Best AR-15 Handguards: Free float and Drop-in [2019]

Finding the best AR-15 Handguard is tough. That’s because there are a ton of them to choose from on the market. Yet, you have to choose one out of many that best fits your AR-15.

We’ve handpicked these AR-15 handguards that we believe are the best.

If you’re in search of an AR-15 handguard, you should pay close attention to the handguards and read through each review. You’ll never know what features or benefits will factor into your final decision.

If you’re just here for the recommendations, we’ll go ahead and spoil it for you so you can go ahead and check those out:

  1. FM Products INC AR-15 FM-9 Handguard Free Float M-LOK
  2. B5 Systems AR-15 Handguard Mid-Length Keymod
  3. Brigand Arms LLC -- Edge Handguard Woven Carbon Fiber Lightweight
  4. Battle Arms Development Inc. -- Battlerail Mlock Handguard
  5. Bravo Company AR-15 BCM Gunfighter KMR Alpha KeyMod Free Float Handguard
  6. Aero Precision AR-15/M-16 Enhanced Handguard
  7. Midwest Industries Inc. AR-15 G3 M-Series M-Lok Free Float Handrail

Things To Consider While Finding AR-15 Handguard

You might have your personal needs in mind when it comes to finding the best AR-15 Handguard. However, you’ll need to consider some of the factors that may play a role in your decision process. Here are what some previous buyers have taken into consideration before they have purchased a handguard of their own:

Look

What sort of look best suits you? There are three popular looks that are available for an AR-15 handguard. They are military, tactical, and classic. The look may not matter to you, it may not. But find one that best suits your AR-15.

Mounting Options

Do you want to mount accessories to your handguard? These include M-Lok or KeyMod. These are what you’ll need if you have any additional gun accessories available. Some of them have additional slots for each accessory. No gun enthusiast would ever say no to a part of their AR-15 that allows them to use some of their nifty accessories like scopes.

Accuracy

Did you know that free-floating handguards can tighten up your groups? This, of course, is the best way to ensure that your AR-15 is at its most accurate. For example, one free floating handguard will give you an accuracy of .5 to .75 MOA improvement over drop-in handguards.

M-LOK vs KeyMod

Best AR-15 Handguard Reviews

Foxtrot Mike -  Products INC AR-15 FM-9 Handguard Free Float M-LOK

Foxtrot Mike - Products INC AR-15 FM-9 Handguard Free Float M-LOK

Our first handguard to review is from Foxtrot Mike (or FM for short). One of the great things about FM is they are a company that is known for improving their products based on negative reviews. They don't get rid of negative reviews or cover them up just to look good. They take it and they use it to create a new and improved product.

Now that we've got that out of the way, let's talk about their handguard. FM did a create job manufacturing a handrail like this. It is available in three different lengths: 8.5 inches, 10.5 inches, and 15 inches. So you can choose the best length that you're comfortable with. It is crafted from aircraft aluminum, which of course is the metal of choice if you want your handguard to be the most durable. So it's strong, plus lightweight.

If you’re on a budget, this is one of the more affordable options. With that said, if you’re on a budget, it’s always important to find the best you can afford in terms of quality. The FM handguard fits the bill as one of the best in quality for budget shoppers. As with all gun parts, if you’re on a budget, you shouldn’t sacrifice quality because it’s cheap.

But we digress. The FM-9 is what you probably want in a free floating handguard. Aside from being crafted from aircraft aluminum, it’s fitted with a mil-spec Picatinny rail on top. Not to mention that it is compatible with most M-Lok accessory mounting platforms. Finally, the installation process is quite simple. One of the best AR-15 free float on the market.

Main Features:

  • Available in three lengths: 8.5”, 10.5”, and 15”.
  • Crafted from aircraft grade aluminum for superior durability.
  • Made from a tough, mil-spec Type III hard coat anodized finish that resists corrosion and blends in with most receiver finishes.

Pros:

  • Very strong construction.
  • Very lightweight.
  • Very easy to install.

