JP Modular Hand Guard
Major Pandemic 05.26.14
In my recent AR-15 build and review of the JP Enterprises Barrel Kit, I utilized JP’s own rifle-length Hand Guard System. 3-Gun and competitive high speed AR shooting has influenced new development and innovation of the AR platform more than any other factor in the last 10 years, even more than our engagements overseas. The JP Modular Hand Guard is one of those products born from competitive needs, and I wanted to write a separate review of this deceptively elegant forend.
Fit, Feel, and Finish
As noted in my JP Barrel Kit review, the JP quality and fit is exceptional and easily equal to custom level components. The guard finish is a hard anodized textured finish that provides a secure grip even when wet, without the cheese grater profile of a typical picatinny quad rail.
The round 2” tube profile is thinner and easier to hold than typical 2.25” tubes. There is definitely a trend toward smaller diameter forends. Smaller forend profiles provide a more solid controllable grip for high speed competitions like 3-Gun. As JP notes in the Modular Hand Guard product description, that ¼” reduction greatly increases comfort of the grip. My medium sized hands found the JP forend very comfortable.
JP Enterprises notes safety, precision, versatility, integrity as the primary benefits of their Modular Hand Guard, but let me add my own observations.
From a safety perspective, JP is right on the money talking about potentially grabbing hot gas tubes and gas blocks. Rifle-length systems inherently give you more forend real estate and reduce the chances of grabbing a hot gas block vs. carbine or mid length forends.
JP of course has a variety colors and hand guard lengths all the way from 15” down to standard carbine length, but this forend was a rifle-length. Sometimes though, your hand chokes up around the receiver only to remind you there is also a red hot gas tube under there somewhere. JP’s outer nut design completely shields this area to prevent contact with the gas tube. The nut also adds strength to the receiver, barrel, and forend union while also completely covering the transitional area preventing the exposed tube from being crushed.
For those running typical 1-4X optics on their AR’s now, there is also a significant reduction of the thermal optical distortion effect from hot air off the barrel/gas tube rising in front of the scope or sights under calm conditions.
For ARs, a free float tube is one of the most significant accuracy improvements you can make. Some have noted groups reducing by quarter of their original size by simply converting from a delta ring retained barrel mounted handguard to a free float tube. At some point I will test this transformation improvement.
The JP Modular Hand Guard provides the ability to attach JP’s picatinny rails and sling studs at not only the 6:00, 12:00, 3:00 and 9:00 o’clock positions, but also the in-between ⅛ hour positions as well. Many tactical experts say a 1:30 position is much better for tactical lights than the 3 or 9 positions because it provides improved door clearance. If you only need one rail or sling stud, there is no sense degrading comfort with a yard of picatinny rails. Place them exactly where you need them and move or remove them as needed with just two screws.
The JP Modular Handguard tube is secured to the outer nut with six hex screws which lock in the permanently clocked handguard positioning which allows all types of sighting and lighting accessories to retain zero.
Not only will the handguard stay put, but the union to the receiver is strengthened by a dual-nut system with a 6061 T6 outer receiver extension nut combined with a carbon steel internal barrel retainer nut. The extension is first permanently Lock-Tite’ed in place to the receiver. After handling quite a few handguards, this more substantial guard mount seems like it could take a lot more punishment than some of the guards I have seen. The nut can then be secured with a standard M16 armorers wrench rather than strap wrench needed on one-piece tubes. This arrangement provides the forend and receiver with significantly more support from the cantilever forces of a free float handguard and a solid wiggle free forend.
The JP Modular Hand Guard is ventilated to reduce weight, increase heat dissipation, and improving shooter comfort. The Modular Hand Guard allows for easy attachment of rail sections, so you can simply attach two short rails and bolt up your favorite iron sights for offset backups, vs needing to purchase rather expensive offset sights. All accessories can quickly be relocated at will, and you can use as many rail units of whatever length makes sense when and where you need them and can forget about rail positions you don’t. At some point I will add a few rails and update this article to show the various options for users.
One of my pet peeves on quad-rails is attaching swivel studs for use with bi-pods and slings and generally requires some bulky adapter. On the JP modular hand guard, the floating studs included allow complete flexibility for any attachment need from standard and tactical sling setups to bi-pod attachment, and you can position them in any slot on the guard.
One of those old Ron Ronco infomercials comes to mind as I list through the features of the JP Modular Hand Guard. “It slices it dices…” but in this case the JP Modular Hand Guard is “Safe, durable, comfortable, flexible, and versatile all with good looks”. For those pondering a new or updated handguard or forend, the JP Enterprises Modular Hand Guard is a very versatile forend flexible and completely configurable for law enforcement, defense, 3-gun, or bench rest shooting. All the way around this is a top notch hand guard for your AR.
I am a huge fan of thin/slim hand guards as I believe they can be far more comfortable for many shooters. That said, the large round shape of the JP is also among the most comfortable as well, mainly due to the fact that is is free from rails, ridges, and contours that can create discomfort for a shooter.
Several other advantages to the JP Handguard are due to the larger girth. When running AR-15s hard and fast, the slim handguards do get hotter faster simply because they are closer to the heat source, thus the JP is one of the cooler running aluminum guards out there due to its size. The other advantage is that the girth of the JP handguard allows a wider range of gasblock sizes to slip under the handguard. I have seen some “low-profile” gas blocks not work due to the tight confines of slim handguards; but the JP works with pretty much anything.
- JP/VTAC modular free float hand guard System
- Full length for AR-15/M16 type rifle
- 1.75″ Inside diameter, 2.00″ outside diameter, 12.500″ Overall length
- Weight: 15 oz.
- Matte Black Hard Coat Anodized – Available in various colors
- Includes 2 JP Quick-Detach Sling Studs with Backer Plate(JPHGS)