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What’s the Best Charging Handle For AR-15 Rifles?

Best AR-15 Charging Handle

If you are a left-handed shooter, the standard charging handle may be too hard for you to operate. You may also find the latch of the regular charging handle too short, especially if you are in a rush when charging. 

Our team gathered the best AR 15 charging handles, tried each product, and came up with the cream of the crop.

EDITOR’S CHOICE

Radian Weapons Raptor Ambidextrous Charging Handle

OUR #2 RATED

Geissele 5.56 Super Charging Handle

OUR #3 RATED

Strike Industries Extended Latch

1. Radian Weapons Raptor Ambidextrous Charging Handle

Why We Picked It: 

The charging handles are from lightweight 7075 – T6 aluminum. It has a Mil-Spec Type 3 hard coat anodized finish, which protects the handle from corrosive elements. It weighs half ounces lighter compared to other charging handles. The ambidextrous charging handle like this works best even in low light because of the deep grooves located on release levers. 

Who Should Use It:

Since this kind of charging handle has built-in double latches, users can operate efficiently, whether they be right-handed shooters or left-handed shooters [1]. The smooth machined edges are easy to use and prevent you from damaging your hands—best for instructors and competitive shooters.

Summary: 

This handle can be a good choice if you look for the best AR 15 charging handles that manipulate the open breach and eject spent cartridges. With the unique design and aggressive appearance, this charging handle gives the user smooth and dependable operation.

PROS

CONS

2. Geissele 5.56 Super Charging Handle

Why We Picked It: 

With the heightened rear lip of this charging handle, the dust blowback is minimal when shooting suppressed guns. Another feature is the checkered surface that creates excellent texture to avoid slippage when wearing gloves. This ambidextrous charging handle has dual contoured levers, making it easier for both left-handed shooters and right-handed shooters to utilize the handle.

EDITOR’S CHOICE

Who Should Use It:

This kind of handle is for suppressed gun owners. Since it is also an ambi-charging handle, shooters with a left dominating hand can easily charge this handle [1]. 

Summary: 

For your suppressed AR 15, this charging handle is a good choice for an upgrade. Smooth uniform manipulation also improves the functionality and reliability of this charging handle. The large latches help the user to grab and operate the charging handle effortlessly.

PROS

CONS

3. Strike Industries Extended Latch

Why We Picked It:   

The extended latch charging handle was forged from 7075 – T6 aluminum. In addition, the hard-anodized finish will prevent your receiver from wearing easier. It is available in different colors and weighs only 1.15 oz. 

Who Should Use It:

Because the extended grasping allows the user to operate, the handle is best for high-stress situations. It also works best when working with a large scope.

Summary:

If you are looking for an enlarged latch with a comprehensive grasp, Strike Industries is a good choice for you. It also comes with a reinforced tapered roll pin to secure the position of the charging handle. It is not an ambidextrous option, so that it will be a challenge for users with a different dominant hand.

PROS

CONS

4. Vltor Charging Handle

Why We Picked It:  

The design redirects the force of the latches in the body. It is a big help to minimize the latch and roll pin breakage. This ambidextrous charging handle was forged from high-strength 7075 – T6 aluminum with a class 2 hard coat anodizing finish.

Who Should Use It:

With increased strength, this charging handle gives out a smooth operation. If you want an upgrade that will not break your bank, Vltor is a good choice. This charging handle is best for home defense, hunting targets, and battle drills.

Summary:

If you are familiar with the GUNFIGHTER Charging handle, this is the exact charging handle design users have loved since 2009. After long years of legal battle, it is back on the market and re-released under a new brand name

PROS

CONS

5. Strike Industries SI ARCH

Why We Picked It:  

SI Arch is from a solid 7075 T-6 aluminum for a lightweight and corrosion-resistant finish. Because of the high polish surface, the rifle smoothly charges. Lightweight, low profile yet gives high-quality charging handle. 

Who Should Use It:

Since It is also an ambidextrous charging handle, a right-handed shooter can use either left or right hand to charge the rifle.  Guns with silencers may use this type of handle.

Summary:

The sleek yet aggressive design is also a thing most shooters consider when upgrading. The raised rear lip of the handle diverts the gas away from the shooter, increasing the accuracy of shots.

PROS

CONS

6. Strike Industries Strike Latchless

Why We Picked It:

This charging handle is robust and ergonomic, designed to keep the AR 15 in proper condition. It is from 7075 aluminum for a lightweight, reliable, and durable build. Another good feature is the snag-free design of the charging handle that is very useful while you move. 

Who Should Use It:

Users with large optics can use this type of handle as it is latchless. The solid mounting point is also an add-on component that increases the surface area.

Summary:

Latchless charging handle increases the service life of the charging handle. There are no external components that may break or snag on the gear and any foreign objects. for users of large optic and gloved hands. This latchless charging handle has a very efficient side gas vent for proper gas dispel.

PROS

CONS

7. Guntec USA AR-15 Charging Handle

Why We Picked It:

This charging handle for pistol-length barrels is made from 6061 T6 aluminum and weighs 1.01 oz. It comes with an anodized finish and is available in a variety of colors. 

Who Should Use It:

It is easy to install and highly recommended for beginner shooters who want an affordable upgrade.  Because of the extension latch, older shooters prefer using AR-15 charging handles like this.

Summary:

Guntec USA offers another inexpensive charging handle upgrade. The extended latch charging handle gives a better grip when using. Compared to the standard charging handle in stock, the improved charging handle allows the shooter to fastly and smoothly charge the rifle.

PROS

CONS

8. XTS AR-15 Charging Handle

Why We Picked It:

It is from 6061 true aircraft aluminum, which makes the extended charging handles sturdy and reliable. It is not just affordable, but it also serves its purpose quite well.  The anodized finish matches the parts of your AR 15, so it will also look good in the eyes. 