Cons:

  • Despite the ease of installation, some reviewers said they needed shims in order to install it.
  • Some have complained that no instructions came along with the handguard.
  • One reviewer suggested that there should be guidelines on torque values for installation.

The Bottom Line

FM has made itself has one of the more reliable brands for AR-15 parts. At the same time, they’re becoming the most trusted because they listen to their customers. Of course, they’ve crafted a handguard that might be hard to challenge against their competitors. Lightweight, but strong. Extendable to three lengths. And believe it or not, affordable. If these check off your wishlist for your kind of handguard, then the FM-9 might be your best choice.


B5 Systems AR-15 Handguard Mid-Length Keymod

B5 Systems AR-15 Handguard Mid-Length Keymod

The B5 is one of the most lightweight handguards on the market. Not to mention, it’s also super slim. This is designed to be a drop-in replacement for standard A2 style handguards. This features standard KeyMod attachment points that are located on the sides. If you have Magpul accessories, you’ll be happy to know that this fits most of them.

This is a model that is designed for mid-length gas systems. This is easy to install and you will have simple to understand instructions to ensure that it goes smoothly. So odds are you won’t have any difficulty whatsoever. If you’re looking for an ergonomic friendly handrail, there’s a good chance that you’ll love the B5. If you want something that will give you a strong grip, this is the handguard you’ll call your best friend.

What’s even better? You can install other accessories on your AR-15 or remove them without getting in the way of the handguard itself. This is a durable handguard that is crafted composite material.

Main Features:

  • Top and bottom rail slots.
  • Very easy to install.
  • KeyMod attachments located on the side.

Pros:

  • The inclusion of instructions is convenient, so installation should be a breeze.
  • Offers excellent ergonomics.
  • Super-slim for greater control.

Cons:

  • Some reviewers were not satisfied with the design.
  • Does not fit with carbine and rifle length gas systems.

The Bottom Line

Like the FM-9, the B5 is super slim durable. Not to mention, it’s super lightweight. So if these are what you look for in a handguard, then consider the B5 as your handguard of choice. One of the major things that stand out is that it is very ergonomic friendly. That’s always a good thing if you’re looking for a best AR-15 drop-in handguard.


Brigand Arms LLC -- Edge Handguard Woven Carbon Fiber Lightweight

Brigand Arms LLC -- Edge Handguard Woven Carbon Fiber Lightweight

Brigand Arms LLC is a brand that is familiar with gun owners and enthusiasts everywhere. In fact, they've been around for a while. Not to mention, they have built quite a reputation for creating and deliver the best products. Of course, this handguard is expected to be one of the best in overall use and performance. Since this isn't a handguard for those on a budget, you can bet that it can live up to its price, right? We'll continue to dig a little deeper.

The tube is crafted from carbon fiber material. This is a popular material because it is used to ensure that a handguard is durable and can last the user a long period of time. The unfortunate downside is that carbon fiber is expensive, despite the increasing demand for it. So, it might explain why it may be on the pricey side. But, it comes with the territory.

Carbon fiber is lightweight, so the Brigand Arms handguard is lightweight itself. The setup process is as easy as it gets. The manufacturer has even included instructions so you won’t run into any snags while you install the handguard on your AR-15. In the B5 review, we’ve mentioned that the handguard is not for carbine and rifle length gas systems. The good news is for people with those types, the Brigand Arms is designed to handle them.

The design, for the most part, is aggressive and is very lightweight. Of course, it doesn't sacrifice itself in terms of quality. We'd be kicking ourselves if we didn't mention that the Brigand Arms is available in 4 different lengths: 7 inches, 9 inches, 12.375 inches, and 15 inches.

Main Features:

  • Comes in 4 adjustable lengths: 7 inches, 9 inches, 12.375 inches, and 15 inches.
  • Crafted from carbon fiber. Caps made from aluminum to ensure maximum durability.
  • Includes a free float with jam nut.

Pros:

  • Very easy setup.
  • Very strong thanks to the materials it is made from.
  • Very rigid and tougher than what some users would expect.

Cons:

  • A bit on the pricey side. This may be due to the fact that the material it’s made from is expensive itself.

