AR-15 Charging Handle Question


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Ben86
March 22, 2010, 07:39 AM
I know this is most likely a silly question, but does the charging handle of the AR-15 slam back and fourth as you shoot? I've been thinking about getting one, but don't want it if it does that. I've never shot one before, obviously. :rolleyes:

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MetalHead
March 22, 2010, 08:03 AM
No, it even has a latch to hold it forward.

pikid89
March 22, 2010, 08:19 AM
Its still on the most awkward place of almost any firearm i can think of

ole farmerbuck
March 22, 2010, 08:23 AM
Yea, my scope doesnt help much either getting to it.

PT1911
March 22, 2010, 08:48 AM
Get the badger tactical latch, it greatly helps with access to the charging handle when scoped. As stated, the charging handle stays forward.. Its only movement is a manual one to load the first round from a closed bolt. Once you are used to it, the placement is quite convenient and allows you to support the gun with your strong hand (pistol grip) and charge the gun with your weak hand for the initial load... After that, any mag changes will be with a loaded chamber (seamless,) or with an open bolt (just hit the bolt release when you engage the mag.) The charging handle is not necessary unless you have previously closed the bolt on an empty chamber... pretty handy..IMO

ultradoc
March 22, 2010, 08:53 AM
when I was in basic a guy's charging handle wasn't locked and when he shot he ended up with a black eye. be carefull.

Ben86
March 22, 2010, 11:21 AM
I am glad to hear that it stays put if locked. I am planning to fully utilize the telescoping stock for in house defense, and as such my grill is going to be pretty close to that charging handle.

It seems like a scope would make it most difficult to pull back, good thing I don't plan to get one. This will just be my CQB rifle.

Z-Michigan
March 22, 2010, 11:24 AM
It doesn't move.

It is clumsy in stock form, but the VLTOR/BCM "Gunfighter" handle makes a world of difference.

taliv
March 22, 2010, 11:50 AM
many (most?) shooters keep their nose to the charging handle so they can keep a consistent cheek weld.

SHvar
March 22, 2010, 11:57 AM
I dont think an unlocked charging handle can cause any harm at all to your face, especially since the handle rides freely on top of the bolt carrier. Over the years Ive seen a few unlocked handles on other peoples ARs move a bit rearward, but nothing that really catches your attention when it happens.
Someone recently posted about their charging handle coming unlocked while firing, after they would fire a magazine full they would see the handle had been unlocked and just sitting back a bit closer to their face.

PT1911
March 22, 2010, 01:28 PM
Agreed.. the charging handle catches the bolt on the way back.... not the other way around....

ny32182
March 22, 2010, 01:36 PM
I dont think an unlocked charging handle can cause any harm at all to your face, especially since the handle rides freely on top of the bolt carrier. Over the years Ive seen a few unlocked handles on other peoples ARs move a bit rearward, but nothing that really catches your attention when it happens.
Someone recently posted about their charging handle coming unlocked while firing, after they would fire a magazine full they would see the handle had been unlocked and just sitting back a bit closer to their face.

This could have been me... after years of shooting ARs, I recently had one retract and bump me in the nose a few times while shooting a relatively new AR. It didn't hit me hard, and the only way I knew for sure it was retracting is that it stayed unlocked on the last round of the mag a couple times.

As yet, I have not identified the cause. It will not retract without the latch being pushed even with moderate to heavy tugging by hand. I have replaced the CH with a different one to see if that makes a difference in subsequent shooting sessions.

So, it is not supposed to move, but it can in rare cases.

Ret.CWO
March 22, 2010, 03:01 PM
O.K. let me first say that I was Armament Repair specialist both active duty and Army Reserve National Guard. I reel when I see news clips of our troops pulling the charging handle to the rear and letting it go to charge the magazine. This puts extreme ware on the mechanism. To be exact as the bolt carrier slams forward the carrier key on the bolt carrier comes in contact front of the charging handle front section where the hole for the carrier key to goes through and onto the gas charging tube. This eventually causes the charging handle to be worn out and needing replacing. Remember the charging handle is made of alloy and the carrier key is made of carbon ordance steel. The PROPER way is to pull the charging handle to the rear lock the bolt carrier to the rear return the charging forward to the locking position, place a loaded magazine in the weapon and release the bolt carrier charging the chamber. The ONLY time to let the charging handle slam forward is in the heat of combat where ever second counts. This is noted in both the TM's and FM's. SOoooooooooo if you want to treat your AR with a little respect & TLC do it the right way unless your in some kind of shoot out or don't mind spending money to replace the the charging handle. Troops are hard on equipment because Uncle Sam is paying for the parts.

ny32182
March 22, 2010, 03:09 PM
Hmm... I've let CH's fly forward for my entire AR15 experience (certainly not equal to that of a military armorer) and never seen any undue wear...

Also, I'm 95% sure that the CH engages the "shelf" forward of the gas key on the carrier, and does not actually press rearward on the gas key itself when operating the CH, and/or letting it fly forward?

Zerodefect
March 22, 2010, 03:12 PM
Never had that problem. That's a new one, but it deos make sense that the CH would wear out if you let it sling back. Unfortunatly I practice failure drills, so I do slingshot alot.

Is it just the front of the CH I should keep an eye on?

Ret.CWO
March 22, 2010, 04:52 PM
In ref. to ULTRADOC's post. Something else contributed to the black eye as what he describes is in fact impossible. There in nothing in that operating system that would cause the charging handle to shoot to the rear with any amount of force. Had the handle been to the rear at the time the weapon was fired it would slam forward, but not to the rear. I can tell you for a FACT it does cause wear when let to ride forward on it's own. I have been there when these weapons come in for PM and rebuild. As to doing it to a civilian owned system you may never see what it is doing, due to the fact the weapon is not subjected to the use and abuse a issued weapon is put through.

Bartholomew Roberts
March 22, 2010, 06:03 PM
The ONLY time to let the charging handle slam forward is in the heat of combat where ever second counts.

Are the soldiers supposed to do it the book way and then wait for combat and serious time pressure to try it the first time? That doesn't sound like a solution that is going to give good results. How am I ever going to learn to manipulate the weapon effectively in combat if I never practice doing it because using it that way will eventually cause a $29 part to wear out over 20,000 rounds plus (just a guess on my part since I've never seen a charging handle wear out in the way you describe)?

However, I have seen charging handles damaged from using extended charging handle latches. I like the extended latches; but the roll pin holding the charging handle latch in isn't designed to handle the extra leverage of a bigger latch being slammed with the offhand in a stoppage drill/reload under time. That is why I like the BCM Gunfighter charging handles - they redesigned the whole thing to work with my manual of arms.

In ref. to ULTRADOC's post. Something else contributed to the black eye as what he describes is in fact impossible.

Yes, it seems that even if you could get the charging handle to fly back with enough force to produce a black eye, you are still left trying to figure out how a recruit managed to get his eye away from his sights (about 1.5" or more above the charging handle) and somehow in line with his charging handle as he pulled the trigger.

Zerodefect
March 22, 2010, 06:55 PM
I know if I got a black eye from the generals daughter, I'd blame my rifle as well.

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