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AR Charging Handles

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by unlimited4x4, Mar 8, 2013.

  1. unlimited4x4

    unlimited4x4 Well-Known Member

    The charging handle is one of the last items I need for my AR. I am wondering what is useful and what is a gimmick. There are ones like BCM that are Mod 1,2 etc, others with "combat" latches and ambidextrous doo dads. Does anyone have an article to explain these minor differences from handle to handle? Will the $20 PSA handle operate as well as the $79.95. I don't mind paying for a good handle, I believe you get what you pay for. I just don't want to pay for useless gimmicks.

  2. GCMkc

    GCMkc Well-Known Member

    $20 PSA charging handle + $18 Badger tac-latch


    I've got the older Badger gen I latch and it makes manipulation a breeze. The extra leverage really helps. The only gripe is if you are using a sling and the rifle is resting on your chest the latch can dig in a little.

    I've had no experience with the BCM Gunfighters but they look like they are nice and they get excellent reviews. I guess your looking at about the same price if you combined the PSA and Badger Tac-Latch (after shipping costs) as the BCM Gunfighter.
  3. Creature

    Creature Well-Known Member

    I have the BCM mod1 for a while now and it is very well made. I have no complaints.
  4. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Most all of the cheap charge handles are cast aluminum.

    The more expensive mil-spec ones will be forged & milled billet aluminum.

    They won't snap off in the heat of the moment.
    They will bend before they break.

    Well worth the extra money IMO:

    As for latches?
    I have got by quite nicely with mil-spec charge handles & latches on my Colts for about 45 years.

    If you have optics in the way, the extended 'tactical' latches are worth the extra money.

  5. 41magsnub

    41magsnub Well-Known Member

    I've switched to the medium sized BCM charging handles. They are just more comfortable.
  6. unlimited4x4

    unlimited4x4 Well-Known Member

    Thankyou all, this is the kind of input I'm looking for.
  7. rbernie

    rbernie Well-Known Member

    I have found that the extra large paddle-style latches get all grabby and noisy in the field, and I tend to avoid them these days.
  8. adelbridge

    adelbridge Well-Known Member

    I would only select an extended charging handle if you are mounting a scope that inhibits reach to stock charging handle. The extended charging handles tend to snag on clothes when carried with a sling. The other issue is that some of the extended charging handles put more leverage on the stock tiny roll pin but I have not had any breakage issues and I hunt my AR's pretty hard.
  9. Okiegunner

    Okiegunner Well-Known Member

    To each his own I guess.

    I have the large latch BCM ch. It is really (to me) convenient if you are wearing gloves. For shooting outdoors on a cold winter day, it does come in handy.

    The one handed manipulation is another plus.
  10. rugerdude

    rugerdude Well-Known Member

    Extended latch is a definite plus. The proper technique with these is to use the palm of your hand to move the charging handle to the rear. It is much faster and relies less on fine motor skills (which deteriorate under stress).

    As others have said it's an even bigger advantage when you have optics mounted.

    It will dig in a bit if you have it slung but since it's a 8lb or so rifle (depending on optics, etc.)and it's just sort of hanging off of you there's really not much force behind the protrusion. It doesn't bother me.
  11. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Well-Known Member

    Agreed with post #4&#7. Larger/extended isn't necessarily gimmicky but simply aren't ideal for every situation. I say if the optic makes use of the charging handle difficult then move that optic!
  12. Welding Rod

    Welding Rod Well-Known Member

    I like the BCM medium. I would like to try the small as well.

    If the AR just had bolt release that could be easily manipulated with the right hand while maintaining a firing grip the gun would have perfect ergonomics IMO.
  13. taliv

    taliv Moderator

    I run the bcm medium. I am left handed and it definItely helps.

    The combination of a cheap extruded charging handle and a large latch is suboptimal. The expensive ones are stronger. And the bcm and rainier and some others have redesigned the hinge mechanism. The original wasn't designed to handle the leverage.
  14. rugerdude

    rugerdude Well-Known Member

    Welding rod, you need to take a look at the Magpul BAD lever. It is basically cheating for AR-15's.
  15. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    IMO: An old solders take on the BAD Lever?

    It is basically an ingenious solution to a non-extent problem.

    That adds more linkage that will break, not work, or get bound up in the mud or the blood.

    At the exact time you need it not too, most.

    Unless you are left handed?
    Your left hand is already up there sticking in a loaded mag.

    Release the bolt release with your left thumb like God & Eugene Stoner intended you to do.


    TCBPATRIOT Well-Known Member

    I have short fingers and am a lefty and I just forward with my trigger finger. I have tried that BAD lever and I like it but I don't think I'd have it on a combat rifle. I've always wanted to figure out how to make an AR have a mag flap like various other rifles have.
  17. CSC_Saint

    CSC_Saint Well-Known Member

    Carried m4`s with and without them in two deployments. If you spend alot of time with the rifle on or around you i wouldn`t get it. If its just a range baby or HD gun, then it would definitely have its uses. Having the rifle on you all the time it digs into your chest and if you have to chow sling it(across your back) it digs in something awful. Also be aware that anything that snags it will pop the latch and partially charge the rifle and when it releases its definitely audible.
  18. surfinUSA

    surfinUSA Well-Known Member

    I like the factory standard. Some folks like to pay a lot of money for an aftermarket part. Good for them it's their money.
  19. Bartholomew Roberts

    Bartholomew Roberts Moderator Emeritus

    Military charging handles are forged T7075 aluminium. However, many commercial manufacturers use extruded T6061 aluminium because a charging handle is typically not a high stress part - at least not until some guy goes to a training class and learns a new manual of arms (or mortaring a rifle to clear a stuck case).

    When you add an extended latch to a charging handle, you are increasing your leverage on the handle and adding stress at points it was not designed to handle. A common point of failure, even with forged T7075 handles is the roll pin that holds the extended latch in the handle. Charging handles like the BCM have been redesigned from the ground up to handle this new manual if arms (where it looks like you are slapping yourself in the face with your weak hand to charge the rifle) instead of just replacing the GI latch with a different latch.
  20. Welding Rod

    Welding Rod Well-Known Member

    Works fine when loading a mag, but not too elegant when the left arm is slung up during a high power match and you must single load each round during slow fire prone.

    Or when you want to just lock the bolt back without a mag in the well.

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