rail

Stngr 15" Rptr handguard

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.

  A few months ago I had a STNGR (pronounced “stinger”) RPTR sent to me to take a look at. At first glance, it looks good. Seems a bit heavy but considering it has quad at the muzzle end not overly so. In the box is the handguard, the barrel nut, and proprietary “wrench” or installation tool.

  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

TARGET MARKET:

Anyone with an AR-15

FNBS (FEATURES & BENEFITS OF THIS PRODUCT):

  • Free floated
  • Mlok
  • 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

08/07/2018

Jeremy Koop

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++.

 

Price point:

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:

STNGRUSA.com

Our Rating:

    Pros:

  • Does the job
  • Price
  • Made in America (if that matters to you)
  • Freefloat
  • Easy installation

   Cons:

  • Has a lot of flex
  • Gets hot fast
  • Very small tolerance issue on the wings

 

Score: 7.5 Good

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2A Armament Aethon Rail

  Since everyone has an AR15, or at least should, aftermarket accessories for them have become the norm. That brings us to 2A Armament. They produce a variety of products, including complete rifles, for the AR15. 2A sent me one of their 7" Aethon rail handguards with M-Lok slots.

  The Aethon rail has some interesting design features. The first one I noticed was the scalloped picatinny rail sections. Of course this helps to reduce weight, but also looks very nice. The Aethon features a full top rail, that lines up with the receiver nicely. Under the top picatinny rail there are lightening holes, which also help vent heat away from the barrel. At 90°, 180°, and 270° are the flats with the M-Lok slots. Since this is a 7" handguard, there are only 2 slots per side. In front and behind the M-Lok slots are holes for QD mounts! Between the flats on the handguard, 2A has reduced more weight by milling out an angled half circle style design. Also the top picatinny rail has "T" markings on it.

  Installation of the Aethon rail is pretty straight forward. I'll run you through the simple method. After taking off the old parts. Just install the 2A Armament titanium barrel nut per specified torque, line up one of the cut-outs for the gas tube and the barrel is tightened back on. I used my armorers wrench and it worked just fine. Now here is one of the niceties of the Aethon. To install the handguard, you just slide it over the barrel nut and align the top rail with your receiver. Then you just tighten down the four angled set screws, 2 per side, and your done. The way the barrel nut is designed, along with the angled set screws, is what makes this so easy. A warning, do not over tighten the set screws as they are going into aluminum and could possibly strip out fairly easy. I just put blue threadlocker on them and called it a day.

  The Aethon rail saw plenty of use. Partly because the rifle I installed it on, wasn't working properly. This had zero to do with the Aethon. I will say that because of the small internal diameter of the Aethon, it does get very warm when shooting quickly, so much that I wouldn't recommend it for a registered full auto, unless you always wear gloves. Other than that, the Aethon performed great. I liked the smaller diameter of the Aethon, it allowed me to get a good grip around it to help reduce muzzle jump. If you have really large hands, you could probably wrap them all the way around this handguard. Because this is a 7" handguard, it is very sturdy with no flex whatsoever. There are also no sharp edges anywhere, even where the set screws lock the handguard on. My only complaint is that it only measures 6.7" long instead of 7", leaving a little gap between the end of the handguard and the fixed front sight post. 

  2A Armament has done an excellent job with the Aethon handguard. It is a deep black anodizing, so much that it is much darker and shinier than my receiver. It is fairly lightweight and installs easily. If your in the market for some nice AR parts, go take a look at 2A Armament.

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:

Lightweight AR15 handguard

Target Market:

Users wanting a lighter weight, or M-Lok handguard

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • Made in U.S.A
  • U.S.A. sourced 6AL-4V Titanium barrel nut
  • M-LOK mounting solution
  • Free floating design
  • QD mounts on both ends
  • 1.3” Internal Diameter
  • 6.7" length
  • "T" markings
  • Weighs 6.2 oz's complete

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?

10", 12", and 15" lengths

What others are saying?:

None Found

Link to other reviews:

None Found

Price point:

MSRP = $179.00

Retail = $170.00 at Optics Planet

I need it now! Availability:

2A Armament or Optics Planet

Our Rating:

Pros:

  • M-Lok

  • Easy Installation

  • Dark Anodizing

  • Small overall diameter

  • Full top rail

  • QD mounts

Cons:

  • Not a full 7" in length

  • Gets hot

Score: 8.0 Great

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Favorite Link:   Poly Gun Mods