The Bottom Line

Of course, we can come to the conclusion that if the material is expensive, odds are the item made from it will be also. But again, that comes with the territory. If you're on a budget but have some breathing room, the Brigand Arms might be a good fit. As mentioned, the brand is very reputable and well-known. But looking beyond price, it is tough, lightweight, and is adjustable in four different lengths. So choose the one you're comfortable with and forget it. Other than that, if you like a handguard that is high-quality, tough, lightweight, go with the Brigand Arms.


Battle Arms Development Inc. -- Battlerail Mlock Handguard

Battle Arms Development Inc. -- Battlerail Mlock Handguard

Next, we have the handguard from Battle Arms Development Inc. You want the right weight, the right design, and the right accessory mounting options? If you answered yes to any of this, then you’ll love this handguard. If you’re looking for a handguard that isn’t hard to use with your accessories, then the Battle Arms might be the best choice for you.

The design of this handguard is quite interesting, to say the least. It has a skeletonized kind of design. Of course, there's a reason for that. This is to ensure that the heat from the barrel dissipates much faster and more thorough than most handguards. So rapid firing sessions will probably be more exciting with a handguard like this. However, you should still wear gloves so you don't get burned.

This handguard has M-Lok slots at 3, 6, 9, and 12 o’clock positions. This means you’ll have plenty of space to mount all sorts of accessories on there. So if you have gun accessories that you want to use and make the most out of, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t get this handguard.

Lastly, this is made from machined 6061 T6 Aluminum. This type of aluminum is pretty strong, so you’re going to have one tough, durable handguard if you decide to go with this one.

Main Features:

  • Has 3, 6, 9, and 12 o’clock M-Loks for accessories.
  • Crafted from machined 6061 T6 Aluminum.
  • Four anti-rotational QD sling swivel sockets.

Pros:

  • The M-Loks are a convenient feature for gun users that want to use additional accessories.
  • Very strong, sturdy construction.
  • Hard anodized coating is used for the finish.

Cons:

  • Is on the pricey side. Possibly due to the materials it is crafted from.

The Bottom Line

Lightweight, super durable, and allows you to use whatever accessories you have to your advantage? At this point, you’re probably salivating at something like this. If you are, then obviously you’ll settle with this handguard. The design of this itself is what really sticks out and the purpose of the design does its job well. Even if the heat dissipates quickly and thoroughly, you’d be wise to wear protective gear as you can still get burned at some point during your shooting session.


Bravo Company AR-15 BCM Gunfighter KMR Alpha KeyMod Free Float Handguard

Bravo Company AR-15 BCM Gunfighter KMR Alpha KeyMod Free Float Handguard

Next, we look at yet another company that has a reputation for creating great quality accessories for AR users. A lot of people have taken a liking to Bravo Company over the years and for all the right reasons. Their handguard is going to be something an AR-15 user would want. The question is...are you one of them? Well, let's see what this thing has to offer and maybe that will answer your question.

Believe it or not, this handguard is quite affordable. For this handguard, the material used to manufacture this was machined aluminum. Bravo Company decided to find the best materials possible to make it durable because they know something about their customers. They don’t want to go through so many handguards in a short period of time. And in turn, that’s more money out of their pockets. Bravo Company knows that their customers should stop throwing away money and invest in a handguard that will last them a great while.

And since they don't want extra weight added to your rifle, Bravo Company made sure that this handguard was not only strong but lightweight. No quality sacrificed at all. If you hold accuracy to a high standard, you'll be happy with a handguard like this. That's because this has KeyMod slots that are designed for you to include any gun accessories that you want to put to good use. Even better, you don't have to remove the handguard itself in order to add on the accessories.

If you need tools and parts you need for installation, this handguard has got them.

Main Features:

  • Fits most AR-15 upper receivers.
  • Crafted from lightweight, but robust aluminum construction.
  • Comes with KeyMod slots for added accessories.

Pros:

  • Very lightweight.
  • Very easy to install.
  • Strong aluminum construction.

Cons:

  • Some have complained about the customer service being slow to respond.

While affordable to those with a budget, but with breathing room...it’s not as affordable for others on a budget.

