If you are like nearly every AR15 owner in the free world, you install a Free Floating Hand Rail, and in this article, we will look at the Quad Rail so that we can use all of that available real estate forward of the Upper Receiver.
For the folks looking to accessorize with all the options, the quad rail is the way to go.
Of course, on the top rail, that is for the flip-up sights or optics – we will go with flip-ups here today. On the bottom, one of the greatest foregrips is the angled, making a tight and deep shoulder pocket hook up. Then the side mounts for lights and even laser aiming devices; how awesome is all of that? As a side effect, you will get powerful arms packing all that around.
How do we install the free-floating quad rail handguard? It's a simple upgrade
The AR15 world standard is the flat top AR15 upper receiver and the full-floater quad-rail. This makes a seamless full rail (full monolith rear to front) mount to install impressive sights and optics.
The greatest thing in open iron sights are the flip-up sights, and now the market is producing night sights and more advanced open irons; how great is that? To get a complete rundown on open iron options, read this guide.
I will assume for brevity that you have the old rail off the gun or have not installed anything yet. First up, open the package, and count all the parts against the parts listed on the packing slip. After you count all the parts are there, and all the tools you will need are on the table or bench, it is time to get started.
To discuss the free-floating quad handguard, we also need to cover the barrel install quickly. All of this share the same barrel nut, which needs to be addressed. If you have the upper receiver assembled, remove the Bolt Carrier Group and the Charging Handle from the Upper Receiver. Coat the threads of the Barrel Nut and the Upper Receiver with anti-seize. Ensure the Indexing Lug on the top of the Barrel is lined up with the Receiving Groove. The Indexing Lug and Groove ensure the Gas Port is aligned.
Thread the Barrel Nut onto the threads, and screw it down until finger tight, ensuring that everything fits easily and is lined up correctly. Put the Upper Receiver into the Holding Fixture and clamp into the vise. Use that Barrel Nut Wrench or the Armorer Wrench on the teeth that the Barrel Wrench or Armorer Tool is custom made for this. That is as far as I am going with barrel install because this article is for the handguard, more detailed instructions can be found here; follow the link.
Now that the barrel nut is on and tightened correctly, etc., slide the free-floating quad rail onto the barrel nut exactly as your instruction manual shows, line up the holes, and screw in the bolts to hand tight. Ensure everything lines up correctly, especially the rail on the flat top upper and the top rail of the quad rail handguard. Lastly, ensure the handrail placement is the right length for you. This check is a test fit for the product and the shooter fit.
Now, unscrew all the bolts, and if your set-up requires you to install your quad rail mounting or M-Lock mounting rails, put them on now, use a dot of blue thread locker (you know what I am talking about), and snug them good and tight.
Then, replace the quad rail over the barrel nut, line it all up again, and this time put a dot of thread locker on the bolts and snug them tight, check your instructions and see if there is a torque spec you need to meet. The only reason to use the thread locker is to keep the bolts from unscrewing under recoil, and it is up to you.
After assembly, take a few minutes and enjoy the new look and awesomeness of that rifle. You know you are going to do it, so do it like a pro.
Next, shoot it! Get the new gun smell mixed with the range's cordite smell, and all things are happy.