Smith Tactics "Lightning" Automatically Actuated AR-15 Bolt Release System

Hrachya H
by Hrachya H
Smith Tactics Lightning Automatically Actuated AR-15 Bolt Release System (1)

Smith Tactics has released a new AR-15 accessory called Lightning Bolt Release (LBR). It is a drop-in replacement bolt catch that automatically releases the bolt once a new loaded magazine is inserted. It is designed to exclude the need of manually hitting the bolt release paddle thus decreasing the reloading time.

Smith Tactics Lightning Automatically Actuated AR-15 Bolt Release System (2)

The Lightning Bolt Release is also capable of distinguishing a loaded magazine from an empty one and won’t automatically drop the bolt on an inserted empty magazine. Other features of this product are quoted below:

  • Installs in minutes, using a hammer and punch into any milspec receiver set
  • Automatically release your bolt into battery upon insertion of a fresh magazine, unless manually over-ridden
  • Will not release the bolt or otherwise change your rifle’s condition upon inserting an empty magazine
  • Will not prevent the bolt locking back into place upon firing last round in magazine
  • Has been successfully tested with nearly every available magazine on the market from surplus GI to Lancer L5AWM
  • Is covered by the Smith Tactics lifetime warranty

In the video embedded below, you can see how this accessory works. They also demonstrate what advantages the Lightning bolt release can provide when used in conjunction with Smith Tactics Battle-Bar which we talked about earlier.

A similar feature was earlier seen in Cobalt Advantage Reloading System (CARS) by Cobalt Kinetics. The Cobalt Kinetics system automatically ejects the empty magazine and drops the bolt upon insertion of a fresh magazine. As far as I know, CARS is not available separately and only comes installed in Cobalt Kinetics rifles. If I am not wrong, then the advantage of the Smith Tactics’ solution is that any mil-spec AR-15 can be retrofitted with the Lightning bolt release.

The Smith Tactics Lightning Bolt Release is available on the company’s website at an MSRP of $54.95.

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Hrachya H
Hrachya H

Managing Editor Being a lifelong firearms enthusiast, Hrachya always enjoys studying the history and design of guns and ammunition. Should you need to contact him, feel free to shoot him a message at

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2 of 61 comments
  • Mike Lashewitz Mike Lashewitz on Aug 29, 2018

    I like this and will definitely check it out Thank you!

  • Bj Bj on Aug 29, 2018

    Awesome! Just awesome.
    I’m glad someone finally did it.
    Dropping mags on empty is stupid and a gimmick. But dropping the bolt on inserting a fresh mag is a great feature.
    Hopefully it’s durable.