5 Lightest AR-15 Handguards

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2 weeks ago

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If you are looking for the lightest AR-15 handguards, you’ll want to keep reading.  We’ll be taking a look at the top five handguards that you can install on your rifle so you can keep the barrel cool while making it more aesthetically pleasing. 

You want a lightweight handguard to prevent adding on any additional weight to your rifle. It’s enough that the rifle itself can be a bit weighty. Any heavier, then it might not be worth carrying around in certain situations.

You may be walking a long distance when hunting. If you are using it for tactical purposes, the extra weight can slow you down. The last thing you want is to carry a heavy gun because it can affect movement and may also be physically taxing on the body.

The 5 Lightest AR-15 Handguards

Below is a list of the five lightest AR-15 handguards on the market. If you are looking for excellent heat protection, better customization options, and an aesthetically pleasing rifle then take a look at the following below.

Let’s dive right in:

Bravo Company KMR Alpha 15

bravo company kmr alpha 15

First up, we’ll be taking a look at the Bravo Company KMR Alpha 15 handguard. This weighs in at around 8.6 ounces in weight. It’s made from durable aluminum so you won’t have to worry about it getting banged around and sustaining damage.

This free-floating hand rail includes mounting hardware that you can install with ease. It’s not much of a challenge if you have basic gunsmithing skills under your belt. This has a Picatinny rail that will allow for excellent opportunities for customization.

Key features:

  • Picatinny rail
  • Weighs 8.6 ounces
  • Corrosion resistant aluminum

Midwest Industries Ultra Lightweight M-Lok Handguard

midwest industries ultra lightweight m-lok handguard

Next, we’ll be taking a look at the Midwest Industries Ultra Lightweight M-Lok Handguard. If you are looking for something really tough, this is the handguard you might want to go with. It’s also available in different lengths, so be sure to measure the barrel of your rifle before choosing the right size.

You can choose from 10.5 to 15 inches in length. With a slim profile and a Picatinny rail, this will no doubt be the perfect addition for your AR-15 rifle. Especially if you are using it in tactical and hunting applications.

This also includes an installation kit with the necessary parts you need to install the rifle properly. It’s American made and built to last. Why wouldn’t you want anything different?

Key features:

  • Installation kit included
  • Slim profile
  • M-Lok slots and rails included

Faxon Streamline Carbon Fiber 15-inch M-LOK Handguard

faxon streamline carbon fiber 15-inch m-lok handguard

Up next, we’ve got the Faxon Streamline Carbon Fiber 15-inch M-LOK Handguard. One of the things we’ve noticed is that it doesn’t have the rail that you’d see in the last two rails we’ve looked at.

However, you still have M-Lok slots to work with for your customization needs. Made from carbon fiber, this rugged handguard can take quite a beating. It has 8 M-LOK facets that you can use for customization  purposes.

It also has low heat transfer so you can be able to keep the barrel as cool as possible. This is great for those days when you are firing off so many rounds at the range.

Key Features:

  • 8 M-Lok attachments
  • Weighs 7.99 ounces
  • Made from carbon fiber

Brigand Arms Carbon Black EDGE AR15 Handguard

brigand arms carbon black edge ar15 handguard

The Brigand Arms Carbon Black EDGE Handguard has parts made from high quality aluminum. The tube itself is made from carbon fiber. Overall, you are looking at possibly one of the most durable handguards on the market.

This free-floating handguard has M-Lok slots that allows you to install any additional accessories. Whether it’s a flashlight or something else, you can add it on without issue. At 6.6 ounces, it’s one of the lightest handguards in terms of weight.

Key features:

  • Weighs 6.6 ounces
  • M-Lok mounting slots
  • Made from carbon fiber with aluminum parts

Aero Precision AR15 ATLAS S-One M-LOK Handguard

aero precision ar15 atlas s-one m-lok handguard

Lastly, we’ll be taking a look at the Aero Precision AR15 Atlas S-One M-LOK Handguard. This is probably one of the most budget friendly options on the list. Regardless of the length, you won’t have to pay a ridiculous amount of money for it.

It is available in two different finishes, so you can choose which one is best for you. The weight will vary depending on the length. The longer the handguard, the heavier it will be. However, the weights range from 4.86 to 7.95 ounces.

Key features:

  • Available in anodized black and Magpul FDE Cerakote
  • Front and rear Picatinny Rail
  • Quick disconnect slinging sockets
  • Available in anodized black and Magpul FDE Cerakote
  • Front and rear Picatinny Rail
  • Quick disconnect slinging sockets

What is a handguard?

Handguards are also known as ‘rails’. These are added on to the rifle where it surrounds the barrel. It’s intent is to prevent you from touching the barrel and burning yourself accidentally in the process. On top of that, it’s also designed to keep the barrel as cool as possible.

Handguards will have Picatinny or Weaver rails that will allow for additional customization. So you can be able to add on additional accessories when needed. You can add handguards with ease and be able to put it to good use afterwards.

What are the benefits to a lightweight AR-15 handguard?

Some of the benefits include excellent heat resistance. Especially when you are firing off the rifle for an extended period of time. The barrel can get hot during those sessions.

Since the handguard is lightweight, you’ll have the benefit of not dealing with an even heavier rifle. So you can move around in tactical situations with the greatest of ease. You can round the corners and obstacles with the same amount of precision before a handguard was even installed.

The handguard will also provide you with additional customization options. For example, you may be looking at adding a scope or red dot sight. With a Picatinny or Weaver rail, you can find the compatible accessory and install it easily.

What are the downsides to a lightweight AR-15 handguard?

There is only one glaring downside to an AR-15 handguard. Some of them may be a challenge to install. So it may be a good idea to consider something that may be easy to tack on like a drop-in handguard. If you have little to no gunsmithing experience, they might be a good option since they take minutes to install.

What to consider before buying a lightweight AR-15 handguard?

Price

It’s clear that the price tag will be looked at if you are a budget shopper. You probably have no plans on splurging your hard earned money on a handguard. So it’s important to find one that is in excellent quality but fits your budget.

Furthermore, don’t go for the cheapest option as it may lead to poor quality. The better quality the handguard is, the better it will last.

Free-Floating or Drop-In

You can choose between two types of handguards: free-floating or drop-ins. This comes down to the installation process. If you want something that’s easy to install, consider drop-ins to be your best option.

If you have basic gunsmithing skills or have had experience in building an AR-15 rifle you may go with a free-floating handguard. If you’d rather save yourself some time, a drop-in may be the best option because of how quick you can add it on to the rifle.

Picatinny or Weaver Rail

The difference between the Picatinny and Weaver rails is the design and spacing. Picatinny rails are consistent with their spacing measurements while Weaver rails are smaller in space but inconsistent. Furthermore, if you have Picatinny rail accessories, they will not fit on Weaver rails (and vice versa).

Weight

Clearly, the weight is going to matter since you are looking for something that’s light in weight. The lighter, the better. What qualifies as a lightweight handrail? Anything below 16 ounces in weight would be the best possible option.

Conclusion

We hope this review guide helps you find the lightweight AR-15 handguard you need most. Once you have these installed, you’ll be fairly happy with the way it can perform. You won’t feel like the rifle is getting any heavier at all.

Choose the one that fits your budget and needs and you’ll be set and ready to go for another day of hunting, target practicing, or something else. 

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