A charging handle, also known as a cocking handle or bolt handle, is the part of a gun that moves the hammer, striker or bolt into the position that allows the gun to be fired. In addition to this primary function, there are few others, such as:
- Checking if the gun is clear of rounds
- Releasing used shells & rounds that didn’t fire
- Removing stoppages like misfires, double feeds, and jams
Now that you know the basics, we’ll take a look at the best AR 15 charging handle available on the market. We’ve taken the time and effort to research the best options and serve them on a silver plate.
You might be asking yourself why you should upgrade your AR-15 charging handle?
Most AR-15 shotguns have a standard mil-spec charging handle. While it is fine for shooting at the range for a bit, it would give you headaches in prolonged shooting sessions.
Moreover, the charging handles are mostly designed for right-handed shooters. Changing the handles with a model for left-handed shooters will solve the issue.
Best AR 15 Charging Handle Comparison Table
|Radian Weapons - AR-15 Raptor - LT 5.56||Easily fits AR-15 and M16 rifles. Good design with a solid quality build.||5||VIEW CURRENT PRICE|
|Bravo Company AR15 BCM Gunfighter||Durable construction made with 7075 T6 aluminum. Beveled edges make for no snagging.||5||VIEW CURRENT PRICE|
|Precision Reflex INC AR15 Gas Buster||Smooth edges and comes with different options in terms of construction and design.||4||VIEW CURRENT PRICE|
|Geissele Automatics LLC - AR-15 Airborne||Comes with an ambidextrous design. Textured handles make for a solid grip.||5||VIEW CURRENT PRICE|
|Phase 5 Tactical - AR-15 / m16 Extended Latch||Ambidextrous design suitable for all tactical operations. Upgraded grooves for quick recharging.||5||VIEW CURRENT PRICE|
|Radian Weapons - AR-15 Raptor 5.56||Comes with rounded edges for less snagging. Longer latch designed for easy racking.||5||VIEW CURRENT PRICE|
|LWRC International AR-15/M16||Steel rivets to make for improved durability. Extended latch tabs with rounded ends.||4||VIEW CURRENT PRICE|
See Also: Best Scope for AR under $100
Best AR 15 Charging Handle Reviews
#1: Radian Weapons – AR-15 Raptor – LT 5.56
Gun owners are most often looking for smaller and lighter weapons. Especially, individuals looking to build their AR gun, then even half an ounce is important.
If you are looking to have a lightweight and functional charging handle, then the Radian LT is an excellent choice to consider. It’s got two massive wings on the sides, that allow for an easier grip and it only weighs 1.2 ounces.
The construction of the Raptor is a hard-anodized 7075 aluminum with a Mil-Spec Type 3 Finish. Then a fiberglass-reinforced polymer is applied for greater durability.
The design features smooth machined edges so that you don’t experience jagged movements while using it. If you’re looking to add an aggressive look to your weapon without compromising construction quality, then this handle is for you.
#2: Bravo Company AR15 BCM Gunfighter
Bravo is a renowned company that has been around for many years and their charging handles are the ones to find with more experienced shooters.
The company has a reputation of a manufacturer that delivers quality to its customers. There’s no difference with the second generation AR15 BCM Gunfighter charging handle.
Bravo Company states that they’ve learned from the flaws of the previous model to bring an upgraded version.
It is designed to allow both left & right-handed shooters to operate with the weapon. Moreover, it allows the effective use of stress from the roll pin as it is redistributed balanced throughout the handle.
Furthermore, the build of the handle is from T6 aluminum and has a Mil-A-8625F anodized coating. The latches come in two different sizes – large and medium.
A major improvement is the gas blow-back reduction because it is designed to stop the gas firing back into your face.
#3: Precision Reflex INC AR15 Gas Buster
Precision Reflex INC features an innovative design that deflects gas from getting in your face. Firearms such as rimfire AR15s produce more gas than the standard models.
It has a robust construction that delivers effective performance. Moreover, you have the option to choose between various models that offer a different build.
You can choose between a curved latch, military-style latch and flat latch. Each model has different features, so choose carefully to match your preferences.
