Carry Handles: Why I Like Them

The humble AR-15 / M16 carry handle is often looked down upon by competition and target shooters, but for applications beyond range duty this old school arrangement is convenient as hell. Besides looking neat and retro, carry handles offer convenience and still an excellent set of iron sights.

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Transcript …

– [Voiceover] Hey guys, it’s Alex C. with TMP tv.

Today I’m gonna talk about AR-15 carry handles.

Now I know that’s not exactly a sexy topic of discussion, but I have always felt that the humble carry handle has been overlooked by a whole generation of shooters in favor of expensive, fancy optics.

Now, of course there’s nothing wrong with optics at all, they really do help in a lot of areas.

Now of course they have detachable carry handles, you’re not married to that old A-1 style carry handle anymore.

And the new 69-20s and everything on the market pretty much has a rail and, to be honest, I will keep this detachable carry handle on this 69-20 because I like the ability to carry my gun by said handle.

And now I really have noticed a lot of competition and three gun shooters will scoff at a carry handle because the don’t seem to have the mindset that people use guns for stuff other than competition and target shooting, things like that.

I really like the idea that I can use the carry handle to basically throw my gun into the back of this vehicle with or tote the gun around, and it is handy as hell to have that.

And of course in addition to a sling.

Now I like the carry handle because when you’re going over obstacles like this barb wire fence into this deer plot you can actually grab the handle and raise it up, which is very nice.

And of course for long treks around property, if you want to relieve some stress off of your shoulder, just grab it by the carry handle which is also nice.

Also a lot of people will write off AR-15 iron sights as not being quick.

I’ve always found that they are extremely fast and I can probably line up a shot in about four or five seconds on a coyote.

And as long as you can do that, I don’t feel the need to drop four or five hundred dollars on a nice aim point.

Now I would obviously put one on a gun if I was given one because they are fantastic, but for what I do, I think that the iron sights and carry handles on guns suit my needs best.

And of course they’ve got that retro look which is in my opinion kind of neat.

Now anybody should be able to make off hand shots at 100 meters with a AR-15 iron sight.

And here I am using the tailgate of this vehicle to make quick shots, which is also easy.

Let’s say I came up across three or four coyotes harassing maybe a baby calf, now it’s unlikely that they wouldn’t scatter quickly after the first shot but I guess in my mind I like the idea that in theory I would have the ability to make more shots.

Now when you take the rifle back to 300 meters anybody should be able to land all their hits on a twelve inch diameter plate, I feel.

And with an AR-16, M16 rear carry handle, these sights offer the shooter realistically a very precise sight picture that you can do a lot with.

Now here I’ll just let the gun do the talking.

Now taking shots kneeling is a little bit more difficult.

It’s not impossible.

You can see I get most of the hits here.

I believe I missed one out of five.

And that’s why it really does make sense to drop down to prone if you can do that if you have the time, if you’re not gonna scare the coyotes off.

But at 300 meters you have a better chance obviously than at 100.

And of course you could quickly use the tailgate of a vehicle or something to give the rifle a bit more stability.

Now here I use that method to shoot a five shot group.

And the rifle really does perform pretty well.

I’m shooting at a color changing target at 300 meters.

Actually this is probably more like 295 meters.

I think I moved the vehicle a little closer for this one.

You know, there’s just something about the carry handles that I like.

They’re very durable obviously, you’re not gonna break it.

If you do you’ve really done something bad.

And I think the results here speak for themselves.

At 300 meters I made about a, I would say probably a six or seven inch group with standard M193 ball ammunition.

I feel like I could have performed better with some hand loads or something like that but I obviously didn’t use any.

I didn’t have the time to whip any up before this video.

So with any luck, maybe this made you guys take a second look at the carry handle.

Not the most tactical gun but I can still knock out a pretty rad el presidente drill with the gun quickly.

Big thanks to Ventura Munitions guys.

Hope you enjoyed this video and we hope to see you next time.



Alex C.

Alex is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and Director of TFBTV.


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  • I am either making the gradual transition to becoming a fudd, or simply more pragmatic with age.
    20 year old Alex would scoff at current non-tacticool Alex.

    • Dan Atwater

      Not only that but you’re rocking a 20″ barrel too! DORK.

