Monday, April 22, 2013

Basic AR-15 Modifications-Handguards

It is fairly rare that an AR-15 will not undergo some changes to its appearance or performance even when it has only one owner.  New parts to enhance the functionality of the weapon to an individual's specific application are continually being marketed and modularity is one of the things that makes the AR-15 such a great weapon platform.  In the next few blog posts, we will attempt to assist AR-15 owners who want perform some alterations by providing basic tutorials with instructions and photographs.  Be sure to check the user manual and warranty information for your particular weapon, as some alterations may void manufacturer warranties.

Changing out standard, two-piece handguards may be very simple for someone familiar with the AR-15, but the fact that a specific tool is made for it has caused me to consider offering instructions on removal/installation if only to save someone the cost of the tool!  Honestly, this tool can make it easier to pull back the delta ring but for most individuals it is probably unnecessary. Pulling back the delta ring is where this task starts...

1.  Separate the lower receiver from the upper receiver by depressing the takedown/pivot pins until the two halves of the weapon can come apart.

2.  Secure the upper receiver in an AR-15 receiver vise block or place the end of the receiver against a firm surface like a bench or your stomach, and pull the delta ring rearward with one hand.

3.  With the other hand, separate the two-piece handguards near the rear of the handguard where the two pieces meet.  Often you can do this with a fingernail; if necessary, they can also be GENTLY and CAREFULLY separated with a thin tool (only do this enough to allow your fingernails to do the rest of the work).

4.  Typically, the top piece is easier to remove and install first.  While holding the rear of the top piece of the handguard, push forward towards the front sight base while lifting the rear of the handgaurd away from the barrel. Once it is removed, while the delta ring is still pulled rearward, push forward on the bottom piece and then pull away at the rear of the handguard.

Top Piece Installation

5.  To install a new, two-piece style handguard: insert the front of the top piece into the end cap behind the front sight base or gas block.  Once it is centered (the gas tube should be centered in the vent holes of the handguard), pull the delta ring rearward again and "snap in" the rear of the top piece.  Once it is firmly seated, the delta ring should clear the rear of the top piece and hold it in when it is released.  It is necessary to make sure the front of the top piece is correctly centered (especially with the basic, two-piece handguards) in the two detents on the end cap to avoid difficulty when installing the front of the bottom piece of the handguard next.

Bottom Piece Installation
Now pull back the delta ring again and insert the front of the bottom piece of the handguard into the bottom of the endcap behind the front sight base or gas block.  While lightly pushing forward on the bottom piece towards the endcap, allow the rear of the piece to "snap in" before releasing the delta ring.  The delta ring should cover the back of both top and bottom pieces equally and be straight/perpendicular to the barrel when released.  The photograph below displays the new handguards installed correctly.

Whether you are installing a new set of  basic, two piece handguards or a newer, upgrade part like Magpul's MOE handguards or even a two-piece four rail handguard, these installation instructions will apply.  Thanks for reading our blog.  If you have any questions about installation, the parts we sell, or the AR-15 rifles we produce and offer at, please feel free to contact us.

1 comment:

  1. My father has a very similar one like this that he owned for quite some time, but not as many modifications. During the summer, we would both go out and go to a gun range and take them out for a spin. I have been looking to get some AR pistol uppers of my own though so that I can finally have something to call my own.