6 Best AR15 Charging Handles (2023)
For manipulations of almost all AR15 rifles, aside from the trigger, the most used and manipulated control is the charging handle.
It’s what charges and clears the weapon and is directly linked to the BCG (Bolt Carrier Group) and the only way to manipulate it. This makes the charging handle a very important piece of the firearm.
The Mil-spec charging handles leave a lot to be desired. The area you have to wrap your fingers around is tiny and becomes increasingly more difficult when you are using gloves or if your hands are wet, sweaty, or dirty. For some, it may work just fine for a casual day on the range, but if you are to do any sort of serious shooting, upgrading is a must.
Why do you need an upgraded AR-15 Charging handle?
With accessory manufacturers turning out a multitude of various upgrades for AR-style rifles, new and improved charging handle designs have become popular.
Many of these have addressed the shortcomings of the mil-spec option by increasing the surface area of the latches, making it ambidextrous, and even putting holes into vent gasses away from the shooter's face.
There are hundreds of designs on the market for your AR build yet only a select few stand out because of their build materials, operational characteristics, and ease of use.
For left-handed shooters, an ambidextrous charging handle makes things a lot less complicated when running your firearm and is definitely a must-have item. Even if you are not a southpaw, running with an amber handle allows you to manipulate the bolt carrier in a multitude of ways even if you are in odd positions.
Many firearms trainers stress the need to fight using both your strengths and the support side of your body, which means being able to manipulate the rifle with either hand. Some other upgrades companies have put out for their AR-15 charging handles are swappable latches, vent holes for gases while shooting suppressed (a gas buster system), and special lightning cuts that cut down on weight.
Everyone wants to create something special and new, but very few designs have proven to be truly revolutionary.
Core Features of Aftermarket AR-15 Charging Handles
There are three common features people look for when selecting which charging handle will be right for them.
That usually falls to either ambidexterity, an extended latch, or a gas-buster type system.
- Ambidextrous Charging Handles: These types of handles can be manipulated equally from both sides, so left-handed shooters no longer have to fire their rifles from the right side.
- Extended Latches: An extended latch allows the shooter to better charge the weapon and manipulate the bolt carrier should the need arise. It also means that a shooter can better engage their firearm when they are using gloves.
- Gas Busters: Gas Buster charging handles keep gas and dust blow-back from the shooter's face when using a suppressor.
Best AR-15 Charging Handles
Top-selling AR-15 charging handles with a price:
- Radian Weapons AR-15 Raptor Ambidextrous Charging Handle (Grey) - $99.95
- Rainier Industries Avalanche AR-15 Ambidextrous Charging Handle Kit - $105.00
- Radian Weapons AR-15 Raptor SD Ambidextrous Charging Handle - $129.95
- Blackout Defense Stryker AR-15 Ambidextrous Charging Handle - Black - $94.99
- Geissele AR-15 Super Charging Handle (SCH) - Black - $105.00
- Silencerco AR15 Gas Defeating Charging Handle (GDCH) - $96.90
2019 Product Review: Top-Selling Charging Handles
1. Radian Weapons AR-15 Raptor Ambidextrous Charging Handle
The Radian Raptor ambidextrous charging handle from AXTS is a game-changer. Its unique design and functionality allow for quick and effortless charging of your weapon with either hand.
Radian Weapons AR-15 Raptor Ambidextrous Charging Handle
Whether you prefer to use your palm or fingers and thumb, the motion is smooth and fast from either side of the gun. Plus, it's made in the USA with high-quality aircraft grade 7075 aluminum and Mil-Spec anodized for added durability.
This charging handle is perfect for anyone who wants to take their shooting experience to the next level.
2. Rainier Industries Avalanche AR-15 Ambidextrous Charging Handle Kit
Introducing the Rainier Industries Avalanche Charging Handle - the ultimate ambidextrous charging handle for the AR-15 platform. Our patented handle design allows for interchangeable handles to meet your specific needs on duty (US Patent US9846003 B2).
Rainier Industries Avalanche AR-15 Ambidextrous Charging Handle Kit
The Avalanche's Hex Handles and TAC1 Handles can be swapped out for a customized look and feel, while still providing a fast and fluid motion from either your strong or support side.