      Something about that setup appeals to me, every time I see one I want to take it home with me and do close order drill. Would never dream of carrying one by the carry handle though. How gauche.

    • Anonymoose

      Meanwhile, 20-year-old Anonymoose was always enamoured with carry handles and 20″ barrels. <3

      • De Facto

        Impeccable taste. An AR with carry handle, traditional fixed stock and 20″ barrel is a classy rifle that shoots like a dream.

      • roguetechie

        I even have a cantilever carry handle mount like the old school ones that I can mount optics on! This resides on my hbar 20 inch bbl moe handguard and duostock sporting favorite AR.

        Do I have a shorty 16 inch AR? Yes but I just love my old fixed carry handle upper. The only upgrade I really want is a bipod or foregrip. I just have a hand stop now.

    • Chris Cosby

      I get the built in carry handles(I have a 16 inch middy a2 I built) but I don’t get the removal-able one like you have on your 6920. My hands are too big for them.

    • J-

      All of my super tactical AR’s have turned into safe queens. When you are done with optics and free float tubes, they are $3,000 a pop.

      My newest is a Bushmaster XM-15 lower with a Delton light weight 20″ upper, Blitzkrieg chevron front sight with illuminating paint, and a Daniel Defense A1 rear sight. With some judicious ebaying I managed to piece her together for under $500 and 7 lbs. The accuracy I’m getting is the same as with my Aimpoint sights and I shoot this set up about as fast.

      It makes a wonderful all around gun at a price that I don’t mind carrying with me.

      If that makes me a 30 year old Fudd, I’ll accept that.

      I also CCW a 38 snubbie, so I’m really behind the times.

    • ItalianAmerican

      You’re just ‘getting older’, Alex. It’s a good thing for many aspects. While growing up (aka, getting older) at almost 50 currently, I went back to all kind of retro stuff. Which does include retro AR15s (A1s, A2s) but even way back to black powder muskets and the like. I do shoot them, too. It’s just wonderful. I am not saying anything retro is nice. But there have been some iconic firearms of certain centuries that are timeless classics and will stay forever. I could sling a Brown Bess every day of the week.

    • Kevin Gibson

      I think your comments are well thought out and make sense. The current generation of shooters just don’t see any usefulness in carry handles, and can’t fathom that someone else could. It’s amazing to me how absolutely closed minded the shooting community can be. The same people who will raise holy hell if there are no custom options for a particular gun, will just melt down if someone colors outside their lines (to me, that’s just an insecure person). Carry handles have a long tradition in military arms. The AR’s carry handle was designed to be a carry handle AND a sight housing; but carry handle WAS part of the intent. For shooters who actually take their weapons out in the field for extended periods of time, they get the whole carry handle thing. Others who take trips to the range (rarely shooting away from the bench), they can’t fathom such a need.

      I’m not saying the carry handle is the end all, it’s not. But it can be very convenient. And there are also times where standard iron sights are the right tool for the job.

  • VF 1777

    Hard to argue that the venerable carry handle doesn’t make for a nice set of irons, and a handy way to tote the rifle around. The CH on my RRA is superb. Having said that, it’s not currently on my RRA. 3 words: Low Light Conditions. When of course, all of the above stated quickly becomes irrelevant.

  • Cmex

    “Also a lot of people will write off AR-15 iron sights as not being quick.”

    Well, they really aren’t, especially for moving targets, short range, low light, mobile shooting… Apertures are great for static target shooting, but suffer at speed shooting. There is a reason why hunting rifles meant to be used at short range have open sights, why handguns have open sights, and why many rifles have a notch sight for combat within 200M.

    Remember: RDS>Notch>ACOG>Aperture>Scope.

    I do like the idea of having a carry handle as a position between slung and ready which uses a lot less energy than holding a ready position while being far more accessible than on a sling and still keeping a hand free with one on the weapon. It’s also just plain convenient for lugging something around.

    • Uniform223

      “Well, they really aren’t, especially for moving targets, short range, low light, mobile shooting… Apertures are great for static target shooting, but suffer at speed shooting. There is a reason why hunting rifles meant to be used at short range have open sights, why handguns have open sights, and why many rifles have a notch sight for combat within 200M.”

