Guarder M4 handguard set review

Guarder
M4A1 Handguard Set
by
Permian
Stock
Specifications
For: TM
M4A1/RIS/SR16 stock outer barrel.
Material: Fiber
Reinforced Polymer/ Aluminum
Item
No:
M4A1-06
RRP 60USD

Click here to visit Guarder


The
reason I play Airsoft and not paintball if for the realism; the
realism of the weapons, of the kit and tactics (plus I don’t like
paint!). But out AEG’s, Gas Blowbacks and springers are often
far from perfect copies of the real weapons they are modelled
on. That’s where the aftermarket accessory makers come in – companies
like FIRST, KM and relative newcomer Guarder.

Guarder
have really taken the Airsoft market by storm releasing useful
accessories for all the major AEG and GBB lines such as the M4,
MP5, Glock and Infinity Series. They are now moving into Systema’s
territory by releasing gearbox upgrades such as cylinder kits,
springs and pistons. Their M249 accessories are THE best on the
market, whilst their tactical gear offers the Special Ops look
at an affordable price without cutting to far back on quality.

So when planning
my M933, which I wanted to be made out of the best parts on the
market I decided to try out the Guarder M4 Handguards, after being
impressed with the fleeting glances I had taken of Karlo’s set.

I would add
this was a personal choice – there is nothing functionally wrong
with the original TM hand guards, its just they can get very shiny
after long term use.

So I ordered
the Guarder set from WGC
and a week later it arrived, along with most of the other parts
I had ordered for the project.

Overview:
The handguard set comes in a small cardboard box with Guarder
logos splashed all over it with, and statements to the effect
it’s a 1:1 copy of the real steel handguards.

Inside the
box the handguards were carefully wrapped in shock absorbing foam,
the metal hand guard ring was sealed separately in cellophane.

The instruction
flier that accompanies the set is very simple and explains that
the Guarder handguard, which is modelled exactly on the real steel
parts, is 4-5mm longer than the TM set and as such you will need
to adjust the position of the outerbarrel – interesting!

The
Guarder Handguard ring is made from steel, and appears to
have been finished using their P-Process technology. This
part is purely cosmetic, and adds to the sense of realism
since the TM handguard ring is made from a glossy ABS. Interestingly
TM package a metal handguard ring with the TM M4 RIS, but
not the standard M4A1.

The
Handguards themselves are very different from the TM set.
You immediately notice they are not a gloss black like the
TM versions, but are a matt dark grey.

They
feel heavier that the TM parts, and the external finish
on the Guarder parts is much more authentic, it’s matted
and rough more like the real steel parts.

The
Handguards are visibly longer than the TM parts by about 3-4mm,
and the plastic is 1mm thicker. The real beauty of these handguards
compared to the TM set is on the inside, both the upper and lower
grips have been fitted with authentic heatshields.

The heatshields
are simply aluminium plates that reflect and absorb the worst
of the heat given off the barrel when firing on the real weapon
making it comfortable to hold. Guarder have accurately recreated
these, to the extent they have DO NOT REMOVE stamped on them (designed
to prevent soldiers taking them apart).

These heat
shields support a plastic bar, which on the real steel covers
the gas expansion pipe that runs the length of the real weapon.

Fitting:
It’s a straight swap out, simply remove the upper and lower
TM handguards, loosen the 2 screws on the outer barrel and slide
the outerbarrel assembly off. From here you undo the Phillips
head screw holding the plastic handguard ring on and swap in the
Guarder part. You then have to put the outerbarrel assembly back
on, but leaving the screws in the outerbarrel loose – as you will
have to adjust its position to hake the handguards fit properly.

I first put
the lower handguard in and set the position of the outerbarrel
and tightened the screws. To verify the fit I put the upper handguard
on, and once that fitted properly I tightened the screws fully.
Presto a fully fitted handguard set!

Conclusion:
These handguards rock, they look the part and are noticeably
more rigid than the TM grips. They look and feel more realistic,
and the addition of the Guarder handguard ring is a bonus. By
my reckoning they will stabilise the front end of any M4 given
that they are so rigid and durable.

But I can
foresee, and have actually experienced, several compatibility
problems.

Firstly
batteries:
The Guarder handgrips are thicker than the TM ones,
and as such using some batteries will be problematic. If you are
using the standard TM barrel, and possibly a barrel stabiliser
(FIRST HOB, PDI Chamber Block etc…), then using the U-shaped 1100mAh
and 1700mAh batteries is no problem. But if you are using one
of the one-piece barrels, such as the Guarder or PDI versions,
then you will be limited to using the 1100mAh Twin pack type batteries.

Secondly compatibility
with one piece barrels. Since the Guarder Handguards are longer
than the TM ones only one-piece barrels that allow you to adjust
the barrel length (Guarder with Vari-length and PDI) will be usable
with the handguard set. Classic Army, Systema and Armoured Gallery
barrels will not be compatible with the Guarder handguards since
they lack any means by which to adjust barrel length.

Finally
M203 compatibility:
I own a Sun projects M203, and its mounted
on my other M4. The problem here is again due to the length difference
of the handguards. In order to get the upper handguard to fit
you will have to lengthen the barrel, this in turn will mean that
the front mount on the M203 will be out of alignment with the
barrel step down. The M203 will still mount, but it’s quite likely
that the M203 could slide forward and possibly off its rear mounts.
At the very least it could become loose, so for the sake of a
£120 M203 or £40 handguard set, I would personally
keep the TM handguard and keep the M203 secure.

Overall a
top quality add on part, and despite the compatibility issues
I would recommend it, although compared to a metal body, high
accuracy barrel or gearbox upgrades it is low priority upgrade.
At £40 it is a bit expensive for a cosmetic upgrade but
worth it if you want to have the most realistic looking M4.


On the left the Guarder grip, on the right the
TM grip (shown in the two photos to the left)

External
Links:
Guarder/Intrudershop

Site
links:
TBA

Comment
on this review in the forums


Last
modified: Wednesday, May 9, 2001 9:37 AM copyright 2001 ArniesAirsoft




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