When upgrading their AR-15 rifles, not many users consider upgrading their charging handles. That's a shame, as an upgraded charging handle can make a massive difference in your AR-15 shooting experience.

But what exactly can an upgraded charging handle help you with? And what are the best AR-15 charging handle upgrades? That is what I want to cover today.

In the following review, I will discuss in more detail why you should consider upgrading your AR-15 rifle charging handle and what are, from my experience, the best 5 AR-15 charging handles to get for direct impingement system ARs.

Having tested all these charging handles myself, I can assure you one thing - each one will serve its purpose brilliantly.

So, without further ado, here are my top AR-15 upgraded charging handle options.

Why Upgrade Your AR-15 Charging Handle?

Before I go through my top picks, I'd like to spare a moment to tell you why I think upgrading your AR-15 charging handle is worth the struggle.

Essentially, a charging handle, also known as a cocking handle or bolt handle, has one primary purpose - it allows you to fire your gun by moving the hammer into the right position. However, it also ejects spent shells and unfired rounds, verifies the gun is free of rounds, and clears any stoppages (jams, double feeds, unfired rounds, etc.).

So yes, once you start thinking about it, your charging handle serves a more significant purpose than you might've thought.

Now, most AR-15s use a standard, Mil-Spec charging handle. That can work fine for casual shooters. However, if you use your AR-15 more frequently, you'll soon realize that your standard charging handle might not be up to the task of prolonged shooting.

That's not all. With a standard sharing handle designed primarily for right-handed shooting, left-handed shooters might find using the gun equipped with a Mil-Spec charging handle difficult, especially when also using a scope.

Therefore, if you're a left-handed shooter, upgrading your charging handle doesn't just become a possible upgrade. It becomes a must-have extension.

And today, I'll help you find the best solution for your struggles. 

Best AR-15 Charging Handles - Overview of My Top Picks

Charging Handle

Key Features


Radian Raptor Ambi - Best Overall

  • Incredibly sturdy
  • Easy to install
  • Smooth operation
  • Lightweight
  • Zero slip

Aero Precision Breach - Best Value for Money

  • Affordable
  • Gas deflection shelf
  • Sturdy
  • Ergonomic design

BCM Gunfighter Large Mod 3B - Best Classic Handle

  • Durable
  • Easy-to-grip latch
  • Snag-free profile
  • Designed to eliminate the load on the pivot-point

Geissele Super - Best Durability

  • Easy to install
  • Super durable
  • Smooth operation
  • Reduced gas blowback
  • Enhanced grip

Precision Reflex (PRI) M84 Gas Buster - Best for Suppressor Use

  • Sleek design
  • Durable
  • Gas-busting safety system
  • Customizable latch

Best AR-15 Charging Handle - Full Customer Reviews

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Radian Weapons Raptor Ambidextrous Charging Handle for AR15/M16, Tungsten Grey, R0002

I'd like to kickstart this review with an absolute banger among ambidextrous charging handles - Radian Raptor Ambi. For me, Radian Raptor is by far the best AR15 charging handle upgrade on the market. It looks slick, feels solid, and works for left and right-handed shooters.

Why Radian Raptor?

The first thing I noticed when I unpacked this Radian was how lightweight it was. Made of 075-T6 aircraft-grade aluminum and coated in Mil-Spec Type 3 hard coat anodized finish, Radian Raptor Ambidextrous Charging Handle offers that perfect balance of lightweight and durability. And that's just the start.

Once I installed Radian Raptor on my AR-15, which was incredibly straightforward by the way, I went out to do some shooting. And, well, it exceeded all my expectations.

First of all, I was able to operate it easily with either hand. That's because Radian Raptor's ambidextrous charging handle is built with double latches. Furthermore, as an extended latch charging handle, Radian Raptor offers an incredibly sure and ergonomic grip.

Indeed, I was able to shoot multiple rounds without tiring my hand, making this charging handle upgrade an excellent choice for extended AR-15 shooting sessions. 