The handle features smooth-edged latches, comfortable for multiple uses.
#4: Geissele Automatics LLC – AR-15 Airborne Charging Handle (ACH)
The Geissele Automatics has a reliable ambidextrous design, making it suitable for both left and right-handed shooters. Unlike similar models of Geissele, this one isn’t made for low-profile optics only.
They have been designed with gas prevention in mind. It features a raised lip that stops smoke from getting into the shooter’s face.
Similar to the other models we’ve reviewed, this one is also made of 7075-T6 aluminum for extra durability. Also, it is anodized with type 3 coated, which seems to be a golden standard for good charging handles.
Given that you’re looking for a durable component to improve your shooting experience, then you have found your charging handle.
#5: Phase 5 Tactical – AR-15/m16 Extended Latch
Phase 5 Tactical features a design suitable for left & right-handed individuals and due to its standardized design it fits all AR-type guns. Not only that, but it offers durable 308 levels that will hardly break.
Interestingly enough, this charging handle has thicker dimensions than the common AR-15 handle. The thickness will most likely increase the life of the charging handle considerably.
Unlike many of its competitors, Phase 5 comes with a built-in coiled spring pin that absorbs shock. It is made specifically for tough training conditions.
The grooves are designed to allow quick recharge, which is a huge advantage, especially for shooters who are into tactical ops. Plus, it is made of high-grade machine cut aluminum, which adds for additional strength in the build.
#6: Radian Weapons – AR-15 Raptor 5.56
Radian Raptor Series features probably one of the most comfortable and balanced charging handles on the market. They can be easily set-up on both AR-15 and M16 rifles.
Just like the LT version, this charging handle is also made of 7075 aluminum, which is Mil-spec anodized. Moreover, this is one of the few designs that offer a truly ambidextrous experience.
In most cases, the charging handles feel or even operate a bit differently for left-handed shooters, but not for this one. It uses asymmetrical both-handed latch tab, making the weapon the same, no matter which side you use.
Also, the latch tab is extended with a positive grip for leverage when racking the weapon. Even though it makes it easier to run the bold, the extended tab can lead to accidental snagging.
Overall, the Radian Raptor is probably one of the most comfortable handles for left-handed shooters. Plus, it allows for easier bolt manipulation, which is a huge plus for many as well.
#7: LWRC International AR-15/M16 Ambidextrous Charging Handle
The LWRC International AR-15/M16 offers a more minimalistic design with a more compact charging handle, available for both left & right-handed shooters.
Similar to the Radian Raptor, the latch tabs are extended with rounded ends for better grip and minimized snagging. The charging handle is comfortable with ergonomic design, but to keep it compact the surface area is reduced.
To increase the durability of the handle, the manufacturer has added steel rivets to keep the tabs in place as they have a longer lifespan than pins.
You don’t have to worry about corrosion from adverse weather, because it is made of 7075-T6 aluminum such as the other models listed above.
If you’re looking for a compact ambidextrous charging handle that is durable and reliable, then you should consider LWRC International, although it is a bit more expensive.
When you purchase a weapon, choosing the charging handle isn’t your top priority on the upgrade list. However, it should be there, because they gradually improve your shooting experience. Plus, they are a true life-saver from malfunctions.
Hopefully, you’ve made it to the end of our list and we’ve given you enough information to make the best choice for your firearm. Each model on this list has been carefully tested by many and we’ve chosen them for their popularity and overall performance.
If you want a charging handle that provides great value to money ration, then the Bravo Company BCM Gunfighter is a nice option. It offers a mix of ergonomics, compact design and price tag that won’t break the bank.
There’s one final thing to consider when buying a charging handle. Probably, the best idea, if you own multiple AR firearms, is to get a charging handle that will fit most of the models. This way, you can make the most out of it, by using it on different guns.
A Bulgarian native law student, and a gun aficionado. I’ve graduated from a British International school and have successfully taken a number of Cambridge certificates such as PET, FCE, CAE, GSCE, IGCSE & IELTS. I found love in firearms early on in life when my father took me hunting for the first time. A few years later and an unknown number of rounds fired, I have the opportunity to combine my home defense & firearms expertise with the public.