      At that point it all boils down to training. Though modern day optics (red dots and holo-sights) are the norm and preferred… that wasn’t the case back then. If for some reason my optic fails on me I still need to be able to use my rifle/carbine in a dynamic situation with its “Mk.1 iron sights”. I’m probably still one of those individuals that still keeps a folding sights on my rifle even though I have optics mounted.

      Also most aftermarket AR rear sights are adjustable up to 300m. The M16A2 rear sight is adjustable out to 500m (if I remember correctly). Granted if you’re shooting beyond 300m with iron sight you’re probably not engaging a threat and just doing it for recreation… I would think.

      • Major Tom

        The M16A4 rear sight goes to at least 500m.

      • Dan Atwater

        IIRC the A2 goes up to 800m and the A4 goes up to 600m.

        • Uniform223

          The point target range for the M16A2/A4 tops out to 600 and the area target extends to 800. The M4 has a slightly shorter max point and area target than the longer M16.

          • Dan Atwater

            I was referring to the adjustable range of the iron sights on both rifles, not the actual effective range

          • Uniform223

            my bad I must have misread it.

  • Dracon1201

    I disagree on everything except that the sights are nice.

    To each their own, retro weapons are cool.

  • Nicholas C is so triggered right now.

    • Cmex

      You mean like you when you discovered that the REC-7 had a gas regulator and were then told that it is indeed fully possible to use a gas regulator without having to offer a blood sacrifice?

      • Dolphy

        Wow. Pwn. Napalm burn.

      • Interesting that you bring that up here; I thought most of the tactical crowd felt that if something needed to be adjusted with a cartridge or tool – you know, like an A1-style rear sight – that it was totally useless and would get you killed in a Real Firefight. But I guess the cool factor of Piston-Driven(tm) operating systems compensates for that, or something.

        • Anonymoose

          Maybe if it’s a more complex tool than a bullet tip. A lot of people dig the Troy and Daniel Defense sights over A2-styles because they are “set it and forget it.”

          • I totally agree with that regarding A1 sights, but here’s the problem with those gas regulators, to me. It doesn’t seem like modern manufacturers ever give you a true “general use” and “adverse” setting, they usually give you a “low power” and “high power” setting. In many rifles, I’ve found that just using a different brand of ammo screws up the gas system, and it has to be adjusted.

            If the regulator were an FNC-type, no big deal, hit the switch and go on. If it’s the kind everyone seems to use these days, though, now you need to pull a cartridge or a knife or something out and wrestle with it, and more often then not people will forget this and burn themselves, especially if they’re used to every other gun that doesn’t have a regulator.

            Is this something you can live with? Yes, but why do people make excuses for it? Why do people see regulators as a feature, when most of the time I feel like they’re just getting in the way. If I have to dig through my kit for a loose round or a knife or a cleaning rod to adjust my gas, is that doing me any good, when more than likely a rifle with a non-adjustable system would have just worked in the first place? And even if we are talking adverse conditions with a really cruddy rifle, what’s the difference between reaching in your bag for a tool and reaching in your bag for some CLP to squirt in the ejection port?

            In theory, regulators are a cool idea that allows you to keep a gun running longer in the immediate, while sacrificing a little bit of longevity. Their current execution, however, leaves a lot to be desired in my opinion.

          • Darkpr0

            FN FAL and Kel-Tec RFB: Dial at front of gun. Gun stops working? Turn dial, more gas. More gas make gun work for time being. Gun makes noise again. Opposing guns stop making noise.

            Caveman simple. Why gas systems need to be any harder to use than this is a mystery to me.

          • James

            Might just be me, but my experience with the FAL was that the gas dial was very hot after a magazine or two, to the point where I wouldn’t touch it after firing unless I really had to. (or had nice gloves).

          • Cmex

            Nat doesn’t seem to get that just because he doesn’t find much use in something doesn’t mean it’s useless to others. Remember the time he tried to tell everyone that 6.5 and 6.8 were complete junk? LOL.

          • Darkpr0

            He’s not arguing that regulators are useless. He’s arguing that ones that require a tool are useless in a firefight because if people are freaking out about taking a tenth of a second off their reload, what do you think they’re gonna do about a 30 second tool-seeking adventure while getting shot at? I think that’s completely fair.

