Are you trying to find the best AR-15 charging handle? If you are, you're going to run into a few obstacles along the way. There are a ton of charging handles that are available on the market. So, which one will stand out according to your personal needs and preferences?
Of course, you won't be happy with one that is cheap in terms of quality. The last thing you want to do is waste more money on another charging handle, only for it to break again after a short period of time.
Thankfully, we've hand-picked six AR-15 charging handles that are currently considered the best on the market right now.
It is important for you to review each of these carefully while keeping your personal preferences in mind. Because there might be a special feature or two that you’ll like well enough that you’d buy it in a heartbeat. That said, here’s what they are:
Best AR-15 Charging Handles
Badger Ordnance AR15/M16 Gen 3 Ambidextrous Charging Handle
The first AR-15 charging handle up for review is the Badger Ordnance AR15/M16 Gen 3 Ambidextrous Charging Handle. Like the name says, this charging handle is designed with the ambidextrous shooter in mind. That, of course, will appeal to a lot of shooters. This handle is also designed to make shooters easily work on their AR-15s. The latch on this model should make it easier to use it. This is the kind of charging handle you want if you're looking something with flexibility.
The design should be perfect for those that need to use a charging handle. Whether you're left-handed or right-handed, you should have no problem using this. The latch is easy to operate based on any hand you choose. This also comes with an extended form. The purpose of this is to ensure the positive and fast operation of the model. You can even operate this in cold weather. So, even with gloves on..., you can still handle it pretty well. The size of this will usually fit all hand sizes.
This charging handle is made with hard anodized aluminum. This, of course, will guarantee that this will be one of the most durable on the market. So, if you're looking for a top quality charging handle, obviously this may be one of your best options. This model also comes in a matte black finish. This will ensure that the handle is resistant to corrosion. This is a mil-spec design, which means that it is designed to be the best.
The latch is made from Ordnance-grade steel. This is also material that is guaranteed to be durable. This is an easy to buy handle, especially for something that is excellent construction wise. To ensure that this handle and your gun can work properly, you should also invest in some good AR-15 lube.
- Constructed from hard anodized aluminum.
- Latch made from Ordnance-grade steel.
- Matte black finish.
- A very durable model.
- Resistant to corrosion.
- Very easy to use.
- May be on the pricey side, so it may not be ideal for anyone on a budget.
The Bottom Line
Left-handed shooters rejoice! If you tend to be a lefty, you're probably going to love this charging handle. At this point, the Badger Ordnance can consider itself the top dog on the market. If you're looking for a flexible and very durable charging handle for your AR-15, this one, in particular, will fit the bill. If you're on a budget, you don't have to fret. We still have a few more to go through. And some of them are actually the best for the money.
Bravo Company AR15 BCM Gunfighter Charging Handle
Bravo Company has been around for a long time. And they’re a fixture among the veteran gun owners. So, the name alone could be the reason you’ll buy this charging handle in particular. Not to mention, this may be the only one you’ll need to buy for a long time. This comes at the right size that will cater to all of your AR-15 needs.
This is probably one of the most flexible models currently available on the market. If you’re also looking for an ambidextrous charging handle, the good news is that this is exactly that (and, you can get it at a pretty good price). The design allows for effective use of the stress via the roll pin. This is to ensure that you’re getting the best performance possible.
The design allows for the stress to be easily managed by the handle itself. This further proves that this can be a very durable unit for years to come. This is constructed with T6 aluminum and coated with an anodized hard coat. So, in plain English...it's built to take a beating. The model comes in differently sized latches, so you'll need to choose one that works best for you. Depending on the needs of your charging handle, you can choose between small, medium, or large.
- Made from T6 Aluminum and anodized hard coat.
- Ambidextrous for both left-handed and right handed shooter.
- Matte black finish.
- Very convenient with the variety of sizes available.
- Very durable and will last you a long time.
- Multiple applications.
- Edges are quite sharp. So you need to be careful while using this.
- Some sanding may need to be required before use.
- Despite nearly being half the price as the previous model, some complain that the price is too much.
The Bottom Line
As mentioned earlier, there are ambidextrous charging handles on the market that are affordable. Despite some complaints from reviewers about it being expensive, it's actually at a decent price for those on a budget. Not only that, you're getting one of the most durable handles out there at a pretty dang good price. So, if these check off on your lists of wants and needs, you'd be crazy not to get the Bravo Company model. BC has always been a reliable brand and is known for making high-quality products. This charging handle proves this statement to be true.
Precision Reflex INC AR15 Gas Buster Charging Handle
The Precision Reflex is the kind of model where the design alone is probably good enough for people to buy it. Just because they do it, doesn’t mean you should. It’s always important to take into account what else you will get out of a good quality charging handle. The question to ask is: what’s so great about the design? It’s intended to deflect any gas block-back. The deflection helps keep the gas from getting in your face. That’s why they call it the “gas buster”.
