Handguard Installation Instructions

Before starting, make sure the weapon is unloaded, the chamber is empty, and the safety engaged.


Phantom Free-Float M-LOK Handguard, two handguard side-set screws, barrel nut, low-profile gas block, and two gas block set screws.

Tools Required for Installation:
Torque wrench, Barrel nut wrench, Lock-Tite, Grease, Replacement crush washer, Front sight block (recommended)

Step 1:

Remove the standard plastic handguard from your AR-15. Pull the delta ring located at the back of the plastic handguard towards the receiver. Ease out each half of the handguard. Acquiring a handguard removal tool may be something to think about if you plan on removing the handguard often due to the delta ring being under significant spring pressure.

Step 2:

Remove the flash hider or muzzle brake. If dealing with a standard A2-style (pictured right), you will need to use a new crush washer when reinstalling. The crush washer will allow you to tighten the flash hider.

Step 3:

Separate the upper and lower receiver and remove the optic (if installed).

Step 4:

AR-15 rifles come equipped with a standard A2-style gas block and front sight – remove these. We recommend that you invest in a from sight block to accomplish this. The front sight block tool allows you to rest the front sight in a stable position so that you may drive out the three pins that hold the sight to the barrel and the gas tube to the front sight and gas block. The three pins are difficult to remove; using a cupped punch will help keep from deforming the pins.

Step 5:

From the left side of the A2 sight, punch out the pins towards the right side. The two larger pins under the sight hold the assembly to the barrel. There is a smaller pin that secures the gas tube to the front sight on the upper side. You should be able to slide the front sight off the barrel after you remove the two lower pins. If the sight is not moving, use a piece of wood or nylon hammer to motivate movement gently.

Step 6:

Remove the gas tube pin next to have the front sight slide off the barrel with the gas tube attached. Then remove the smaller gas tube pin, removing from left to right as before. This action allows you to separate the gas tube from the front sight.

Step 7:

Removing the delta ring is the next action needed. First, remove the barrel nut to gain access to the delta ring. We recommend that you mount the upper receiver in a vise block to provide leverage for loosening the barrel nut.

Step 8:

Remove the barrel nut with a barrel nut wrench or armorers tool. The barrel nut will be tight, so we recommend using a torque wrench inserted into the barrel nut wrench. After un-torqueing the barrel nut, the barrel nut with the delta ring will slide off as a single unit. Separate the barrel nut and the delta ring. Phantom USA free-floating handguards easily go over the gas tube and attach to the barrel nut with no timing required.

Step 9:

Removing the barrel snap ring to separate the delta ring from the barrel nut is the next step. This can easily be done with a pair of snap ring pliers but can also be achieved with needle-nose pliers and some effort if you do not have access to the snap ring pliers.

Step 10:

After removing the delta ring from the barrel nut, it is time to put the barrel nut back on. The barrel nut holds the barrel to the receiver, and it serves as the connection point for the Phantom USA free-floating handguard. Apply some grease or anti-seize to the threads of the barrel nut before placing it back on.

Step 11:

AR-15 armorers tools usually have a hole for a half-inch driver, so having a torque wrench with a long handle will be beneficial to provide leverage. The standard recommended torque is between 30 and 80-foot pounds to the nut.

Step 12:

After torqueing the barrel nut to the recommended 30 and 80 foot-pounds, it is now time to place the low-profile gas block on the rifle. Apply a very thin layer of lube to the gas block area. Take the gas block and slide it down the barrel, ensuring proper alignment with the gas port and upper receiver. You may need a mallet or nylon hammer to encourage the movement of the gas block until it touches the shoulder.

Step 13:

Once the gas block is in position, apply Loc-Tite to the gas block screws to ensure there is no movement of the gas block. Tighten the screws with your Allen key. Double-check after this step to make sure the gas block is tight and does not move.

Step 14:

Before sliding that brand new Phantom USA Handguard onto the rifle, wipe everything down to ensure it is clean. Everything is exposed at this step in the installation process, so it is your best opportunity.

Step 15:

Insert the anti-rotation pin into the handguard in the hole directly beneath the Picatinny rail. Slide the handguard over the barrel with the anti-rotation pin and Picatinny rail facing upward to mate with the alignment hole and Picatinny rail on the upper receiver. Slide the handguard until it is flush against the upper receiver (the anti-rotation pin should engage with the upper receiver). Put a dab of Loc-Tite on the set screws beneath the handguard, and install the set screws with 20 to 30 in-lbs. of torque using a torque wrench screwdriver, ensuring not to exceed 45 in-lbs.

Step 16:

After reinstalling your muzzle device on the end of your rifle and reattaching the upper receiver to the lower receiver, you are done! Get ready to show off your upgraded rifle with a tactical Phantom USA handguard!

If you need assistance or have questions, please contact customer service: [email protected]