            Also, he never argued that 6.8 or 6.5 were junk. He argued that they were not the second coming of John Moses Browning. And, again, his points are fair. 6.8 has mediocre terminal performance afforded only by increased power, but as a round it goes against a lot of what we’ve learned in the past several decades. 6.5 is somewhat more refined in its design, but it also has problems (chiefly the restriction on fitting in current AR magwells limiting bullet performance). People are heralding both of these as being set to replace both 5.56 and 7.62 when in reality their performance is nowhere near justifying such a thing. I may disagree with Nathaniel on a great many things but these two points are not among the top end of ones I would fight back on.

          • Cmex

            He initially said he’d only accept a kind of regulator that was like the FNC one, but then he went on saying that just regulators in general were a poorly implemented idea with more bad than good. So I asked him why and what he’d do better, and all I got was a generic “more seetings” answer, and when people posted about the uses for a regulator, he posted that those uses seemingly didn’t matter.

            I read the same arguments and saw the same numbers. I saw rounds that still outperformed 5.56×45. 5.56 is pretty marginal as a combat round; it’s a round that’s prohibited for use against human weight class game hunting with expanding ammo in many places for ethical reasons, and it only gets worse with FMJ. Anyway, no, it wasn’t like comparing a 270Win against a 17HMR, but there were improvements. And looking at the increase in power and barrier penetration afforded by 6.8 at its intended close ranges, for which it was designed, it seems to meet those needs, which is exactly why it gets used. 6.5 out performed for quite a ways, and if we say, just did a break with the current AR15 receivers and upsides to an AR10 length base, we could squeeze a lot more out of moderate power rounds without having to go through enormous expense and difficulty to retrain and reequip. For a country that’ll spend TRILLIONS on two consecutive complete turkeys of jet fighters that’re too expensive to buy or field in numbers after all that development money, the fact that we won’t spend even just a few million to improve the base performance of the most essential fundamental unit of our armed forces infuriates and bamboozles me.

        • Cmex

          I see the regulator as being a capability enhancer which adds some extra capabiities to a weapon. I don’t really think of it as being an operator thing, but more like the difference between a manual and automatic transmission. It gives the user more control over the operation of the weapon.

          • Which is exactly correct… If the regulator controls the gas in a way that makes sense, and if it can be readily changed without needing a tool.

            Otherwise, just do without a regulator and squirt CLP in the action when the gun starts feeling sluggish.

          • Cmex

            Well, define “makes sense”. IMO, any regulator should have a minimum of 2 positions (on and off). Ideally, 4 positions: Off, low gas, regular gas, high gas.

          • I thought I had explained it. Most regulators on modern rifles that I have been exposed to have settings that – combined – don’t really allow for any wider range of ammunition or give any greater tolerance for fouling than a gun without a regulator at all.

            And then they burn the snot out of you when you try to adjust them.

          • Cmex

            Define most rifles. I did a bit of reading around on adjustable gas systems and the consensus is that in civilian circles, the main thing they do is enable finer tuning of how a rifle’s action behaves in order to optimize the rifle to run more smoothly and with less stress on the parts.

            A bit earlier, you were claiming that you’ve only come across one gas block that didn’t demand a tool, and within 10 minutes of looking at gasp blocks for AR15’s, I found that toolless systems are actually very common and affordable and indeed the standard form of adjustable gas regulator.

            From a quick look at military rifles, the rule for gas-operated firearms is to have an adjustable gas system. Whether it’s manual or self-regulating is up to the design. If gas adjustment systems were not useful, they would have likely been eliminated, like magazine cutoffs, integral bayonets, steel butt plates, volley sights, and so on.

            I agree that generally speaking, for most civilian applications, adjustable gas systems are pretty much pointless. However, for people with serious goals, such as optimizing a rifle, competing on a timer, developing cartridges, experimenting with handloads, comparing diverse ammos, emphasizing suppressed operation, teasing out extreme reliability, pushing the limits of systems, or otherwise looking to get more in performance, a manually adjustable gas regulator is an advantage that shouldn’t necessarily be ruled out simply because it won’t matter for most users. I’m a believer that allowing the user to have more ways to use a tool for a range of tasks and the tool being usable for a wider variety of tasks is a good thing.

