GFG Drop-In Side Charger For AR-15

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The GFG Side Charger is a replacement charging handle for the AR-15 that wraps around the receiver allowing it to be manipulated from the side of the receiver rather than the rear of the receiver. Its main advantage over an extended latch charging handle, such as the BCM gunfighter, is that is allows manipulation of the bolt catch with the same hand as the charging handle.

This is not the first side charging handle I have seen, but it is the best looking. The retail price is $150.

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Many thanks to Quan for the tip.


Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • Ghostalker

    NEVABENDUNBEFO (no but really?)
    Neat.

    • DurgaMDK

      Beat me to it. LolZ

  • Nicholas Feeley

    ” Its main advantage over an extended latch charging handle, such as the BCM gunfighter, is that is allows manipulation of the bolt catch with the same hand as the charging handle.”

    …But the demo rifle has a B.A.D. lever…

    • KC

      but he doesn’t use it.

      • Yogie

        2.04, relase, 2.07, locking the bolt back, he does use it instead of the regular bolt catch (watch his triggerfinger!)… So basically rendering his own design obsolete, when a $150 side charger gizmo is outperformed by a $30 lever…

        • KC

          his trigger finger is above the BAD lever

          • Gregory Markle

            If you watch carefully he is not using the spot where the actual itty bitty nubbin on the bolt catch exists but the arm of the lever when locking the bolt. Hitting the standard bolt catch would require a pretty weird contortion of your hand as it lies so close to the knob. I’ll stick with my Tactical Link EBAL and Raptor charging handle.

    • Yogie

      Haha, i was gonna say that too…

    • Steve (TFB Editor)

      heh, I did not notice that!

  • Anonymous

    I have the most horrible suspicion, watching this video, that they never once tried to induce a failure-to-extract malfunction and see how well it holds up to a pogo attempt. It probably works marginally well under normal use, but there’s so many ways this is going to get damaged or cause damage to the upper receiver.

    The Sublime t-shirt does not merit comment…

    • ACR/AR fan

      That is a good point. Don’t know how many times I’ve see guys with bad reloaded ammo have to go pogo on their AR’s.
      But I still think the idea of it is cool.

  • Samuel Suggs

    I wonder how many of the hundreds of upper reciver shapes this will work with

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      Not with a VLTOR—-

      • Samuel Suggs

        well yeah

  • Samuel Suggs

    Most of the side charging designs also opened up the gun to an enormous amount of
    dirt which was the logic behind the terrible designed this is designed to fix in the first place. however I am concerned about breakages along the bars that connect the charger to the charging knob.

  • Tierlieb

    Wow, that is a lot of torque on a piece of aluminum.

    • Tahoe

      That was my first thought. While I like the concept of side charging handles on ARs, this one may be the least durable-looking I’ve seen. Even standard charging handles get torqued under use, and I can see this one making a mess of it.

  • Donny

    Hey, Pal.

    That little pyramid shape on the bottom of the bolt catch? That’s the part you put pressure on, toward the interior of the receiver, to lock the bolt back. Don’t pull the top of the release paddle out.

  • JT

    So the tiny little bend around the inlet for the charging handle is now a single point of failure? And how is this anything more than tacticool? For quiet forward assist, the traditional charging handle is better and probably more controllable.

    And why would someone need this for anything other than clearing a FTE/FTF? Reload you hit the release and do people really make their gun ready the first time by doing it from the shoulder? I’d like to see how well this thing holds up clearing a bad jam where a lot of force is needed on the handle

    • Tim U

      Careful with the “why would someone need this” argument. That’s the same argument politicians use when trying to take away all ARs.

      America isn’t about needs. It’s about what we WANT. Plain and simple.

      Don’t get me wrong, I’d like to see how this handles in a “real world” or day at the range setting. I’m not going to rush out and buy one personally. But I am curious how well it works, and I fully support the idea of different people with different preferences assembling their rifles as they see fit best for their use.

    • Sigivald

      For forward assist? We have a forward assist button, eh?

      (Well, my newest doesn’t. And it also has an in-carry-handle charging handle.

      Because “Colt prototype” is the original Tacticool.)

  • chuckldotes

    Of all the tacticool mall cop crap out there… why so much hate for this? I think it’s well thought out, and I’d love to put it through its paces. Looks nice to me.

    • Samuel Suggs

      its definetly worth giving a chance but have you looked at their website its douchey to an unaceptable exstream ill give you a taste this is their logo

    • Anonymoose

      I think it looks kind of convoluted and possibly easier to break than a regular ambi charging handle or a purpose-built side-charging upper.

  • Kevin Lawlor

    150$ seems fair? Idk why these parts cost so much money…

    • KC

      people underestimate the time and the cost of machining a part like that that wont break a few times

      • Kevin Lawlor

        I am not saying just this part, but all parts are crazy money now…I love this thing and wish I could afford it!

        • KC

          I understand, but there are a lot of very mechanicly complicated parts out there for sale that aren’t a part of the original design

  • blacksmith26

    It’s not broke but we can fix the hell out of it…

  • Sludig

    A guy had something identical to this for sale like 5 years back. Think based out of Colorado. Not sure what happened with it.

  • Samuel Suggs

    it may be a problem because their are dosen of hole shapes and just the one peg

  • Tier10^21operator

    Hmmm. Engineering fail.

