When it comes to manipulations of almost all AR15 rifles, aside from the trigger, the most used and manipulated control is the charging handle. It’s what charges and clears the weapon and is directly linked to the BCG (Bolt Carrier Group) and the only way to manipulate it. This makes the charging handle a very important piece of the firearm.
The Mil-spec charging handles leave a lot to be desired. The area you have to wrap your fingers around is very small and becomes increasingly more difficult when you are using gloves or if your hands are wet, sweaty or dirty. For some, it may work just fine for a casual day on the range, but if you are to do any sort of serious shooting, upgrading is a must.
Why do you need an upgraded AR-15 Charging handle?
In this day and age, with accessory manufacturers turning out a multitude of various upgrades for AR-style rifles, new and improved charging handle designs have become popular. Many of these have addressed the shortcomings of the mil-spec option by increasing the surface area of the latches, making it ambidextrous and even putting holes into vent gasses away from the shooters face. There are hundreds of designs on the market yet only a select few stand out because of their build materials, operational characteristics, and ease of use.
For left-handed shooters, an ambidextrous charging handle makes things a lot less complicated when running your firearm and is definitely a must-have item. Even if you are not a southpaw, running with an amber handle allows you to manipulate the bolt carrier in a multitude of ways even if you are in odd positions. Many firearms trainers stress the need to be able to fight using both your strengths and support side of your body, which means being able to manipulate the rifle with either hand.
Some other upgrades companies have put out for their AR-15 charging handles are swappable latches, vent holes for gases while shooting suppressed (a gas buster system), and special lightening cuts that cut down on weight. Everyone wants to create something special and new, but very few designs have proven to be truly revolutionary.
Core Features of Aftermarket AR-15 Charging Handles
There are three common features people look for when selecting which charging handle will be right for them. That usually falls to either ambidexterity, an extended latch, or a gas buster type system.
• Ambidextrous Charging Handles: These types of handles can be manipulated equally from both sides, which means that left-handed shooters no longer have to fire their rifles from the right side.
• Extended Latches: An extended latch allows the shooter to better charge the weapon and manipulate the bolt carrier should the need arise. It also means that a shooter can better engage their firearm when they are using gloves.
• Gas Busters: Gas Buster charging handles are designed to keep gas and dust blow-back from the shooters face when using a suppressor.
Best AR-15 Charging Handles
||Top selling AR-15 Charging Handles
||Radian Weapons AR-15 Raptor Ambi Charging Handle - black
||RA Avalanche MOD2 AR-15 Charging Handle - Black
||Radian Weapons AR-15 Raptor LT Ambi Charging Handle
||Radian Weapons AR-15 Raptor SD Charging Handle
||BCM Charging Handle 556 Mod 3B (Large latch)
||Noveske Super Badass Ambi Charging Handle 5.56
||BCM Charging Handle 556 Mod 4B (Medium latch)
||BCM Charging Handle 556 Ambi 3X3 (Large latch)
||Next Level Armament NLX Ambi Charging Handle
||Fortis Hammer AR-15 Charging Handle Nickelene Teflon
2019 Product Review: Top-Selling Charging Handles
1. Radian Weapons AR-15 Raptor Ambidextrous Charging Handle
Radian Raptor ambidextrous charging handle by AXTS. The Raptor™ is truly revolutionary in design & function. From rapid palm “blading” or finger thumb charges of the weapon, the motion is fluid & fast from either strong or support side. Made in the USA from aircraft grade 7075 aluminum and Mil-Spec anodized.
2. Rainier Arms Avalanche MOD2 AR-15 Charging Handle
Introducing our Avalanche MOD2 AR-15 Charging Handle. Rainier Arms Avalanche A.I. (Ambidextrous Interchangeable) Charging Handle 5.56 supports the uniqueness of today’s shooter while combining the performance you have come to expect from Rainier Arms. The Avalanche’s unique interchangeable handles offer a customized look and feel while supporting individual shooting styles, preserving the fast and fluid motion from either their strong side or support side.
Made in the USA from aircraft grade 7075 aluminum
2 interchangeable handles
3. Radian Weapons AR-15 Raptor LT Ambidextrous Charging Handle
Meet the newest member of the Radian family: Raptor-LT. Utilizing the same patented ambidextrous functionality as its predecessor, the Raptor-LT handles are machined from 7075 aluminum, MILSPEC Type III hard anodized, then over-molded with high-strength, fiberglass reinforced polymer for the ultimate combination of strength, weight, and durability. Compatible with AR15/M16 or AR10/SR25-pattern rifles. Raptor-LT comes with a limited lifetime warranty and is 100% designed and manufactured in the USA.
Weight- 1.2 oz
4. Radian Weapons AR-15 Raptor SD Ambidextrous Charging Handle
The silencer-optimized Raptor-SD™ features a ported shaft designed to redirect gasses down and forward, away from the shooter’s face when shooting suppressed. Its ambidextrous design allows rapid palm "blading" or finger-thumb charging of the weapon, ensuring the motion is fluid and fast from either strong or support side. The Raptor-SD is compatible with most AR15/M16-pattern rifles.
• Designed & Manufactured in the USA
• Machined from 7075-T6 aluminum
• Milspec Type 3 Hard Coat Anodized Finish
When looking back over this past year at the thousands of charging handles we have sold, it is no surprise which ones are the most popular. These designs share many of the same characteristics; they are built from very durable materials, offer better weapon manipulation, and in the case of suppressor use, keeps harmful gasses from the shooters face.
Granted, upgrading your charging handle may seem unnecessary, a waste of money, especially because these top of the line options command a premium, but they are worth every penny. If you ask any serious shooter, this is an upgrade that makes a big difference. If speed and accuracy is the name of the game, why hinder yourself with something that will slow you down.