            In your opinion, what would make an adjustable gas system useful? What kinds of things you want the system to be able to do or handle? What sorts of settings would it have? How much control would the user have over it? I’m asking you this as both just a bantering commenter and also to see what you’d say as an engineer and a small arms researcher.

          • 1. Most rifles that had regulators that I have shot more than once.

            2. Try adjusting those toolless regulators when they are hot.

            3. The rule? Like for the AK, AR, M1 Garand, AR-18, Valmet, Galil, G36, HK416, etc etc? Most gas operated rifles do not have a regulator.

            4. Ok

            5. I’ve said it several times in this thread already, man. Go read it to find the answers you seek.

          • Cmex

            NAT, I looked through a number of rifles. I’m pretty sure the G36 has one. I know the HK416 has one. AK’s and AR’s generally don’t have them, but a wide variety of service arms don’t. Things like the Steyr AUG, FAL, Sig 550, Tavor, AR-10, L85, Sig 516, FN SCAR, INSAS, Hakim, M14, FN49, MAS49. MAS-49, SVT-40…

            You haven’t been telling what you think a useful gas system would have. All you say said is “more settings”. I listed my ideas to try to tease yours out and you kept playing coy.

          • Well, you’re wrong about the G36:

            http://i1224.photobucket.com/albums/ee368/Marine0303/null_zps5b4e61e5.jpg

            And the HK416:

            http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/inset-of-MR556A1-op-system-cutaway.jpg

            Neither have adjustable gas regulators, as you can plainly see.

            Why are you saying that I haven’t said what I think a useful gas system is? I have said it plainly here and elsewhere:

            “Which is exactly correct… If the regulator controls the gas in a way that makes sense, and if it can be readily changed without needing a tool.

            Otherwise, just do without a regulator and squirt CLP in the action when the gun starts feeling sluggish.”

  • Lance

    Good post I agree with you Optics are too over rated these days. Id say in the era of EMP weapons and tough cqb combat you can say one thing about iron sights they still work no matte how hard you banged them or a if computers are fried for miles around a in war.I personally like the A2 sight and carry handle better than the A1 and in your case Alex the AR-15 Sporter 2 series handle/sights.
    Overall the Iron sight doesn’t get seen in the news on the front as much but the Navy and in many cases Army still use them both for support troops and for training.

    • CommonSense23

      I have had to replace more bent front sight post or wrecked rear sights than any optics. Modern optics are tough. And seriously emps?

    • M-cameron

      you will not find anyone, with any modicum of training or experience, who thinks optics are “overrated”..

      are they necessary for every application?…..probably not….

      but they are far from “overrated”

      • Lance

        Maybe for you but vets gone on for years with iron sights this need to replace them with optics with no back up sights is not a smart move.

        • Bill

          I’m unaware of any agency that uses optics that doesn’t keep BUIS on the rifle. The better agencies require the user to qualify with both, to identical standards.

          When the Marines add optics to rifles, that’s really a clue. And i’ve never seen a reliable report on optics failures in the field.

          • Ron

            Although the Marine Corps did buy BUISs, they are not mounted on most Marine rifles/carbines. Surprisingly the M27 tends to be the only system that always has the BUIS mounted, I believe this has to do with they arrived at the units that way.

            I believe part of the problem in this discussion is people attempt to equate range capability with real world capability in combat. During most of my time in the Marines I only had iron sights and for most part my performance on the range mirrored my performance with an RCO post RCO fielding. However, in combat the usage of irons does not really compare to the usage of ACOs, RCOs, ECOS, M68s etc. Additionally unlike in training the lack of a good sight picture, or even a defined target does prevent you from shooting, in fact most shooting in combat is area fire because they enemy attempts to not get shot so you may only have a generally idea where the fire is coming from.

            The bottom line if the optic goes down in combat the weapon is considered in the degraded mode of operation and you are either so close that lack of sights would not prevent you from shooting or you are firing at a less than defined target so lack sights don’t prevent you from firing.

    • SP mclaughlin

      Any non battery powered optic is EMP proof, Modern Warfare 2.

      • Lance

        Unfortunately only the ACOG is the only none battery or battry assisted optic in use by the regular US military.