Who Should Use It:

This type of handle is for beginner shooters who want to explore the upgrades of an AR-15 but do not want to spend more. It is not an ambi-handle so make sure that the shooter is right-handed.

Summary: 

Since one of the most common parts to upgrade is the AR-15 charging handles, the DMA Inc offers an affordable one. The charging handle is easy to grab and functions more smoothly than expected.

PROS

CONS

9. Wilson Combat

Why We Picked It:

The charging handle is machined from 7075-T6 aluminum and guarantees a limited lifetime warranty. The mil-spec hard anodized finish does not wear off quickly. 

Who Should Use It:

This charging handle is compatible with all AR 15 and other firearms like M16 and M4. Since it is heavier compared to other handles, shooters who do not consider mobility can use this.

Summary:

If you are looking for a quick upgrade to your AR 15, you can include on the list the Wilson Combat charging handle. The materials for the Wilson Combat handle are sturdy so it will not wear off easily.

PROS

CONS

10. Luth-AR AR-15 Retro 601 Style Triangle

Why We Picked It:

This charging handle is from 6061 aluminum with an anodized hard coat finish. This triangle charging handle is the same as the original AR-15 Retro 601. In addition to this, the handle is thin and smooth, which gives the charging handles good functionality. 

Who Should Use It:

If you are used to the standard charging handles, learning how to operate may be a brand new experience. The design is not that pleasing, but it is still available on the market for shooters who prefer the retro style.

Summary:

If you are looking for a lightweight and snag-free charging handle for your AR-15, you can check out the Luth-AR Retro 601. To manipulate the charging handle, you have to pinch the side as there is no fast knuckle pull back.

PROS

CONS

Why Do I Need to Upgrade My AR-15 Charging Handle?

Most AR-15 purchases come with a mil-spec charging handle or bolt handle that may wear out a bit easier when used daily. If you prefer a smoother and sturdy charging handle, you may consider switching from a stock charging handle to an improved one. 

Along with the durability of an upgraded charging handle, improving your handle allows you to set your preference to enjoy the usability of the rifle. A wide selection of ambidextrous charging handle and the extended latch is offered and can be enjoyed by many.

Features to Look For

Lunde Studio Key Features

Gas Busters

One of the first core features to consider if you want the best AR-15 charging handle is the gas busters. It is a safety device that helps divert the gas produced when shooting rounds away from the shooters. 

Gas buster is also designed for military training when shooters use silencers to enable the cycle of an AR-15. If you are shooting with suppressed rifles, it is wise to consider the gas blowback that can affect the accuracy of your shots. It may also affect your eyes, caused by an unhealthy amount of blowback. 

Extended Latches

Some shooters prefer extended latches to have the best AR-15 charging handle. Since it is an extended charging handle, it will not be a problem for users wearing gloves as it will still function with the hand perfectly.

During nighttime shooting, weapon manipulation could be more complicated. In stressful and urgent situations, rapid palm action requires broad contact points. With this, the charging handle ensures positive contact even without looking.

Ambidextrous Handles

The AR-15 charging handle is for right-handed shooters, and many left-handed are having a hard time manipulating the charging handle. With this, manufacturers released the best AR-15 charging handle with an ambidextrous charging handle. The lever extends to the right side of the latch. 

With ambidextrous charging handles, many left-handed shooters can now quickly charge the weapon using their non-dominant hand. The aggressive serrations on the charging handle mean whatever hand you use, the grip will be firm.

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Our Team's Selection Process

Overall Performance

When upgrading from a standard charging handle, it is best to consider all possible features – starting with the overall performance. It should provide smooth charging performance that is way better than the stock ones. The replaced charging handle should be faster enough to clear jams and double feeds. 

Weapon Compatibility

The standard mil-spec charging handle is compatible with the AR-15 charging handles you purchased. Our team narrowed down options after the overall performance. Of course, the best AR-15 charging handles should be compatible with your weapon. Some charging handles for AR-15 are only compatible with suppressed ones. 

Product Quality

When it comes to selecting the best AR-15 charging handles, we look for product quality based on customer experience. There will be a significant impact on the handle when released, so check the quality of the materials. Some charging handles are made of fiberglass-reinforced polymer that speaks quality but may be very expensive. The best option is to look for charging handles made of aluminum to avoid the brittleness of an extended latch charging handle.

FAQs

Yes, AR-15 charging handles are universal. An old charging handle can fit and function in your AR-15 provided that the upper is not yet modified. Since AR-15 the most customizable rifle we’ve ever encountered, some shooters redesigned their own. As far as there is no improvement on proprietary receivers or charging, the charging handles for AR-15 are universal.

No, the charging handle does not move when you fire an AR. The charging handle locks in a forward position after the release, and a small catch device keeps it from moving. It allows the bolt assembly to push a new cartridge inside the chamber.

What’s Our Choice For The Best AR-15 Charging Handle?

Our choice for the best AR-15 charging handle is the Radian Weapons Raptor Ambidextrous Charging Handle. The extended handles are easy to install, and it is from reliable and sturdy materials. If you prefer shooting with gloves, the grooves of charging handles like this are ideal. The ambidextrous charging handles will be of great help for left-handed shooters for hassle-free charging. In addition, it offers a lifetime warranty and is lightweight. 

The charging handle has the easiest upgrades when you want to improve your AR performance. 

The Radian Weapons Raptor Ambidextrous Charging Handle may be expensive, but it lets you customize and improve rifle performance.

EDITOR’S CHOICE

Our #1 Recommendation

Radian Weapons Raptor Ambidextrous Charging Handle

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