD rail loosening up over the two years I have had. With that out of the way, the DD rail installed pretty easily, I think I used all off three tools, an allen head wrench, a flat head screw driver, and a old ACOG mount. Probably spent more time lining the top rail up than actually installing it and it works as advertised. Was it my first choice of rails? No, but got it silly cheap, like $160 on clearance from Rainier I think and since that rifle was at the time my pseudo DMR think a freefloated rail made sense. Currently though, it has an M600U with an SR07 pressure switch and a BCM vg with some larue index clips. The light and VG I could have kept with by using the MOE handguard that I had on there and I had printed more than respectable groups with that, the desire, that never happened, was to have the rail to mount a bipod. The DD rail is also rather, girthy. It isn't a rail you are going to wrap your fingers all the way around unless you are some freak of nature.

    If you know what you are wanting to do with the rifle then grab the rail that you want. If you don't know, I'd honestly consider just slapping on a set of regular handguards or an MOE handguard and figuring out what you want to do with the rifle. Sometimes, I think the problem with ARs is that we have entirely too damn many options.
    "Don't complain when after killing scores of women and children in a mall, a group of well armed men who train to shoot people like you in the face show up to say hello." WillBrink

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