AR-15 Handguards and Rails

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Whether you're building an AR-15 from scratch or upgrading a stock model, these unique, modular firearms offer ample customization opportunities with aftermarket parts and accessories. Since the handguard of your AR-15 serves as an attachment point for many other accessories, it's an excellent place to begin your upgrade.

The custom AR-15 rails and handguards available at Wing Tactical can help you unlock the full potential of your AR-15 by giving you the opportunity to express yourself or install add-ons that optimize your gun's operation. 

Three Aero Precision M-Lok AR-platform handguards laying on a black surface

AR-15 Rails and Handguards: The Foundation for Customization

When it comes to upgrading the front end of an AR-15, the handguard and rail system can define a gun's look, feel, and functionality. By customizing your gun with a new handguard, you can transform your firearm into something uniquely designed to fit your style or perform specific tasks.

As you browse our inventory, you'll find a wide range of handguards with different specifications, rail systems, and styles. Whatever your preferences or functional requirements, you're sure to find an aftermarket handguard to meet your needs.

There are two primary styles of mounting systems for AR-15 handguards and rail systems — free-floating and drop-in. Drop-in handguards are the simpler of the two, held in place by the pressure of the handguard cap and the delta ring assembly. Free-floating handguards mount to the upper receiver and "float" around the barrel of your firearm without actually touching it. They offer a bit more stability and better accuracy than drop-ins.

Some handguards include rail systems that allow you to easily attach accessories and further customize your firearm. The three types of rail systems you'll find on handguards are Picatinny, M-LOK, and KeyMod.

Each AR-15 rail and mounting system has its own pros and cons. You'll want to do some research before deciding on which handguard you want to add to your custom AR-15.

At Wing Tactical, we maintain a huge inventory of the parts and accessories you need to upgrade your AR-15 or start a new, custom build from scratch, including a wide selection of handguards, rail systems, and accessories.

: Strike Industries AR-15 handguard rail system

AR-15 Handguards

To choose the right handguard or rail for your AR-15, you'll need to consider several factors: your budget, functionality priorities, and aesthetic goals. Additionally, some accessories (like optics mounts, lasers, or lights) may only be compatible with one rail system, so choose between M-LOK, KeyMod, or Picatinny rails based on which accessories are most important to your build.

 Seekins Precision Picatinny rail section with M-Lok handguard compatibility

AR-15 Rail Compatibility Tools

If you commit to one rail style, you’re not necessarily locked into it for life. If you need just one portion of your handguard to be compatible with a different rail system, you can purchase compatibility tools like rail sections to increase your flexibility.

Wing Tactical’s Commitment to Quality Assurance

Wing Tactical is a company run by gun enthusiasts for gun enthusiasts. We're passionate about upgrading and customizing AR-15s, and we share that passion with you by offering an extensive inventory of the best parts available for this platform. Each product in our inventory is hand-picked by our team, and we don't stock anything we wouldn't be proud to use on our own personal firearms.

Our friendly, knowledgeable staff is dedicated to ensuring you're satisfied with your transaction every time you shop with Wing Tactical. As part of our satisfaction guarantee, we offer fast shipping, hassle-free returns, and LEO/military discounts.

If you're ready to begin customizing your AR-15 with a new handguard or rail system, you've come to the right place. Browse our inventory to check out your options, and contact our team if you have any questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you put any handguard on an AR-15?

Handguards are one of the most modular components of an AR-platform rifle, and you’ll find that most handguards are compatible with most rifle styles. However, when choosing a handguard product, check that your product of choice is compatible with your rifle’s:

  • Barrel length
  • Gas system
  • Accessories (particularly your ideal rail type)

What’s the difference between handguards vs. rails?

The primary difference between AR-15 handguards and rails is their functionality.

Handguards are simply designed to protect your hand from the heat generated by the barrel as you fire the gun, while rails offer attachment points for accessories. Many handguards feature rail systems, usually placing attachment points along their top, bottom, or sides.

In short, most rail systems are on handguards, but not every handguard has a rail system

Are all handguards compatible with all foregrips and hand stops?

No; any accessories you’re planning to mount on the handguard must be compatible with the handguard’s rail style.

Consider choosing a foregrip or handstop after you’ve installed your handguard to ensure compatibility between the two components.

How do you know which handguard or rail is right for you?

To choose the right handguard or rail for your AR-15, you'll need to consider several factors. Assess which handguard or rail is most compatible with your:

  • Price point
  • Accessory preferences
  • Barrel length
  • Gas system
  • Aesthetic preferences

You'll want to shop around and learn the pros and cons of each option before you make a decision about which is the best match for your firearm.

Can you purchase a receiver with a handguard already attached?

Yes. Wing Tactical offers a selection of complete upper receivers with barrels and handguards already attached. For builders looking to streamline the parts-sourcing process, optimize their time at the bench, or save money on specialized tools, pre-assembled upper receivers are an excellent option.