How to Install Apex Gator Grip Handguards

How to Install Apex Gator Grip Handguards

One of the easiest ways to enhance the accuracy of an AR-style rifle is free-floating the barrel. The original two-piece plastic handguards were designed to protect a soldier's hand from a hot barrel and they worked well for that purpose, but competitive shooters realized any pressure on the barrel will change point of impact, and the commercial market has exploded over the past decade with a bewildering variety of free-float fore-ends.


Apex Machining Company in White City, Ore., is a manufacturer of aluminum fore-ends with a distinctive gripping surface that resembles a World War II hand grenade they market as Gator Grip. The checkering is coarse but not sharp, and certainly makes Apex products instantly recognizable at the range.

I have been looking at fore-end options for my AR-10, and the Apex design kept catching my eye, so I bought a rifle length tube to replace the LaRue quad rail the big Armalite has worn for many years. The LaRue product is stout and extremely high quality, but I really have no need for full length side and bottom rails, and I wanted to reduce the overall weight of my rifle.


Installation of Apex fore-ends is relatively simple. They attach to the factory barrel nut with a pair of clamshell adaptor plates. The delta ring assembly must be removed, and if your rifle has a conventional fixed front sight, it must also be removed to install the tube.


The adaptor plates are tightened on the barrel nut and the tube slides over the adaptor and is secured with button head cap screws. All parts are nicely machined and anodized. The tube is only 2 inches in diameter compared to the original 2 1/4-inch factory fore-end originally supplied with my rifle, and is 6 ounces lighter than the LaRue quad rail. The .308 AR-10, which seems large when compared to a 5.56mm AR, feels handier and quicker on target with the Apex installed.

Overall, I like the Apex fore-end and I would most likely buy one again, but I have two complaints. The first is the top rail. Top rails are sold separately and attached with screws. I would like to see the top rail integral to the fore-end to enhance rigidity and to eliminate the possibility of loose screws.

The second issue I have is the price. The tube is $233. The top rail is sold separately for $69.75 and the whole kit shipped to my door totaled $320.76. Compare this price to a Midwest Industries SS Series Gen 2 with integral top rail selling for more than $100 less. You see my point.

how-to-install-apex-gator-grip-handguards

//www.firearmsnews.com/files/how-to-install-apex-gator-grip-handguards/apex-gator-grip_001.jpg
//www.firearmsnews.com/files/how-to-install-apex-gator-grip-handguards/apex-gator-grip_002.jpg
//www.firearmsnews.com/files/how-to-install-apex-gator-grip-handguards/apex-gator-grip_003.jpg
//www.firearmsnews.com/files/how-to-install-apex-gator-grip-handguards/apex-gator-grip_005.jpg

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW OUR CURRENT ISSUE

From Our Family

Historical Handguns: The Model 1917 Smith & Wesson Sixgun

Garry James - November 09, 2018

Designed as a supplemental sidearm in World War I, this .45 ACP sixgun was made to commercial specs and is still a great shooter.

First Look: Springfield Armory XDM 10MM

G&A Staff - October 10, 2018

Featured in the December issue of Guns & Ammo, Springfield Armory has launched its full-size XD(M) in 10mm. It is being made available with either a 4.5-inch or 5.25-inch barrel.

G&A Celebrates 50 Years of Dan Wesson

Eric R. Poole - November 16, 2018

Dan Wesson commemorates its 50th Anniversary with a limited number of engraved, blued-'steel Model 1911s.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Firearms News stories delivered right to your inbox.