If you shoot rimfire AR15s, you're going to be impressed with this kind of charging handle. Rimfires will typically spit more gas than your standard ARs. You'll need a model that will protect you further from blowbacks. You can use it for other applications, so this doesn't necessarily have to be used for suppressed rifles. This is a robust, high-quality construction. At this point, strong durability is a common theme among these handles. However, is it enough for you to buy it? Let's continue.
This is a handle that should be able to deliver you the best performance regardless of which AR you use. The manufacturer made sure to include various options as far as construction goes. Some of the models you can choose from include a flat latch, curved latch, or a military-style latch. The one you choose will once again depend on your personal needs. Take your time in choosing which one will be best for you. This is why we say that the design alone should not be the only reason why you would choose this or any other charging handle for that matter.
If you’re using an extended finger latch, it will be easy for you clear a jam when it happens. The latches will have smooth edges that should be easy on the user’s fingers. Compared to models that are typically sharp on the edges, this should be a convenience. That means you won’t have to sand down anything prior to using it. For best results, you should consider finding a good quality AR-15 sight.
- Made from extra strong 7075 T6 aluminum for superior durability.
- Matte black with an anodized finish to prevent surface wear.
- Special gas deflection groove to reduce gas blowback.
- Very high in quality.
- Very robust.
- Smooth edges.
- Best fit for right-handed shooters, so it’s not ambidextrous.
The Bottom Line
At this point, you're probably considering this charging handle. And if so, we don't blame you. For one, this is obviously a very strong handle to have. To top it off, it will make sure the gas blowback is kept at bay so it won't end up in your face. What else can you expect from a charging handle like this? While there is some room for improvement, the PR is still a pretty decent charging handle.
Mega Arms AR15 Slide Lock Charging Handle
The design of this model is new and unique. So, you won’t be able to find most charging handles with the same design (at least not right now). The MA is a latchless design model. Just because it’s latchless, doesn’t make it useless. This will still function effectively just like any other charging handle. Even better, you won’t need any special skills to use this particular model.
So, why did Mega Arms decide to go latchless? The idea of this was to ensure that the moving parts are kept to a minimum. That equals not only less friction, but it also means more durability. Also absent from this model are buttons and levers that you’d depress and pull in order to get it working. So, if this is something that you’re looking for in a charging handle, the MA is obviously the best choice. In order for this to work, all you have to do is pull its handle back in a straight motion. Compared to your typical charging handles, this one is more flexible and simpler. The spring pressure keeps the handle in its place.
Also featured is the serrated edges on the handle. These edges are perfect for grip and help keep the handle from sliding back. It will be easy for you to pull the handle. The handle is wide enough so it can easily fit a gloved hand. Since this is crafted with premium material, this will ensure that the model will last a long time.
- Constructed from 7075-T6 Aluminum.
- Ambidextrous for both left-handed and right-handed shooters.
- Serrated edge for better grip.
- The design is new and unique. So this is the only charging handle on the market with this kind of design.
- Excellent for left-handed shooters.
- Very easy to use.
- Some have complained about the handle wearing after a short period of time.
- Some say they don’t care much for the design. This could be a signal for potential improvements in the future.
- Edges may be a little sharp, so some sanding might be needed.
The Bottom Line
By now, you know that there are latchless options available on the market. This is excellent for the shooter that wants something straightforward and doesn’t want to waste any time pressing buttons and pulling levers. At the same time, dealing with moving parts can be a hassle. So, if you’re looking for a charging handle that is easy to use and will still give you the same functions without the usual bells and whistles, the MA model is sure to be a good choice for you. On top of that, it’s a model fit for left-handed shooters (and yes, even right-handed shooters as well).
Power Custom AR15 Steel Charging Handle
Once again, we’re dealing with yet another tough charging handle. Since almost all of these are superior in terms of durability, now you’ll need to decide which one is best for you based on other features and personal preferences. Before you do, take a look at the Power Custom AR 15 Steel Charging Handle. This is a handle made from steel. Compared to those crafted from aluminum, this is considered one of the strongest of the bunch.
Once you touch this model, you'll know right off the bat that this is one tough customer you're dealing with. This will live up to your expectations throughout the years, no matter how many beating it takes. As far as issues go, you won't have an issue with the PC compared to some of the other charging handles you might have dealt with in the past. Even when used regularly, this model will stay straight for years, maybe even decades. If you're looking for a charging handle that might be considered "the last one you'll ever buy for a while", the PC model could be it for you.
The steel material still makes it operate much more smoothly compared to aluminum models. Aluminum models may come with what is known as a high friction coefficient. In other words, the aluminum charging handle that is being used against an aluminum upper leads to more friction. The steel will slide more smoothly.
