27 December 2016

Doo Dads And Gee Gaws

It is inevitable that a rifle as popular and modular as the AR will bring all manner of creativity to bear on improving and "improving" it.

One thing that people are spending entirely too much time working on is improving the damn charging handle.

There seems to be a general ignorance about how it works.

Did you know it has been ambidextrous since the R601 days?

You put a finger on both sides of the upper and pull.  That automatically hits the latch.  Notice I did not say which hand to use?  This is because either hand will do.

The next issue people seem to have with the charging handle is a complete misunderstanding of what it's primarily for.

It's for opening the action on the rifle with no magazine in it.  You pull the bolt to the rear and lock it open.  Insert a magazine then hit the bolt release.  Weapon is now loaded.

Assuming you have good magazines; 99 out of 100 stoppages can be cleared with two fingers of pressure on that charging handle, with no more effort than pulling it back on an empty gun.

If it's magazine induced, then your most important control is the magazine catch, not the charging handle.  You should also throw that piece of shit misfeed device away that very instant, crushing it so that it doesn't haunt anyone else.

Another truth about the AR system is that once you've got good magazines, you're just not going to see much in the way of stoppages.


If you're really concerned about that rare stoppage where fingers aren't enough, learn the "pogo" technique.  In all honesty, if the pogo can't clear it, your gun be broken.  You do have a backup, don't you?


  1. "Did you know it has been ambidextrous since the R601 days?

    You put a finger on both sides of the upper and pull.

    The .mil has shot a couple people since your salad suit days. TTPs have changed, and for the better. Don't chicken claw your charging handle, and don't shoot your M1911A1 with your off hand in your hip pocket.

    1. You must have the publications and their numbers to make such assertions.

      I know the pistol manual has changed since Patton was a major. We learned Weaver in basic and I recall the consternation of the sergeants just months later when a new style was introduced. You might also notice that I'm not talking about pistols in this post. Am I?

      I recognize this manner of debate. You are attempting to show that I am incorrect about the design of the charging handle because pistol training has changed in a longer intervening time.

      It's also a drive by, "you're wrong" without supporting your own argument. Something, I note, you would not have tolerated in comments at your own blog.

    2. I'm not debating r arguing or telling you how the charging handle was designed or intended to be used.

      I'm making a flat, factual statement about how it is used now.

      No like? No care. No hurt feelings on my part. You can run your gun however you want. :)

    3. "TTPs have changed" is a flat, factual statement, but "for the better" is a value judgement. You know, an argument, like "don't chicken claw your charging handle". You've been writing long enough, and well enough, that you must already know that.

  2. Hi. Currently in the military as a firearms instructor. We teach right handed shooters to keep their dominant hand on the pistol grip and use their support hand to grab the left side of the charging handle.

  3. I think the point is that it's really unnecessary to design a new charging handle system when the old one works just fine with a minor change in handling and training. Especially when, in reality, it was probably designed to work that way from the start.

    It also really has nothing to do with how the military currently does it. There's an entire industry based on correcting wrongs and improving on the way the military trains.


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