AR Charging Handle


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TimM
December 9, 2010, 08:39 PM
I am not happy at all with my DPMS charging handle. What is the best possible replacement?

Thanks in advance.

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G27RR
December 9, 2010, 08:43 PM
Why aren't you happy with it and what do you want a new one to do? Are you looking for an ambidextrous handle or something?

possum
December 9, 2010, 09:26 PM
I am not happy at all with my DPMS charging handle. What is the best possible replacement?
BCM Gunfighter Charging Handle is the answer.

www.bravocompanyusa.com

Z-Michigan
December 9, 2010, 09:40 PM
The BCM Gunfighter is hard to beat, IMHO.

Trebor
December 9, 2010, 09:51 PM
What they said. Bravo Company Gunfighter. If you go with modern technique of left handed charging with the rifle still at eye level in your right hand the Bravo handle fixes the weak point of the original design.

Tommygunn
December 9, 2010, 11:18 PM
+1 on BCM Gunfighter; I added this to my M4orgery because I didn't like the standard and it makes a lot of difference!

TonyAngel
December 9, 2010, 11:25 PM
A charging handle is a charging handle. You have to get the one that does what you need it to. There are charging handles and add ons that allow you to more easily charge the rifle from one side, such as the gunfighter, but other than that, there isn't anything earth shattering.

I use a medium Gunfighter on my precision AR because I'm running a scope on it and I don't have it set up to have my nose to the charging handle when I shoot, so I need the gunfighter to get around the eye piece. On my carbine with ACOG, I just run a plain jane charging handle and have no problems charging the rifle by any method that I choose.

Gordon
December 10, 2010, 12:03 AM
+1 on the Medium Gunfighter (and their 'full auto bolt' too!)

twestbrook10
December 10, 2010, 01:46 AM
BCM is a great charging handle.

I like my PRI Gas Buster too but it is kind of pricey.

Tirod
December 10, 2010, 09:31 AM
I was unhappy with the charging handle for 22 years. Especially compared to the FNFAL I wanted, or the HK91 I bought. I'm still unhappy with it.

This is what I'm doing about it building an AR: http://www.americanspiritarms.com/products/ASA_AR_15_M4_Side_Charger_Upper_Receiver_without_Carrier-124-12.html

Adding all the tac latches and gunfighter handles just means you still break your sight picture charging the weapon. It's a finesse point for a hunter or range shooter, but if you can fix the problem on a custom AR to make it the way you want ( i.e., improve it,) then why not?

It's good to see all the new designs using side charging handles, in fact, it's become a standard in military weapons designs the last twenty years. The AR is great, but anybody who's added an ambidextrous control knows it can be made better.

Creature
December 10, 2010, 09:41 AM
Another BCMGUNFIGHTER charging handle fan here. I went with the large latch (Mod 3) on my carbine. Liked it so much I ordered another for my 20" AR.

Bartholomew Roberts
December 10, 2010, 09:45 AM
I've got the BCM Gunfighter and the PRI Gasbuster and I prefer the Gunfighter, even when using suppressors. Having said that, it all depends on what you need the charging handle to do for you.

ny32182
December 10, 2010, 11:23 AM
I have some mil-specs, a couple Gasbusters, and an LMT handle with a slightly enlarged latch as seen here: http://www.rainierarms.com/?page=shop/detail&product_id=1476 Likely similar to one of the "BCM Gunfighters" though I don't have any of those.

All things considered (function, price, ease of use) I would probably say the LMT is the best of those. Super-oversize latches worry me a little bit from a snag perspective; not terribly though. The milspec one is a little on the small side for my taste especially if there is a scope over it. My opinion is, go with the smallest latch you can easily manipulate.

The Gasbuster has has a nice easy to use latch and nice beefy T-handle portion, but I don't really think it is $40 better than other big-latch options. Especially since I can't really tell any difference in its "gas busting" abilities.

ny32182
December 10, 2010, 11:26 AM
Overall I consider the CH to be the weak point of AR15 ergonomics... a big latch helps, but in my opinion it will always be much more PITA than any side mounted CH except the folded/way forward HK roller locked design.

Z-Michigan
December 10, 2010, 11:37 AM
I too prefer the FAL design, but you have to go waaaaay out of the standard to get such a thing on an AR.

Re: the BCM Gunfighter, it is much, much more than just a bigger latch - it's a complete redesign that is much stronger. See here:
http://www.bravocompanyusa.com/BCM-GUNFIGHTER-Charging-Handle-GFH-Mod-4-p/bcm%20gfh%20mod%204%20556.htm

You can even get it with a small latch that's barely bigger than a USGI standard latch if you want.

IMHO, the large latch is far too big, the medium latch is slightly too big, and the small latch is too small to get full benefit (I own all three sizes). I would recommend the medium latch for 90% or more of users. There is a bit of snagging issue, but the benefit in ease of charging generally outweighs this. If it were for hunting in mild weather (no gloves) I would probably get the small latch.

ny32182
December 10, 2010, 11:44 AM
Based on their diagrams, I don't see much more than a change in direction of force on the roll pin in the "BCM Gunfighter".

rcmodel
December 10, 2010, 11:51 AM
A charging handle is a charging handle.Except cheap ones are cast aluminum.

Good ones, like Colt for instance, are forged aluminum.
Other good strong ones are milled from aluminum billet.

rc

jcalys
December 10, 2010, 12:48 PM
Another vote for the BCM Gunfighter. I like my mod 4 latch (medium), unless your wearing bulky gloves, or have have a sizable optic, its plenty big enough to get good purchase on.

