Your AK rifle can best your best friend, but not everyone is perfect. Despite the easy use of a standard AK, it’s hard to come by a gunowner that hasn’t replaced or modified some of the original parts. The original wooden handguard on an AK rifle is a part that can be prone to scratches and damage, and there are many modified handguards that make better use of that space for attaching scopes and lasers. We’ve put together a review of the best AK handguard replacements available online, and we’ll let you know which one we think is the best for the money.
Finding a good handguard can be a little tricky, and Amazon doesn’t offer many options (we found one or two worth looking at). Most of the selections in this review are from Brownell’s; so, in your own research, it will be a little hard to find the best option by word of mouth. Take our word for it, then, that we’ve put together what we feel is the best of the best for the average gunowner. Also, don’t let the terminology confuse you: other names for “handguard” include “forend,” “forearm,” and “foregrip.”
Magpul MOE AK Stealth Black Handguard
Materials – The Magpul MOE AK Stealth Black Handguard is a drop-in replacement for standard AK models that do not have a front sling loop on the original handguard. However, removing the front sling loop is the only requirement needed for this modification to fit properly. Some adjustments may need to be made during installation, so a well experienced gunowner or a professional gunsmith should be the one to set the Magpul MOE AK Stealth Black Handguard in place. The extended grip features a heat shield, which has a few slots for expelling heat from the barrel. It is made entirely of polymer. Depending on where you purchase it from, it can also be found in tan, gray, and olive drab green.
Performance – The Magpul MOE AK Stealth Black Handguard is going to be the best AK handguard for you if you’re on a tight budget or you don’t intend to have accessories on your rifle. The reason for the cheaper cost is that it’s lacking any Picatinny rails, which you’ll notice the other options all have. The polymer construction holds up against heat or exterior elements your handgun may experience, and it makes a great starting point for anyone who just wants to avoid having a scratched up wooden handguard. The buying option on Amazon includes a Nimrod’s Wares microfiber cloth, so you can avoid any smudges or dirty fingerprints ruining the aesthetic of your AK rifle. It’s a very simple handguard, and it’s available to do just that: be a handguard.
What we say – The Magpul MOE AK Stealth Black Handguard costs about $35 online. That is incredibly inexpensive for a handguard, and it’s the cheapest option you’ll be seeing within this review.
- Cheapest option
- Comes in multiple colors
- No Picatinny rails
- Offers bare minimum
Tapco Weapons Accessories AK-47 Intrafuse Quad Rail Handguard
Materials – The Tapco Weapons Accessories AK-47 Intrafuse Quad Rail Handguard is constructed entirely of polymer that has been reinforced with injection molding. It is only available in black. The handguard is about six inches long, and it is barely over half of a pound in weight. This is a drop-in replacement for the original wooden handguard, and it feature Picatinny top and side rails, which can hold a multitude of accessories. The surface is covered in molding and textured grips, so there’s not a chance of slipping fingers and an ensured firm hold. There are six slots in the heat shield for keeping your AK’s barrel cool.
Performance – From here on out, you’ll be seeing Picatinny rails on all of the handguards in this review, including this Tapco Weapons Accessories AK-47 Intrafuse Quad Rail Handguard. For most gunowners, this will be kind of necessary. Although also made of polymer, we like that there are so many points where you can get a good grip on the textured surface. Everything has been squared off, so you’re not going to lose your grip on a rounded surface during your shots. The polymer construction also keeps your AK rifle lightweight. Although there are cooling slots on the heat shield, there aren’t very many of them, and we wish there were more.
What we say – The Tapco Weapons Accessories AK-47 Intrafuse Quad Rail Handguard costs right arund $45 online. This is another great low costing option, and that’s thanks to the polymer materials used.
- Picatinny rails
- Plenty of textured grips
- Few cooling slots on heat shield
Midwest Industries, Inc. AK 47/74 Universal Handguard
Materials – The Midwest Industries, Inc. AK 47/74 Universal Handguard is another drop-in option, but it’s made of aircraft grade 6061 T6 aluminum. It comes in black, and it weighs about ten ounces. There is a six inch option and nine inch option available. There are Picatinny rails on the top and sides, allowing for a variety of additional accessories to be installed. The top cover gives just the right amount of space to use installed sights or iron sights. The heat shield features a large set of cooling slots. The matte finish leaves an attractive appeal with just enough textured surfacing for a solid grip. The Midwest Industries, Inc. AK 47/74 Universal Handguard includes allen wrenches, mounting hardware, a thread locking compound, and instructions.
Performance – The Midwest Industries, Inc. AK 47/74 Universal Handguard takes us from polymer to aircraft grade aluminum. While this moves us up in cost, you’ll find this handguard to be much more durable and capable of taking much more heat, literally. We love the amount of cooling slots that were added to the aluminum construction, and they’re quite larger than many we’ve seen as well. This is the only option that is advertised for including everything you would need to install it. Although it is a drop-in, it will limit your ability to field strip, so that’s something to consider if you go with this one.
What we say – The Midwest Industries, Inc. AK-47/74 Universal Handguard costs $140 online for the six inch option. The nine inch option will run you about $170. While many gunowners choose this product for the extended feature, the standard size still makes the cut for a fantastic mod to your AK.
- T6 aluminum
- Large and plentiful cooling slots
- Includes everything needed for installation
- Extended option available
- Can limit field stripping
Double Star Ace AK-47/74 Railed Forend
Materials – The Double Star Ace AK-47/74 Railed Forend is a drop-in handguard, constructed of aluminum in a Type III anodized finish, which is black. All four sides include Picatinny rails for your accessories, and it features a full set of cooling slots on both the heat shield and along the bottom half of the handguard. The forend is easy to replace your original wooden handguard, and it should not require any gunsmithing or professional installation.
Performance – The best part about the Double Star Ace AK-47/74 Railed Forend is that it has the strongest anodized finish out of any other handguards we could find online. This is a tough business type of modification that would make a great replacement for your wooden handguard. Similar to the other option, it feature Picatinny rails on all four sides, and the cooling system is also quite similar to the Midwest Industries, Inc. Handguard. We found this one to be a little easier to install, and it’s tough to find flaws witnessed by other reviewers that we might have missed. Honestly, the only con to this choice is that it has the most expensive price tag.
What we say – The Double Star Ace AK-47/74 Railed Forend sells for about $145 online. That’s the most expensive option within this review, but it is only about $5 more expensive than the other aluminum handguard option we tested out.
- Type III anodized finish
- Picatinny rails throughout
- Cooling slots throughout
- Easy to install with no professional gunsmithing
- Most expensive
Our Favorite AK Handguard
Well, despite it being the most expensive option to buy, are decision was unanimous that the Double Star Ace AK-47/74 Railed Forend was the best AK handguard on the market. The higher price comes from the high grade aluminum construction and the Picatinny rails. While polymer is more affordable, that isn’t the best option for a modification piece that’s going to take a lot of heat and a lot of recoil. If you can afford it, you’re better off investing in an option, such as the one we have chosen, that won’t have to get replaced in a year. The amount of Picatinny rail space is great for attaching your laser, scope, and whatever else you may want to include on there, and there are plenty of well placed cooling slots to avoid burns to the hands. You won’t be limited by this drop-in handguard modification on your AK rifle.