        • Ron

          Beyond the RCO, SDO, MGO, there is the dual illuminated RMRs on top of the SDOs and MGO. There are also Mk4, Mk6, Mk8 and M8541s in usage in the Marines.

      • iksnilol

        A red dot should still work if you don’t keep batteries in it. Besides, it is complicated stuff that gets fried (computers/cars), not simple stuff like red dots.

        Here’s the problem though: EMP = nuke

        If a nuke hits your area I think the EMP is the least of your worries.

  • Bill

    This is a MAJOR pet peeve of mine: It isn’t a carry handle, a rifle isn’t a suitcase, it’s a rear sight housing that happens to resemble a “handle.” I’m of the FIRM belief that long guns are carried with the weapon hand exactly where it belongs – in the case of an AR properly gripping the pistol grip. Ideally the reactionary hand is also on the fore-end, but it’s imminently possible to haul around an AR oriented vertically with just the weapon hand on the pistol grip. Toting it by the rear sight housing like The Dude’s bowling ball bag doesn’t allow what I believe is sufficient control of the rifle, and requires major juggling to get into a firing position. I understand that the inventor referred to it as a carry handle, the vast majority of people do and it is deeply ingrained, but I can’t help it if all those people are wrong 😉

    OTOH, an AR user should master the irons, wherever and however they are mounted, before going to any optics, and revisit them often.

    Blast away, I wear Nomex undies.

    • Anonymoose

      Nah, it’s a charging handle protector, that just happens to be good for keeping the rifle close when you’re crawling.

    • Evan

      Agreed. The whole purpose of it being raised like that was to match the shooter’s line of sight, and accommodate the original “trigger” style charging handle on the prototype ARs. It was eventually changed to the design we use today because they couldn’t figure out a way to keep the trigger-style handle from getting too hot to touch.

      As a guy with kinda fat fingers, I have a hard time actually getting a “grip” of all my fingers inside the “carry handle”, and I’m by no means a fat guy or NFL linebacker build either.

      • DrewN

        Man, I remember using anything and everything to get enough leverage on those to clear a stoppage.

    • roguetechie

      Agreed,
      The carry handle is not how I carry it. Instead I have this awesome invention called A sling. It seems to work well.

    • Paul Joly

      In any situations, you can grab the handguard to carry the rifle ; by doing so the rifle point the ground not the other people around.

    • iksnilol

      I dunno, if the man that invented the damn thing said it was a carry handle then I am inclined to trust him more than you.

      • Bill

        No designer is perfect: Carbine Williams was a cop killer.

        This doesn’t apply to JMB, who could do no wrong.

        • iksnilol

          What does his criminal history have to do with his knowledge of designing stuff?

          • Bill

            IIRC, he was basically self-taught, while in prison, which was kind of cool; a rare example of someone actually getting rehabilitated.

            As for knowledge of designing stuff, often designers don’t have a good working knowledge of the practicalities of what an end user needs, hence we get designs like the Chauchat, the AMT On-Duty and the AMC Pacer.

          • iksnilol

            I dunno, rehabilitation isn’t that rare if the correct correctional system is used. A punishment system won’t rehabilitate people as much as it will make them hate the establishment.

            Isn’t a good designer one who has the knowledge of what one need? Th Chauchat wasn’t bad when made correctly. The 30-06 versions were crappily made, that and the open mag were the only real problems of that contraption.

          • Bill

            Generally speaking, and I’m an American cop whose married to a prison warden and lives with a 10 minute drive of four different correctional facilities, the corrections industry in the US is about 500 years behind those in Europe and our prison and jails are essentially gladiator academies/graduate schools for making more vicious criminals. Our incarceration rate is indefensible, as if warehousing criminals is “tough on crime,” instead of only making tougher criminals.

            I guess “good” design is like “good” pornography: it’s in the eye of the end user. If I need to carry a rifle by a handle, I’ll put it in a case with a handle. If I ned to carry a rifle for use, I’ll either use a sling, or carry it by hand in a safe manner that promote’s it’s effective use. The FN FAL and some Galil/Valmets are the only rifles along with the AR I’m aware of with handles, and I know the there were units in the UK when the FAL was issued that forbade the use of slings or any other carry method other than a master grip on the pistol grip and a proper grip on the fore-end.