The TAC1 handles have longer latches for easier operation with larger optics or thicker gloves. The body and handles are crafted from 7075 billet aluminum and MILSPEC Type III Hard anodized for superior durability. With a 15% increase in wall thickness and reduced vent holes, the Avalanche is both rigid and reliable. Plus, we've redesigned the latch angles for improved locking and charging.
The Avalanche is designed and manufactured in our own facility in Wichita, KS USA, and comes with a lifetime limited warranty and a 100% satisfaction guarantee. So, if you're looking for a reliable and customizable charging handle for your AR-15 platform, choose the Avalanche from Rainier Industries.
3. Radian Weapons AR-15 Raptor SD Ambidextrous Charging Handle
The Raptor-SD is the perfect charging handle for shooters using a suppressor. With a ported shaft designed to redirect gasses down and forward, away from the shooter's face, this handle makes shooting suppressed, safer, and more enjoyable experience.
Radian Weapons AR-15 Raptor SD Ambidextrous Charging Handle
The Raptor-SD is also ambidextrous, meaning you can charge your weapon quickly and easily with either hand using the rapid palm "blading" or finger-thumb method. The motion is fluid and fast from both your strong and support side.
Designed to be compatible with most AR15/M16-pattern rifles, the Raptor-SD is a versatile and reliable choice for any shooter. Don't settle for a subpar charging handle when shooting suppressed - upgrade to the Raptor-SD for a superior shooting experience.
4. Blackout Defense Stryker AR-15 Ambidextrous Charging Handle - Black
A fully ambidextrous charging handle that provides reliable and efficient performance.
Blackout Defense Stryker AR-15 Ambidextrous Charging Handle
With a heavy-duty latch that audibly clicks into place, the Stryker Charging Handle is wire EDM cut for a perfect fit and optimal performance. The wings are heavily serrated to ensure a strong grip, while the rounded edges prevent snagging on your gear.
Crafted from aircraft-grade 7075 aluminum and mil-spec hard-coat anodized, the Stryker Charging Handle is built to withstand heavy use and last for years to come. Don't settle for a subpar charging handle - upgrade to the Blackout Defense Stryker Charging Handle for superior performance and reliability.
5. Geissele AR-15 Super Charging Handle (SCH) - Black
The Giessele Super Charging Handle (SCH) is a high-quality accessory designed to enhance the performance and reliability of your AR-15. Machined from a solid block of aircraft grade 7075-T6 aluminum, the SCH is exceptionally durable.
Geissele AR-15 Super Charging Handle (SCH)
With its fully ambidextrous design, the SCH allows for seamless operation from either side of the weapon. The levers are dual-contoured, featuring radius cuts on both the x and y axes, much like the charging handle of an M14. Additionally, the handling surface of the lever is checkered to provide a textured grip that aids in use with gloves.
The SCH's heightened rear lip is a key feature that helps mitigate gas blowback to the shooter when firing with short-barreled and suppressed weapon systems. This makes it a safer and more enjoyable accessory to use.
6. Silencerco AR15 Gas Defeating Charging Handle (GDCH)
The GDCH charging handle boasts a unique design that uses an O-ring seal to prevent gas from escaping, minimizing the amount of blowback to the shooter's face and providing a more comfortable shooting experience.
Silencerco AR15 Gas Defeating Charging Handle (GDCH)
Its ambidextrous and oversized levers make charging or clearing a rifle a seamless process.
The GDCH is machined in-house from aircraft-grade 7075 aluminum, ensuring durability and reliability. It is compatible with all common chamberings for the AR-15 platform.
When looking back over this past year at the thousands of charging handles we have sold, it is no surprise which ones are the most popular.
These designs share many of the same characteristics; they are built from very durable materials, offer better weapon manipulation, and with suppressor use, keep harmful gasses from the shooter's face.
Upgrading your charging handle may seem unnecessary, a waste of money, especially because these top-of-the-line options command a premium, but they are worth every penny.
If you ask any serious shooter, this is an upgrade that makes a big difference. If speed and accuracy are the names of the game, why hinder yourself with something that will slow you down?