9 Best AR-15 Charging Handle Reviews by GunsNFreedom

OUR TOP CHOICE: Radian Weapons Raptor Ambi

There are as many choices for charging handles as there are for shoes. The Radian Raptor is my choice because the ambidextrous handles and their deep grooves allow you to pull the charging handle back using your dominant or non-dominant hand while wearing gloves or when your hands are wet and dirty.

The AR-15 charging handle is more important to your build than you might think. It is the first part of your weapon that translates the thought of shooting into the action of shooting, connecting the shooter and the gun. It allows you to chamber a round, empty and inspect the chamber, and clear jams and misfires. When you hear the sound of a charging handle racking back, you know someone means business.

There are many to choose from on the market currently. But which is the best AR-15 charging handle for you? I can shed some light on an exemplary charging handle’s workings and help you decide by presenting products from some fantastic manufacturers.

Best AR-15 Charging Handle reviews

Editor’s Choice: Radian Weapons Raptor Ambi

This handle fits the bill for all weather conditions and allows you to switch shooting sides efficiently. It also looks the part. The latches’ color matches the tough and rugged look many owners try to achieve on their custom builds. If you have never tried an ambidextrous charging handle before, you absolutely should try this handle today.

Top 9 Best AR-15 Charging Handles Reviews

I am generally a fan of non-ambidextrous charging handles. After my first time using a handle with an elongated lever on the support-side, I never wanted to go back. Once I tried an ambi-handle, I jumped on that band-wagon too. The Raptor is an excellent piece of kit.

The sturdy build and use of 7075-T6 aluminum make this handle long-lasting and smooth to operate, and the wide lever means you can grip it with gloves on, making it usable rain or shine.  

Its innovative design allows you to charge your weapon with two fingers (strong side0, one finger (support side), or one hand, without using your fingers. Instead, in an efficient and fast movement, you pull it back with the edge of your hand (sometimes called a palm-blade). 

The deep black color will match any AR build you create, and its rugged look will make your AR look tougher. 

Who Should Get This? 

The Raptor is designed for quick magazine loads and charging with your support hand. If you need to clear a misfire and attempt to fire again quickly, this is the best charging handle for you.

Strike Industries has been around for some time. Although their products come at a lower price tag, they are excellently made and backed by SI’s extensive experience in the industry. 

The SI ARCH-EL is a good quality handle, whose best attribute is its low price tag. It has a sturdy support-side lever that functions well when quick-charging with your support hand. 

The SI-ARCH is made to perform well in extreme conditions, features a concealed latch, and fits all standard AR upper receivers, all for a low price point. 

Those you love customizing their AR-15 will love the ability to choose from red, green, blue, or black. Just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t have a long-lasting and well-functioning AR-15. 

Who Should Get This? 

This product is perfect for shooters on a budget who need long-lasting performance, who want to add some color to their weapon’s design.

The Griffin SN-ACH has lever locks on both sides of the handle and must be pulled back using two fingers to unlock both sides of the handle. For this reason, some users report it as not being ambidextrous. However, some consider it ambidextrous since you can use two fingers to pull it to the rear with either your strong or supportive side.

Like other popular builds, the SN-ACH is constructed of 7075-T6 aluminum designed not to wear the body of your upper receiver. While it shines when used with a suppressor, you can use this handle on an AR-15 without one. 

The SN-ACH is a quality charging handle, engineered to decrease tolerance between the upper receiver and the handle, which reduces the charging handle wobble many shooters experience with lesser models. 

Who Should Get This? 

Shooters with an AR-10 or 15 with a mounted suppressor who want a versatile, long-lasting charging handle that redirects the gases that typically occur with mounted suppressors should choose the SN-ACH

Noveske is a well-known name in the AR-15 world. Established in 2001 by John Noveske, the company quickly became known for its superb quality and builds. The Noveske Raptor is no different in this respect — it can be palm-blade or two-finger charged. 

Like other charging handles, the Raptor is constructed of 7075 aluminum to ensure minimal wear on your upper while being strong at the same time. The MIL-SPEC anodized finish not only gives it a polished look but also makes it more durable

Unfortunately, the grooves on the levers are slightly too shallow, and it does not fit all ARs. However, if it fits your weapons, this is one of the best handles on the market for many AR fans.

For the price, this handle is a steal. If you’re looking for lasting quality at a decent price, this might be the handle you’re looking for.

Who Should Get This? 

The Noveske Raptor 5.56mm charging handle is fantastic for anyone looking for an ambidextrous handle, as long as you aren’t trying to put it in a SIG AR upper.