      • Cmex

        I have an ever better idea. Okay, Bill, show yourself carrying the thing one-handed by the pistol group for hours.

        • iksnilol

          I dunno, holding one handed I think you can hold it between the magwell and handguard.

          #DevilsAvocado

  • derpmaster

    TFB drinking game – take a shot every time Alex says, “you know, there’s just something about X that I like.”

    I’m kind of meh on the AR15 carry handle. It adds quite a bit of dead weight to the rifle, or at least the M4 style detachable one does.

    I definitely like 20″ ARs though.

  • Joe

    Carry handle shines when 2 people have to take a platoon’s worth of rifles to the arms room. But armfuls stacked like firewood are better.

  • Just say’n

    Of course, the “right” way to cross a fence with a long-gun is to unload the weapon, place it on the ground under the fence (or lean it against a fence post if that’s not practical), climb the fence away from the pointy end, retrieve and load the weapon.

    BTW, I’ve always liked carry handles too. Shooting CMP you have to like them, although I hear they are letting you use BUS now.

  • Bob

    I’m having a hard time seeing how the carry handle is vastly superior to just grabbing the rifle just at the mag well, with a slight tilt forward, the weapon is balanced… But on the other hand, I admit I don’t own anything except a broken airsoft with a carry handle, so it is not like I have much experience with them…

    • hannal

      Awkward handling of the rifle close to the trigger would reduce the chance for negligent discharges. Which are always a problem.
      The full handguard of the Steyr Aug might help in this regard too, as would it’s better balance.

      • Bob

        I’m not seeing how grabbing the mag well or mag in the case of my AK runs a high risk of causing a negligent discharge, but maybe I’ve not explained what I mean clearly.

  • Darhar M.

    One of the few changes I made to my Ruger AR-556 was to remove the flip up sight
    and install a BCM Carry Handle. This is what I was raised on and still prefer.
    I love them carry handles…..

    • Rimfire

      Damn straight

  • Don Ward

    Ehrmagerd! The “carry handle” adds so much weight to my rifle!!!

    *Promptly goes out and spends thousands of dollars adding five to ten pounds of surplus gear to the rails of the latest, greatest 3-Gun race gun*

    • DW

      Thousands of $$$ on surplus parts that fit on rails for 3 gun? …how is this possible
      Unless it’s an AN/PEQ 15, but that would be 1990-2000s kind of cool.

      • My guess is he meant “surplus” in the sense of “unnecessary”.

        • Don Ward

          It’s a homonym.

        • Don Ward

          It’s a homonym.

          • pun&gun

            YOU’RE a homonym.

          • Cmex

            Derp. You mean SYNONYM. And an incorrectly applied one.

  • gunsandrockets

    Next, we need a video praising the old a1 style triangular forend!

    • mig1nc

      I’ve always felt that the triangle handguards were very ergonomic. They just felt good in the hands. But I understand the logistical problems with supplying millions of dedicated left-right halves.

    • Cmex

      It’s a shape that better conforms to the shape of the hand and gives better grip than the tubular foreend.

  • Rusty S.

    I picked up an M16A2 by the carry handle once. I received a talking to in stereo and a trip to the smoke pit for my mistake. Never did it again.

    • Paul White

      then…what is it for? if you can’t pick it up by the handle? I’m cohnfused

      • Zachary marrs

        It was for protecting the original charging handle

        Not for carrying

        • Cmex

          Seems like a pretty common thing to do with the rifles sporting central charging handles, though, and a quick search shows up the things both being labeled and used as carrying handles.

  • BrandonAKsALot

    So…if I’m getting this right, and correct me if I’m wrong, the carry handle is great for carrying the rifle? I have just used mine to mostly ramp my micro machines.

    My first gun purchase was actually a bushmaster with the carry handle and I always liked it. I carried my FAL by it’s handle too. I just really like the retro style they give.

  • demophilus

    The carry handle was also good for hanging your weapon in a tree while you were taking a piss, and you didn’t want anyone to find it. Like, yourself.

    Don’t ask me how I know this.

    Seriously, I found the old A1/2 carry handle pretty good for lining up on the front fork for snap shots. But we weren’t issued scopes, back then.

