Written by: Zane M.
There are hundreds if not thousands of choices for Handguards and rails for the ar15. Everyone has their own opinion as to what a rail should offer. Personally I like to have as much rail as I can in relation to barrel length, so for a 16” gun that means a 15” rail.
Installation was simple. The low pro barrel nut required no timing, a welcomed feature and the provided tool was adequate. The barrel nut is made from aluminum, while I encountered no issues I would much rather have a steel barrel nut. Luckily, they offer one as an upgrade and I will most likely replace mine should I decide to stay with this hand guard. I feel this should be standard but i understand the need to keep the price and weight down for the casual plinker. It’s worth noting that the anti rotational wings that “lock” the rail in place could need removing for use with a billet upper but I installed it on a forged receiver so I encountered none of that. But more on those wings later.
The 15” officially licensed Mlok rail comes in at 11.64 oz not including the barrel nut and is made from 6065 aluminum. It will require a low profile gas block or in my case a cut down a2 front site base. At 1.35 inner diameter not too many silencers are going to fit under it if that’s your thing but for people with small hands that don’t like vertical foregrips it’s quite comfortable to grab. Two QD sling points at the either side towards the receiver end don’t offer much flexibility in using QD slings. Since I don’t use a QD sling this wasn’t a concern for me.
The gun, a colt 6920, still points good, this rail is much thinner than the previous one I had and, as mentioned earlier, makes for a much more comfortable grip. After a day of shooting I noticed two things: 1, the rail has quite a bit of flex and 2, it heats up quick. Then as the day went on I found I had a tendency to oversteer the gun. Let’s address these one by one.
Flex, the rail flexes. It’s a 15” free-float so that’s to be expected. From the prone at 25yds using only sling tension I was able to move the backup irons enough to shift the strike of the round 5-6” That’s a concern of you’re going to use rail mounted aiming devices like irons or lasers. If your primary optic is receiver mounted, this is obviously much less of a concern.
Now let’s talk about heat, after two quick mag dumps, the rail was almost too hot to hold. Midway through the third mag I put a glove on. I definitely wouldn’t put this on a full auto or bumpstocked lower but since I don’t have either and magdumps aren’t really my thing, this is less of an issue. I don’t know how it would hold up on a full day class as I didn’t have opportunity to run it in a class.
My last minor concern is the weight towards the end. In all fairness I requested the rail with quad at the muzzle, this obviously increases the weight a bit at the muzzle end causing me to ever so slightly oversteer the gun. They offer rails that don’t have the quad rail portion and if I did this over again I would forgo it.
The next range trip I brought some range barrels (55gal drums), barricades and a homemade notch wall along to purposely try to break the little bitty anti rotational wings off. After several hundred rounds and several dozen overly aggressive slams into different positions, I was unable to do so. I’m sure if I beat it as hard as I could on the concrete I could bend or break it but I don’t know much that I couldn’t break at that point. My concerns with the wings seem unfounded judging by the last several months of range trips and they’re still holding up just fine. However, they do seem to have about 1/32” extra space so take care in lining the rail up before wrenching it down. And at some point in the testing process I was able to twist it every so slightly. I am chalking this up to user error since I didn’t use a torque wrench to tighten the clam screws to the recommended 20-30 inch lbs. why? You ask, because I don’t have an inch lbs torque wrench. I realigned it and went hand tight-er and didn’t rencounter this problem.
At $135 it’s hard to beat for a made in America, aluminum handguard. While I’m not sure I would recommend it for duty use, for the hobbyist or for a home defense rifle it seems like a fine choice.
FIREARMS INSIDER REVIEWS - 8 KEY POINTS
CLAIM TO FAME:
Made in America aluminum freefloat handguard/Rail
Anyone with an AR-15
FNBS (FEATURES & BENEFITS OF THIS PRODUCT):
- Free floated
- 2 QD attachments
- Full length
- Quad rail at muzzle end
- Lifetime warranty
WHAT OTHER AESTHETIC OPTIONS OR FINISHES ARE AVAILABLE?
They make rails from 7”-15” in Mlok or keymod, with or without a 3slot quad picrail at the muzzle end
What others are saying:
From STNGR’s website
First AR build
I’m building my first AR, and want everything on this one to be good quality. I’m enjoying seeing it come together, but now that I got this handguard on, it looks amazing. I did a lot of research and was going to spend 300 dollars on a handguard, before stumbling on to STNGR, that being said, it was a perfect fit, everything is so clean, A++.
MSRP - $134.99
At time of writing blemish rails are available for $119.99
Other rails and lengths vary in price
I need it now availability:
- Does the job
- Made in America (if that matters to you)
- Easy installation
- Has a lot of flex
- Gets hot fast
- Very small tolerance issue on the wings
Score: 7.5 Good