The Difference Between Free-Float And Drop-In

You’ve just purchased a new AR-15, and you’re looking for the best accessories to add to it. What you find online may be overwhelming. There are dozens of brands selling hundreds of AR rifle upgrades. If you think it’s going to take weeks to find the right setup for your rifle, you’re not alone. Many new AR-15 rifle owners have trouble choosing which accessories to choose.

At Bootleg, we sell handguard rails that give you nearly limitless opportunity to customize our rifle with the best AR accessories to fit your shooting needs. Whether you are using your rifle for home defense, the range, or competitions, a handguard rail is a great initial investment.

Two Handguard Categories

There are two categories of handguards. You have the free-float, which attaches to the front of your receiver, or you have the drop-in handguard that attaches to your receiver and the front end-cap. Each handguard have benefits to using them, as well as some considerations before purchasing one or the other.

Drop-In Handguard

The drop-in handguard is the “classic” component that was designed and produced specifically for the AR rifle. It fits around the barrel of your rifle as two pieces, securing it at either end. Here are the benefits of the drop-in handguard:

  • Easy “drop-in” installation
  • No modifications to stock AR-15 to install this handguard
  • Typically, the most cost-effective handguard solution

Free-Float Handguard

The free-float handguard is a modified component for the AR style rifle. It attaches to the front of your receiver and does not connect anywhere else on the gun. Due to this single connection point, the handguard needs to be lighter and more weight-efficient. This removal of weight form the handguard offers you a number of benefits:

  • Improves shooting accuracy
  • Offers versatile accessory mounting options
  • Decreases weight

Potential Handguard Accessories

Depending on the handguard and type of attachment style, you will be able to find the best AR accessories to fit your needs. The drop-in and free-float handguards allow for the follow accessories to be attached:

  • Optics and lasers
  • Forward grips
  • Flashlights
  • Bipods
  • And more!

Purchase Considerations

First, you want to determine how you want to use your AR-15. The function of your rifle will guide your handguard and accessories purchases. Second, set a budget to work from while shopping for components. Finally, you want to consider how much the rifle will weigh at the end of all your upgraders. You want a lighter gun for handling purposes, typically. If you’re in competitions, you will be limited on which components and accessories allowed, but you still want a lighter rifle. For hunting, home defense, or range use, you want your rifle to be comfortable to haul and shoot for moderate or long durations. A heavy rifle is the worse when you’re traveling or moving around a lot.

Bootleg: Attach Your AR Accessories To A Handguard Rail

If you’re searching “best AR accessories” online, you will find plenty of options. Which of those options will fit on your Bootleg handguard rail? The PicMod handguard offers a wide variety of accessory attachment opportunities. Shop online now

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