Kwanger
December 10, 2010, 01:17 PM
Except cheap ones are cast aluminum.

Good ones, like Colt for instance, are forged aluminum.
Other good strong ones are milled from aluminum billet.

rc
Or even steel ones, like this: http://www.midwayusa.com/viewproduct/?productnumber=152324&cm_mmc=Froogle-_-Gunsmithing%20-%20AR-15%20Parts%20%28Not%20Magazines%29-_-PriceCompListing-_-152324

if you want the absolute strongest charging handle. Still would help to know what the OP is looking for.

MrCleanOK
December 10, 2010, 05:33 PM
Mod3 Gunfighters on both of my ARs.

TimM
December 10, 2010, 07:37 PM
Thanks guys. I guess the gunfighter it is,

As for the question as why I don't like the current handle... The first jam I had the stupid thing bent like a wet noodle. A charging handle is not a charging handle... unless they are all a piece of crap like the stock DPMS one.

jerkface11
December 10, 2010, 10:22 PM
How did it get bent?

rodensouth
December 11, 2010, 11:22 AM
Does the Gas Buster or Gunfighter help with the gas in face with suppressor over a standard charging handle?

My nose is sensitive and 1 mag gives me a headache.

MrCleanOK
December 11, 2010, 03:27 PM
The gas buster supposedly directs the gas out the side. The gunfighter is not designed to.

I correct this with RTV silicone gaskets in my charging handles.

Shawn Dodson
December 11, 2010, 03:57 PM
The first jam I had the stupid thing bent like a wet noodle.

I assume you were operating it with your left hand like it wasn't designed to be operated?

rodensouth
December 11, 2010, 04:14 PM
MrCleanOK, I googled and it seems you are making the gaskets yourself?

Can you elaborate please, I can't picture it in my mind.

deputy tom
December 11, 2010, 04:27 PM
I'd like to find a used one of those gasbuster handles in the for sale department.My perscription glasses don't offer much in the way of eye protection along these lines.tom.

jerkface11
December 11, 2010, 04:27 PM
I can't think of any way you could pull on a charging handle and get it to bend.

AR27
December 11, 2010, 09:40 PM
Bcm gunfighter!

MrCleanOK
December 11, 2010, 09:44 PM
Not my instructions, by very good.

http://www.03designgroup.com/technotes/do-it-yourself-gas-buster-charging-handle

rodensouth
December 11, 2010, 09:55 PM
Thank you!

Shawn Dodson
December 12, 2010, 09:24 AM
I can't think of any way you could pull on a charging handle and get it to bend. When improperly operated using the left hand ("pushing" it instead of "pulling" it straight back) the left hand exerts lateral force that also pushes the charging handle to the right, which can bend it.

When I operate the charging handle with my left hand I use a "can opener" -type grasp. I place my thumb on the rear center of the handle and "hook" my index finger to operate the latch. As I push or pull with my index finger my hand pivots so that my thumb presses against the rear center of the handle (can opener-like), which counteracts the lateral force and the changing handle is pulled straight back (instead of back and to the right). It may not be as "fast" as other left-handed techniques, but I believe it's a robust technique that can be performed quickly.

Bartholomew Roberts
December 12, 2010, 10:09 AM
The first jam I had the stupid thing bent like a wet noodle. A charging handle is not a charging handle...

Probably an extruded charging handle made out of 6061 instead a forged 7075T6 charging handle which is what the military calls for. As this thread explains (http://m4carbine.net/showthread.php?t=20740&page=2), not all charging handles are built the same. It is a popular place to save a few bucks.

Does the Gas Buster or Gunfighter help with the gas in face with suppressor over a standard charging handle?

It helps; but not dramatically since most of the gas in the face with a suppressor is coming through the ejection port anyway. However, the RTV sealant mod that Mr. Clean described is the best way to go.

I can't think of any way you could pull on a charging handle and get it to bend.

The two most common methods I see that end up in bent charging handles are trying to clear a stuck case using the "mortar" method and cheap extruded charging handles with extended latches on them. If you use the "face slapping" method of charging the weapon with the off hand, it can bend some of the cheaper charging handles, especially when you combine it with an extended latch that lets you get better leverage/apply more force. On the better built charging handles that still use the traditional design (milspec, Gasbuster) you rarely see them bend but after regular use like that, you can eventually shear the roll pin that holds the latch in.

sig228
January 16, 2011, 11:58 PM
Mine bent today also. New DPMS bull barrell 16" upper. Was working fine until I loaded up reloads from a local gun shop. Reload must have been out of spec, didn't seat right and when I released the bolt, the cheap charging handle (maybe not fully seated?) took the heat. Jammed up pretty well, needed a wooden dowel to knock it back open.

Put a quick end to the great day I was having at the range. :(

Now, I'm not an AR expert by any means, but that's my take on the problem. Anyone have other thoughts?

Will probably pick up one of those BCM Gunfighters everyone is speaking so highly of.

Tirod
January 17, 2011, 09:21 AM
Just to clarify the record, I gave it a lot more thought and just bought a GI upper. The $300 premium to left side charge a hunting/plinking rifle isn't cost effective. I bought a barrel with what I saved.

Since the bolt locks back on the last round, where does it come into play? I get the feeling it's a contrived competitive range thing. Issue rifles don't get them, and that's real combat. I haven't heard any negative feedback in 22 years of using it, and it seems to be a no show on the list of things wrong with weapons in country. Mags and ammo always top that.

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