COBALT KINETICS is actually bringing something innovative to the market.  It is an AR-15 platform that has a “dual-drop forward assist”.  Wrap your head around that a second.  I was a little confused myself at first, but once I got to hold the prototype, I totally got it.

In their nomenclature it is:

the patent-pending DD (Dual Drop) multi-functional, rear-actuated bolt release

It is machined from 7075-T6 billet aluminum, sports a beveled magazine, and has threaded pins for faster and easier breakdown and assembly.

It felt super natural to hold and I can see (and feel the utility).  As soon as you have a positive grip your thumb is right in position to access the bolt release.  It still has the traditional catch and release. The machining is well done and very smooth, and the platform will come in a number of colors and metallic finishes.

They are still a few months away from wide availability, but I am definitely going to keep watch.  With any luck I can get an early T&E model in and do an in-depth review.


Rear view


Side view. It still has the traditional catch so you can rearward lock the bolt.


Top view. The symmetry makes my OCD happy.


Closer in view of the left side release.

Tom is a former Navy Corpsman that spent some time bumbling around the deserts of Iraq with a Marine Recon unit, kicking in tent flaps and harassing sheep. Prior to that he was a paramedic somewhere in DFW, also doing some Executive Protection work between shifts. Now that those exciting days are behind him, he has embraced his inner “Warrior Hippie” and assaults 14er in his sandals and beard, or engages in rucking adventure challenges while consuming craft beer. To fund these adventures, he writes medical software and builds websites and mobile apps. His latest venture is as one of the founders of; a search engine for all things gun related. He hopes that his posts will help you find solid gear that will survive whatever you can throw at it–he is known (in certain circles) for his curse…ahem, ability…to find the breaking point of anything.


  • Oaf

    But why?

    • Doc Rader

      I’m seeing it as a boon for competitions specifically. You can drop the bolt and be on the trigger pretty rapidly. And it just *feels* better… 🙂

      • Cobalt Kinetics

        You’re exactly right. It allows you to change mags, and instead of pushing yourself off target by using the traditional bolt release, you can be on target, releasing the bolt and pulling the trigger almost simultaneously, with either hand.

    • John

      So the U.S. military never, ever has to change their primary weapon until phased plasma rifles are developed.

      • CrankyFool

        I can well imagine, when PPRs are released finally, the military starting a huge competition to figure out which PPR model they’ll adopt. FN and HK will both compete. In the end, the military will decide to stick to the M4A48 with the M855a9 ammo, because “PPRs just don’t have enough of an advantage to outweigh the massive investment in already-existing ammunition and rifle parts.”

        • wetcorps

          Their best bet would be to make a plasma upper for the AR… At least it’ll have some chances of success on the civilian market.

  • Believe it or not, the left was the original location of the AR forward assist.

    • sgt fish

      bigest issue i see is getting in the way of the charging handle.

      • Dual Sport

        It does not.

      • Doc Rader

        I would say it depends on how you operate the charging handle. If you scoop from underneath, then yes it would interfere. Any engagement over the top would not present a problem.

        • sgt fish

          even over the top charging could pose a problem if you don’t tuck your fingers in from what i can see. and i dont want to have to work around something when im going to clear a jam or whatnot

    • Harry Bedford Exeter

      I can just imagine Stoner right now, “Jesus Christ, you guys have taken it too far this time!”. If you watch Ezell’s interviews with Stoner, he specifically says the forward assist was an idea driven by an Army general who said that every weapon in the service had something you could push forward and the M16 didn’t. Stoner came back with, well if there is something stopping the bolt from closing, you need to pull the bolt back and see what’s wrong with it, not slam it forward and make the problem possibly worse.

      • Laserbait

        Except this isn’t a forward assist, so I doubt Stoner would have said that.

        • Doc Rader

          It technically operates as both FA and a bolt release.

    • I suspect that Colt simultaneously cobbled up prototypes for either side, and then let the Army choose. Springfield Armory had an ambidextrous solution that was incorporated into the the charging handle. You can just make out the two prototypes at the bottom of this photo.

      The bottom left rifle has the Springfield Armory design where the
      forward assist is built into the charging handle. The designer, Charles
      F. Packard, was Springfield’s representative on the M16 Technical
      Coordinating Committee. Stoner reportedly preferred this design. The
      other rifle has a prototype of the Colt-designed plunger located on the
      left side

  • KestrelBike

    Just to make totally clear: the forward assist on the right is just that, while the forward assist on the left is actually a bolt release? If so, cool! Personally,i like magpuls BAD lever.

    • Doc Rader

      No. they are both linked and do the same thing. Both drop the bolt and both act as a forward assist.

  • Vhyrus

    Do both of them work as a bolt release or just the left one?

    • i would really like to know this, too.

      personally, i’ve never in my life used the forward assist (well maybe one time) and would really like it if something like this was a bolt release on BOTH sides.

      outside of combat zones, dirt and fouling are not typical enough (in my view) to require forward assist on the bolt in most circumstances. often, in fact, if the bolt work hasn’t slammed home on an AR in the civilian world, something much more is wrong and hammering the bolt fully into battery with the forward assist is just compounding the issue.

      • Gunguy34

        Yes both buttons are dual purpose. They both drop the Bolt and operate as a forward assist.

      • Doc Rader

        Yeah, to me the sexy part is the bolt release. I don’t recall ever having used a FA.

  • Dual Sport

    Do we finally have it? A totally ambidextrous AR that has a mostly similar manual of arms for each side?

    Those that have never learned the value in teaching yourself to become ambidextrous in all things will not have a need but for those that have this is getting closer to the Grail of AR platforms.

  • Redmist

    When my sergeant first handed my first
    M-16 to me in 67′ I ask ‘what the hell was that little button was’ He informed
    it was for ammo that stuck and would not go into battery, and I said ‘you mean a
    jammed round will get more jammed!’ Serge says ‘shut the ‘f***’ up Williams,
    don’t worry about it cause when you get to nam you will probably get your ass
    shot off the first day any way’. I found out later why it was there and with
    ammo we get today why do we need one or 2, on a AR. I have a 26′ heavy barrel
    7.62×39 coyote AR that has no forward assist and never had a need for one even
    after several thousand rounds, just keep it clean with bore

    • Ergo

      where did you find such a long x39 barrel?

  • Mattie Dimes

    I’m not trying to poo poo on someone’s design, but this seems to complicate the weapon system to fix a small issue. The Magpul or Phase5 bolt release extensions seem like a much simpler solution imo

  • John

    The one “operator” I know pulls the charging handle back to drop the bolt.

  • jeff

    yes because if my round doesnt chamber i should jam it forward ???
    take a already useless device (cant find one instance on all of the web where a forward assist saved anyone) and make two of them on one rifle smh

  • x47Shooter

    Yo dogg, I heard you like to assist. So we put a forward assist on the other side of your forward assist so you can forward assist while you forward assist.

  • Connor Degnan

    The photo clearly explains the function. The way I see it. Cobalt Kinetics DD gives the advantage of faster reloads for people that are in harms way and in competition. To put it simply, it is less time off target!!!

    • connor

      The photo did not stay attached, this is round two. The photo clearly explains the function. The way I see it. Cobalt Kinetics DD gives the advantage of faster reloads for people that are in harms way and in competition. To put it simply, it is less time off target!!!