The Bottom Line

Bravo Company is another company that gun owners know and love. So it comes as no surprise that they designed a handguard with the gun enthusiast in mind. Of course, the one major feature that stands out is the KeyMod slots. If you have an accessory or two...or even three, you might find this handguard a very appealing option. As always, this is a handguard of choice if you want something that is super strong and will last you a long time. Also, if you’re tired of throwing money in the trash on handguards that turn out to be unreliable, the Bravo Company might be the best choice.


Aero Precision AR-15/M-16 Enhanced Handguard

Aero Precision AR-15-M-16 Enhanced Handguard

Our next handguard is made by Aero Precision. Of course, it’s no surprise to seeing some of the features we’ve already seen in some of the past handguard reviews. The Aero offers handguards that range from 12” to 15”. Both have M-LOK and KeyMod functionalities. Depending on the size, they can weigh between 9 to 12 ounces.

Since you have functionalities like the M-Lok and the KeyMod, you can add on whatever gun accessories you might have lying around. Like any other gun enthusiast, why shouldn't you get a handguard like the Aero Precision? Also included are 8 screws that provide stability to the free floating rail.

Main Features:

  • Comes in either a 12” or 15” length.
  • M-Lok and KeyMod functions for additional accessories.
  • 8 screws for free-floating stability.

Pros:

  • Excellent grip on your hands.
  • Great accommodation for accessories.
  • Lots of room inside the handguard for a suppressor.

Cons:

  • Some extra care might be needed during installation. That’s because it may be difficult to line up the gas tube.

The Bottom Line

Already, if you are already sold on a function like an M-Lok or a KeyMod, you probably have a few options to work with. What's kind of surprising is that this handguard, in particular, gives you enough room to apply a suppressor. If that's your cup of tea, maybe the Aero Precision is your ideal handguard. Other than that, it's a good free floating handguard to have for an affordable price.


Midwest Industries Inc. AR-15 G3 M-Series M-Lok Free Float Handrail

Midwest Industries Inc. AR-15 G3 M-Series M-Lok Free Float Handrail

Next, we have the Midwest Industries M-Lok Free Float Handrail. This is a handguard that comes in a wide range of sizes. The smallest is measured at 10.5 inches and the longest is measured at 18 inches. All of which come with an M-Lok function. Given that it is lightweight depending on size, the weight ranges from 7 ounces to 12 ounces.

This comes with 7 M-Lok slots that you can use to add additional accessories. To ensure long-lasting durability, this handguard is crafted from 6061 aluminum and is hard coated and anodized. If you want a handguard that can last a long time, then the Midwest Industries might be your best AR-15 handguard available to you.

Why not get something that is lightweight, customizable, and can work the way a gun enthusiast wants it to work? If that’s what you’re looking for in a handguard, you can never go wrong with a model like this.

Main Features:

  • Very lightweight, depending on the size of the handguard. Can weigh between 7 ounces to 12 ounces.
  • 7 sides of M-Lok slots.
  • Simple installation.

Pros:

  • Very low profile.
  • Easy to install.
  • Comes in a variety of sizes and weights.

Cons:

  • This can get much hotter than the other handguards after an extended shooting session.
  • Some reviewers complained that they weren’t happy with the finish.
  • Torque plate may not fit with all upper receivers.

The Bottom Line

If you want something that’s lightweight and is customizable to the size of your choosing. Not to mention it’s durable and gives you the chance to use the accessories you want. Of course, like all handguards, they’re designed to be easy to install with little effort and very few tools. If you want a handguard that allows you flexibility in terms of weight and length, the Midwest Industries handguard may be your best option.


Conclusion

Finding the best AR-15 handguard doesn't have to be a challenge. You should not only consider what is the best fit for you personally, but you should also take into consideration the features your handguard of choice has and the benefits that go along with it. If one handguard interests you, be sure to do as much in-depth research as possible before making a decision. If you're left with a few options, it's important to do a process of elimination based on features that you can live without.

Best AR-15 Handguards: Free float and Drop-in [2019]
4.9 (98.89%) 108 votes

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