At a Glance: The Best AR 15 Handguard Removal Tool
- OUR TOP PICK: Darrels Custom Firearms AR-15/M16 handguard removal tool
- RUNNER UP: Real Avid easy-grip handguard removal tool
- BEST BUDGET OPTION: Brownells AR-15/M16 handguard removal tool
Comparison of The Best AR-15 Handguard Removal Tool
Our Top Pick
|Darrels Custom Firearms AR-15/M16 handguard removal tool||View Latest Price|
Our Top Pick
|Real Avid easy-grip handguard removal tool||View Latest Price|
Our Top Pick
|Brownells AR-15/M16 handguard removal tool||View Latest Price|
AR-15 handguards are not the easiest rifle parts to remove. If you’ve ever tried detaching one by hand, you will know just how difficult and even painful it can be.
Thanks to the increasing popularity of AR-15 customization, there are many useful tools available, specifically designed to help with your AR-15 maintenance and upgrades. Whether you want to remove your rifle’s handguard to clean it or to install a new part, an AR-15 handguard removal tool will help you do so in a much quicker and trouble-free way than struggling with your bare hands.
In this article, we’ll explain what exactly a handguard removal tool is, how it can help you, and what to look for when searching for the best AR-15 handguard removal tools.
Our Guide To The Top 5 AR-15 Handguard Removal Tools
We have scoured the market ourselves to bring you the best tried and tested tools for removing your AR-15 handguard. By testing each model on our favorite AR rifles, we’re able to give you a thorough and trustworthy review of which ones are the most efficient, effective, and deliver the best quality for your money.
Darrels Custom Firearms AR-15/M16 handguard removal tool
The handguard removal tool from Darrels Custom Firearms gives fast and fumble-free removal of handguards on AR-15 and M16 rifles. It’s incredibly easy-to-use by hooking it over the mag well and pressing the handles down. This mechanism pushes the delta ring down without scratching, allowing both handguards to release in a matter of seconds.
The arms of this tool are made from steel and coated in durable rubber to provide a firm and comfortable grip. It has a black, matt finish and measures 11¼” (28.6cm) in length. As well as working with AR-15 and M16 rifles, it is also compatible with A1, A2, and AR-10.
The construction of this tool seems very solid, and the steel is high-quality. Moreover, the rubber handles give a firm, non-slip grip that makes operation stress-free. This product removes all difficulty and frustration in taking out a handguard and is strong enough to work with even the toughest delta rings.
Made in the USA, this product from Darrels Custom Firearms rates high in durability, meaning it could potentially last you a lifetime. Furthermore, it’s vast compatibility will allow you to use it on other rifles you may own besides your AR-15.
- Strong and durable rods
- Thick rubber-coated handles for a non-slip hold
- Works with most delta rings, including the toughest ones
- Compatible with many different rifles
- Made in the USA
- Allows easy removal in just a few seconds
Real Avid easy-grip handguard removal tool
The Real Avid handguard removal tool features the most ergonomic, easy-grip handles for fast, one-handed removal of your AR-15 or M16 handguard. As well as the handles giving a comfortable grip, the steel rods are contoured for a better fit on the delta ring.
The contour design of the rods also helps you to secure the tool in place without the worry of it slipping. It’s made from a single piece of high-quality steel, which increases durability, giving you years of comfortable use.
This handy tool uses a simple hook design for more ease of use. With one hand, hook it over the mag well, place the rods around the delta ring, then squeeze the handles and pull down. This compresses the delta ring and allows you to remove the handguard with your free hand. What’s more, the hook is rubber-coated to protect the finish on your lower receiver.
I found this to be the most ergonomically-friendly tool on the market, and it’s clear to see it has been designed for the most comfortable use. This is largely due to the addition of the easy-grip handles, a feature that many AR-15 handguard removal tools do not have. Therefore, it’s undoubtedly one of the best AR-15 handguard removal tools for your money.
- Easy-grip handles for supreme comfort and ease of use
- Contoured arms give easy placement and a better fit on the delta ring
- Rubber-coated hook protects the finish on your lower
- Constructed from a single piece of high-quality steel
- A long-lasting product
- Most ergonomically-friendly option on the market
Brownells AR-15/M16 handguard removal tool
The Brownells handguard tool gives a fast, easy & painless way to remove your AR-15 or M16 handguard and eliminates the need for an additional pair of hands. The useful tool is made in the USA from a sturdy ¼” (6.4mm) steel rod and features a synthetic rubber coating to protect the rifle from surface scratches.
This Brownells product boasts a shiny black finish and measures 11″ (27.9cm) long. It will work with any AR handguard that has a delta ring, including M16 A1 & A2 models and AR-Style .308 rifles.
This handguard tool is just as easy to use as the previous ones. Insert the hook into the mag well, position the handles over the delta ring, then push down to compress the delta ring spring.
I loved how easy this tool is to use, but it did not seem as durable and long-lasting as others. The rubber coating seems like it could tear after many uses, so I’m not sure how long it would last. It also does not give the firmest grip and is more likely to slide compared to the other models we tested. With that being said, it still makes the handguard removal process far less challenging!
