When And How To Use A Charging Handle


The AR15 is one of the easiest weapons to learn to fire, which is one of the reasons why it is so popular. Most people, with a scope or an advanced optic, can be relatively accurate with the gun in just a few hours of practice.

However, owning and shooting with an AR15 does have its areas where the shooter needs to know how to address problems with the gun. With the AR15, problems with how the shooter is using the gun may result in increased problems with performance. In these situations, the first instinct of the shooter may be to use the charging handle, also known as the bolt handle, but this is not always correct.

Understanding when and how to use the charging handle can prevent these common mistakes and also prevent adding to problems with the weapon over time.

Using the Bolt Handle

The bolt handle is used when the spent round does not eject from the chamber. It is also used to load a round into the firing chamber if it fails to load from the magazine. It can also be used to check if there is a round in the chamber.

Correct Use

It is essential always to keep the weapon pointed away from the shooter or any other people in the area. It is possible that a defective round can result in the firing of the gun, which is why keeping the muzzle pointed in a safe position is critical.

To pull the charging handle back, use the thumb on the handle and click the lock with the index finger to release the handle. Move your thumb back quickly and with force, drawing an imaginary line straight back towards the ear when the gun is held in the firing position, as it should be for the operation.

Do not pull up or angle or twist the handle, just move it straight back all the way, then fully release the handle. Never stop the backward movement if the spent round ejects and do not try to slow or alter the forward movement upon release.

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