At SHOT 08, Magpul released information regarding its newest series, known as "MOE", which stood for Magpul Original Equipment, this was shown in the catalog to consist of stocks, grips, handguards, and sights.
In this lineup, the MOE stock was the first to be released, and its similarity to the Magpul CTR was enough to confuse many viewers who gazed at it quickly. The same basic function and durability existed, while lacking only the QD mount and friction/ cam lock. Next came the Magpul Moe pistol grip. This was based heavily on the Magpul MIAD, and shared many of its features, including the multiple cores, and aggressive texture. The MOE+ pistol grip followed shortly there after, and should be making appearances at dealers at the time of this writing.
The Magpul MOE Handguards gathered a massive amount of interest in both the internet community, and out and about with shooters. The idea of a drop in replacement handguard that was a step above the stock unit was enough to get many people very interested. With the price of rails continuing to climb from most companies, and many shooters having different AR15s for different tasks, the idea of spending north of a thousand dollars to outfit your various weapons was something no one looked forward to.
The idea behind rails on an AR15 is one which is heavily based on the plethora of accessories that exist in the weapon manufacturing community. Some of these are items that are a matter of personal preference, such as a Vertical Fore Grip (VFG), or sling mounting points. Others items, such as flashlights, are mandatory for serious use.
The MOE Handguard is a two piece polymer handguard, that is designed to be a drop in replacement for current handguards. They are a low weight item, that allow for optional 1913 rail sections to be bolted into place at the 10 and 2 o'clock positions, as well as the 6 o'clock. The front of the handguard is molded to go forward of the handguard cap, and flares slightly out and downward giving a positive feel when you slide your hand forward and reach the end. This also gives more surface for trigger pullers who push forward while shooting. The bottom handguard removes for those people using 37/ 40mm launchers, breaching shotguns, or similar systems.
Last edited by Stickman; 28 September 2008 at 17:59.
Installation of the Magpul MOE Handguards is simplistic. First, check and ensure that you have an unloaded weapon. Remove the magazine, lock the bolt to the rear, and check the chamber and magazine well visually and physically. No point in negligence, and if you are swapping parts around on a loaded weapon, you are entering the world of negligence.
After the weapon is verified to be unloaded, remove the standard handguards from the host weapon. This is done by pulling down on the delta ring, and pulling directly out on the bottom of the handguard. If this is difficult, a second person can be enlisted to be of help. The spring in the Delta Ring ( D-Ring) assembly can be pretty strong on some weapons. With the bottom of the handguard pulled away from the D-Ring, the front comes out without any effort. You can look at the front end of the handguard, and see where it interfaces with the handguard cap. Once the first half of the handguard is off, pull off the second one in the same manner.
With the above out of the way, its a good time to check and make sure your barrel is clean and free from rust. I'm sure that no one overlooks routine maintenance under the handguards, and as long as you are at this point, there is no reason not to give your barrel a quick once over. Done already? Good, lets move on.
Installation of the Magpul MOE Handguards for me was easiest by installing the top handguard first. Line up the upper piece with the handguard cap, and push it all the way forward, then pull down on the D-Ring and drop it into place. The bottom half of the MOE Handguard is pushed into the handguard cap, and with the D-Ring pulled down, it is secured once both sections are in position.
Upper section first, then the lower section. Easy.
UPPER SECTION OF MOE HANDGUARD
MULTIPLE VIEWS OF THE LOWER HANDGUARD SECTION
Last edited by Stickman; 28 September 2008 at 18:00.
The slots in the MOE Handguards are slotted, and spaced evenly enough that I think there are going to be a lot of rail sections which would probably drop in and work. Below are the 1913 sections that I think Magpul used as its template.
Installation is very easy. With the handguard off the weapon, figure out where you want your rail sections to go, then use the washer and nut, or threaded tab on the inside of the handguard. The screw head will go through the rail from the outside, and reside in the rail cutouts. Move the railed sections to where you are sure you want them, then tighten the screws down.
As already mentioned there are three different slots for mounting rails.
With the above steps and info out of the way, the biggest question still remains. How do they feel when used?
The Magpul MOE Handguards have come out to play on two different weapons of mine. One is an old Bushmaster upper that is loose as can be, and the other is a Noveske N4 basic, which is tight as the proverbial drum. The MOE Handguards were tight on both.
In use I found that I enjoy running the gun without a VFG. This could be for a lot of different reasons, but one of them is probably because I don't use a VFG on my duty weapon. With the Magpul MOE Handguards in place, it is very easy for me to drop on a Surefire or Streamlight pistol light, and activate the controls with my offhand. By sliding my hand forward, its easy for me to maintain a solid shooting grip while still turning the light on and off while moving.
My overall thoughts are in a few different themes. I don't see my replacing the rail on my duty weapon with the MOE Handguards, but that isn't the intent of them. I do foresee a lot of LEO I work with swapping out their old carbine and M4 handguards and replacing them with the MOE. I also see that I have a couple carbines that will be getting MOEs ASAP. The 2008 Magpul catalog suggests the price will be around $30 MSRP. For that price, even the cheapest guys on the department get a step up in equipment without cutting into the out going alimony checks.
I'll end this with a special thanks to Magpul for allowing this item to be reviewed before the MOE Handguards are officially released. For all the people who badmouth, trash talk, complain and whine when an item is announced and not immediately available, stop and think about any and all of the production delays that a manufacturer can run into. If that fails, stuff a sock in your mouth and keep your fingers off the keyboard, the rest of us don't want to hear it.
For additional information on Magpul, visit their website, or the below for additional contact information.