Key Features

Fluid And Fast - Smooth BCG pulling motion from the strong or support side. Even better when using a slick-surfaced nickel boron BCG

7075 T6 Construction -  Stronger than 6061 T6 aluminum and it can withstand high-volume BCG charging cycles

Various Color Offerings - Available for:

  • Red
  • Black
  • Clear Anodized
  • FDE
  • Radian Brown, Grey, OD
  • Tungsten Grey

Suppressor Optimized (RAPTOR SD) - Ported shaft can redirect hot gas down and forward away from the shooter's face when the weapon is suppressed.

Pros and Cons



  • Incredibly ergonomic extended charging handle double latch

  • More lightweight than many other charging handles

  • Extremely durable due to the Mil-Spec Type 3 hard coat anodized finish

  • Very straightforward to install

  • Comes with a lifetime warranty

  • On the pricier side

Final Verdict

So yes, for me, the Radian Raptor is the best charging handle for the AR-15. It's ergonomic, lightweight, easy to install, durable, and comes with a sleek and aggressive design. In other words, it has everything you want from a charging handle. Sure, it is a bit expensive, but it's worth every single buck. Trust me on this.

For Sig MCX, get it here

Aero Precision Breach - Best For The Money

Aero Precision AR15 Breach Ambi Charging Handle w/Large Lever, Black/Tan Anodized, APRA700121C

The Aero Precision Breach is the newest AR15 charging handle on the market, featuring large ambidextrous extended latches and beefy 7075 T6 with a tight sealing design to block gas blowback for suppressor users.

Why Aero Precision breach?

I've always considered Aero Precision as one of the most innovative brands in the industry. Well, the story is no different for this newest addition to the Aero Precision family - the Breach model.

Oh yes, this ambidextrous charging handle is one of the best you can get for your AR-15. First of all, it's incredibly lightweight. Like Radian Raptor, it's made of 7075-T6 aluminum, ensuring it's as light as a feather without sacrificing its durability. The handle also comes with a reinforced bar which prevents rotational flex and breakage.

But enough about its built. How did it perform during my testing? Exceptionally well.

Its ambidextrous design makes the handle incredibly ergonomic and straightforward to use while also offering a solid grip and rip. Another thing I love is that this Aero Precision handle features a gas deflection shelf, which redirects the gas blowback from hitting your face while shooting. 

Key Features

Ergonomic Design - Aero Precision Breach is a low-profile ambidextrous charging handle that offers an ergonomic design for more straightforward use.

Durable and Lightweight Construction - Made of incredibly lightweight yet extremely durable aircraft-grade 7075-T6 aluminum.

Gas-Deflection Shelf - Comes with a gas-deflection shelf that redirects gas blowback when shooting.

Comes In Two Sizes:

  • Small Latch Breach - a low-profile handle that offers enhanced grip.

  • Large Latch Breach - offers a larger operating surface for shooters with bigger hands. 

Pros and Cons



  • Much more affordable than many other ambidextrous charging handles within this range

  • Comes in two sizes

  • Lightweight yet incredibly durable

  • Ergonomic design, perfect for long and intense shooting sessions

  • Its design is rather disappointing

Final Verdict

While it's not as advanced as Radian Raptor, Aero Precision Breach is still a fantastic charging handle. And don't let its lower price fool you. It's a top-quality handle that will serve you well for years to come.

Bravo Company MFG BCMGUNFIGHTER Charging Handle 5.56 Mod 3B Large Latch, BCM-GFH-MOD3B-556

The BCM Gunfighter charging handle looks like a standard charging handle, but it's much stronger with structural improvements. This is a great MADE IN USA upgrade piece for any AR-15 rifle.

Why BCM Gunfighter Large Mod 3B?

BCM is well-known for producing exceptional charging handles. And if you're looking for a larger extended latch charging handle, you might not find a better option than this BCM Gunfighter.

However, while large, I was surprised by how lightweight it is. Furthermore, like Radian Raptor and Aero Precision Breach, it's made of 7075-T6 aluminum, enhancing its durability.

However, where this charging handle really comes alive is how ergonomic it is. It comes with a massive latch, providing a user with a more solid and ergonomic grip and rip, whether you use a finger or thumb method.