Noveske partnered with Geissele to market the Noveske Super Badass (SB) Geissele 5.56 Ambi charging handle, which improves upon the Raptor 5.56mm by offering color choices. It also fits a wide variety of different brand ARs. 

The Super Badass Geissele 5.56 features a checkered texture that allows for a better grip with gloves. This further improves an already excellent charging handle by making it even more extreme weather friendly.

The design accounts for the needs of shooters with suppressors or short-barreled rifles by raising the rear lip of the handle to mitigate some of the blow-back. The higher lip redirects the gases up instead of straight back into the shooter’s face.

Another great feature is the option of black or desert colors. These are the two most popular colors for ARs currently, so it’s fantastic that Noveske offers both these options. 

Who Should Get This? 

Anyone looking for customization and a great product backed by a phenomenal manufacturer should invest in this charging handle. The Super Charging Handle (SCH) also serves all ambidextrous shooters well.

The BlackHawk AR-15 No-Latch handle is unique in its build because of the no-latch feature. I can’t tell you how many times I wished for this feature when I was in the service. 

However, you’ll need to be more careful while carrying your AR. The handle can catch on other gear and pull back when maneuvering, causing a round to eject or feed unintentionally, with potentially disastrous results.

BlackHawk has designed the charging handle with a leaf-spring device that applies pressure on the inside of the carrying handle housing instead of using the antiquated locking latch design. Getting rid of the latch increases your grip on the charging handle, which reduces the possibility of missing a pull if you miss the latch on the handle when charging.

The BlackHawk AR-15 No-Latch lets you charge your weapon from either side, and the large wings ensure you won’t miss when charging.

Who Should Get This? 

The BlackHawk AR-15 No-Latch is great for safety-conscious shooters that need quick ambidextrous charging and want different colors to match their builds. 

The Geiselle Super Charging Handle (SCH) 7.62 is based on Geiselle’s 5.56mm handle. The critical difference is in size — this one is for ARs with a 7.62mm upper. Since it is a larger version of the SCH, it has the same features — contoured levers with decent grooves, and the same 7075 aircraft-grade aluminum.

If you have a suppressor or short barrel on your 7.62 AR, Geiselle remembered you — they included the raised lip on the rear of the handle to redirect gases away from your face. They have also included the checkered pattern on the raised portion of the grooves that helps gloves grip the handle.

Again, I would like to see some deeper grooves on these handles — however, these are still great charging handles and function well in many different conditions.

Who Should Get This? 

Owners of 7.62mm ARs needing an ambidextrous handle should consider this for their build. It is strong and has an aggressive-looking shape that will complement any build.

A tried and tested design, the Aero Precision AR15 Standard is a simple but effective charging handle. It will lock in place, charge your AR-15, and do it well. However, it will not elicit any ooo’s or ahhh’s from fellow shooters on the range.

I have used this design since 1992, and the only problem I ever experienced was some occasional x-axis wobble. Other than that, this charging handle has served me well. 

The anodized aluminum provides protection against corrosion, meaning you can use this charging handle in the rain without concern. It’s reliable, well-constructed, and comes from a solid company. Unless you want something genuinely ambidextrous or flashy, it is a great option.  

Who Should Get This? 

If you are a shooter who wants a traditional look on your AR or needs a new handle and doesn’t care how it looks — this is the model for you. 

The TRYBE Defense Ambidextrous handle is a monster. Like most other AR products and accessories, it is constructed of 7075 aircraft aluminum for strength and durability. The most notable trait from this manufacturer is the size of the levers on the handle. The extended levers make it very hard to miss your charging handle if you are in a hurry to charge your weapon or lock your bolt to the rear.

If you are a fan of night shooting, you know that it can be hard to locate your charging handle if you haven’t gotten the handle’s position trained into your muscles’ memory yet. The TRYBE charging handle makes it easy for you to find and charge your weapon without looking for your handle, allowing you to simultaneously train your memory. 

Who Should Get This? 

The levers’ size suggests that this is great for shooters that need a larger handle for night shooting, shooting with gloves, or need one for multi-climate use.

Best AR-15 Charging Handle Overall

The Radian Weapons Raptor Ambi is one of my all-time favorites. It is smooth, has extended levers for quick palm-blading, and is designed to redirect the pull’s force to the handle’s body instead of on the lever.

Many modern charging handle manufacturers focus on ambidextrous use. However, after many years of carrying and firing M4s and M16s, I find that while it could be useful to some shooters, an enhanced traditional handle has fewer problems.

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