As you look at ways to improve your AR-15, one component that will keep coming up is the handguard. Also known as the forend, the handguard surrounds the barrel of your firearm. Its main purpose is to allow a better grip of your gun. However, it also allows for a lot of customization with various pieces of gear and accessories.

AR-15 Handguard Features and Options

Firstly, we’ll start with the type of AR-15 handguard options we, at RISE Armament, offer. Our handguards are of the “free-floating” variety, which is exactly what it sounds like. Free-floating handguards allow the barrel to float freely beneath the handguard. Why is that important? Well, free-floating handguards take pressure off the barrel when firing and allow the barrel to function as it should. Without getting into the science of it, free-floating handguards help maximize your barrel’s accuracy.

Mounting Systems: M-LOK vs. Picatinny

Next are the different mounting systems on a handguard that allow users to customize their guns. Common systems you’ll read about are Picatinny and M-LOK.

A Picatinny system uses rails either above, below, or on the sides of the handguard. The rails feature raised bars that create slots used for simple mounting points. Picatinny rails are the oldest system of attaching accessories. The slots are simple to work with and offer tons of versatility.

Next on the list is the M-LOK mounting system. Short for “Modular Lock,” M-LOK is the brainchild of Magpul. Making its debut in 2014, it’s much newer than the Picatinny rail. M-LOK uses less space than a Picatinny system, making it slimmer and lighter. Instead of an added rail, M-LOK uses negative space as the mounting points. M-LOK handguards feature rounded rectangular slots where shooters mount their accessories.

RISE AR-15 Handguard Options

At RISE Armament, we have a few AR-15 handguard options that offer the systems above. If a Picatinny mounting system is more your style, the RISE Armament RA-901 Slimline Handguard is the way to go. It features a full Picatinny upper rail for mounting. It is available in lengths of 11.5 inches, 13.5 inches, and 15 inches, with corresponding weights of 10.5 ounces, 11.7 ounces, and 12.6 ounces. It’s also available in Black, FDE, or Foliage Green.

However, if M-LOK is more your speed, RISE has a couple of options available that include both Picatinny and M-LOK capabilities. Firstly is the RA-902 Stinger Slimline Handguard. It’s available with a 15-inch length and weighs just 12 ounces. Color options are the same as the RA-901. Next is the RA-905 M-LOK Handguard. The RA-905 has the most available lengths of any of our handguards, coming in at 7.5 inches, 10 inches, 13.5 inches, and 15 inches. Want to talk lightweight? The 13.5-inch model weighs just 9 ounces while the 15-inch model weighs only 10 ounces. It also has the most color options, available in Patriot Blue, RISE Red, Spartan Bronze, Viking Iron, Black, FDE, and Foliage Green.

Any of our AR-15 handguard options will instantly provide better grip performance on your gun. On top of that, we offer the best mounting systems possible. Pick whichever system works best for you and enjoy. And while you’re at it, don’t forget about our triggers.