What is a Charging Handle?

Every semi-automatic rifle needs to be loaded, and the chagrin handle plays a very important role. The charging handle manually charges or loads the rifle, cocks the hammer, and gets the rifle in the ready position, hence it is called the charging handle.

Charging handles come in different sizes and shapes on different firearms. In some rifles, like the AK, the charging handle is an integrated part of the bolt carrier, and hence it moves back and forth with it. Such charging handles are called reciprocation handles. In other rifles, like the AR-15, the charging handle is non-reciprocating, which means it does not move with the bolt.

In the AR-15, the charging handle is located in the back, above the buffer tube, and under the rear sight block. It is a T-shaped handle, and when it is pulled, it brings the bolt back with it, against the tension of the recoil spring in the buffer tube.

When the charging handle cant be pulled anymore, you release it, and it allows the bolt to move forward, picking up a round from the magazine, and chambering it.

When do you need to use the charging handle?

The charging handle on an AR-15 serves many purposes. The AR-15 is a self-loading rifle, still, when you load a magazine, you need to charge the bolt manually so that the first round can go into the chamber. After that, all the rounds are loaded by the operation of the bolt.

The charging handle is also used to clear malfunctions and stoppages. For instance, if you have a bad round in the chamber that won’t fire, you can manually load another one using the chagrin handle. Other stoppages like failure to feed can also be cleared by pulling the charging handle.

You can also use the chagrin handle to make sure that the rifle is clear when you are cleaning or maintaining it indoors.

Why would you need an upgraded charging handle?

Most AR-15s come with mil-spec charging handles, which are usually right-handed. These charging handles are ideal for any normal shooter, but in some cases, competition shooters, or AR enthusiasts like to get aftermarket charging handles.

Some left-handed people also need to change their charging handles, or they can also opt for competition ambidextrous charging handles

Most competition shooters, and tactical enthusiasts who train with their AR-15s, opt for extender AR charging handles. These charging handles have an extended latch, which is easier to grab in the dark, or when you are wearing gloves.

Though the standard mil-spec charging handles aren’t bad at all, one of the best things about the AR platform is that there is an incredible aftermarket for its parts, and you can get some really good charging handles if you want.

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