This also comes with an extended latch, so it should make it easier to operate for most users. Like some great charging handles, you’ll want to pair this with a good scope to ensure you’re getting maximum results.
- Crafted from fully CNC’d steel.
- Matte black phosphate finish.
- Extended latch for fumble-free operation.
- Very strong construction.
- Much easier on the aluminum upper.
- Extended latch lives up to its intended purpose of giving you a fumble free operation.
- Not as lightweight. Which isn’t surprising considering its made from steel.
The Bottom Line
The PC model charging handle may just be that kind of model that will last you a long time if you use it properly. It should come as no surprise that it is not lightweight. That often comes with the territory of something that is designed to last you years or even decades. The extended latch does come in handy if you’re continuously dealing with slippage. If you’re dealing with slippage issues, you might be hard pressed not to find anything other than the PC charging handle for your AR-15.
Phase 5 Tactical AR-15/M16
Finally, we’ll be looking at the Phase 5 Tactical AR-15/M16. This is also a great ambidextrous charging handle. If you’re a left-handed shooter, you’ll be glad to know that this model won’t restrict you in any way. Even in a tight situation, it won’t matter which hand you use. This is specifically designed for those in the field of law enforcement or the military. If you’re looking for a kind of charging handle that is designed to get the job done when you need it most, the Phase 5 might be the one for you.
This is a charging handle with a rugged construction with a very thick sidewall. It can still function properly regardless of how many beatings it takes. The Phase 5 also integrates broader contact points for easier operation. This is perfect if you happen to be wearing gloves while shooting off your AR-15. There are oversized grooves located on the right side of the handle and also has a latch to ensure that the charging handle doesn’t slip while you’re using it. The grooves ensure that the weapon stays in place and helps with the positive charging of the rifle itself.
Phase 5 has made some improvements recently. One of them was increasing the diameter of their coil spring. It’s now measured at .1875 inch. With this improvement, comes better shock absorption, more equal stress distribution, and flexes under heavy use. This is crafted from 6061 T6 hard anodized aluminum. So, this obviously means that this will be a durable charging handle.
- .1875 inch coil spring.
- Crafted from 6061 T6 hard anodized aluminum.
- Oversized grooves for better weapon retention.
- Very well built.
- One of the best ambidextrous charging rails on the market.
- Very sturdy handle.
- May be a little pricey for the budget shopper.
- Some have complained about the handle being a little too long.
- May have too many edges, which may allow it to get caught in some clothing.
The Bottom Line
The Phase 5 is probably the best of the best when it comes to ambidextrous charging handles. So, if you’re a lefty and don’t mind spending a little bit extra, you’ll be quite happy with the Phase 5. In fact, it’s probably worth the extra pennies just to get it. Other than that, you’re still going to have a pretty good charging handle to work with.
Aspects To Consider When Buying An AR-15 Charging Handle
If you’re in search of the best AR-15 charging handle, you’ll need to consider a few aspects before making a purchase. Just picking one off the shelf or even clicking “buy now” is not the smartest decision you can make. That’s why you’ll always need to consider some of the unique features that come with each charging handle. Ask yourself whether or not if it will benefit you personally. Here are some aspects to consider before making your final decision:
Ease Of Use
One of the important aspects to consider is how easy will it be to use an AR 15 charging handle. It won’t come as no surprise that more people will opt for an ambidextrous model as opposed to a model that will only benefit right-handed shooters. With ambidextrous handles, you will get better flexibility. This means you can be able to switch hands if you need to in order to achieve maximum comfort.
Latch sizes are not all the same. In fact, it will be common to find charging handles that have latch sizes that differ from each other. Most buyers will typically prefer one that has an extended latch as it will allow them to wear gloves while they are firing their AR-15. If you’re in a cold place, you can still be able to use a handle without having to take off your gloves. If you’re the kind of shooter who is into tactical operations, you might enjoy a charging handle that has a large surface area on its latch.
Shape Of The Handle
If you want a charging handle that is easy to operate, find one that has a curved forward. This is often the best option compared to level or flat charging handles. A curved forward will allow you to operate it in any hand position.
Most of the charging handles are typically constructed with aluminum. However, you’ll likely find a handful that are constructed from steel. However, the intent is the same. This is to ensure that your charging handle is the best in terms of quality and durability. Keep in mind that while some aluminum crafted handles can sustain a lot of beatings, others may not. If constructed from steel, expect it to be not as lightweight as its aluminum counterparts. But that will come with the territory.
Finding the best AR-15 charging handle can be easy if you know what you’re looking for. If you happen to find one that sticks out as the potential favorite, don’t buy it right off the bat just yet. You should consider doing more in-depth research via customer reviews or AR-15 forums. The last thing we want you to go through is buyer’s remorse. You deserve a good charging handle for your rifle. But make sure that the one you buy is the best one you’ve ever bought.