One thing to mention here is that as great as this BCM is, it's not an ambidextrous charging handle. It's designed specifically for right-handed shooters, so I'm sure many left-handed shooters reading these words won't be happy. If you're right-handed, though, this charging handle is an excellent and ergonomic option. 

Key Features

Increased Durability - 7075 T6 forged aluminum construction, just like the Radian Raptor.

Large Latch - Extends 1.14" past the main body and should give (even when wearing gloves) finger clearance to any scope or offset rear iron sight that gets in the way.

Better Leverage - Clear jams and other BCG problems with much better latch gripping leverage.

Pros and Cons



  • Larger latch ensures a more solid and comfortable grip

  • Durable and lightweight

  • Redesigned to eliminate the load on the pivot pin

  • Snag-free design

  • A bit expensive

  • Only suitable for right-handed shooters

Final Verdict

BCM Gunfighter Large Mod 3B is one of the most ergonomic extended charging handles I've had the pleasure of using. However, while larger than other charging handles on this list, it's as lightweight and durable, offering an almost perfect mix of features and durability. However, with the handle not suitable for left-handed shooters, it lacks the flexibility the ambidextrous charging handles offer.

Geissele Super Charging Handle, 5.56, Desert Dirt 05-313S

The Geissele charging handle feels beefy and has similar quality as the Radian Raptor for ambidextrous and suppressor use. Coming with the heightened rear lip to reduce gas blowback, this charging handle is a fantastic upgrade for your AR-15 rifle. 

Why the Geissele Super Charging handle?

The first thing I noticed after unpacking this Geissele charging handle was how sturdy it's built. It's one of those handles that make you nod in approval the moment you pick it up. However, while it might survive even the most severe treatment, it also makes it quite heavy, which automatically disqualifies it as the most ergonomic handle on my list.

Does it mean it's difficult to use? Not at all. For instance, its checkered surface creates a fantastic texture, ensuring your finger won't slip as you pull the latch, whether you're wearing gloves or not.

What is more, its dual contoured levers ensure both right and left-handed users can effortlessly use it. What I also loved was the heightened rear lip, which provided gas blowback from hitting my face when shooting. 

Key Features

Minimize Gas Blow Back - Heightened rear lip mitigates gas blowback to the shooter with SBRs or suppressor use.

Glove Use - Textured/curved grip angle works with or without gloves.

Ambidextrous Use - Equal length latch from both sides.

Pros and Cons



  • Mitigates gas blowback when shooting suppressed rifles and SBRs

  • Textured and curved grip angle offers a more comfortable and solid grip

  • Extremely durable and built to withstand harsh conditions

  • Pretty straightforward to use despite being relatively heavy

  • Quite heavy and therefore less ergonomic than some other charging handles

  • Expensive

Final Verdict

If you're looking for an ambidextrous extended latch charging handle that will survive anything you throw at it, this Geissele is an excellent pick. Built from aircraft-grade aluminum, this charging handle will serve you for years to come. However, it's not as ergonomic as some other models. It's also on the pricier side, but that's understandable, given its enhanced durability.

Precision Reflex (PRi) M84 Gas Buster - Best For Suppressor Use

Precision Reflex M84 AR15 Gas Buster Charging Handle, Ambidextrous, Large Latch, Black, 05-2032

And last but not least, we have the Precision Reflex (PRI) M84 Gas Buster charging handle. This is by far the best AR-15 charging handle for suppressor users, designed to divert hot gas blowback away from the shooter's eye. It has some other cool features, too, though.

Why Precision Reflex (PRI) M84 Gas Buster?

While it might not be my all-time favorite charging handle, Precision Reflex M84 is an excellent choice for suppressor rifle shooters. It features massive latches, which are wing-shaped to allow both right and left-handed shooters to use the handle with ease.

However, its most outstanding feature is the deeper-cut curved channel on the top and the bottom, designed to divert hot gas blowback away from the shooter's eye when using a suppressor can.

I have to say it worked brilliantly, preventing the gas from disrupting my shooting experience. The handle's latches are very ergonomic, too, which, combined with its sturdy and lightweight build, make it a great option for AR-15 shooters. 

