One of the most essential parts of any AR rifle is the charging handle. The bolt handle, aka charging handle, handles a few different and important functions. Most notably, it enables the rifle user to pull the bolt and ready the hammer — resulting in the rifle being cocked. Along the way, it can load the chamber, eject an empty magazine, and even take care of stoppages.
Choosing the right charging handle for your AR is vital if you plan to use it for hunting or competition. To help you make a great choice, here is our list of the seven best charging handles for AR rifles, in no particular order.
1. Radian Raptor Charging Handles
Formerly known as AXTS Weapons Systems, Radian Weapons offers innovative rifles and rifle parts primarily designed for law enforcement programs. Among the Oregon-based manufacturer’s signature creations is the popular Raptor Charging Handle. Some models are ambidextrous, while others are not.
The Raptor Charging Handle can do all the things that a charging handle is supposed to do. It can lock the bolt, cock the rifle, load the chamber, clear the space, and so forth. Where it stands out is its speed and fluidity. You can do all those things with a single action, faster than most charging handles out there. Throw in the finger thumb charges and rapid palm blading and you have yourself a remarkable design.
2. Geissele Charging Handles
Geissele Automatics started in 2004 as a manufacturer of AR-15 triggers and has since expanded to just about every part of the firearm. That includes their “Super Charging Handle,” made from aircraft-grade aluminum and available in tactical black or military-like “desert dirt color.” The company’s motto is “We Manufacture Confidence,” and it is easy to feel confident with these high-quality handles.
These devices of theirs are notable for being dual-contoured, meaning they sport radius cuts on both axes — unusual among AR-15 charging handles. Moreover, they sport a textured grip on their handling surface and a heightened rear lip for reducing gas blowback. On top of all that, they are ambidextrous.
3. Griffin Armament Charging Handles
Griffin Armament may be better known for their silencers and accessories — their slogan is “Engineered Silence” — but their repertoire goes beyond this type of part. Case in point: the Suppressor Normalized Ambidextrous Charging Handle, or “SNACH” for short. It is compatible with the two major AR-10 platforms and designed to make using them easier and better than ever.
Valuable aspects of the SNACH include a set of configurable levers, fitment bearing surfaces for less wobbling, and two different countermeasures for protecting suppressor users from gas blowback. Additionally, the bolt carrier engaging hook is significantly stronger than most others, especially those on the factory-standard charging handles that came with your rifle.
4. Armageddon Tactical Charging Handles
Armageddon Tactical can bring your competitive results into a new eon with their GMS10 Gen 2 Ambidextrous Charging Handle. The GMS stands for “Gas Management System” and refers to the powerful combination of a Diagonal Gas Port and a semicircular shroud. The whole rear of the weapon ends up being designed to redirect harmful and noxious gases, keeping the rifle user safe from exposure.
Most of the charging handle is machined from plated aluminum, the latch is machined from steel and coated over with manganese phosphate. That composite construction guarantees that the charging handle could survive the actual Armageddon.
5. Rainier Arms Charging Handles
Named for the active volcano that towers over the manufacturer’s home state of Washington, Rainier Arms has been machining and supplying rifle parts for 15 years. Naturally, they have their own unique design for a charging handle, dubbed “Avalanche.” It is not only ambidextrous but also more customizable than others.
Specifically, the Avalanche comes with a set of interchangeable handles. Rifle users can swap them out and find the one that best matches their own shooting style. This creative and highly unusual attribute does not present a hindrance. The charging handle maintains its ease of use. In fact, by giving users more options for their shooting experience, its ease of use may actually be better than most.
6. MASP Industries Charging Handles
What truly makes the MASP Industries charging handle different from the rest is not something it has, but rather something it lacks. This device is called the Militia Latchless Ambidextrous Charging Handle. While other charging handles employ latches, this one lets the user grab and pull without any additional steps. Locking and loading are faster than ever before.
More surprisingly, MASP Industries builds on the discoveries of other manufacturers while providing some innovations of their own. Its bolt carrier engaging hook is designed to be as strong as Griffin Armaments’ SNACH, and its handles are interchangeable like Rainier Arms’ Avalanche. Plus, its suppressor gas vent keeps blowback away from the user’s face and body.
7. Kinetic Development Charging Handles
Kinetic Development’s Scarging Handle — “SCAR Charging Handle,” named for the manufacturer’s SCAR MREX Rail System — does the standard charging handle functions. On top of that, the main design philosophy seems to be about giving people choices for how they use the handle, and therefore the rifle.
Like any great charging handle, this model is ambidextrous. In addition to the left and right side installation, you can also choose between upward and downward sweep. The former prevents the risk of the handle striking your hand, allowing for alternative shooting methods. The latter uses optic mounts to keep the sweep down, making the whole thing easier to grasp.
Own the Best Charging Handles Today
All of these charging handles and more are available right here on Tactical Link. No matter which one you choose, you can be confident that it will be a cut above the rest. At the very least, each one is a massive improvement over the charging handle that comes built-in with your rifle. If you wish to improve your shooting experience, you must accept nothing less than the best rifle parts. Check out our selection, place your order right away, and see how much better everything can be!