The AR-15 first appeared on the scene back in 1959 as a fully automatic military rifle under the name M-16. Ever since it became available to the public in the 1960’s, the rifle has grown in popularity among gun enthusiasts worldwide. An estimated 8 million of these rifles are currently owned by civilians in the United States. There is no question that the AR-15 is an impressive firearm that has become extremely popular among gun owners and is again growing in sales in recent years. It has become an item many marksmen, sportsmen, hunters, hobbyists and gun enthusiasts enjoy upgrading and customizing with the intent of getting top performance out of the rifle.
One of the main focus areas many owners of this firearm find intriguing and necessary to upgrade is the charging handle. This is the part of the AR-15 that has the same action as the bolt does on a bolt-action style rifle. It is the manually operated part which when pulled back and then released will load a .223 round into the chamber preparing the firearm for action. With the AR-15 the charging handle is located near the rear section of the firearm above the portion where the stock connects to the main body of the gun. The standard AR-15 comes with the typical mil-spec charging handle. This handle is good for beginners who are just learning how to use the rifle and those who simply own the rifle for novelty purposes such as a collectors item.
For those of us who are more on the action side of owning one of these impressive firearms, we may want to consider upgrading the AR-15 charging handle because the standard mil-spec version will keep us pros from experiencing the top performance that this rifle is capable of delivering. There are a number of proven advantages for any gunner with upgrading the charging handle on the AR-15. When using the rifle for rapid-fire shooting, having a better grade AR-15 charging handle will bring better results in nearly every area of performance.
A great feature of basically all the higher grade charging handles is that they designed for ambidextrous usage. This may not seem important on the surface however when in the field it can come in quite handy. Besides, if we want to bring a friend or relative along for a day of fun taking turns for some target practice, if that person is left handed then there are no issues with using a rifle that is only made for right-handed users.
In making the gun easier to use for left-handed users some there are other situations that having the ambidextrous design is a nice and sometimes necessary advantage. This is especially true if we have a left-handed shooter using an AR-15 with a scope or any large optic mounted on the rifle. For a left-handed user to have to continually reach around or over the scope or optic device simply to chamber a round or clear a jam can become quite stressful when trying to focus on the action. The Ambidextrous designed charging handles have opened doors and made the AR-15 an item of desire for many left-handed users who previously would have likely chosen to purchase other rifles.
Another advantage of purchasing a higher quality charging handle for the AR-15 is when dealing with the level of quality of which the product is manufactured. Many of the higher quality charging handles can take heavier abuse and continue to function correctly. Some pros will testify to the fact that their AR-15 function better since they upgraded their rifle to a high-quality charging handle.
The strategically designed larger pullback can also make everything go much better during both recreational use such as hunting and usage as a military style weapon. With some of the older charging handles designed for upgrading an AR-15, the bolt handle grasp was either too small, too big or designed in such a way that it was difficult to pull back for chambering the first shell. This was especially true if the person shooting was wearing gloves like during the winter season. Some of the designs actually had such a large bolt handle that the rifle could not operate correctly when some scopes or other optic devices were installed. Today most designers and manufacturers have overcome these type of issues.
Most of us may never find ourselves in a real life tactical situation however it never hurts to be ready just in case. Having the ability to operate the charging handle from both sides could make a big difference when in some tight situations, especially when pinned down and trying to fire from a very small space. For this reason there are some who intentionally learn to use the weapon right or left handed. Also with the higher quality charging handles there is a much lower risk of failure when being used in the field which is absolutely necessary.
Equal Stress Distribution
Whether using the AR-15 as semi-automatic or fully-automatic having a balanced action coming from the AR-15 charging handle with each shot fired not only creates less wear and tear on the rifle, but also brings a more steady and stable focus when firing. Those who enjoy using their rifle for rapid-fire target practice can testify to this.
There are many options available on today’s market with the AR-15 charging handle. So much so that everyone can find that one that is the perfect fit for their style of shooting.