2020 Review of the Best AR-10 Handguards

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Are you looking for the best AR-10 handguard? If so, you’re in the right place. That’s because we’re going to be revealing the list of eight AR-10 handguards we consider to be the best on the market as of this writing.

Finding the best handguard can be a challenge. But, we’ve given you a starting point on where to find one. A good quality hand guard might be what you need in order to protect your hands from accidentally touching parts of your rifle.

Before we start our list, we’ll be talking about why you need a new handguard and how you can choose one on the market that’s not a low-quality, cheap model.

Comparison Chart of the Best AR-10 Handguards

PRODUCTDETAILS
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Midwest Industries ArmaLite Gen2 Drop-In Handguard

  • Made in the U.S.A.
  • Made From Highly Durable Aluminum
  • Construction is Lightweight and Very Rugged
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Midwest Industries, Inc. - SR Handguard

  • Lightweight and Ergonomic
  • Measured at 12 Inches Long
  • Best Value for the Money Product
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J P Enterprises - MKIII Free Float Handguard

  • Best Free-Floating Handguard
  • Available in 12.5 or 15 Inches in Length
  • Made From High-Quality Materials for Durability
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DEZ Arms Keymod Handguard

  • Best 10-Inch Handguard for an AR-10
  • Constructed From High-Quality Aluminum
  • Comes with a DEZ Nut Barrel for Secure Installation and Placement
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ArmaLite Tactical Handguard Kit 15”

  • Measured at 15 Inches in Length
  • Includes Barrel Nut and Mounting Equipment
  • Lightweight and Made From Highly Durable Aluminum
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Brigand Arms LLC - Edge Free Float Handguard

  • Free-Floating Design
  • Available in 12 or 15-Inch Lengths
  • Made From Carbon Fiber Aluminum for Superior Durability
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Magpul - MOE-SL Carbine Length Handguard

  • M-LOK Slots for Easy Customization
  • Best Used for Carbine-Length Gas System Rifles
  • Made From Polymer for Superior Durability and Heat Resistance
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Why Would You Want a New Handguard?

There are a few good reasons an AR-10 owner would want to upgrade a part of their rifle. In this instance, there are a few reasons you might need a new handguard.

One common reason an upgrade is necessary is to improve the overall performance of an AR-10 rifle. You will, in fact, experience some advantages once you’ve successfully installed a good handguard. Here is a brief list of advantages to expect with a new handguard:

Better Accuracy

Some of the best AR-10 handguards may be able to give you a slight increase in accuracy. However, that might not matter to AR-10 rifle owners. Some free-floating handguards have improved the accuracy of an AR-10 from .5 to .75 below MOA.

If accuracy is one of your main goals in improving your rifle, you’re going to need a good free-floating handguard to get the job done. Some other handguards will not improve your accuracy at all. So you’ll need to pay close attention to the type of handguards you’re looking at.

Protection From Heat

Your AR-10 rifle can get hot really quickly after you’ve fired off so many rounds. And some rifle owners have accidentally touched rifle barrels only to get a little rude awakening. A good handguard will have the responsibility of resisting the heat caused by a lot of rounds being fired.

Whether it’s an hour or a few at the range, you’ll need a handguard that will resist heat so it won’t cause any functional issues. A rifle that’s too hot to fire can cause trouble.

More Accessories

Some of the handguards have rails (Picatinny, M-Lok, Weaver, etc.) that will allow you to add additional accessories to your rifle. The customization could very well be endless. Need a new scope? Have an optic you've been dying to use? Just make sure you are able to install it easily on your AR-10 rifle.

Once you’ve installed the accessories you need, you’ll be ready to hit the range or the hunting field. Either way, you have a customized AR-10 that will be the envy of either place.

Characteristics of Our Favorite Models

We chose some of these models based on some overall characteristics. We believe these are not only helpful in terms of a handguard's overall quality but also its overall performance. Here's what you'll need to look for while looking for a handguard for your AR-10:

Material

As far as quality goes, the first place you'll need to pay close attention is the material used during the manufacturing process. Most of the handguards are made from high-quality materials like steel, aluminum, or even polymer. The material is not only designed to be resistant to damage but also resistant to other elements like weather or corrosion. Also, some materials will also be more resistant to heat compared to most.

Midwest Industries ArmaLite Gen2 Drop-In Handguard is made of 6061 aluminum.

