AK Lightning Bolt: Left-hand side charging handle

Steve Johnson
by Steve Johnson

Over at SaysUncle and GunPundit, Uncle and Murdoc asked if anyone could identify a left handed AK charging handle. I just happened to come across the AK Lightning Bolt today and it is definitely the same system.

The bolt system was designed by Colorado Shooting Sports. It looks like it offers a significant improvement in reloading time:

One of the true AK innovations of the last 60 years. A left-side cocking system. This project started over a year ago and already hundreds of AKLB units are in service here in and abroad. Several units just finished a punishing 7,000 round torture test.

1.)Make tactical reloads faster and operate more ergonomically to ensure that you stay focused on the threat not on your weapon.

2.)Allow you to keep your hand on the pistol grip which will make you safer and remove movements that take time to learn to do well with a standard right side cocking mechanism.

3.)The top covers charging handle openning will allow your rifle to cool faster during high rates of fire.

The AKLighting bolt is available for the following weapons: AK-47 and all variants, AK-74 and all variants including the AKS-74U Krinkov, Israeli Galil, Finlands Valmet, Saiga rifles and shotguns, RPKs, VZ-58s, All Yugo AKs,STGs, and many more.

The AKLightning Bolt is being sold by Tactical Response Gear for $225.

Steve Johnson
Steve Johnson

I founded TFB in 2007 and over 10 years worked tirelessly, with the help of my team, to build it up into the largest gun blog online. I retired as Editor in Chief in 2017. During my decade at TFB I was fortunate to work with the most amazing talented writers and genuinely good people!

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  • DT DT on Feb 18, 2011

    Obviously this improvement bothers some of the AK purists...however the left-side or even ambi charging handle IS an improvement. There is no reasonable argument that says it's better to awkwardly reach your left hand over top of the weapon in an un-natural hand position, obstructing your vision, is better than a simple quick natural stroke of the left hand. There's a reason the HKs are superior. More thought went into their weapons. The argument can also be made against the right-hand charging handle as it smacks your knuckles against the safety. I've had bloody knuckles every time I've taken my AK out for serious combat training.

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