In our own experiences along with everything we've seen across the internet, their quality control is excellent, as is their customer support in the unlikely event you have any problems. All Aero Precision's free float hand guards are made out of 6061 (T6) aluminum, which is generally the standard material across the industry.
They have both MILK and Named variations for all of their hand guard designs, but we generally recommend Milk as we explain here. It has a Pica tinny rail across the top with Milk style slots on the bottom and sides.
LengthWeight7”5.22 oz9”6.03 oz12”8 oz15”9.07 note that the mounting hardware will add additional weight and is the same 4.72 oz no matter what length hand guard you choose. This allows you to still mount your front sight to a flat and extremely secure surface while removing potentially unnecessary weight.
LengthWeight7”4.86 oz9”5.47 oz12”7 oz15”7.95 for the average AR-15 builder, one of Aero Precision's offerings should more than fit your needs. Here's a picture of an AR-15 I recently built with the Atlas S-One (with GUNFIGHTER FEE Rail Panels).
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. As you get into the longer BCM Cars, however, the price does get more competitive with Aero Precision.
One major advantage of the MMR vs the Aero Precision options covered above is that it has mounting slots at more angles. We've talked about Saxon in the past as being known for making super lightweight parts, like their pencil-thin and gunner-profiled AR-15 barrels.
Saxon Streamline Carbon Hand guards Saxon's Streamline hand guards are made from carbon fiber, which the company claims to be 40% lighter than aluminum while simultaneously being 10 times stronger. 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.
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. V Seven Weapon Systems has emerged as a high-end manufacturer of lightweight AR-15 parts in recent years, and they offer the lightest hand guards on our list.
V Seven Hyper-Light MILK Hand guard AR-15 V Seven introduces yet another lightweight material to our list: a blended aluminum and magnesium alloy. 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. LengthWeight7”2.8 oz9.2”3.5 oz11.1”4.3 oz13.5”5.2 oz15”5.7 oz16.5”6.2 oz For those of you with a fixed front sight base and delta ring assembly who just aren't ready to make the switch to a low-profile gas block, here are the best drop in AR-15 hand guards.
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.
Until recently, you could argue cost was a factor, as free floated AR-15s are generally more expensive. With that said, modern back-up sights have come a long way, as has battery life and reliability for red dots.
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.
Despite the added weight, I'm generally running up to a 14" hand guard whenever possible... and I have short stubby arms. Generally, it's now preferred to have just a Pica tinny rail on top, then Milk or Named elsewhere to lighten your hand guard.
This is a very robust, lightweight rail in the form of a riser mount. The Leopold Mark 2 IMS is constructed of aluminum, making it very light.
This means it helps you shoot accurately while keeping your black rifle easy to handle. It uses easy-to-grasp half-inch hex nuts to facilitate easy installation and removal.
MILK is the most common mounting system today, since the U.S. military has endorsed it. It is manufactured using an injection molding process for a stronger and more durable rail.
Pros Installs using the dominant MILK system Available in aluminum or polymer Beveled ends All necessary hardware included This is a lightweight rail in the form of a riser mount that offers a decent amount of rise.
The Vortex Razor weighs only 3 ounces, which is almost negligible when installed on your AR-15 rifle. It offers up to 0.6 inches of rise to get your scope to a comfortable height.
You can install your scope mount and lock lever, which will assure that everything is perfectly aligned. This is an adjustable rail that is fully able to accommodate accessories whether they meet standard spec.
Pros Lightweight and robust Lever locking CD system Precision machine din the USA This riser mount rail gives you the optimal positioning for your optic.
It gives enough rise to accommodate scopes from various manufacturers as well as reflex sights. Even under heavy recoil, the rail maintains its position, thanks to the heat-treated nut that fastens securely with no need for proprietary tools.
The hollow body of this riser mount makes the unit light, contributing to the handling of your rifle. The Mon strum High Profile Pica tinny Riser Mount weighs 6 ounces.
The most popular option is the three-slot rail, which works perfectly in a pair when all you need is to attach a couple of scope rings. The cross bolt of this unit sits securely on the rail slot where it reduces recoil and helps you with accuracy.
UTG Riser Mounts are meant to last many decades, thanks to the quality put into their manufacture. The precision construction is finished in matte black anodization to further enhance the durability.
This unit mounts to all standard Pica tinny 1913 and weaver base rails. If you need to change optics quickly when in the field, you can do so with this mount, thanks to its unique design.
You can install lasers and lights without blocking the view from your scope, thanks to the angled design. TRUG LO uses durable, high-grade aluminum to build this riser mount.
It has a slim design to reduce weight and add to the beauty of your rifle. You can mount this unit in various configurations, and it will still give you the same great functionality.
Whether left or right, top or bottom rail, this riser mount installs perfectly. A rail also gives you space to attach rifle accessories such as optics, lasers, flashlights, bipeds, forward grips, and sling mounts.
If you need to raise your sighting system to comfortably meet your eye, you may want a riser mount. This will give you a length of rail raised a certain amount above your upper receiver.
While this is a good thing, it means that you are presented with hundreds of rails to choose from. Ounces add up to pounds that you will notice when lugging your weapon through the bush.
Longer rails, with more slots, can give you more flexibility in accessory mounting. Some models, especially riser mounts, offer super-easy quick detach options.
Length: As noted above, a longer rail gives you more mounting options along that surface. However, multiple short lengths of rail can do the job and save a lot of weight, depending on exactly what you need.
While there were other mounting base manufacturers, Weaver’s unit was the most successful. Before Weaver’s mounting base, the only option was to attach scope rings to a receiver directly with bolts.
The design of the Weaver, which was the foundation for the Pica tinny system, features a low, wide dovetail. Weaver base accessories will fit perfectly on NATO and Pica tinny rails.
However, most NATO and Pica tinny accessories might not fit on the Weaver base rail. One way to shed weight from your AR-15 is to dump long rails and just attach short lengths where you need them most.
Many shooters prefer to use low hand guards with MILK or Named slots that give you an easy way to mount short lengths of the rail where it is really needed. There are a variety of mounts out there to fix your scope or another optic to your rail.
One-piece mounts are solid, easy to use options that are ideal for sporting rifles, especially the AR-15. The one-piece mount you pick should match the diameter of the scope, either one inch or 30 mm.
Cantilever mounts are great when you need to position your scope closer to get the eye relief right. Non-cantilevered mounts are good on precision rifles with long top rails.
These mounts attach to your rifle rail using a crossbar or an adjustable throw lever. Either system lets attach or detach your scope with a flick of the wrist.
Test the scope to ensure you get the right eye relief for your shooting position. Move things back and forth if needed to ensure you get a clear image when you look through the optic.
Once you lock onto a position with an immediately acquired clear image, screw the base of the mount to the rail. Once you lock in the perfect scope position, firmly tighten the screws.
A reflex sight, also known as a red dot, helps shooters lock on their targets quickly. Unlike traditional scopes, red dots do not offer any magnification.
Red dot sights have unlimited eye relief, so, you can mount them anywhere on the rifle rail and still get a clear view of your target. However, you should place the reflex sight more towards the back (towards your face) than towards the center, to balance your rifle and achieve stability.
It also sports a solid, but lightweight construction with high-grade aluminum anodized in a black matte finish. Choose one that is versatile enough to accommodate the attachments you need, meet your budget and keep the weight down.