I’ve tested my fair share of AR hand guards. Plastic ones, metal ones, heavy ones, light ones, up to date, and a bit antiquated ones— they all have their strengths and weaknesses.
Like people, there’s something to learn from every one, in each experience. That’s true from the consumer/buyer’s standpoint, but fortunately it’s true from the producer/seller’s standpoint as well. I would argue that there may be some things getting worse in the world, but the evolution of AR accessories is not one of them.
We have better options and more options all the time. During this AR upgrades series, I will direct you to a few of my favorite handguards. Today let’s look at the rail that may very well sit the top the heap. The KMR Alpha free float handguard from BCM really is that good.
The KMR Alpha weighs in at 8.1oz and is oh so svelte. I’m not sure how they used 100% aluminum to save weight and still kept it so tough. I’ve tested its toughness, and it hasn’t even hinted at failure.
In my opinion, the winning combination comes down to the double d’s: dimensions and details.
The outside, from flat to flat, measures 1.5” overall. In case you didn’t know, that’s very narrow. The way the handgrip mounts is a pain in the butt to install, but in the end, worth every once of effort. Let me explain, the hardware is included, and in that hardware is where I think the magic begins to reveal itself. The included barrel nut allows the free float handguard to fit so tightly that once it’s on, it’s gonna be a work out to remove. Take time and do it right the first time if you’re doing the installation. Also, this mounting method allows for the handguard to be tightened via cross-locking notched bolts nested between the contour of the grip and the top rail. This eliminates the need for screws at the bottom of the handguard (like most other manufacturers’ have—that method makes the profile use a little more real estate at the mounting point). These dimensional advantages speak to engineering excellence, but better yet its functional excellence as well.
The details finish the KMR off admirably. The KMR Alpha finish is hard anodized. That gives it that matte black (non-reflective) and corrosion-resistant appeal. The modularity of the keymod system is executed seamlessly. BCM includes a QD sling mount and a polymer picatinny rail that act as a cherry on top of this well thought out product.
In my opinion, it all comes down to dimensions and details delivered!