If you have spent any time shooting a suppressed AR-15, you know what gas face is. For those of you that haven’t run into this uncomfortable phenomenon, gas face is caused by the excessive blowback you experience when shooting suppressed. There is a number of charging handles on the market with the aim of helping defeat gas face, but nothing really does the trick. AXTS feels they have the solution with the Freedom Bone ported charging handle.
The Freedom Bone is retail packaged, ready to be hung on a peg in your local gun store. The specs on the charging handle are pretty solid, made from 7075 aluminum with a mil spec type III anodization it should be able to take a pretty serious beating.
AXTS uses the ambi latch mechanism that they use on the well proven Raptor charging handle. The latch appears rather bombproof at a glance. I didn’t take it apart to see how it works since the Raptor has proven to be a reliable option. When you pull on the left side of the latch, it only moves that “wing” where if you grab the right side and give it a pull it moves both sides.
Installed in the rifle, the Freedom Bone looks right at home. As previously stated when you pull on the left side of the lever only the latch moves, pulling on the right side will release the latch and move both wings in unison.
The only pick I have so far is that AXTS used some pretty large levers on the Freedom Bone, I would really like to see a smaller version made that is less likely to be inadvertently pulled if you were to use the rifle in a tight environment.
Out at the range, I ran the AXTS through the ringer while testing the Talon safety that they sent. Charging the rifle both using my normal method as well as with the right side of the charging handle proved to be effortless. The wings of the charging handle move without much effort yet still have enough spring pressure to keep the handle in place.
The real question was did the charging handle divert enough gas to make a difference. The photos below are a pretty good illustration of how much gas makes its way out the ejection port instead of directly into my face. Look just past the Aimpoint to see the cloud of gasses shooting out from the rifle.
Normally I run a BCM Gunfighter handle on my rifles that does a pretty good job, better than the PRI Gasbuster I have used on the same rifle. The AXTS charging handle did a much better job of keeping the gasses in check than any charging handle I have used to date. Normally after dumping 15-30 rounds I start to choke on the gasses a bit, I didn’t experience hardly any discomfort at all with the Freedom Bone.
As far as I am concerned, the AXTS Freedom Bone charging handle is the best option for shooters that keep their suppressor on their rifle most of the time. Even with an MSRP of $109.95, I feel it is well worth the money spent just for the comfort factor. The outstanding build quality and solid feel of the charging handle are just icing on the cake.
You can learn more about the AXTS Freedom Bone by clicking HERE to visit their website or you can click HERE to check out the Freedom Bone combo pack that includes one of their outstanding Talon safeties. The Freedom Bone is currently available only for the AR-15, there may be plans to offer it for .308 rifles in the future.