Key Features

Clone SOPMOD - Use this to clone an MK12 or SOPMOD rifle even if you don't use a suppressor.

Gas Directed To The Right - Thicker charging handle curved channel cuts (top and bottom ) redirect hot gas from hitting the shooter's face (right-handed shooter).

Upgradable Steel Latch - Change to an oversized latch if needed for better grip and malfunction clearing.

Pros and Cons



  • Ergonomic and extended latches for a more convenient and secure grip

  • Protects suppressor users from hot gas blowback by redirecting away from the shooter's face

  • Sturdy but lightweight built

  • Steel latches can be easily customized depending on one's needs

  • Relatively expensive

  • Some users say it tends to bend with time, which might mean it's not as durable as Precision Reflex claims it is

Final Verdict

If you're looking for the best charging handle for suppressed shooting, this Precision Reflex is one of the best options on the market. And while it might not be the most durable and affordable extended handle, it's definitely worth giving a go, especially if you're looking for more ergonomic and customizable latches. 

How I Made My Picks?

Testing, testing, and... testing. Unfortunately, there's no other way to ensure the charging handle is top-quality. Of course, I understand that you don't have time for that. That is why I did all the heavy lifting for you, providing you with the best AR15 charging handles on the market.

But these are not the only handles I tested. The charging handles you see above are merely a shortlist of, in my opinion, the best ones around. That probably raises a question about what my key criteria were.

Well, I paid attention to three features - design, quality, and performance:

  • Design: The first thing I look at is how a charging handle is built. Is it ergonomic? What about the latches? Do they make the product suitable for left and right-handed shooters? Is the handle lightweight? These are simple criteria, but it's essential to look at the product from different angles to see whether it's designed according to my requirements.

  • Quality: It's easy to see whether a charging handle is made of quality materials or not. Once I ensure the handle meets my design-related requirements, I take a closer look at the materials used and whether they will provide me with a high level of durability. You don't want a handle to fall apart or bend after several uses.

  • Performance: Finally, after my initial inspection, I install the handle and fire several rounds to see how it performs. If the handle operates smoothly, providing me with a better performance than the standard charging handle, it means I've found what I've been looking for. I also look at several additional features and whether my hand gets tired after some time shooting. If they all perform well and my hand remains ready for another round, it means the charging handle is top-quality. 

Best AR-15 Charging Handles - Buyer's Guide

Okay, so you know I tested the charging handles. But while I did all the hard work for you, it's time for you to get to work and pick the best charging handle for your AR-15. Here are several tips on what to consider when browsing through AR-15 charging handles:

  • Intended Use: Do you use a surpassed gun? Are you a left or right-handed shooter? These two questions are vital to answer. If the answer to the first one is yes, ensure the charging handle you want to purchase comes with a system to reduce gas blowback. As for the latter, the best idea is to look for an ambidextrous charging handle, suitable for shooting from both sides.

  • Manufacturer: Always opt for well-known and reputable brands when looking for gun accessories. They might be pricier, but they are the most durable and safest options. That said, choose any of the brands you see above. There are also several brands I didn't mention, such as Strike Industries or Fortis. Do your research, ask around, and make the best choice possible.

  • Price: Finally, consider how much you're willing to spend on your charging handle upgrades. In most instances, you should expect to pay around $80-100 for a top-quality charging handle for an AR-15. 

Key Takeaways

And there you have it. My top choices for the best AR-15 charging handles. All the options you see above are sure to meet all your expectations, providing you with a more comfortable and efficient shooting experience.

For me, the best choice is the Radian Raptor Ambidextrous Charging Handle. It comes with everything an AR-15 shooter might want from their charging handle, offering that perfect mix of durability, comfort, and quality.

If you're looking for a more affordable handle, go for Aero Precision Breach. It might not be as advanced as the Radian, but it's still a quality charging handle. And if it's the enhanced durability that you're looking for, go for Geissele Super Charging Handle.

For more guides and tips, be sure to follow my blog. You'll find there all the information a shooting enthusiast needs.