What Size Handguard Do You Need for a 16 Inch Barrel?

AR-15 handguards come in a variety of sizes. But which size is the right one for you? Here’s a quick guide to help you choose the right handguard for your 16 inch barrel.

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When shopping for a handguard, one of the first considerations is always going to be length. Do you want a full-length handguard or a shorter version? For many shooters, the decision comes down to personal preference. But if you’re unsure which handguard is right for you, this guide will help you make an informed decision.

There are several factors to consider when choosing the right handguard length for your needs, including:

– Barrel Length: The length of your barrel will have a direct impact on the length of handguard you need. A shorter barrel will require a shorter handguard, while a longer barrel can accommodate a longer handguard.

– Shooting Style: The way you like to shoot can also dictate the ideal handguard length. For example, if you frequently shoot from unconventional positions (like from behind cover), a shorter handguard may be easier to maneuver around obstacles.

– Weight: Longer handguards will usually weigh more than shorter ones. If weight is a primary concern for you, then a shorter handguard may be the way to go.

With all of these factors in mind, let’s take a look at some common barrel lengths and the corresponding handguard lengths that are typically used with them.

How to Measure a Handguard

There are a few different ways to measure a handguard. The most common is to measure the outside diameter (O.D.) of the tube at its largest point. This is usually done with a caliper, but can also be done with a ruler or tape measure. You can also measure the inside diameter (I.D.) of the tube, which is usually about 1/8″ less than the O.D. Another way to measure handguards is by their length, which is typically about 3″ longer than the barrel length.

Standard Sizes for 16 Inch Barrels

There are a few standard sizes for 16 inch barrels, but the most common is the M4 profile. This is the same size as used on the M4 Carbine and is also found on many AR-15 rifles. The other common size is the government profile, which is slightly larger in diameter than the M4 profile.

Choosing the Right Size Handguard

In order to choose the right size handguard for a 16 inch barrel, you need to know the different dimensions that are available. The most common dimensions are 2, 2.5, and 3 inches. Each size has its own benefits and drawbacks.

2 inch handguards are the smallest option and offer the least amount of coverage. They are lighter weight and easier to maneuver, but offer less protection from the elements and gunfire.

2.5 inch handguards offer more coverage than 2 inch handguards without adding much weight. They provide more protection from the elements and gunfire, but can be more difficult to maneuver.

3 inch handguards offer the most coverage of any option. They are heavier and can be more difficult to maneuver, but offer the most protection from the elements and gunfire.

When choosing the right size handguard for a 16 inch barrel, it is important to consider your needs and preferences. If you want the lightest weight and easiest maneuverability, go with a 2 inch handguard. If you want more protection without adding too much weight or bulk, go with a 2.5 inch handguard. If you want the maximum amount of protection available, go with a 3 inch handguard.


In Conclusion, the answer to the question “What size handguard do you need for a 16 inch barrel?” is that there is no definitive answer. The size of handguard you need will depend on your individual shooting style and preferences. If you are looking for a light weight and sleek handguard, then you may want to consider a smaller diameter option. If you are looking for a handguard that provides more grip and stability, then you may want to consider a larger diameter option. Ultimately, the decision comes down to what feels best for you when shooting.