Installation

Installing a handguard is not a difficult task. In fact, most of the handguards we'll be reviewing will not be complex in terms of installation. A keyword to look for while you're shopping for a handguard is "drop-in". This, in plain English, will mean easy to install.

You will not need any kind of gunsmithing skills nor will you need to rely on a professional gunsmith to install it for you. All it will take are a few tools and less than an hour of your time.

Design

The design may also play a role in your decision process. The reason for this is due to the fact that most handguards are designed to allow you to add on any other beneficial accessories to your AR-10 rifle’s overall performance.

For example, some popular accessories include scopes and optics. Some handguards have Picatinny-style rails or M-Lok rails designed to allow you as many customizable options as possible.

Quick Take - The Best AR-10 Handguards

Review of the Best AR-10 Handguards

Below are eight of the best AR-10 handguards are currently on the market. One of these may be yours depending on which feature sticks out as interesting. Does it fit a certain preference or need? If so, look into it further and see what other people are saying.

Please look through each of these handguards carefully before you make a decision as to whether or not they’re worth the investment. With that said, let’s begin our list with the “best overall” AR-10 handguard on the market:

Pros

  • Super Durable
  • Very Easy to Install
  • Does Not Add Any Unnecessary Weight to your AR-10

Cons

  • None

First, we’ll be taking a look at the Midwest Industries ArmaLite Gen2 Drop-In Handguard. Like the name itself, this is a handguard that will be easy to install, which means you’re not going to have to rely on a professional to install it. Nor will you need a wealth of gunsmithing skills to do it yourself.

This handguard is a two-piece design made from high quality 6061 aluminum. So not only is it easy to install, but it’s also pretty durable. And it’s pretty lightweight too. No additional weight on your rifle, but a whole lot of ruggedness. Now that is what you call a great handguard.

Also included in this handguard are the four quick-detach sockets you’ll need if you plan on using push button swivels. Perfect for when you’re giving your AR-10 a tune-up at the range or if you feel like firing off some extra rounds. This handguard is made in the U.S.A., which means the overall quality of this accessory is going to be pretty dang good.

If you’re looking for a product that will be easy to install and will last you a long time while doing it’s intended job, the Midwest Industries ArmaLite Handguard might be exactly what you’ll need.

Bottom Line

Lightweight, durable, and easy to install. If that isn’t a good description of our best overall choice, then we aren’t sure what is. Midwest Industries built this product to last. It will do a great job resisting heat and will even give you a bit of an accuracy boost.

If you have a swivel you use for range shooting, this handguard will definitely accommodate it. Just use the sockets and make sure it’s a good fit before you spend all day at the range. Other than that, it’s a very reliable handguard designed to last you a while.

Pros

  • Fits Perfectly Without Issue
  • Barrel Cools Off Much Quicker Compared to Other Handguards
  • Extremely Lightweight. Does Not Add Any Unnecessary Weight to Your Rifle

Cons

  • Installation May Be a Challenge for Some
  • Some Minor Gunsmithing Skills are Needed

Next, we’ll be taking a look at the best AR-10 handguard we believe will fit a lot of budgets. If you’re a budget shopper that doesn’t want to break the bank, you may want to give the SR Handguard from Midwest Industries a closer look. This is a lightweight, slim constructed handguard that is measured at 12 inches long.

It is a free-floating handguard designed for better accuracy. The design itself makes your AR-10 rifle look more ergonomic and a bit more comfortable while you’re using it. At the same time, the vents as part of the design will provide quicker cooling.

So once you’re finished with your rifle after a long day at the range, it won’t be as hot to the touch. Even better, there’s a lesser chance you’ll burn yourself if you somehow accidentally touch your AR-10 barrel.

The body of this product is made of high-quality aluminum. So expect it to be quite durable and resistant to damage. If you’re looking for a product that can tough it out and withstand abuse, this might be your best option. Not bad for something considered reasonable in price.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a budget handguard for your AR-10, this might very well be worth the investment. This exceeds a lot of expectations. In other words, you’re getting a lot more than what you paid for in a product like this. One thing we’re impressed with is that it’s extremely resistant to heat.

So once you’re finished firing off your rifle after so many rounds, it will feel like it never did. Another thing we like is that it’s light as a feather. So you won’t feel like you’re lugging a 500-pound boulder while you’re out in the field hunting for a big game target.

