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Good free-floated hand guards make for good gun experiences. Finding a good one can be a little tough, though, and there are certain things that can really irk you, as I pointed out in my Strike Industries review. Specifically, I look for a few things when reviewing a free-floated hand guard (FFHG). First, ease of installation. If a mechanically-minded guy with a vise, action block, and a torque wrench can’t do it, that’s a big downer. Second, it needs to mate to the receiver like it was born there. Third, it should be light weight. And last, it should provide a nearly seamless top rail for accessories. I found the ODIN Works KMod Forend fits the bill across the board . . .

As you can see in the video above, installation is fairly easy assuming you have the right tools, though I found the timing of the forend adapter to be a bit more labor intensive than shown in the video. It gave me a great opportunity to torque and retorque the barrel nut several times until I got it figured out. As I said in my SI review linked above, a set of crowfoot wrenches is a must if you’ll be installing FFHGs on a regular basis.

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I think ODIN knows that there’s nothing worse than a half-assed gear kit showing up on your doorstep, and subsequently, they do a very good job of giving you everything you need for the install including the handy little gas tube go/no go gauge you see above. The included gear also includes the Allen wrenches you need as well as a generous amount of thread locker for the handguard screws as well as the barrel nut, though I opted to use moly grease on the latter.

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The hand guard itself weighs in around 8.7 oz on my scale. ODIN’s website lists a weight of 11.55 oz for the long hand guard which we tested here. That lines up pretty well with my gut feelings on weight, though I neglected to weigh the barrel nut and forend adapter when I was assembling the whole thing. Mostly because I was so excited to actually get it installed because frankly, it looks awesome.

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Once in place and timed, the hand guard mates perfectly with the receiver by way of six screws that ride in an oblong channel. This allows for variations in the way different barrels and receivers work together without the need for shims or other little pieces. But most of all, it creates a totally seamless junction between the receiver and the hand guard. This makes for a good looking aftermarket accessory that also functions quite well as you have an uninterrupted top rail for mounting full-length accessories like night vision optics.  

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Since this is a KeyMod-enabled hand guard, it’s worth pointing out that I had zero issues using a variety of different KeyMod accessories with this hand guard. As with any KeyMod system, this allows the end user to position any number of accessories in a variety of locations around the gun, or they can leave it completely slick-sided for high speed, low drag operations. Overall, the hand guard is very light and balances nicely. The workmanship is flawless and once installed, it’s very sturdy.

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Specifications: ODIN Works KMod Forend – 15.5″

  • KeyMod
  • Material: 6005-T651 Aluminum.
  • Inside diameter: 1.6″
  • Outside diameter: W-1.8″ H-2.1″
  • Weight: 11.55 oz as tested
  • Available Lengths:
    • 5.5″
    • 9.5″
    • 12.5″
    • 15.5″
  • Price: $245 available from Primary Arms for $189

Ratings (out of five stars):

Fit, Finish, Build Quality * * * * *
All the machining was perfect and I was unable to find any imperfections in either the machining or the coating. The whole thing is built like a tank and held up well to a bit of light abuse. I have no doubts that further, harder abuse could be taken with no issues. The KeyMod positions worked very well with a variety of KeyMod accessories.

Installation * * * *
Getting the forend adapter and barrel nut timed correctly took me a few tries as getting to 40 ft-lbs of torque would take the forend adapter past center. As such, you almost have to anticipate where it needs to be by lining it up at about the 11:00 o’clock position and then torquing the nut in place until the forend adapter lines up. Once done, everything else slides together easily.

Overall Rating * * * * *
This is a fine accessory that fits the bill for those looking for a fairly light weight KeyMod hand guard. And at less than $200, the price is hard to beat.

34 Responses to Gear Review: ODIN Works KMod Forend – 15.5″

  1. Looks like a nice rail. When choosing one, do yourself a favor and look for a steel barrel nut… The aluminum ones can bend really easy if you have to exceed 40 foot pounds (the acceptable range is 30-85 I believe).

    • “Timed” or “timing” refers to perfectly lining up the hole or notch in the barrel nut for the gas tube with the hole in the upper receiver for the gas tube. Timing can be quite the PITA with barrel nuts and pretty much everything else in life.

      • +1
        Getting the correct timing can be a real pain in the a$$. After trying multiple combinations of shims and barrel nuts, the only way to get the barrel nut aligned with the receiver was to torque it down to around 60ft/lbs…

        • I have two pre-build Adams Arms piston uppers that were not timed correctly from the factory. Rubbing on the piston rod on both uppers. Really not pleased to have to disassemble and re-time a factory upper. That’s why I just started building them from scratch.

  2. The trunnion screws onto the upper receiver and the barrel nut threads into the trunion. The barrel nut is steel. The trunion is aluminum. I installed many of these on rifles. I always would use the largest punch that would fit in the trunion and the receiver to line them up and tighten the barrel nut. I had one on my primary 3-gun rifle for 3 years. The only installation complaint is that the original barrel nut used a propriatary wrench that was not strong enough for multiple uses. The new barrel nut uses wrench flats. Much easier and user friendly.

