Sunday, January 29, 2012

JP Enterprises Modular Hand Guard Review

JP Enterprises Modular Hand Guard Review
In my recent AR15 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, & 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 which provides a secure grip even when wet without the cheese grater profile of a typical picatinny quad rail and 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.

FEATURES
The 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 than 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
For AR’s, 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 hand guard 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 Hand Gaurd tube is secured to the outer nut with six hex screws which lock in the permanently clocked hand guard positioning which allows all types of sighing and lighting accessories to retain zero. Not only will the hand guard 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. This is typically the weak point on most hand guards that depend on shallow barrel nut pulling double duty securing the barrel and supporting the hand guard. After handling quite a few hand-guards, this more substantial guard mount seems like it could take a lot more punishment than some of the guards I have seen. 
 The extension on the JP version is first permanently Lock-Tite’ed in place to the receiver.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 hand guard and a solid wiggle free forend.

FUNCTION
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 attache 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 rails 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 Gaurd, 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.

FINAL THOUGHTS
One of those old Ron Ronco info commercials 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 hand guard 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.
SPECS
  • 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
  • Includes 2 JP Quick-Detach Sling Studs with Backer Plate(JPHGS)
  • $189.95

SOURCES
JP Enterprises

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