It’s always fun to stumble on the coolest and most interesting new product of SHOT Show. That’s why I make a beeline for the bottom level on day one – that’s where the newer vendors are. This year, the NSSF brought in 150 even newer manufacturers with their NEXT pavilion set up in the hallways, and that’s where I found Brigand Arms.

Brigand makes rifle handguards out of carbon fiber yarn. Well, OK, it’s a little more technical than that, but basically, they weave carbon fiber threads, coated with a patented and super-secret goo, into round handguards. After the weaving is complete, during which time that “threads” are about the same texture as shoelaces, the completed part is cured until it becomes rock hard. And I do mean rock hard – there is no flex in these. In fact, the Brigand people were encouraging attendees to bash the handguards into the booth table to test the strength claims. They had to stop because the booths were getting damaged. I saw the dents.

At both ends are anodized aluminum rings for attachment to the receiver using barrel nuts. Some models even feature short rail segments up front for attachment of iron sights, bipods or lights and lasers.

These are the lightest handguards I have ever seen – by a long shot. Check them out at www.brigandarms.com. MSRP ranges from $279 to $399 depending on length and quad rail add-ons.