|Let me start by saying that through I've used AR-15 family weapons extensively in my naval career, we always had armorers to handle the more in-depth work. So, while I have a strong familiarity with the weapons, I am by no means an expert; likewise, I don't have an extensive gunsmithing toolkit or bench setup at my disposal. So I've been diving into modifying my DPMS Panther Oracle, one step at a time. I've been working on configuring it as a CQB carbine/patrol carbine/ranch gun/all-around carry rifle.
That having been said, I wanted a longer quad-railed handguard than the plastic carbine-length glacier grips the Oracle came with. I first had a Milwaukee Industries handguard on it (also carbine length), but as I have a flattop receiver and gas block, and I'm now using an EO-Tech 512, I wanted to mount a BUIS, and I wanted one same-plane, as I don't like the idea of trying to yank or push a button just above my hot gas block to deploy the front sight. I couldn't mount it on the MI handguard, because that mounted in the standard fashion, with the collar in front, and delta ring in back; it had A LOT of wiggle. I read the other reviews, and in the end, purchased this unit for my rifle- totally worth it!
The fit and finish on this handguard is top notch, and I have a nasty habit of beating the s--- out of my weapons. This IS NOT a free-float handguard, so don't expect some massive accuracy increase mounting this handguard. It's also steel (I believe), so it's a bit on the heavy side; I'm using a Magpul angled foregrip mounted all the way foreward, with a high thumb-wrap weak hand grip, so in ready-up drills, I don't immediately notice the extra weight, though it fatigues a bit faster if drilling all day. The guard is actually three pieces; a full-length upper, and two lower sections, one for in front of the gas block/sling swivel area, and a longer one for behind it. Each one is attached to the upper via hex head screws (four each), with spares and the wrench provided (nice touch, UTG!). The top actually locks into the delta ring on the rear, and locks OVER (completely covering) the locking collar in the front; it uses this for stabilization. The lowers screw and lock into place on each side of the gas block/locking collar assembly, with the rear one also locking into the delta ring, and the front one held in place by the hex screws in the front. In all cases, the lock up with tight screws and some Blue Loctite is absolutely flawless. I've put approx. 1,000 rounds through the rifle with this handguard on, and there is absolutely NO play. My ARMS BUIS folding front is mounted on the extreme front of this handguard, and has maintained a perfect zero. The top rail aligns perfectly with my flattop receiver; I know that bridging optics is, as a rule of thumb, a "no no", but I would not have reservations with doing it on this weapon/handguard combo with medium range optics.
So, overall, I think that this is an excellent product for intermediate users, who do not want to do any low-grade gunsmithing, cutting off their delta right, locking collar, replacing their gas block assembly, etc. for a free-float guard, whilst gaining the same functionality as a free-float, and the same accuracy out to medium engagement ranges. I have my BUIS set up using the Santose method- modified, as I don't have an elevation drum on my ARMS flip-up BUIS rear- and I've consistently put 4" groups on the marked 150-meter range, even on "off" days (I know it's kinda short distance, but it's the closest known distance place I can let loose without the cops showing up).
So, all in all, a great product, despite the weight, although they could've perhaps added a drilling for a quick-detach sling swivel on the rail end-flats. But still a fantastic buy; I'm very pleased with it. And the best part? It's SUPER CHEAP!!! Especially for what you get in return. Even the ex-SF rangemaster, gunsmith, and Colt armorer at my local was impressed with it, and he's forgotten more about the AR-15 platform than I could hope to ever learn....
And of course, the mall-cop ninjas thing it looks "tacticool."|