What is a Free Float Handguard?

What is a Free Float Handguard?

Posted by STNGR USA on Sep 30th 2022

When it comes down to it, accuracy is arguably the most important thing you want from your rifle. You’ve no doubt been told that in order to increase your accuracy, you should get a free float handguard. But what exactly is a free float handguard?

To be brief, free float (or just “floating” for short) handguards are designed in a way that they don’t make contact with your rifle’s barrel. They attach directly to a barrel nut which is secured to the upper. This allows the handguard to “hover” or “float” above your barrel.

Example of free float handguard

(Example of how a free float handguard never makes contact with the barrel)

What is barrel warping?
Preventing your handguard from touching the barrel is key when you want to be as accurate as possible. The less chance there is for the handguard to make contact with the barrel, the less chance there is for the angle of your barrel to be slightly altered. This bending, also known as warping, is the culprit that causes your accuracy to suffer.

Unfortunately, traditional non-free float handguards are sometimes prone to this issue of barrel warping. The problem stems from when you prop your rifle up against a surface to aim, use a bi-pod, grip, etc... The force created pushes against the handguard which ultimately pushes back up against the barrel. This in turn slightly changes the angle of the barrel, making your shots less accurate.  

Benefits of Free Float Handguards
Free float handguards, on the other hand, don’t have this issue due to their floating nature. They have even been known to increase your accuracy in the range of .5-.75 Minutes of Angle (MOA). This allows you to not only use any accessories you prefer but also lets you prop your rifle up to aim against any surface available without the fear of accuracy loss.

While traditional handguards may not always be as accurate as their free floating counterparts, they are still a viable option. Many shooters have used them for years without any issues and some even prefer them to free floats.

It ultimately comes down to what you’re looking for out of your build. ARs are like Legos for grownups. The fun comes out of mixing and matching parts to build something that is uniquely yours.

STNGR USA is a family-run business based out of Allen, Texas. We started this company for a simple reason: to make Premium Quality Affordable. If, for any reason, you aren’t 100% satisfied with our product, we’ll give you your money back. That’s how certain we are you’ll love our accessories.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at support@stngrusa.com.