What Is the Charging Handle for on an AR15


What Is the Charging Handle for on an AR15?

The charging handle is a crucial component of an AR15 rifle. It plays a significant role in the overall functionality and operation of the firearm. In this article, we will explore the purpose of the charging handle, its construction, and how it is used. Additionally, we will address some frequently asked questions regarding this essential part of the AR15.

The charging handle is located at the rear of the upper receiver of the AR15. It is a small, yet robust, lever-like device that allows the user to manually chamber a round and prepare the firearm for firing. When the weapon is loaded, the charging handle is pulled rearward, retracting the bolt carrier group (BCG) against the force of the buffer spring. This action pulls a round from the magazine and chambers it into the firing chamber of the barrel.

Constructed from materials like aluminum, steel, or polymer, the charging handle needs to be durable to withstand the forces exerted during operation. It is designed to withstand repetitive pulling and slamming actions without failure. Some charging handles also feature an extended latch, making it easier to manipulate, especially when wearing gloves or in adverse conditions.

The charging handle on an AR15 is not only used for chambering rounds but also serves other important functions. It provides a means to clear jams or malfunctions by allowing the user to manually pull the bolt carrier group rearward and eject the faulty round or clear any obstructions. This can be a valuable feature in situations when quick action is required.

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FAQs about the Charging Handle on an AR15:

Q: Is the charging handle ambidextrous?
A: Many modern AR15 charging handles are designed to be ambidextrous, allowing both right and left-handed shooters to operate the firearm with ease. This is achieved by adding an extended latch on the left side of the charging handle, making it accessible from either side of the rifle.

Q: Can I upgrade the charging handle on my AR15?
A: Yes, you can upgrade the charging handle on your AR15. There are various aftermarket options available that offer enhanced ergonomics, improved latch designs, and additional features such as gas venting or extended levers. It is important to choose a charging handle that suits your specific needs and preferences.

Q: How should I clean and maintain the charging handle?
A: Regular cleaning and maintenance are crucial to keep the charging handle functioning smoothly. It is recommended to clean it along with the rest of the rifle’s upper receiver using appropriate cleaning solvents and lubricants. A soft brush or cloth can be used to remove debris or carbon buildup from the charging handle. Ensure that it moves freely and is lubricated properly to prevent any malfunctions.

Q: Can I operate an AR15 without using the charging handle?
A: While it is technically possible to chamber a round and fire an AR15 without using the charging handle, it is not recommended. The charging handle is an essential part of the firearm’s operation, and bypassing it may lead to unreliable feeding or malfunctioning, potentially compromising safety and accuracy.

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Q: Is it necessary to pull the charging handle all the way back?
A: To ensure reliable chambering, it is generally recommended to pull the charging handle all the way back until it engages the bolt catch. This allows the bolt carrier group to fully cycle and chamber a round properly. However, in some situations, such as clearing a malfunction, partial charging handle manipulation might be sufficient.

In conclusion, the charging handle is a vital component of an AR15 rifle, allowing the user to manually chamber rounds, clear malfunctions, and maintain the firearm. Its construction, including materials and design, should be chosen wisely to ensure durability and ease of operation. Regular cleaning and maintenance are necessary to keep the charging handle functioning reliably. With the availability of aftermarket options, upgrading the charging handle can enhance its performance and ergonomics, tailoring it to individual preferences and needs.