Until recently, all 3 of my AR builds have been military-based. I’ve generally maintained one civilian style AR build out of my 2-3 AR’s in the past… and I miss having a civvie gun. Lately I have been spending quite a bit of time trying to figure out what I should build next – I think I’m going to go with something a little simpler than my usual RIS/RAS.
At the moment, I’ve got a spare T-1 clone, Daniel Defense rear sight, triangle front sight, MIAD pistol grip, and PTS AAC 51T flash hider on my KA M4 CQB AEG. I’m already pretty close to what I want from this build – I just need a tightbore, outer barrel, gas tube, and handguard.
Something I always pushed as an upgrade from standard M4A1 plastic handguards was the Magpul PTS MOE handguard, when I was working at Airsoft Gear. The MOE handguard allows for greater flexibility as there are modular attachments that you can purchase for it, including rail sections, vert grips, sling mounts, light mounts, and pressure pad fixtures. I spotted that PTS (an Airsoft division of Magpul) released a mid-length gas system version of the MOE handguard a few months back; this intrigued me as I’ve always been a fan of the look of mid-length gas systems on AR builds, as well as the length of a 9″ handguard.
In my opinion, the MOE advantage is the weight saved. Like many of the new railed handguards coming out on the real-steel market, the MOE handguard allows you to place rail sections wherever you see fit – you don’t have unnecessary rail sections already permanently affixed to the gun, and this also allows for greater customization to the user’s preference. The flexibility of the attachments out there means that I can only attach things that I need – I don’t even have to deal with flashlight rail mounts attached onto rails – I can bolt the flashlight mount directly onto the handguard (or I could even bolt some weapon lights out there directly onto the handguard). The fact that the MOE handguard is plastic as versus metal means even more weight is saved. Mind you, it may or may not feel quite as solid, but I think I can live with that. MOE handguards are designed with a different profile and shape than your usual RIS/RAS/handguards. Though the profile is not for everyone, I actually find it to be quite comfortable – the grooves on the bottom provide low profile reference points for me, while the “tab” at the front of the bottom handguard acts as a hand stop for me. I am a thumb over bore kind of guy, so the triangular shape allows the corners of the handguard to fit right into the web of my hand.
It helps that there’s a few pics of Travis Haley running this upper config…
Pictures taken from calguns.net forums.