  • Pete Sheppard

    Fun vid. Like others, I very rarely used the rear sight bridge as a carry handle. Camp counsellors with stripes on their sleeves and the Eagle, Globe and Anchor on their covers took care of that… 😉

    IMO, the simplicity and ruggedness of the A1 rear sight made them far superior as a combat sight; taking time to fiddle with knobs on the Two-Way Range is a good way to get hurt.

    Sweet rifle, but that A1 receiver with A2 furniture and heavy barrel didn’t look quite right. I want an all-retro A1, and will look for some sort of forward mount for an optic, when I finally get the rifle built.

    • Cmex

      Turns out you’re not the only one who didn’t like the A2 as much. As far as I’m concerned, just the lack of full automatic did it in. The sights were the equivalent to being insulted on top of getting punched in the mouth, so to speak.

      Here’s a post from a THR thread about M16a1 vs M16a2

      ————-

      Slater

      April 9, 2008, 11:32 AM

      ht tp:/ /stinet (dot) dtic (dot) mil/cgi-bin / GetTRDoc?AD= ADA168577&Lo…=U2 &doc=Ge tTR Doc (dot) pdf

      Looking back 22 years at the above Army study on the then-new M16A2, it’s interesting to see the opinions they had on it. Some exercepts:

      “The M16A2 is less accurate out to ranges of 500 meters”

      “The M16A2 is less reliable”

      “The M16A2 has less combat capability due to the

      elimination of full automatic fire”

      “The M16A2 barrel has a 1:7 barrel twist (the bullet rotates once every seven inches)which was found to be appropriate for the Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW). Available data indicate that a 1:9 twist would be more appropriate for the M16 rifle, improving accuracy and reliability”

      “The rifle which has been type classified and designated as the M16A2 is considered to be unsuitable for Army use, and purchase under any circumstances is not recommended”

      “The M16A2 has 20% more parts than the M16A1, which is an indication that the M16A2 will be more difficult to maintain”

      “If a requirement exists for the Army to purchase new rifles now, the only low-risk alternative is to purchase new M16A1 rifles. This would allow time for the development of the rifle we recommend, time to develop appropriate targets, time to develop appropriate training literature, and time to develop appropriate ranges”

      Didn’t realize that the Army was so opposed to the A2 in the beginning. I guess they were holding out for the ACR (which never happened anyway). Any “not invented here” sentiment against the Marines?
      ————————

      I’ve seen quips elsewhere to the effect of “they turned an assault rifle into a target rifle”, but I can’t for the life of me remember where.

      • Pete Sheppard

        Yep. I have a copy of the Army’s report.

  • Chap

    I remember in my Marine Corps Boot Camp days that the drill instructors would thrash us if they saw us carrying our M-16 by carrying handle . I suspect that the reason why many former Marines do not carry and AR by the carrying handle is because that it was ingrained in us to be a bad bad thing . Hence as of this day I still find it to be taboo to even consider using the carrying handle.

    • Cmex

      Why would they do that? It’s like girls who dress sexy and then get mad when people check them out and compliment them.

    • tsubaka

      when i was having classes within french navy i was taugh to use the carry handle with the barrel up (~45° tilt) unless it’s raining then barrel down to avoid water down the barrel

  • Nicholas C

    I just don’t carry my firearms far enough or long enough that I need to have a handle on it. I would grab the free float rail or sling the weapon. The justification for the rail is not the same as justifing the use of iron sights. I feel they are two separate things. You can have irons. There is just no need for a handle.

    • Cmex

      I guess you’re right. It’s just that AR15’s these days love to mount irons on full length rails, which are uncomfortable as hell to hold onto for any length of time.

      • Nicholas C

        That depends on the rail system you have. I prefer the smooth ones with just a top rail. Or better yet the ones that only have a top picatinny rail at the front. But has MLOK or some method of attaching side rails if needed for lights.

  • TJbrena

    I’d take an optic over the carry handle 90% of the time. But I wouldn’t butcher something beautiful like an A1/A2/A3 to put a handle on it. I can appreciate the function, aesthetics and convenience of the handle, and that’s enough justification for it on a civilian rifle in my eyes.

  • spike1984

    The use of an AR-15 scope-handle combo has the downside of making the rifle profile higher but the use of a flat Picatinny rail makes the profile smaller.