The AR Charging Handle


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Geronimo45
September 18, 2007, 03:06 AM
ARs are odd birds in many respects... but the one thing that confuses me most is the charging handle. Why is it stuck in front of my nose? What exactly does that positioning give you (aside from a mil-spec nose picker)?
I see semi-auto shotguns with the charging handle forwards and on the bolt (or bolt carrier, whatever you call it).
I can understand a charging handle on the left side of the bolt area. Might be more 'tactically sound', or easier for lefties... but I don't understand why they had to put it so far back on the AR. :scrutiny:

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Bobarino
September 18, 2007, 03:19 AM
the only place you can put an ambi charging handle is in the middle of the rifle. that means it has to be on top of or underneath something. in this case, its on top of the stock but below the top of the rifle. not bad considering you get an ambi charging handle and can still mount optics on top of the receiver. how many other rifles can you thing of that have both those features? the bolt hold open and release negate the use of the thing once the chamber is loaded anyway. in my opinion, its no more convenient or inconvenient than the charging handle on an HK91/93.

Bobby

Kharn
September 18, 2007, 08:30 AM
Its the lowest-impact place to put an ambidextrous, non-reciprocating charging handle.

And its a good spot to put your nose for a consistant sight picture.

Kharn

Nightcrawler
September 18, 2007, 08:36 AM
The original Stoner AR designs had a (reciprocating, I believe) charging handle inside the "carry handle". Why it was moved, I don't know. Fortunate that it was, many years later, though, as "flat tops" wouldn't be possible with the original design.

I doubt that optics mounting was a consideration originally. Service rifles didn't get scopes back in those days, for the most part.

Geronimo45
September 18, 2007, 01:09 PM
The original Stoner AR designs had a (reciprocating, I believe) charging handle inside the "carry handle".
Like the Famas?

I suppose there was a good idea behind placing the bolt there and placing further controls forwards. Still seems a tad odd. Thanks for the info on it's present utility.

AZ Jeff
September 18, 2007, 06:02 PM
The original charging handle on the AR-15/M16 series rifles was a trigger shaped piece that stuck up inside the rear sight base/carrying handle. It was a carryover from the AR-10 design.

It did NOT reciprocate, and it's rear portion would protrude from the rear of the upper reciever when drawn back, exactly in the same place as the current design does. (To create the current charging handle shape, all they did was at a "T-shaped" head to the back of the handle and lop off the trigger shaped upward protrusion.)

This was done to improve cocking leverage, and to remove a large slot in the top of the reciever where foreign material could become trapped.

This design change was implemented at Armalite, before Colt took over the design and manufacture rights in 1959.

PercyShelley
September 18, 2007, 06:37 PM
Like the Famas?

Yep, looked like it too.

There is a company which makes ARs with a charging handle on the left of the receiver, but this obviously involves an additional cut through which foreign material may accumulate. I do not know if it reciprocates.

brian923
September 18, 2007, 07:00 PM
yup.. any other charging handel on the ar is drilled and tapped into the bolt carrier. therfore, moves every time one pulls the trigger. i would just hate to be hit by one of those things. brian

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