  3. From the pictures it looks like the top rail is ever so slightly misaligned with receiver top rail. I have had the same happen to me. What is considered acceptable for rail alignment ? How many degrees off ?

    • believe it or not man they all do that whether your Samsung Troy any of the free float rails because every manufacturer that finishes ar-15 forged upper receivers has their own spec for 1913 picatinny rails size, if you look at the different actual forgers and the people who actually finish out the at lowers like aero precision yankee hill machine inc cult you’ll notice that all of their upper rails are all a tad within 3007 inch different from one another.

      • I think he was talking about alignment not size differential. He asked about degrees which indicates rotation not size. My factory installed FFHG on my CMMG MK4 RCE must have loosened up during firing so I tightened the screws clamping it to the barrel nut but the top rails had to be realigned. I am concerned about this because I want to install BUIS set and if the hand guard and top rail are not exactly aligned then the front sight will be canted. How do you fix this beyond simply eyeballing it?

        • Yes the question was about rotation. I used several levels of different kinds but was still off just a bit. And my worry is the same…the BUIS alignment. Would be interested how a pro does this to exact specs.

  4. Tyler, do you have any plans in the near future to review a BCM KMR rail? Would be interested to see how it stacks up to the handful you have reviewed/tested already.

  5. Not a bad looking handguard – reminiscent of the grill off a 1950’s vintage Studebaker pickup.

    I do question one thing, though. They use 6-32 screws to hold the rail onto the gun, but 8-32 screws to hold accessory rails to the handguard. This seems kind of backwards to me – considering that one thing that’s all the rage in the tacticool community is re-machining scope mounts to upgrade from 6-32 to 8-32 screws. Since a handguard is much more likely to get abused than a scope, you’d think that Odin would have gone with meatier fasterners. It’s really not all that difficult to shear off 6-32 screws, even six of them. Although I must admit it would be harder to do so when the handguard is butted up against the receiver, which would help prevent shearing from taking place.

  6. I’m trying to decide on a keymod forend. Odin Works 12.5″ and a Midwest 15″ are my front runners but i’m open to suggestions. After doing some measuring, i think 15.5″ is probably a hair too long for my taste on a 16″ barrel. Any thoughts? Trying to keep it as close to $200 as i can. (so noveske’s prob a no go. womp womp.)

    • look at SLR rifleworks solo, and solo Lite for ins they got him in 10 12 13 15 & 16.5 inchsuper light billet 7075 t6 aircraft aluminum good stuff check it out

    • The last 3 rifles I have built have all sported the MI rails. I have been very pleased with the quality of the rails, the light weight, and the slim profiles. The AR15 rail barrel nut is a bit of a pain. The teeth to torque it down sit right against the receiver and my torque wrench was interfering with my vise block while trying to install the barrel nut. I ended up using an extender between the torque wrench and the supplied barrel nut wrench to make it work. The .308 version does not have the same issue.

  7. Looks like a good handguard. My only complaint; don’t use words like “high-speed, low-drag operations” or “tactical”. They tend to draw out the mall ninjas…

    • Uh?…no…mall ninjas would be the exact opposite of high speed low drag. They load up on every gadget that can be affixed to a rail. High speed low drag would refer to operators operating operationally.

      • Yeah when I hear mall ninja I think enormous bulky quad rail with twice its weight in accessories hung all over it and color coordinated index clips or ladder covers anywhere that isn’t taken by an accessory.

  8. Looks like a well thought out design. Does anyone know whether Odin Works makes one in 10″ or “Specter Length” to go on a middy and go far enough forward that the handguard covers and protects the gas block, and allows a BUIS mounted to the top rail to be in the same place it would with a conventional front sight?

    • you’re going to have to use a longer for and then 10 inches on a mid length gas system especially if you’re trying to cover an old a2 sight post gas block system.remember once you remove that a2 front sight post gas blog will be a silver ring around your barrel where it once was the other silver ring will be covered by the new gas blog if that makes any sense hope it helps. You’re probably going to need at least a 12 or 13 inch for end, to completely cover the gas block and the two rings left behind by the a2 sight post but one of those rings will be covered by the new gas block

      • Ah, thanks.

        This would be for a new build with a new 16″ mid-length barrel, using one of the Odin Works low profile gas blocks. It doesn’t extend very far in front of the gas port.

  9. My hand guard doesnt line up to my receiver perfectly 🙁 its off to one side just a tiny bit, enough to feel the seam if you run your fingers over it. I timed my adapter with the gas tube alignment pin, but its still off to the side just a tiny bit. will if affect my sights any? I’m mid-build, and haven’t got iron sights for it yet, just worried that itll be a nightmare if i don’t get it 100% aligned with the upper, or maybe my OCD is just bugging me?

    • it may put your site off to one side a little bit so it won’t be dead center axis of the bore which will make a little quick adjustment on your rear side have to be made. But other than that no problems hope it helps.

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