Pros

  • Very Good Stability
  • Built Like a Tank. Super Durable
  • Helps Improve Your Grip in Weather Conditions or While Your Hands are Sweating

Cons

  • Installation May Be a Challenge
  • You May Not Be Able to Attach Some Accessories to it

If you’re a fan of free-floating handguards, you’re probably going to love what we’ve chosen as the best among these types. Our choice is the JP Enterprise MKII Free-Float Handguard. Right off the bat, the design looks pretty sharp.

This has vents that allow for faster barrel cooling. So the heat resistance will be quite decent for handguards like this. Since this is free-floating, you’re going to get no difference in accuracy, right? Wrong.

Free-floating handguards like this are designed to give you a bit of an increase in accuracy. So don’t be surprised if your shot groups are a little tighter if you choose to install this on your AR-10 rifle.

Other than that, this product will be easy to install. So once you have this installed in a matter of minutes, you’ll be ready to go for another day at the range. Only this time, your rifle will cool off much quicker and you might notice some slight differences in your shots. But we can only promise you that they will be for the better.

What better way to experience it then giving it a test session at the range before you’re able to hit the fields for the main event?

Bottom Line

For a handguard, it does a little more than give your rifle a little “oomph” in terms of accuracy. This also gives you a pretty decent grip when it’s raining pretty hard outside.

Yes, the weather can be unpredictable. So it’s always good to have a product that can handle the elements when the weather takes a turn for the worse, especially when you’re out in the field hunting.

Other than that, once you’re able to install this handguard, you’ll be able to enjoy better accuracy and even more precise shots. That’s probably what you’re looking to get out of your AR-10 rifle, right? If so, a free-floating handguard like this might do the trick.

Best 10-Inch Handguard:
DEZ Arms Keymod Handguard

Pros

  • Super Durable Construction
  • Will Fit Most Picatinny Compatible Accessories
  • Very Easy to Install. Stays in Place Without Any Wiggling

Cons

  • Installation May Be a Challenge for Some

Sometimes, we have those who prefer a certain length in terms of handguards. If you’re one of them, we won’t judge. We’ll be taking a look at the best 10-inch offering. That honor goes to the DEZ Arms Keymod Handguard.

If you’re looking for a product that may be the last one you’ll buy for a long time, then you may want to choose this one. That’s because it’s made from high-quality materials designed to provide the best possible durability.

It can also deal with all kinds of abuse. Don’t be surprised if it can still hold its own after you’ve fired off hundreds of rounds. The design is a hybrid Keymod/Picatinny rail designed to give you some flexibility as far as customizing your AR-10 rifle goes.

So if you have some accessories you want to put to good use for your rifle, you’ll have a rail that will accommodate them. If you don’t have any accessories yet, find some that will work with Picatinny rails or Keymods.

The installation is easy and the fit will be quite tight. So if you’re looking for a product that will be easy to install and won’t wiggle at all, this DEZ Arms handguard could be the perfect choice. Super strong, super secure, you cannot go wrong with a handguard quite like this.

Bottom Line

This is a really good item for something as short as ten inches in length. Plus, it’s strong like a tank. It’s also what we’d expect from something lightweight and small. Aside from that, it does allow you the ability to customize your AR-10 rifle.

So if you’re looking to maximize your rifle’s customization ability, it starts with a good quality handguard that can allow for additional accessories. Be sure to give the DEZ Arms handguard a closer look and decide if its the right fit for you.

Pros

  • Great for Tactical-Style AR-10 Rifles
  • Very Secure Once Installed. No Wiggle Room to Speak of
  • Installation is Easy and Takes About Less Than an Hour, Max

Cons

  • One Reviewer Complained About the Aluminum Being a Little Too Thin in Some Key Areas
  • Some Users Have Had a Hard Time Installing it. May Take the Right Kind of Tools to Solve the Issue

Next, we’ll be taking a look at the best 15-inch handguard for an AR-10 rifle. And that is ArmaLite Tactical Handguard Kit. Looking at this, the design is pretty impressive.

You can expect it to do a great job of allowing heat to dissipate much faster, even after a long day at the range. In fact, we won’t be surprised if your barrel gets cool to the touch minutes after your last shot.

Aside from that, it has a winning combination of being lightweight and very durable. Even with the high-quality aluminum that is used to construct this stays lightweight to ensure your AR-10 doesn’t get heavier once you’ve attached this.

To top it off, this is a free-floating handguard. This means you’re probably going to get a nice little boost in accuracy once you take this out to the range.

