Charging Handles: Location, Location, Location…

TFB Staffer
by TFB Staffer

Whether you’re a hunter or a dedicated target shooter, you understand the importance of being on target. Shot placement isn’t just important, it’s everything, and if you’re working on groups, the last thing you want to do is move your rifle away from your shoulder. Problem is, if you end up in need of access to your rifle’s charging handle, odds are rather high you’ll be moving it.

The hunting industry, specifically, is booming. If you’re looking for the latest ScentLok apparel in Mossy Oak, you’ve got it. If you’re interested in a new semi-auto rifle from Stag Arms chambered in 6.8 SPC, you’ve got it. But if you’re looking for a hunting rifle with a side-mounted charging handle, you’re going to run into some difficulties.

This is one of those debates that doesn’t exactly cause a frenzy thanks in part to the fact that many shooters see the value of not having charging handles located in their current and most-common positions. Even so, there are always a few naysayers. What’s your opinion when it comes to the best possible location for a charging handle? I can’t be the only one running into problems beyond just needing to lower the rifle, such as when optics overhang the charging handle, making it incredibly awkward to operate (no, it’s not always possible – or a good idea – to shift the scope forward).

Take a look at the video below for a side-mounted charging handle point of view.Then feel free to blow up the comments. Not necessarily in that order, of course.

TFB Staffer
TFB Staffer

TFB Staff, bringing you the latest gun news from around the world for a decade.

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2 of 43 comments
  • BrandonAKsALot BrandonAKsALot on Nov 14, 2015

    I like forward mounted, side-charging. Swappable of course.

  • TheAnnoyedMan TheAnnoyedMan on Nov 21, 2015

    I own, shoot, and love AR platform rifles, but I also own a SCAR 17, and one of the things about it that I appreciate over the AR platform is the forward mounted charging handle. It doesn't bother me that it reciprocates at all, but having it easily accessible that way is great. Also, as a lefty, I really appreciated that the charging handle can be repositioned on the right side of the receiver so that I can manipulate it without removing my left hand from the pistol grip. I wish there was some way to retrofit an AR for that, without having to completely rebuild the upper.