AR-15 Handguard Removal and Installation

AR-15 on gray background

In the past, we’ve discussed selecting properly-sized gas systems and handguards, as well as quad rail systems.

While we briefly mentioned the process of removing and installing handguards, we didn’t go into much detail. In this installment in our series on the AR-15, we detail the process for removing and installing handguards or forearm rail systems on the rifle.

  1. Remove the standard plastic handguards. If you have the standard plastic handguards, you’ll probably want to remove them with a forearm removal tool. This item is not necessarily required, although if you don’t have  buddy to help you, it is a nearly indispensable too. It can also help save your fingers if you plan on removing the handguards frequently. Once the delta ring has been pulled down by using the forearm removal too, the plastic handguards will split into an upper and lower half and can both be pulled right off.
  2. Install replacement handguards or two-piece quadrails.
  3. Follow the instructions up to this point in reverse for reassembly. If, however, you plan on installing a free-float handguard or quad-rails, keep reading. For an article explaining the difference between two-piece and free-float, click here.
  4. Remove the muzzle brake/flash hider
  5. Loosen and remove the front sight post and/or gas block and gas tube.
  6. Remove the delta ring assembly and barrel nut. One of the best tools to use for this is the AR Multi-Tool. When removing the front sight/gas block, you will probably need a punch set and a hammer.
  7. With all of the previously mentioned items removed, install the new barrel nut, free-float tube or quad-rail, front sight/gas block, and flash hider/muzzle brake.
  8. Reassemble in the reverse order of disassembly.

Have you been following the series on making your AR-15 your own? Share your experiences in the comments section and let us know how it is going.

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