- Features a rubber coating to prevent surface and gun damage
- Sturdy 6.4mm steel rod
- Works with any AR-15 type handguard, including M16s
- Very easy to use
- Not as durable and long-lasting as others
- The grip could be better – not slip-proof
Wheeler Engineering Delta Series AR-15 delta ring tool
The Delta Series delta ring tool from Wheeler Engineering fits securely around the delta ring to give easy, one-handed compression, letting you remove any mil-spec AR-15 or M16 handguard single-handedly.
The delta ring tool is constructed with a welded steel bracket to give enough strength against all delta rings, including those that are stuck or broken. The rods are coated in vinyl to prevent any marring, scratching, or damage to your rifle.
This model will get the job done and do it well if you require its assistance occasionally. However, it’s not the best AR 15 handguard removal tool for heavy use. If the coating were a little tougher it would be much stronger and more durable. Like with the Brownells version, I’m not sure how long the rubber coating will last before wear and tear take its toll.
Despite this, it’s still a helpful tool for turning a difficult, two-person job into a straightforward, one-person task.
- Welded steel bracket
- Vinyl coating for protecting your rifle
- Custom formed wire that fits securely around the delta ring
- Gives easy, one-handed compression
- Good for light use purposes
- The rubber coating is fairly weak
- Not the strongest or the most durable option
Arrington Accuracy Works AR-15/M16 free-float handguard strap wrench
The Arrington Accuracy Works handguard strap wrench is designed specifically for removing free-float handguard tubes from AR-15 or M16 rifles. The heavy-duty strap wrench gives you plenty of leverage to remove and reinstall any screw-on diameter free-float handguard tube, including those sealed with thread locker or “frozen” from corrosion between the barrel nut and guard.
The USA made wrench boasts a super tough and durable build consisting of a steel handle, aluminum head, and rubber strap. The design of the machined aluminum head gives optimal alignment of the handguard, strap, and handle. The handle itself is built from hefty steel that is strong enough to withstand any amount of force you apply. No matter what, this thick handle will not bend or flex.
The large, adjustable strap wraps securely around the handguard, posing no risk of scratching or marring your rifles finish. It will grasp the guard tighter with the more pressure you apply. That being said, the strap did not seem very strong to me when testing, and there are some reviews from users complaining that it snaps easily. This is a shame because the rest of the construction is superb.
The wrenches design also means you can position the strap right over the threaded end of the tube. This positioning gives maximum torque transfer. Overall, this wrench will save you considerable time and effort in removing and installing free-float handguards and is a top choice for serious shooters looking for a serious customization tool.
- It is designed specifically for free-float handguards
- Strong, no-flex steel handle that can withstand any force
- Large, adjustable strap that gives secure placement
- The design gives maximum torque transfer
- A quick and effortless way to remove and reinstall diameter float tubes
- The strap is too flimsy and could snap easily
What Is An Ar-15 Handguard Removal Tool?
A handguard removal tool is an AR-15 customization tool similar to a wrench. It is designed to give quick and easy removal and installation of AR-15 handguards. Removing your handguard without a tool requires a lot of strength, so it can prove extremely difficult and will likely require an extra pair of hands. A handguard removal tool allows you to complete this task fast and without the need for help. Simply put, it adds more strength so you can unscrew it easier.
What Kinds Of Handguards Do These Tools Work With?
A handguard removal tool will work with any stock AR-15 handguard that secures with a classic delta ring. Many of these tools are compatible with drop-in or free-float handguards too.
Reasons To Get An Ar-15 Handguard Removal Tool
Here are the top reasons why you should seriously consider investing in one of these game-changing AR-15 tools.
Easy to use
You can use your hands to remove a handguard as well as other tools such as screwdrivers. However, a handguard removal tool will make the process more trouble-free than any other device you could try. This particular tool works so efficiently as it gives the additional strength needed to unscrew and release the handguard. This makes it a vital tool for all rifle owners, especially those who lack arm strength.
Prevents minor injuries
Removing handguards with your hands or screwdrivers can not only cause frustration, but it also poses the risk of cuts and other minor injuries, especially when dealing with sharp edges. Using this specialized tool will immediately eliminate any potential injuries or harm to yourself.
Using general tools may scratch or damage your handguard as they are not made for that purpose. All the best handguard removal tools feature a rubber or plastic coating and are designed to give a precise and secure fit other the delta ring, eliminating the chance of it slipping. This will protect your rifle from scratching, marring, or other damage.
Eliminates the need for help
If you’ve ever attempted to remove your handguard without tools, you have probably found one pair of bare hands is not enough, and therefore, called on the help of someone else. This tool allows you to complete the removal on your own, eliminating the need for an additional pair of hands.
AR-15 customization is addictive, so it’s worth having a few tools
At the end of the day, if you’re planning on making a few upgrades to your AR-15, it’s worth investing in some tools. With more and more AR-15 customization options becoming available, personalizing your rifle is a popular and addictive hobby! Along with wrenches, hammers, and screwdrivers, a handguard removal tool should have a place in your toolbox.
