They have a stellar reputation and make reliable products that you can be sure will stand up to anything you throw at them. I've purchased a number of complete BCM uppers and have nothing but good things to say about them.
That's worth noting because I feel both are quality products made of the same 6061 (T6) aluminum. Basically, it's fairly pronounced and can feel a bit uncomfortable, almost even “sharp”.
This table shows the lengths and weights of BCM's MILK hand guards, which can all be found here : LengthWeight7”4.8 oz8”5.3 oz9”5.9 oz10”6.6 oz13”8.2 oz 15 “9.2 again these weights are for the hand guards only and do not include mounting hardware.
Although I can't speak to the specifics of those numbers, I can say that it definitely feels a lot lighter, yet still very rugged. While this might not be optimal for some attachments, like backup sights, it does make for an incredibly comfortable grip.
Check the length and weight of all Saxon carbon fiber hand guards in the table below: It's worth noting that Saxon's mounting hardware and barrel nut are also lighter than most, so you're seeing bigger savings in total.
They claim it's 30% lighter than the typical 6061 aluminum while also being stronger, and the results speak for themselves (see table below). With these features combined, it's arguably a better lightweight option for tactical and practical applications.
When it comes to the quintessential drop in polymer hand guards, most people's minds go to Magnum. The company literally created the MILK mounting system, which has become the standard today.
The two pieces fit around your front sight base, giving you additional mounting space. The downside to this longer aluminum set up is that it's heavy, weighing 14.1 oz.
Traditional M4s and AR -15s have a fixed front sight gas block, meaning your front sight and gas block are all connected, as shown in the right square in the image below. These rifles also usually have a delta ring assembly (shown in left square), which is used to easily install drop in hand guards.
Simply griping your drop in hand guard, resting it on a surface, or attaching accessories to it can therefore affect accuracy. As the name suggests, they're free of contact from your barrel and “float” from your upper receiver to the end of the hand guard.
Absorb more heat when made from the same materials and offer worse ventilation. This also prevents you from potentially touching a hot barrel or even worse, shooting yourself in the hand.
It used to be personal preference but recently SITCOM (US Special Operations Command) released their results of testing. And MILK is the clear winner due to much better impact test results.
BCM- 15 -MLOK-Rail Free-floating hand guards give you an accuracy advantage since it doesn’t contact the barrel…so your hand position and extra gadgets such as bipeds don’t affect barrel harmonics. Install was standard and there’s some strong feeling anti-rotation tabs built into the hand guard.
However after a bunch of mags I found that it was fine (unless you have really thin fingers). Plus there’s sometimes some blemished versions, so you can save even more if you don’t care to have a “perfect” rail.
Readers' Ratings *Update* The lesser-railed LCN has become the basis of our night vision build (after a little paint job). Unity Taps System on STN GR Land we love it…the slick upper side makes it easy to mount buttons.
There’s the HWK hand guard which gives a more aggressive “prong-ed” look and the ability to add a light/laser to the bottom with the included rail. I think it could look really cool with a 14.5 pinned barrel, so it sits flush with the cutout.
Cyclops (front) and Gecko (rear) Rail Covers I personally like the look of the Cyclops more, but the Gecko is probably the more useful one to maintain a good grip.
I love how it saves weight by not having a full Pica tinny rail on top. Note that the top where the rail would have been is rounded so if you’re thinking of putting a pressure pad for lights…you’re out of luck.
Only negative about the Aero hand guards is that sometimes (especially after a seasonal sales) they are out of stock for a while. This lightweight hand guard includes a full Pica tinny rail on top.
I’ve been using the older version of this (non MILK) for years as my primary competition rifle hand guard. But still a great hand guard if you’re looking to save a little and still keep the full top rail.
If you’re needing lots of Pica tinny real estate…the perennial favorite YAM has got you covered. “Rifle” length is equal to 12.6 but will cost you a couple more ounces in weight compared to MILK varieties.
Lightweight Build Brigand Arms and Saxon Pencil 14.5 Pinned Combined with a pencil 14.5 barrel…this AR was nearing 5 lb territory.
But keep in mind that you won’t be able to add anything to it…and since it is cylindrical all the way through…you’re going to have a harder time bracing against barriers. As you guessed from the name…this hand guard combines MILK attachments throughout with Pica tinny compatibility at the front sides.
What you get with the MILK is a heat-resistant polymer hand guard that’s hardy enough to handle your clanging and banging and comfortable enough to grip onto. Despite its simplistic design, the MILK has slots on its 2, 6, and 10-o’clock positions where you can mount an optional Pica tinny rail system.
I have a box of holsters and cheapo rails now that sit in the back of my shed. There, you’ll learn everything there is to know about shooting, maintaining, and customizing your AR.