What Is A Free Floating Barrel? All Things You Need To Know

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What Is A Free Floating Barrel

What Is A Free Floating Barrel?

A free-floating barrel is known as a firearm design that can help accurize the weapon system. This barrel can float freely above the stock/forearm. A free-floating barrel will not be attached to the stock as usual. Thanks to this design, it can move independently of the stock.

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How is it different from others

The free-floating version will only make contact with the forward viewfinder without obstructing any point on the stock.

You can find two main types of free-floating barrels: Adjustable and fixed.

With weapons that use adjustable ones, you can move anywhere. Its most significant advantage is its high compatibility with shooting styles or uses.

Meanwhile, with a fixed one, you won’t be able to change the position of the barrels far from the receiver.

Although more inconvenient, weapons with this design will have lower recoil than custom barrels.

Why Should You Need A Free-Floating Barrel? 

Regardless of the type, free-floating gun models share certain advantages.

First, like the traditional design, the barrels are responsible for storing the fuel and directing the bullet’s trajectory.

This design possesses a series of advantages that a conventional dry barrel has.

Most strikingly, it doesn’t include many moving parts, so the number of glitches you might experience is significantly reduced.

This style will also make the barrel alignment faster, easier, and more accurate.

Gun users can feel vibrations consistently and evenly. For all of the above reasons, this type is often found on rifles, and sometimes pistols, shotguns like AR15 or AK547, and other weapons that require extra power and precision.

This style is also suitable for use in matches or combat situations. Competitive shooters or hunters also often favor this design because of its excellent accuracy improvement.

The barrels will be even more popular in the future because of their overwhelming advantages over the traditional type.

Are Free Float Rails Worth It?

The answer depends on your budget, shooting habits, and intended use of the gun. If you appreciate some of the following advantages, the investment in float rails is well worth it.

First, choose a weapon that integrates with this unit if you need more accuracy.

Unlike traditional weapons with the barrels next to the stock, the free design allows the barrel not to come in too close contact with the bullet. The vibrations after pulling the trigger will not affect your shot too much.

Second, flexibility is also one of the advantages that attract many shooters.

No matter what type of stock you are used to, you can still adjust the floating barrels to suit. The float rails will provide a comfortable shooting experience.

The reason is that the barrel will not be in contact with your shoulder. You’ll be less affected by recoil, more comfortable, and safer than ever.

Does The Military Use Free Float Handguards?

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Does the military use it

There is no denying the advantages that a handguard brings to guns. This device can both increase accuracy and ensure user comfort.

For these reasons, this device is used by many units in the special operations command. The handguard is no longer a strange device for the military.

What Is The Difference Between Free Floats And Drop-In Handguards? 

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Drop-In Handguards

As the two most popular designs today, there are many differences between handguards and drop-in handguards.

In particular, the difference is most evident in the following three criteria:


The handguards will have to support the weight of the attachments throughout the length of the barrel. Therefore, this type of design will increase the importance of the gun.

Meanwhile, drop-in handguards have a relatively limited contact area with the barrel. The weapon’s weight associated with this design is often significantly lighter than the opponent’s.


Drop-in handguards don’t gain an advantage when it comes to this factor because these devices can keep stability not too good.

Adding optical devices to the drop-in handguards will be very disadvantageous.

In contrast, its opponent has the impressive advantage of not being too close to the barrel.

Whether you install an additional front viewfinder or a laser light, visibility is not affected too much.

Front handle, flashlight, and kickstand

On both handguards, you can install additional accessories such as a front grip and a flashlight. However, each design style will bring different changes.

On drop-in handguards, for example, you get more torque. Especially on rifles, this design will support rotation easier than the opponent.


The difference between the two types of handguards depends on the price.

Drop-in handguards have a fairly simple design that is easy to manufacture and develop. Therefore, its price is usually not too expensive.

In contrast, due to more complexity, weapons that use free float handguards often cost more. Of course, the final choice should still depend on your budget.

Is The Savage Axis Free-Floating Barrel? 

The Savage Axis II XP is a rifle with a barrel.

Along with the above commendable advantages, this model also has an adjustable trigger, long-range vision, and other impressive equipment.

All of those advantages have made this low-level center-fire weapon able to serve talented shooters well.

With a reasonably favorable price, it is clear that Savage Axis is a good choice for the budget that you should not miss.

Do Aluminum Handguards Get Hot? 

The maximum temperature that an aluminum shield can generate is 220 degrees F. The heat-up occurs after you fire 300 rounds quickly.

Fortunately, 220 degrees F won’t deform the weapon. However, you may feel hot and not too comfortable, especially when touching the handguards.


Hopefully, the detailed explanation in this article can help you answer the question, “what is a free floating barrel?”

What is your opinion on this device?

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Thanks for reading!

Last Updated on December 7, 2023 by

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