How to choose the best AR 15 handguard tool
There are a sufficient amount of handguard removal tools on the market today, but they are not all of the same quality. If you’re looking to find the best quality and most efficient tool for your money, there are a few factors you should consider.
- All the best AR-15 handguard removals tools will have arms that are made from high-quality steel as it is a strong and tough material.
- If thick enough and constructed well, steel arms will maintain a firm grip on even the hardest to remove parts without bending or flexing at all.
- Steel is also a preferred choice as it does not warp or damage easily, and will not rust either.
- Handguard removal tools made from other materials will likely be lower quality and less durable and reliable.
- The hook of the tool is commonly made from Polymer or coated with rubber. This prevents scratching on the magazine well and protects the finish on your lower receiver so is a feature worth looking for.
- Many handguard removal tools will also have a thick rubberized coating on the arms. This gives a more comfortable grip, protects the finish on your delta ring, and increases durability.
Ease of use
When you’re investing in a utensil to make a process less challenging, it must be easy to operate. If not, it could end up making the task more difficult!
The material and construction play a huge role in the quality of the tool and, therefore, in its performance. However, an ergonomic design makes a big difference too. Here are some design features that give more ease of use.
- Some of the best AR-15 handguard removal tools have contoured rods to give a better fit on the delta ring.
- This contoured design also makes it quicker and easier to get the handguard removal tool into place and remove it.
- If the arms are slightly spread out, this will make it easier to place over your handguard and onto the delta ring.
- For an easier and more comfortable hold, look for a tool that has actual handles on the end. This makes a big difference in the grip and ease of use.
One last thing to consider is the price. An AR-15 handguard removal tool should not break the bank, but that doesn’t mean that you should go for the cheapest option either. Cheap, low-quality tools can damage your handguard, therefore, you should look for the best quality product you can afford. In other words, one where the price is high but affordable.
Handguard Installation Guide
Free-Float AR-15 handguard
Most free float handguards come with their own proprietary barrel nut, so the specifics of attaching them will vary. Generally, you torque the barrel nut down and make sure that the bolt holes are aligned. That can require a special wrench depending on the model. If everything looks good, slip on the handguard and bolt it on.
Tighten the bolts as you would a car wheel, by gradually tightening the bolts directly across from one another. Don’t tighten them completely one at a time and don’t tighten each adjacent bolt one after the other.
Make sure that it isn’t touching your gas block. If it is, either get a handguard with a wider inner diameter or get a lower-profile gas block.
Blue Loctite is always a good idea when installing free float handguards. Recoil can work the bolts loose over time.
Your handguard should not rotate or jiggle in the slightest. Check the alignment, take it out shooting a time or two, and make sure it stays solid.
Drop-in AR-15 handguard
Installing a drop-in handguard usually requires no tools. First, you’ll have to remove the standard drop-in handguard. Pull back on the spring-loaded delta ring. This will free up the upper and lower halves of the handguard, simply pull them out.
Start with the lower half of your replacement drop-in handguard. Hold the delta ring back and slip the lower half into place. They often have one end tapered to fit into the delta ring.
Follow the same procedure for the top half of the handguard. make sure that both halves line up as they should. Often, a replacement drop-in handguard will come with some bolts to secure both halves together. If so, you will probably need an Allen key. Blue Loctite probably won’t hurt.
Make sure everything is aligned and secure and go shooting.
How To Use A Handguard Removal Tool
If you’re unsure how to use this tool it may see a bit tricky initially. However, with understanding, it’s very straightforward to use. Here is a brief guide on how to use a handguard removal tool to safely and efficiently take out your handguard.
- Firstly, check the magazine well and chamber to ensure your AR15 is empty and clear of rounds.
- Now slide the tool over the delta ring until the hook end is engaged in the magazine well, which is the leverage point.
- Once in place, firmly grip and push down on the two handles evenly to compress the delta ring as far back as it will go.
- At this point, it should be easy to separate the handguards. However, you may have to tap the seam on the edge of a table to get them to separate. Once separated, you can easily pull the handguards off, one at a time.
- To replace the handguard or install a new one, place the tool on the delta ring, then grip and lever to install the handguards in place. If you’re using drop-in style handguards, you should feel them snap in easily.
- Once installed, test the handguards to ensure that they are secure and firmly in place.
Which Is The Best Ar-15 Handguard Removal Tool For Your Money?
While all five tools on our list will make taking out a handguard significantly quicker, easier, and pain-free, some of them do perform better than others. For me, I found the Real Avid easy-grip handguard removal tool to rate the highest in quality, ease of use, and performance.
Overall, it’s the product that will deliver the most straightforward handguard removal with no risk of injury to you or damage to your rifle. It’s also the most durable and could last a lifetime, giving you the best value for money you could find.
We hope this article has helped you understand how this practical tool can simplify an otherwise tricky procedure and why it’s such a worthwhile investment. The information in this article will arm you with the knowledge needed to find the best AR-15 handguard removal tools for your money.