    • Klaus

      seriously, lets see the FEA’s!

  • Matt RRC

    I think it is an interesting work around. I see no problem in using a standard charging handle. I just grip the left side of mine and use it that way instead of the “draw” like a bow and arrow. Some people really need a side charged weapon, I do not. A B.A.D. lever has made my AR work perfect. It makes more sense than this device UNLESS, you really want a side charger for cheap.

  • Klaus

    Great idea, seen it before, years back and it was slightly different.

    What sort of life span does it have, and how did you test the durability and lifespan of it?

    Is there any FEA’s you’re willing to show us? That would be awesome.

  • Leigh Rich

    WHY?

  • Brandon

    Interesting concept, would not pay $150 for it.

  • MarkM

    I looked into the whole side charging thing building my first AR. It has a value under some conditions, but the real issue is whether charging the weapon is all that important. Ok, yeah, you have to have ammo in it, right. What do you do? Lock the bolt back, insert mag, release bolt. Every time it goes empty, the bolt locks back. You don’t need to charge a bolt when the mag goes empty.

    If you are having a FTE or feed failure , you are having an AMMO or MAG problem, not a charging handle issue. The AMMO is failing to feed or eject, forcing you to charge the weapon. If the AMMO wasn’t low bidder or surplus reject overrun, then FTE’s would be reduced. If the mags aren’t low bidder flimsy junk that bends the feed lips when they get dropped, then there would be less feeding problems.

    Ammo and mags are the first two failure modes in the AR. Third is the operator.

    From that perspective I gave up justifying the high cost of a custom sideloader and decided not to buy junk ammo or junk magazines. Doesn’t mean you eliminate all the problems, it does mean that for over 45 years, the US Armed Forces doesn’t see the charging handle as a critical failure point: it’s stayed pretty much the same all that time.

    What has changed is a lot of guys using the AR in a race gun environment – which isn’t necessarily combat. When a timer is ticking off in tenths of a second and you could fall in the rankings by tens of shooters because of one round, you modify your gear to handle it.

    That’s why race cars aren’t daily drivers – too many narrowly engineered solutions that prevent more broad based application. Nobody drives an ex-NASCAR stocker in the Wisconsin winters.

    The ambidextrous charging handle works left or right, you aren’t restricted if you need to change sides. A side charger, maybe. When you change something to make it “better” in certain circumstances, you trade off by making it worse in others.

    Race cars don’t have heaters for Wisconsin winters. Be careful what you change and why, it took a team of skilled engineers about ten years to optimize the AR15 design. All we do now is change it for the better in specific ways, but it can have an offsetting disadvantage. If it’s acceptable in your window of use, fine. Just understand what you are giving up – and how much it’s going to cost.

  • Hunter57dor

    You still have to remove your cheekweld from the rifle when charging it, it completely defeats the purpose of a side charging handle.

    • Samuel Suggs

      easier acces is still their but yeah your right it eliminates one purpose

  • The Rifleman Next Door

    neat idea…however, the charging handle as originally designed offers the maximum protection from external damage…..this new device could become bent, snapped-off or warped and it might make the weapon unusable.
    Let the guys at Suarez International put it through a half dozen AR rifle classes and see if it hasn’t caused a FTF then get back to me.

  • k.rollin

    Interesting idea, but I do have my doubts about the parts durability (I
    see sharp inside corners, which concentrate stress, ultimately leading
    to part failure), as well as the manufacturer’s knowledge of mechanical
    systems based on the logo they’ve chosen to engrave on the part. If someone attempted to drive
    any one of the gears in that logo, not a single one of them would rotate
    due to the manner in which they are meshed. Both of these errors make
    me question why anyone would install this item on a firearm that they
    may depend on in a life or death scenario.

    • gunslinger

      something tells me the logo was made to look pretty, not functional.

      how many logos “look cool” but would never work in real life?

    • D

      Well I’m not taking sides here or anything, but what in the world does the design of their logo have anything to do with their mechanical knowledge or abilities? Maybe they know that the gears would never turn the way they’re meshed. It’s just a logo.

  • Dave

    I recall RAR Guns making one of these several years back. It was dubbed the, ‘Sidewinder’ CH.
    Video here:

  • Joshua

    My question is, why is this needed? What is the standard CH failing at?

    In all my years issued a M4A1 I can count on one hand the number of times I have used my CH.(aside from chambering a round).

    The only time you will really use the CH is when you have a stoppage, then you do remedial action, and when that fails your gonna take your eyes off the target, and your gonna need to clear the stoppage.

    I am just not seeing the use in this in a real world sense.

  • Aaron E

    The only benefit I can see is the ability to clear a double feed/FTE while the rifle remains shouldered, which “might” help in combat or shooting situation (barrel still facing enemy). The BCM handle still requires the shooter to remove the rifle from the shoulder. The B.A.D. lever is still required though, as far as I can see. So together you’re looking at about $200 in additions.

    If the handle performed all of the bolt locking/unlocking functions I would be interested. As is, I’ll pass.

  • murica

    so another thing that may not have been thought out is if this charging handle fits in the groove of the rail system then you might not be able to use optics unless you run the VLTOR CAS-V rail which is what he is using.