Don’t forget that this comes with everything you need to mount it on your rifle. This includes your barrel nut and your mounting hardware. The installation process will be easy. And expert gunsmithing skills are not needed for this.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a handguard that will withstand all kinds of rounds and won’t wiggle around each time you shoot, then the ArmaLite might be worth the investment. The strength of this bad boy is quite impressive. And we won’t be surprised if this lasts you years or even decades.

As a free-floating handguard, you can expect your shot groups to be a little tight below MOA. So it’s a win-win for you if accuracy and longevity are two things you consider important.

Pros

  • Very Tight, Secure Fit
  • Unbelievably Light and Rigid
  • Super Durable and Will Take a Lot of Damage

Cons

  • None

To our knowledge, carbon fiber is another kind of material considered the best in terms of durability. And there are some good carbon fiber handguards on the market. The one we’ve chosen for this review is the Brigand Arms Edge Free Float Handguard.

The design is a minimalist one that will give your AR-10 rifle a performance like nothing else. And as expected, this is going to be one tough customer to deal with. It doesn’t matter if you’re using this for hunting, target practice, or shooting competitions, this product will give your AR-10’s performance a much-needed boost.

Even better, this will give you the opportunity to customize your rifle to your heart’s content. Find products that will fit your preferences or personal needs and you won’t have a hard time installing on this handguard.

Plus, this puppy is super strong. And it may be the only handguard you’ll rely on for years or decades to come. If that’s something you’re looking for, the Brigand Arms might be a good choice for you. This item comes in two different lengths: 12 inches and 15 inches.

Of course, the length you choose will obviously be based on personal preference. But regardless, you still get the same superior performance and durability.  

Bottom Line

The Brigand Arms is a great carbon fiber option that stands head and shoulders over the other products in this category. It is built to last and to stay in place once installed.


Regardless of whether you choose a 12-inch or 15-inch version, you’re going to see this withstand a lot of rounds, plus give you a boost in accuracy (after all, it is a free-floating handguard).

At the same time, the heat resistance will be great as well. So you won’t have to worry about handling it after a day out in the field or at the range. In fact, don’t be shocked if people start asking you questions at the range. The first thing they’ll probably notice is the design.

Pros

  • Easy to Install. Takes About a Few Minutes
  • Very Slim and Doesn’t Take Up a Lot of Room
  • Super Strong and Does a Good Job Resisting a Lot of Heat

Cons

  • May Not Be Compatible With Some M-LOK Accessories or Rails
  • Some May Have an Issue With the Fitting. One Reviewer Couldn’t Mount it Far Enough for a Rear Optical

For our final AR-10 product, we’ll be taking a look at the Magpul brand. More specifically, we’ll be looking at their MOE-SL Carbine-Length Handguard. What you’ll notice is that the material allows for maximum durability. Believe it or not, we’re not talking about aluminum. We’re talking about polymer. And it’s just as strong as aluminum.

In fact, it’s also heat-resistant like most aluminum handguards. If you have an AR-10 rifle with a carbine-length gas system, this will most likely fit you best. This will also come in handy if you want to add an accessory or two to make your AR-10 rifle look super awesome.

If you have a scope or optic handy, you can attach it to the M-LOK slots and be ready for action in a matter of minutes. These slots are located in the two, six, and ten o’clock positions.

Now we get to the part about aluminum. Yes, this is also included in the construction of this handguard. Except that it acts more as a heat shield and allows for even more cooling for your AR-10 rifle. Once you’re finished with another shooting session at the range or intense competition, don’t be surprised if the rifle’s barrel is a little cool to the touch.

This handguard is versatile and will work hard to give your rifle the best overall performance it can get. If you’re looking for this type of product, the Magpul might be worth the investment.

Bottom Line

Magpul has long been a reliable brand among AR-style rifle owners. Once again, they’ve proven themselves to be just that with this handguard. The construction is solid and does a great job keeping your gun cool even after a long day at the range.

You can customize this to your advantage using M-LOK compatible accessories. So, if you have a scope or sight you cannot wait to try out, get a product like this so you can finally see it in action.

Pros

  • Easy to Install
  • Very Ergonomic Friendly
  • Allows You Almost Near Endless Customization

Cons

  • One Reviewer Complained About Having Some Alignment Issues While Tightening One of the Nuts

Next on the list, we’ll be taking a look at the Odin Works O2 Lite M-Lok Low Profile Handguard. Right off the bat, you’ll notice this handguard is pretty lightweight. So you don’t have to worry about your AR-10 rifle getting a little heavier once you properly install this.

