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Durkin Tactical Franklin Armory
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Posted: 8/16/2017 11:56:02 PM EDT
Aluminum free-float tube handguards are an excellent and economical way of extracting the maximum accuracy out of your AR15 without spending a fortune. One downside is that they get hot... sometimes too hot to handle. Here is an excellent, proven and inexpensive solution to the overheating handguard problem - a paracord wrap:

1) Obtain paracord of your chosen color. I recommend "real" 550 parachute cord, with white strands inside a colored outer sheath, rather than the braided stuff you get at WalMart.
2) Cut the paracord to length. For a plain-vanilla aluminum AR15 FF tube, you will need about 4 feet of paracord for every inch of tube you want to cover (larger diameter tubes need more of course). Once cut, heat-seal the ends using a lighter flame to prevent fraying.
3) Cut another length of paracord to approximately 18" long, fold in half, and then tie a knot with the loose ends to create a loop about 9" long.
4) Soak the longer length of paracord (from step 2) in water until its saturated, then shake off the excess water. This is an important step, as it makes the paracord stretch slightly.
5) Starting with one cut end of the wet paracord several inches in towards the middle of the FF tube, lay the paracord lengthwise along the tube towards the end you want to start wrapping. Now start wrapping the paracord around the tube, keeping things as tight as you can and working your way towards the opposite end. The wrapping will cover the first several inches you had initially layed lengthwise, thus preventing it from unravelling. Keep an eye on things to make sure the cord lays parallel and no big gaps/distortions develop.
6) When you get within about 5" of the opposite end, lay the 9" long loop of paracord lengthwise on the FF tube (knot towards the center of the FF tube), then continue wrapping the para cord so as to cover this loop. This loop needs to protrude about 2" at each end.
7) When you get to the end of the FF tube, insert the loose end of paracord through the protruding loop, and then pull on the opposite end of the loop so that the loose end of para cord is pulled under the wrapping and out where the loop is protruding.
8) Cut off any remaining loose ends of paracord, and heat seal as flush as you can with the wrapped surface.

Once the para cord dries, it will tighten down nicely and prevent the wrapping from unraveling. I have wrapped several rifle FF tubes this way, and the wrapping has lasted indefinitely... I have never had one unravel despite years of hard competitive use in the AZ heat. Of all the FF tubes I have ever handled, my paracord wrapping is by far the coolest to hold.

The process is illustrated below:

Here is the finished product:

Link Posted: 8/17/2017 5:58:13 AM EDT
Nice write up and nice work
Link Posted: 8/18/2017 8:51:41 AM EDT
Thanks, blagga.  Good description of attachment technique.   My bare skin in contact with cold aluminum is to be avoided, so I too wrap my metal handguards.  But instead of the relatively thick and soft paracord, I use 2mm black Perlon cord.  It provides a nice tactile surface for the off hand and insulates very well against heat and cold, without adding significantly to the outside diameter of the handguard. Its not easy to find and I had to buy a 100 ft spool.  - CW
Link Posted: 8/18/2017 10:38:19 PM EDT
Very cool indeed.
Link Posted: 8/19/2017 10:34:03 AM EDT
Very nice.  With some practice, you could wrap a pattern into it, sorta like the solomon bar knots, etc.

I've done a knife handle like this, and I've seen a few FN-FAL types with the folding para stock with the top of the stock tube wrapped.
Link Posted: 8/23/2017 8:38:10 PM EDT
Great illustrations that go really well with your excellent description.
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