By Jeff W. Zimba
There are several types and styles of AR-15/M16/M4 rail systems available today and most seem to have at least one thing in common: they are all too wide to suit the liking of Jack Starnes of DoubleStar Corp. This observation led to the design and manufacture of the DS416 and DS420 two-piece rail system.
At a width of less than two inches, the difference in feel is immediately apparent to the user. Even thinner than standard factory handguards, end users desiring an upgrade to a drop-in, 4-position, 2-piece, Mil-Std-1913 railed handguard can make the change and retain a slimmer forend than available before..
The handguards are manufactured from 6061T6 aluminum to exacting tolerances. Every mil-spec accessory mounted on these rails fit as intended and no discrepancy was noted. With the lack of any noticeable lateral movement everything mounted tight, even when removed and replaced, exceeding expectations when optical sights were returned to near zero despite removal and replacement. The finish is a non-reflective hard-coat anodizing. .
The DS416 (DS420 for full-length size) rail is easy to install and absolutely rock-solid once in place. With no tools necessary, the standard handguards are removed by retracting the delta ring and lifting off in a normal fashion. They are simply replaced in the same manor with the 2-piece DS416 Handguard..
The DS416 Handguard is alpha-numerically marked in every other groove to facilitate the removal of an accessory and replacement to the same position. In order to simplify the exact accessory or optic placement, the rails are marked with a prefix for each position. (L=Left, R=Right, T=Top and B=Bottom)..
Although thousands of these carbine-length (DS416) handguards have already been sold worldwide, the full-length (DS420) handguards were only recently introduced at the SHOT Show in Orlando, Florida in January 2009. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price on the DS416 is $139.99 and for the DS420 it is $189.99.
|This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V13N2 (November 2009)|