The design itself is pretty unique and gives your rifle a pretty rugged look. This is also easy to install and will work with both high and low profile receivers.

Another thing you’ll probably like is that each Odin Works handguard is battle tested before it even hits the market. That’s right...they are tested before they reach you. They’re tested in terms of durability and accuracy.

In fact, you’re looking at the best free-floating handguard is designed specifically for the sake of improved accuracy. Plus, all handguards are hard coat anodized to add that extra layer of toughness.

If you’re a fan of free-floating handguards, this will probably be a no-brainer choice for you. In fact, this will probably be your favorite handguard of them all because of its ability to allow you to customize to your heart’s content.

If you have some additional accessories laying around that need to be used, this would be your opportunity to use them with the help of this handguard.

Bottom Line

The Odin Works has proven itself to be a worthy alternative to the Midwest Industries handguard. But what impresses us most is that each of these handguards is put to the test before they’re ready for battle. Which means you won’t find any that will be defective.

At the same time, the design itself is quite unique and is designed to act as a vent so the rifle cools off quicker. So it’s heat resistance game is on-point.

If you’re looking for a pretty impressive free-floating handguard that will slightly improve your accuracy and give your AR-10 a nice, rugged look, then the Odin Works might be the best choice for you.

How to Remove a Handguard

Removing a handguard from your AR-10 might be a challenge. That is why we’re providing you with a quick guide on how you can remove a handguard from your rifle. Just follow the steps listed below:

  1. First and foremost, always check your rifle to ensure that it’s unloaded in both the magwell and the chamber. 

  2. Using a screwdriver, unscrew each set screw that holds the handguard in place. Start on the right-hand side and then do the same on the left-hand side.

  3. Unscrew the rail (lefty loosey). It should fall freely from your barrel or receiver. Remove other parts like the gas port or other parts, if needed.

How to Install a Free Floating Handguard

Installing a free-floating handle is easy if you know what you’re doing. If this is your first time installing one on your own, you can follow the installation instructions below. These are universal for almost every single handguard for your AR-10:

  1. Of course, safety first. Check the magwell and chamber to see if your rifle is unloaded.

  2. Be sure to disassemble your receiver prior to installing a handguard. This includes removing parts like the barrel, gas system, rails, etc.

  3. Take your upper receiver and hold it in a vice. Be sure to remove any barrel nuts, rings, or anything else if needed.

  4. If your free-floating handguard came with a barrel nut, screw on the barrel nut so the upper receiver can retain the barrel. When tightening the barrel nut, use anywhere between 30 to 80 foot-pounds of torque until the gas tube is aligned properly.

  5. Slip on the new free-float tube. Make sure you do not have it cross-threaded.

  6. Install the front sight tower (if you have one). Be sure it’s aligned and fits properly with the gas tube. Replace the pin to hold it together.

  7. Remove the upper receiver assembly from the vice. Secure the gas tube pin. Make sure it doesn’t protrude.

  8. Replace all the other pins the way they came out when you disassembled the upper receiver.

  9. Re-install the operating handle, bolt (make sure it’s in the forward position), and the stock. Make sure everything is secure and in place. Make sure nothing is loose. Once inspected, you should be done.

Conclusion

Finding the best AR-10 handguard doesn’t have to be a challenge. A good product will make a difference in terms of your rifle’s overall performance. At the same time, it will also do a good job preventing your rifle from overheating and, in turn, preventing any further disasters from happening. Now is the time to find one that’s the best fit for your AR-10 rifle. Find one that fits your personal preferences and needs. If you’re looking for a good upgrade for your rifle, the best place to start is to find a handguard.

People Also Ask

Prior to purchasing an AR-10 handguard, you’ll need to know the difference between an M-LOK and a free-floating handguard. With that in mind, the frequently asked questions below will give you an answer on what an M-Lok handguard is. Likewise, you’ll also know what a free-floating type is, as well.

What is an M-Lok Handguard?

An M-Lok handguard employs a system that uses slots as opposed to other parts like keyholes. The attachment lugs on M-Lok accessories will usually be shaped like a “T”. These are also bi-directional and can be placed in either a front or rear slot.

What is a Free-Floating Handguard?

A standard free-floating handguard will be installed on your rifle’s upper receiver. The product itself will not even touch the barrel (hence the name, free-floating). What you’ll notice on AR rifles with free-floating handguards is that the Delta rings are absent. These will give you more customization options compared to other rails like the M-Lok or KeyMod.

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